Urban Boundaries and Margins

27-28 March 2008 University of Nottingham



This conference will explore the concept of boundaries and margins in the context of the city. The theme is interpreted broadly to encompass not only the identification of various types of boundaries – spatial, social, cultural, economic and political– but also the processes that help create, sustain as well as contest the legitimacy and practices of such boundaries. This focus draws attention to the differences as well as the similarities between various groups and activities in the city, and explores how these could change over time. Themed sessions will include the following:

  • Age and life cycle issues in urban contexts
  • “Them and us”; class, race, ethnicity, culture
  • Transgressing norms of behaviour
  • Shifting concepts of day and night
  • Marginal groups and practices
  • Spatial and architectural margins in the home and the city
  • Administrative and political boundaries
  • Public and private space
  • The representation of boundaries
  • Boundaries of conflict and boundaries of order


Papers & Presentations

Many of the speakers have given permission for their presentations and/or papers to be made available on the web. You may need to update your Flash to view the presentations. Download the latest Adobe Flash Plug-in for free.


All papers and presentations are deemed to be unpublished works and copyright rests with the author. Please do not cite without permission of the author. If the author's contact details are not included on the paper/presentation please contact uhn@le.ac.uk and we will put you in touch with the author.


Thursday 27 March 

Session 1: Plenary - St Ann's and the rediscovery of poverty (film and discussion)

Bill Silburn

St. Ann's is a 50-minute documentary film made for Thames Television in 1969, exploring aspects of a deprived inner-city neighbourhood in Nottingham. The idea of making the film was prompted by the preliminary findings of a research programme carried out by Ken Coates and Richard Silburn that made a significant contribution to the 1960s 'Rediscovery of Poverty'. The film was the first major work directed by Stephen Frears, and to this day it remains his only documentary film.


New Researchers Forum 2.1 : Urban Illegalities

Margaret Dorey (Western Australia)
Lewd, idle people selling corrupt, unwholesome food? The construction of street hawkers as the corruptive other in 17th century London records

Catherine Casson (York)
Forgery in the market place: A study of six medieval English towns

Michelle Abraham (Leicester)
The summary courts and attitudes towards non lethal violence during the period 1887-1931 in Northampton and Nottingham


New Researchers Forum 2.2 : Contested Boundaries

András Lugosi (Budapest)
City of Jews and Christians: Spatial Order of Persecution in Budapest 1944

Ruth Reichard (Purdue Indiana)
Curbs: Environmental Control, Social Control

Zsuzsanna Kiss (Budapest)
Boundaries of the Public Scene: Hungary in the 1860s

Cristina Purcar (Leuven)
Railways as urbanistic boundaries in the towns of the First Transylvanian Railway


New Researchers Forum 2.3 : Beyond the City

Raf Verbruggen (Loughborough)
Globalisation and City Networks in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Mark Storey (Nottingham)
Rural Life and Urbanisation in Nineteenth Century America: Urbanism Beyond the City

Ben Anderson (Manchester)
The Manchester Ramblers’ Federation and Urban/Rural Interaction, c. 1929-1936

Geoffrey Mead (Sussex)
'Scattered Squalour' - aspects of Brighton's interwar urban fringe


Parallel Session 3.1 : Them and Us

Victoria Wolcott (Rochester, NY)
Violence and Racial Boundaries: Recreation Riots in Post-WWII US Cities

Helen Milne (King's College London)
Irish and West Indian strategies in the city and the creation of symbolic space in 1950s and 1960s London


Parallel Session 3.2 : Social Boundaries and Space

Alistair Owens & Karen Wehner (QMUL), Nigel Jeffries & Rupert Featherby (Museum of London)
Excavating the social boundaries of everyday life in Victorian London

Lesley Hoskins (Queen Mary London)
Domestic life and the enterprise in the mid nineteenth century


Parallel Session 3.3 : Sensory Boundaries and Space

Ian West (Leicester)
The impact of artificial lighting in the early 19th century workplace

Andrew Brown-May (Melbourne)
City noises, public spaces, urban boundaries


Parallel Session 3.4 : Manufacturing Places

Alessandro Buffa (Stony Brook, NY), A.,
Images of the Bronx and Naples: The Media, the Margins, and Urban Struggles, 1970s-1980s

Christopher Mick (Warwick)
Defining public space. Monuments and cemeteries in Lviv


Evening debate: Has urban history a future?

Eric Lampard: A Retrospective of Urban History

Eric is one of the foremost urban historians of his generation and his thoughts on the past as well as the future of urban history are intended as a way of generating a debate about the current state and future prospects of the subject.


Friday 28 March

Parallel Session 4.1 : Discourses of (sub)urbanity

Margo Huxley (Sheffield)
The Shape of the Good City: Debating Urban Morphologies in London and Melbourne

Sarah Brown (Western Australia)
Developing Canberra's Suburban Landscape: a case study of shifting imaginaries, conflicts and boundaries, 1950s-1980s

Maureen Flanagan (Michigan State)
Pushing Women to the Margins in the Patriarchal City: Chicago, Toronto, Dublin, and London, 1870s-1940s

Laura Balderstone (Edinburgh)
Analysis of social networks in the outer fringe suburbs of Leicester and Loughborough, 1950-2000


Parallel Session 4.2 : Politicising Space: margins and boundaries

Ritta Laitinen (Turku)
The Toll Border and Defining the Urban in a Seventeenth-Century Swedish Town

Philip Baker (Birkbeck)
Parishes, parishioners and peripheries: residence and status in early modern London

Michael Glass (Pennsylvania State)
Visions in the Wilderness – Urban Boundaries and Imaginations in Western Pennsylvania


Parallel Session 4.3 : Leisure spaces

Bruno Bonomo (La Sapienza, Rome & della Tuscia, Viterbo)
A Shifting Boundary: Domestic and public space in middle-class Rome, 1950s-1970s

Benjamin Heller (Oxford)
Perception and practice of boundaries in London recreation, 1760-1820

Jan Hein Furnée (Amsterdam)
Social clubs and cultural associations in nineteenth-century The Hague


Session 5: Plenary - Urban Imaginaries

Vivian Bickford Smith (Cape Town)
Creating South African Green Zones: antiquarian history and the creation of urban boundaries in white South African imagination, 1940s-70s

Claire Le Thomas (Paris X Nanterre)
Beyond the margins: Picasso and company in Montmartre

Stephen Daniels (Nottingham)
The Road to Bayswater: the art of Paul Sandby


2008 Business Meeting

Urban History Group: Ways Forward

Views on the formation of a formally-constituted Urban History Society/Association should be addressed to the Academic Organisers:

Dr David Green

Professor Bob Morris

Professor Simon Gunn


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