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We are now welcoming papers for the two-day workshop Gentrification Throughout the Ages. This workshop, jointly organised by Amsterdam Centre for Urban History and Centre for Urban Studies, aims to develop long-term perspective on urban displacement, social transformation and resistance.

Ivan Moskalev
Horbury mews. Photo: Ivan Moskalev, CC BY-SA 3.0


Gentrification is one of the most striking developments of our time, radically impacting residential, consumption and investment patterns, and urban culture more broadly. Yet despite its significance, little is known about gentrification processes predating the repopulation of Western cities from the 1980s onwards. While geographers are more inclined to focus on contemporary developments, historians seem wary of using the term when examining the social transformation of bygone eras. This leaves us with a remarkable gap on the historical understanding of gentrification. Tracing the history of the phenomenon will enable us to challenge common definitions, perceptions and stereotypes. This in turn will inform contemporary debates about whether or not a concept such as gentrification, rooted in the specific historical-institutional context of mostly Anglo-Saxon cities, can be transferred across global contexts and considered a “planetary” phenomenon.

Aims and objectives

With the organisation of a two-day workshop, taking place on May 9 and 10, 2019, the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History and Centre for Urban Studies aim to bring together academics from the fields of urban geography, urban history and other urban studies-related subdisciplines. Long-term and comparative perspectives, covering multiple case studies and prolonged periods of time, are encouraged in particular.

We welcome contributions examining:

  • Changes in the social and/or physical fabric of cities as a result of gentrification,
  • Historical (re)definitions of the concept of gentrification,
  • Policies enabling or curbing gentrification,
  • Social movements resisting or spurring gentrification,
  • Broader effects of gentrification on the culture of cities.

The workshop will be hosted by the University of Amsterdam, and will be preceded by a keynote lecture by Suleiman Osman. His work on the post-war gentrification of Brooklyn has been ground-breaking in crossing the institutional barriers between geography and history departments. We aim to publish a selection of workshop papers in a special issue of a peer-reviewedjournal. Guided walks through the gentrified Jordaan district are part of the two-day programme as well. Participation is free of charge, but the workshop organisers are not able to reimburse travelling costs or overnight stays.


300-word abstract including an affiliation are to be submitted to Tim Verlaan ( and Cody Hochstenbach ( by 31 January latest. We will notify speakers two weeks after this deadline. The deadline for full papers is 30 April.