Seminar: Sensing and Reimagining the Waterfront

Start date
End date
Erasmus University Rotterdam (Campus Woudestein), Theil Building C1-1

The spatial, social and cultural peculiarity of port cities is inscribed and recognized most poignantly through waterfront areas. As, historically, maritime trade unfolded through a myriad of activities along the quays, waterfronts turned into microcosms that captured both the aspirational and romanticized cosmopolitan side of port cities, as their grittier character, hinting at conditions of social exclusion and precarious labor. This seminar presents recent research initiatives that forge urgent and innovative paths of scholarship to dig deeper into ambivalences found along the waterfront. How can we get a better grasp of port cities’ character and functioning, by paying closer attention to their sensorial and experiential qualities, linked to their unique urban metabolism? And what about the sailors themselves, those quintessential figures populating the waterfronts throughout history: have they merely become heritage stereotypes nowadays? If not, how can seafarers’ relationship with the contemporary port city and modern maritime world be renegotiated?

Seminar program:

  • Welcome & introduction (Vincent Baptist, EUR)
  • Presentation Maciej Kowalewski (University of Szczecin): Hustle and Bustle: The Vibrant Cultures of Port Cities
    *Discussant: Lisa Kosok (HafenCity University Hamburg)
  • Presentation Maurice Jansen (EUR, Erasmus Center for Urban, Port and Transport Economics): Port Cities, Have We Forgotten about the Seafarers?
    *Discussant: Sabine Luning (Leiden University)
  • Plenary Q&A
  • Closing remarks (Paul van de Laar, EUR)

This seminar is organized alongside the PhD defense of Vincent Baptist, which takes place earlier during the same day on campus.