Conflicted Cities 1880 – 1930

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Conflicted Cities workshop/conference.  Sat 7 June 2014

Chris Harvie Abstract, University of Tübingen 

Second city and first war: Glasgow 1914-1918

World War I was both centripetal and centrifugal. By 1918 a technics-heavy conflict had created ‘The Clyde’ – Arnold Bennett’s term – as its workshop.  This caught up on a 1914 pop-cultural phase (The First 100,000; Spud Tamson VC) when Glasgow ‘volunteering’ set a ‘British’ mood – made too much of by Hew Strachan? The ‘Second City at War’ (complex economy, heterogenous population) didn’t require ‘will-to-war’ but rather subtle mixes of state/cultural initiatives, ‘set pieces’ and pacts to keep it loyal and comparatively unscathed… until 1921. Their aftershock would last.



Graeme Morton, Professor of Modern History, University of Dundee

Scotland’s Disgrace: Negotiating Governance in the Shadow of Empire

Scotland’s unfinished National Monument, sited upon the summit of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, has long come to represent the nation’s place within Britain and within empire. Symbolic of the city’s and the nation’s failure to determine its own future, in 1939 the monument shared its emblematic and physical space with St Andrew’s House, home to the newly transferred Scottish Office (from London). By taking Edinburgh the stateless capital as its backdrop, this paper examines the nation’s home rule debate within the shadow of administrative devolution and imperial self-government. The contemporary demand for a ‘local national parliament’ will be  explored within the context of overlapping levels of urban and national governance.



R J Morris, Professor Emeritus, Economic and Social History, University of Edinburgh. 

The great signature buildings of Edinburgh lie along the ridge of the Old Town. They were created in their modern form between 1850 and 1914. Before 1850 those who wanted to add to the prestige and meaning of Edinburgh imported something from elsewhere, – a Parthenon from Athens, bits of Diocletian’s Palace from Split, magnificent squares and terraces from the Princely capitals of Europe, gothic spires from Lombardy and more.

In the last half of the century, contributions involved re-making and restoring ancient buildings. Edinburgh Castle as we know it was the product of William Nelson, industrialists, Daniel Wilson, professor and antiquarian, James Gore Booth, the soldier and Lord Napier taking time off from the Napier Commission reconstructing the property rights of the Highlands.

Meanwhile down the street, Nelson’s industrial rival William Chambers was financing the remaking of the great church of St Giles as a Presbyterian Cathedral. The Edinburgh Social Union was restoring the ‘medieval’ White Horse Close as improved dwellings for the poor and a place of pilgrimage for readers of Walter Scott.

The process had started in the 1840s when’ John Knox’ house had been saved from demolition by the unlikely alliance of the Free Church and the Scottish Society of Antiquaries. The contest for meanings was savage. The Free Church planned two churches, a school and two manses. The 300 foot spire would stare across the nor loch at Walter Scott’s spire and the memorial spire to the deported radicals of 1793-94. The initial contest was between radical whig and chartists Scotland, romantic unionist Scotland and the assertive protestant Scotland of John Knox. These were places for story telling and display. Protestant Scotland was a central theme. The Castle and St Giles were celebrations of the two Argyles who were executed for their part in Presbyterian rebellions against the Stuart regimes. They were also places for gathering symbols of statehood; stories of ancient kingship, flags of Scottish regiments were brought back from storage in Kilmainham and the Knights of the Thistle given space in St Giles. There was a growing sense of balanced unionism and imperial participation. St Giles matched Westminster Abbey and the Castle the Tower of London, the Social Union matched the work of Octavia Hill but they did so by re-making and restoring creating the material form of a built national history.



Olena Haleta.  Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine.  Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Political Topos vs Poetical Tropos: Lviv as one city of three national cultures

This paper is dedicated to the city of Lviv (in Ukrainian), which is also known as Lwów (in Polish), Lemberg (in German), and Lemberik (in Jiddish). Located in the Central-East Europe, this city has been a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and after its collapse became a part of the II Polish Republic (after the Russian imperial occupation during 1914-1915). As the largest city of this region Lviv has played the key role in forming three national cultures such as Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish. It was not a political capital but a center of Austrian imperial regional administration and also a most important cultural center of different new-arising national traditions.

