Convivium X/1 (2023): The Architecture of Medieval Port Cities: Italy and the Mediterranean, edited by Sarah K. Kozlowski (The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History) and Kristen Streahle (Hollins University)
Recent scholarship has explored port cities of the medieval and early modern Mediterranean—from the Iberian peninsula, to Italy and North Africa, to the Levant—as complex sites of artistic encounter, exchange, and mobility. In dialogue with current research on the movement of artworks, materials, and people across the Mediterranean world, we invite art and architectural historians, archeologists, and historians to consider the forms and cultural dynamics of port cities themselves. These natural and built environments both configure relationships between land, sea, and the world beyond, and create unique spatial, cultural, social, and economic conditions for artistic production and transformation.
Building upon research presented in “Architecture and Mediation in Medieval Mediterranean Port Cities,” a panel held at the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians in Spring 2020, the co-editors will bring together a collection of essays in a special issue of the journal Convivium, which will be published in April 2023.
Two lines of questioning animate the project. First, how do the physical and material forms of port cities configure and even thematize relationships between land and sea, arrival and departure, openness and closure? Along this line of questioning, we invite contributions that treat topics including but not limited to:
- the design and construction of port infrastructure in relation to hydro-topographic organization;
- ports and their cities as parts of larger systems of borders and frontiers, including strategies of closure, obstruction, and delay (for example, harbor chains, towers, and quarantine stations);
- architectural responses to natural disasters such as disease, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions; and
- urban planning, architectural design and materials, and programs of ornament that figure relationships between a port city and the broader cultural and economic
- networks of which it is part.
Second, how do the natural, built, and social environments of port cities mediate and shape artistic circulation and exchange? Contributors may approach this question through investigations of:
- social and legal mechanisms for the movement of artists, architects, builders, engineers, and workshops;
- patterns and logistics in the transport of materials;
- mediums of knowledge transfer such as drawings, model books, and plans;
- representations of port cities in maps, illuminated manuscripts, mercantile handbooks, and travel accounts; and
- topographical, functional, and social dynamics between a city’s port and its neighborhoods of artisans and artists.
We welcome contributions that focus on these and other questions related to the architecture of port cities of the Italian peninsula and islands, as well as Italian port cities within the context of broader Mediterranean networks, circa 700–1600 CE. We encourage investigations of understudied connections between Italy and the wider world (for example, between Italy and northern Africa) as well as new approaches to well-studied connections. Our aim is to assemble a constellation of essays that relate to and converse with each other geographically, chronologically, thematically, and methodologically, presenting the very latest research in the field and opening new avenues for future work.
Deadline for abstracts: 1 May 2022
Deadline for manuscripts: 31 August 2022
Deadline for complete articles: 31 January 2023