This Learning Unit will introduce students to urban history by focussing on the most extreme examples of urban crises in the twentieth and twenty-first century. In dramatic circumstances, urban reconstruction also brings to light many issues of great importance to modern historians: the link between the built environment and local identity, the nature of social cohesion, the relationship between state and civil society, the emergence of transnational solidarity, etc. The course will combine general and comparative discussions with individual case-studies that
will inform our collective reflection. Those will include cities destroyed by earthquakes (Valparaiso, 1906; Tokyo, 1923; San Juan – Argentina, 1944, or Mexico City, 1986); hurricanes (New
Orleans, 2005); fires (1871; San Francisco, 1906; Salonika, 1917); accidents (Halifax, 1917) floods (Sheffield, 1864, Melbourne, 1891). We will also consider the dramatic impact of deindustrialization and economic decline (Camden, NJ). Inevitably, of course, this module will deal with post-conflict reconstructions including in the aftermath of the First World
War (Reims and Lviv); the Spanish Civil War (Barcelona); the Second World War (Coventry, Leningrad); the Lebanese Civil War (Beirut) and the collapse of Yugoslavia (Sarajevo).

Learning Community Activities

Coming up
coming soon
Past activities

How to get involved?

(Students and educators)
Contact the EUTOPIA curriculum team: Jo Angouri (J.Angouri@warwick.ac.uk) and Karen Triquet (karen.triquet@vub.be).


Learning Community Members

Lead: Pierre Purseigle (UoW). Email: p.purseigle@warwick.ac.uk

Pierre Purseigle is Associate Professor in Modern European History at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His teaching focusses on the comparative and transnational history of war and catastrophes. His work lies at the intersection of urban history and critical disaster studies. He has taught modern history and the methodology of history in France, the United Kingdom, and the USA.
partners coming soon