The very complicated but also really fruitful process of forming different national cultures in Galicia and Lviv of the late 19th – the early 20th c. has been depicted (and also inspired) by numerous literary works. A literature has played an almost defining role in creating a new cultural identities, especially taking into account limited capacity of the political representation of the so-called “new nations” or “old community” who moved from social and religious identity to the national one.

These processes were brutally broken-downat the period of the II World War, but national-building “unfinished projects” were catched up after Nazi and Soviet occupation. Represented by numerous literary anthologies, these literary works are historically contextualized and re-contextualized, re-assembled by work of memory, re-read with political resentment, used by nostalgic and utopian imagination for depicting national exclusivity or multicultural local idyll. In this paper are analyzed numerous literary anthologies (in Ukrainian, German, and Polish language) which construct cumulative and contended images of Lviv of the late 19th – the early 20th c.



Dr Manjushree Singh. Associate Professor of History, Gargi College, Delhi University

Dynamics of National and Local Politics :a study of Delhi 1926-1931

The years 1926-1931 are marked by certain events and campaigns which witnessed a great number of  people of   Delhi coming together in an open confrontation with the British Raj.In 1911 ,Delhi emerged out of being a district in Punjab to be a provincial town and the seat of imperial power.The Rowlatt Satyagrah in March-April 1919 followed by the Non-cooperation and the Khilafat movement in 1920-22  and Civil Disobedience movement in 1930-32 saw an increasing number of people  getting involved in agitations against the Raj.The focus of this paper is to study and assess political developments which were setting the ground for confrontation between Congress party ,politically active citizens and groups in Delhi and the Raj.The context and motivation of leaders and groups need to be taken up with the assumption that there  could be a multiplicity of drives coming from a variety of sources.These could be self interests,group interests,class interests ,communal or caste interests.This paper will also seek to investigate how certain events and agitations were shaped by the city’s spatial characteristics.The presence of the Raj was strongly felt by the people of Delhi. It is fascinating to study how the people perceived and used the urban spaces available to them during periods of agitation and protest.



Gareth Jenkins

Belfast,  Liverpool, Britishness and Protestant Sectarian Violence 1880-1922: ‘Rowdyism versus Respectability’.

By focusing upon the distinctive local cultures of Liverpool and Belfast, two cities wracked by sectarian communal strife, this paper examines the extent to which British identity formation was an uneven, contested process.  With their large Protestant and Catholic communities both cities were preoccupied with questions of religion, ethnicity and nationality.  This paper contributes to a growing appreciation of the locality and region as sites of accommodation, negotiation and resistance to ‘nationalising forces’ and how the interaction between the local, regional and national could comprise a constitutive component of identity formation within these conflicted cities.  Belfast and Liverpool show how evolving conceptions of identity could inflame religious and ethnic enmities – or lead to their containment and control.  In Liverpool’s case developments in local, religious and national identity escalated an entrenched ethno-sectarian conflict, whilst, in Belfast these developments sparked a gradual process of adaptation to changing national norms and values.  As a result, Belfast’s endemic sectarian violence moderated between 1886-1920 as part of the struggle against Irish Home Rule.  Belfast and Liverpool show how changes in Westminster opinion alongside national political interventions could profoundly influence the response of local elites to community conflict – and how that response could determine whether confrontation was largely expressed through formal political channels or more extreme forms of protest.  Consequently, the paper sets out to examine whether ‘nationalising’ processes exacerbated or contributed to the resolution of entrenched conflicts over collective identity in the two cities.


Brendan Twomey,  Trinity College Dublin 

Dublin 1890-1914 A capital in waiting?

For most of the period from the late nineteenth century to the outbreak of war in 1914. the ‘Irish Question’ and the issue of Irish Home Rule was centre stage in British politics. For many Dublin intellectuals the achievement of Home Rule and the re-emergence of the city as a Capital City (howsoever defined) were seen as inevitable – they saw Dublin as a capital in waiting. From 1890 various strands of home rule and nationalist thought engaged in a robust, and increasingly discordant, debate with one another for cultural and political and moral leadership in this expectant world. This paper looks at some of the personalities and the agenda of one, increasingly marginalized, group within this wider debate. The focus is on strands of upper class Catholic opinion in this period and in particular its economic, political and emotional attachment to the imperial British connection.


To register for Conflicted Cities please email:

Organised by Dr Ciarán Wallace, Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College Dublin

The Conflicted Cities workshop/conference is supported by financial assistance from
The Trinity College Dublin Association and Trust


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