‘Bastard Urbanism’? Past Forms of Cities in the Alpine Area of Tyrol-Trentino
By Hannes Obermair
Concilium medii aevi, Vol.10 (2007)
Introduction: In this paper, I would like to link a regional historical examination with several conceptual considerations that lead into the topic of the formation of cities in the High and Late Middle Ages. In this regard, the subject of the historical work is the city always also being a ‘product of a process of construction’, that is, not merely as a scene of the past, but rather likewise as a place of projections and aporia, of wandering paths of thinking and interpretation. Historians are supposed to always be conscious of the manifold attributions that have been discovered and the influence of their perspective – common images continue to inevitably be included in the working process as a ‘film of perception’.
As a methodical point of departure, first of all I would like to consider the very inconsistent state of the regional discussion, on the other hand forging a link to a lively, thoroughly uncompleted, and extremely exciting debate with regard to the manifestations of the development of European cities in the Middle Ages that were so varied, so polymorphous, and in many cases, so paradoxical.