On Wednesday November 18th, 2020, from 17:30-19:30 GMT, the Rethinking Modern Europe Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, in London, UK, will run an online research seminar on the theme ‘Port and City in Modern Marseille,’ with Dr Venus Bivar (York, UK) and Gemma Jennings (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Birmingham, UK).
To register, please click here. Registration is free but space is limited and pre-registration is required.
About this Event
Marseille is a good vantage point from which to rethink modern Europe. A key node in French, European, trans-Mediterranean and global networks of trade and migration, its urban history also provides a rich framework within which historians have interpreted the socio-economic and political-cultural histories of citizenship, gender, space & housing, and post-coloniality. This seminar brings together two scholars working on Marseille in networked perspective, to consider the political ecology of migration and the politics of hydrocarbon energy in and beyond the city.
- Venus Bivar, University of York: ‘Unsafe Harbour: A Political Ecology of Migration in Modern Marseille’
This project excavates the entangled economic and environmental histories of urban development, migrant labor, and ethno-racial exclusion in modern Marseille. With a demographic profile defined by migration – from Italians, Corsicans, and Armenians, to Sephardic Jews, North Africans, and Comorians – Marseille has challenged French ideas about ethno-racial difference and national belonging. Building on existing literature that examines forms of inequality that are produced by ethno-racial difference, I am interested in exploring how inequality was not only the product of a French political ideology that privileges assimilation, but was also the result of differential access to urban infrastructure as well as differential exposure to industrial pollution. While rooted in the experience of modern France, this research should provide parallels for scholars interested in how similar dynamics played out in different port cities across the globe, from Cartagena and Baltimore to Liverpool and Guangzhou.
- Gemma Jennings, University of Birmingham: ‘The Marseille Petroscape: Identity, Space and the Infrastructures of Oil, 1958-1975’
Through ports, pipelines and refineries the physical flows of oil have been built into urban and rural landscapes across the globe. The importance of these physical assemblages has been somewhat obscured by the concentration on oil as an economic actor, but more recently an emerging field focused on the relationship between oil and space has started to demonstrate the critical role of hydrocarbon infrastructural networks in shaping urban life and design, socio-spatial inequalities and even nation building projects.
Despite the proliferating academic interest in these questions, there have been comparatively few studies exploring the history of oil in Marseille, despite the region’s status as a critical oil port and refining node. This is particularly striking in the context of the post war years , when, up until the 1973 oil crisis, hydrocarbon infrastructures were dramatically extended in an attempt to re-situate Marseille’s place in the national economy.
This paper, therefore, will focus on the development and evolution of the petroscape in the Marseille region between 1958 and 1975. It focuses in on how these infrastructures interacted with and impacted on urban geographies and local residents, whilst also drawing attention to their networked elements, examining how these shaped the conceptualisation of Marseille relative to regional and national space
This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with a link to join this virtual session via Zoom approximately three hours before the start time. You will be admitted to the Zoom from a waiting room, for security reasons.
‘Rethinking Modern Europe’ is an IHR seminar that showcases new research in European history, especially work that challenges existing paradigms, crosses boundaries, and promotes new topics of enquiry. Our formats include formal papers, book launches, roundtable discussions and sessions for Ph.D. researchers. Enquiries on this event can be sent to Dr Simon Jackson (S.Jackson.firstname.lastname@example.org)