Bruno Blondé (University of Antwerp)
Inequality and Challenge – the Case of Reformation Mühlhausen
Thomas Lau (University of Fribourg (CH))
Urban Reformation, Redistribution of Resources, Spiritual and Economical Inequality
The case of Mühlhausen has served Marxist historians as a classical example to demonstrate the impact of social inequality and class struggle on the peasant war and the urban uprisings in the time of the reformation. The intense and still ongoing debate on the social and economical character of the events has narrowed the focus of the historical research. Historical studies were mainly interested to anylise the antagonism between council and citizens, between political elite and craftsmen, between urban crypto-aristocrats and Müntzer’s reformation movement. This presentation tries to reassess the character of the events. Based on a broader chronical and methodological approach the crucial importance of numerous overlapping, cooperating and competing transregional and transsocial networks for the redistribution of power, whealth and prestige will be shown. A new system of inequalities – cultural, spiritual, social and economical was created in a fierce, complicated and multilateral conflict. Citizens and peasants, urban families and knights, preachers and merchants redefined the worth of suffering and of spiritual enlightenment. They created new and sometimes short live alliances that went beyond the narrow borders of the city walls.
The Grass is Greener on the Other Side. Urban Extra-Territorialities as Drivers of Opportunity and (In)Equality in the Late Medieval Low Countries
Bente Marschall (University of Antwerp)
Extra-territoriality, Legal Pluralism, Maastricht
The medieval city was a divided one; it’s landscape consisted of many different urban bodies – both religious, secular and everything in between – who all claimed their own juridical and/or political primacy within their own territory, and sometimes even outside of their territories (e.g. the so-called buitenpoorterschappen). All these different urban polities created a wide range of opportunities, throughout different layers of society. Town dwellers actively used the political and legal pluralism to their own advantage. For instance, to evade particular taxes, legal prosecution or economic constraints, or to rely on particular loyalties or laws. However, the access – or rather membership – to these entities and their advantages were not always open to all, creating an inequality of opportunity.
In the historiography, these extra-territorialities are often considered instigators of conflicts. It can be argued, however, that these entities can also be seen as a tool to negotiate and manage inequality. For example, non-guild members could find opportunities in these polities, thus creating opportunities to combat the inequality of access to certain trades and crafts within cities. Using an in depth analysis of city deliberations originating from the late medieval Low Countries, this paper explores how town dwellers used these extra-territorialities and how the (urban) authorities reacted to such practices – hereby arguing that urban extra-territorialities, through the opportunities they generated, could serve as a driver of both equality and inequality.
Permanence and Transformation in Cusco (Peru): The Adaptability of Inca Settlements (Adriana Scaletti-Cárdenas)
Adriana Scaletti-Cárdenas (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP))
Cusco, Precolumbian, Cities
Pre-Hispanic cities in the Andean region were organized with a logic of efficiency but also valued working in harmony with the conditions of the natural environment and their symbolic and sacralized value. An emblematic example - and of synthesis - in that sense is that of the city of Cusco, renovated from the original small settlement by the Inca Pachacutec around 1450 and finally transformed into a mestizo and syncretic city with the Spanish arrival a century later.
The adaptation of urban systems, knowledge and vernacular traditions to what was proposed by the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century gave rise to a complex and original organism, with syncretic values and expressions that are perpetuated to the present: the enormous European urban adventure found in the Andean region a dense network of existing indigenous settlements, already organized in their own models of city and town. To function, some sites had to re-accommodate to the new needs of newcomers, and in addition start functioning as part of a different system, the one that has finally survived.A fundamental theme for Inca cities was that of scale, taking the idea of the urban space as an extension of the animated territory and connected to it. Another very important aspect was the material technology, reinterpreted and in many cases maintained in continuous and mixed forms in the vernacular architecture of the present, throughout the Andean region. Both aspects were based on traditional and innovative reasoning that characterized the city of Cusco and extended to all urban definitions of the region.