Mar 23: "House-Destruction as a Ritual of Punishment: Central Europe & Beyond, 1520-1760"

The Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota is pleased to announce the next event of the Spring 2016 season:

Wednesday, March 23  11:45 AM   1210 Heller Hall

"House-Destruction as a Ritual of Punishment: Central Europe and Beyond, 1520-1760"

Cosponsored by the Center for Austrian Studies and the Center for Early Modern History.

The public execution of criminals was a familiar ritual of early modern European society. This presentation, however, examines the much rarer practice of ordering that a criminal's house be ritually demolished and, in many cases, replaced by a monument intended simultaneously to obliterate and perpetuate the criminal's memory. Beginning with two memorable cases of this practice in two major cities of the Holy Roman Empire, this lecture will gradually expand its horizons to show how geographically widespread ritualized house-destruction became in early modern Europe: it was undertaken at various times between 1520 and 1760 in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. This striking form of criminal punishment raises questions about how physical space could be reconfigured to reinforce authority and reshape historical memory in the political cultures of early modern Europe.
Christopher R. Friedrichs is a professor of history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. He is a specialist in the social and political history of cities in early modern Germany and Europe. His publications include four books: Urban Society in an Age of War: Nördlingen, 1580-1720 (1979); The Early Modern City, 1450-1750 (1995);
Urban Politics in Early Modern Europe (2000), and A Jewish Youth in Dresden: The Diary of Louis Lesser, 1833-1837 (2011).
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