source: digitales-formum-romanum.de

source: digitales-formum-romanum.de

source: digitales-formum-romanum.de

Wherever societies order their lives in a city, a central role in the construction of the cultural and mental “households” of individuals and social groups is always played by urban spaces of varying functions. The city therefore offers its inhabitants not only living space, which allows them to pursue individual and collective interests and needs, but also a framework for cultural orientation and identity establishment. As recent sociological research has emphasized, a society or social group not only reacts to its existing urban space, but also designs, creates and transforms this space continually – after all, the society is the first to determine what is perceived as space and what can be considered as such. This process whereby urban spaces are actively shaped and modeled will be referred to here using the term “cityscaping”, and will play a central role in project description that follows. The aim of the research group is to study the processes by which urban spaces were actively appropriated in ancient cultures, and to examine this as a mirror of perceptions and reflections on urban spaces. The phenomenon of cityscaping should therefore be treated from two perspectives: the first concerns the physical modeling and functionalizing of urban spaces through their architectural and urban-planning configurations (physical cityscaping), while the second concerns the literary modeling and functionalizing of urban spaces in texts that deal with the men that act within these spaces or that are composed by them (literary cityscaping). These two perspectives stand in a close, complimentary relation: the perception of urban space as living space, made tangible by the literary texts, also necessarily determines its material arrangement, or rather rearrangement; without an awareness of this reflection, architectural and urbanistic findings can hardly be interpreted; conversely, the literary confrontation with the city as a space of thought and discourse – independent of physical reality – is also nevertheless informed by experiences of the real and physically formed urban space, and hence is difficult to interpret without knowledge of this space. Only a reciprocal, interdisciplinary exchange between literary studies on the one hand and archaeology and building history on the other makes it possible to comprehensively examine the cultural concept of cityscaping.

Research Projects

Dissertations