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Rogier E. M. van der Heijden

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Projektbeschreibung: "Urban space and imperial temporalities in Roman Western Anatolia, 133 BCE – 68 CE. A study to the dynamics of (post-)imperial order in the urban environment"

As the Roman empire was ruled through its cities, imperial temporality was very much an urban phenomenon for this period. The region of western Anatolia already had a rich history as part of various previous empires before it was acquired by Rome. The histories and memories of these empires were not suddenly forgotten upon the appearance of a new empire. On the contrary, the expression of imperial histories, memories and identities continued to be expressed in rituals, practices, art and architecture. At the same time, gestures and outright dedications were made to Rome and the emperor. My research will focus on the negotiation of imperial temporalities in the urban architecture of Roman western Anatolia. The workings of imperial temporality should be understood in terms of medialisation and negotiation, resulting in the creation of imperial urban space(s). In other words, it will look at the shaping and manipulation of experiences of imperial order and past empires in the urban environment through modification of the urban street network, architectural changes and, as a result of these, shifting uses and experiences of urban space. For example by using theories and methods by Kevin Lynch on spatial cognition theory and urban wayfinding and Eleanor Betts on sensory urban experience, the study and analysis of imperial temporality and narratives in the urban environment can be divided in three levels: the physical urban environment, the practical level identifying daily and ritual use, and the metaphysical level on which myths and narratives interact and are being negotiated. Modifications in the urban network and the architectural layout of the city were able to reshape and even manipulate the urban experience, created not only new and different behaviours and behavioural patterns but also modified the meanings that were given to (different elements of) the urban environment. Examples include the use of distinct building materials, decorations and techniques, or the obstruction of existing buildings by the placement of new buildings, for example. Conclusions from this research are to be juxtaposed with research on imperial temporality in other time periods, geographies and for other mediums.