Call for papers: Session 12th International Conference on Urban History ‘Cities in Europe, cities in the world’, Lisbon (3-6 September 2014)

Posted on 2013/11/21


Session 12th International Conference on Urban History ‘Cities in Europe,
cities in the world’, Lisbon (3-6 September 2014)

Call for papers: Specialist session: “Passports as entry tickets? Urban
migrants and their identity documents in the long nineteenth century”

Hilde Greefs (University of Antwerp) and Anne Winter (Vrije Universiteit

The French Revolutionary period is often ascribed a pivotal role in the
growing ambition and power of the central state to control, monitor and
restrict geographical mobility. Identification and registration of both
citizens and non-nationals became a core activity of the emerging nation
state in the long nineteenth century, fostering a proliferation in
population registers and identification documents. Yet to identify, track
and register the movements of people and to organize the handling of
identification documents, nation states had to rely on the co-operation of
local – especially urban – authorities. These urban authorities in turn
had a long tradition in efforts to regulate and control migration in and
out of the community, from relying on marks of social status or personal
recommendations to employing travel or identity documents, in order to
restrict both the emigration of ‘useful’ citizens and the immigration of
‘undesirable’ newcomers.

The role of local know-how, experience and discretion is often neglected
in existing research on nineteenth-century migration policies, as are the
uses of identification papers by the migrants themselves. This session
aims to explore how the increased use of state-backed identity documents
in the long nineteenth century altered the relations between cities and
their newcomers, focussing on the uses of these documents by migrants
themselves. Contributors to this session are invited to reflect on these
issues by dealing with one or more of the following questions:

1) Which kinds of identity documents (domestic and international
passports, birth and marriage certificates, residence and work permits,
relief certificates, etcetera) did migrants carry with them when moving to
cities? Why and how did they use these specific documents? Which
differences existed according to age, gender, social position, time and

2) How protective or repressive was the effect and use of these
identification documents for the migrants involved? Identity documents
could sometimes function as a tool for emancipation and protection,
providing migrants with an identity outside their social community,
protecting them against harassment or proving their entitlement to
support, yet they could also be used to limit the holders’ freedom of
movement and as a measure of repression and control, as in the case of
livrets d’ouvrier.

3) Did requirements and policies with regard to newcomers’ identification
documents differ between urban communities, and why? For example, were
local attitudes also shaped by the proximity of borders, the intensity of
migration streams, or social or political unrest?

Paper proposals: Practical information

If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please let us
know by mail (<> and
<> and visit the
EUAH2014-conference website

To submit a paper proposal, registration on the conference website is
required. A paper proposal for presentation at the conference should be
submitted in the form of an abstract only (not to exceed 300 words).
Deadline for paper proposals submission is November, 2013. Notification of
paper acceptance will be given on December 15, 2013.