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 (UW). 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.
Community assistant: Daniel Woodward (UW). Email: Daniel.Woodward@warwick.ac.uk

Daniel Woodward is a MSc student at the University of Warwick, studying Social Inequalities and Research Methods. His research interests revolve around crises and the social consequences that arise from them, with a current focus on the social changes associated with responses to the global financial crisis. He previously completed a MSci in Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham, before working for several organisations in the education and environmental sectors.

Partner: Jelena Juvan (UL). Email: Jelena.Juvan@fdv.uni-lj.si

Assis. Prof. Jelena Juvan, PhD, is a higher education teacher and lecturer at the Department of Defence Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana and a senior research assistant at the Defence Research Center of the Faculty of Social Sciences. She has been employed at the Faculty of Social Sciences since 2003. In the pedagogical process, she is the holder of the courses in EU Security and Defence Policy and Professional Practice at the 2nd level of the Master's Degree in Defence Studies. She is also a co-lecturer in the courses of  Security in the Information Society, Defense and Security System at the 1st level and Cyber Security at the 2nd level of study. Her research interests include crisis management, disaster management, caber and information security, European  security. She is a Head of Chair of Defence Studies and a Head of Department of Politology at the Faculty of Social Sciencies University of Ljubljana.

Partner: Nel de Mûelenaere (VUB). Email: Nel.De.Muelenaere@vub.be

Nel de Mûelenaere is a historian of 19th and 20th century Europe, and assistant professor at the Social and Cultural Food Studies (FOST) research group of the University of Brussels (VUB). Her research focuses on the relation between humanitarian aid, food and gender during and after the First World War. One strand of her work examines the experiences and impact of female American relief workers in Belgium and France. Another looks at food and living standards of Belgian families during and after WWI and the development of home economics and nutritional science. She teaches methodological courses and a course on the history of warfare. Nel is the academic co-director of the Brussels Institute for Advanced Studies (BrIAS) and the chair of the research committee for the Faculty of Languages and the Humanities.
In 2019, dr. de Mûelenaere was the BAEF Cabeaux-Jacobs postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University. There, her research on the Belgian relief work of American home economists Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose in 1923 was rewarded with the Dean’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics. She hold a PhD in political history (2016) from Antwerp University. Her dissertation explored forgotten militarization processes in Belgian society between 1890 and 1914, and was published by Leuven University Press in 2019. Dr. de Mûelenaere has previously worked as scientific coordinator for NISE - National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe (2015-2018) and CegeSoma - the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (2009-2010).

partners coming soon