Urbaria Lecture by Professor Heiko Droste: Urban history as a resource for cultural sustainability

Are cities as political and social actors capable to engage their inhabitants based on the city’s history? Visiting Professor Heiko Droste gives a special Urbaria Lecture 25th of May.

In this Urbaria Special Lecture, Professor Heiko Droste speaks about his life-long academic interest in historiography, starting with pre-modern town chronicles. For now, he is mostly interested in the question of how today’s cities use their history and in what ways. The interest is also based on recent research on cultural memory, questions of identity and a concern for local democracy.

The field is wide open and Droste's questions outnumber his answer by far. However, the most relevant question, for now, is if there can be a cultural memory based on a city’s history that can match the nation-state with its potential to unite and create a common imaginary. Are cities as political and social actors capable to engage their inhabitants based on the city’s history or is the local democracy just the lowermost level of public administration?


When: 25.5. at 9.00-10.00

Where: Urbarium, Porthania 1st floor and via Zoom


Professor Heiko Droste

Heiko is a historian with a special interest in urban history, and medieval and early modern history. His research focuses on media, diplomacy, friendship, postal systems, urban culture, and the state formation process. For now, he is working on urbanity and urban culture in Sweden from a long historical perspective. Within the Pleasurescapes-project he is a Principal Investigator with responsibility for the Swedish case, Gothenburg. His research in the project will focus on contemporary perceptions of the Pleasurescapes on the basis of diaries, travel books and such

Heiko Droste studied history, library science and political science at different German universities. Droste did his dissertation on late medieval town historiography, the second book on the social history of Sweden’s diplomats in 17th century. He moved to Sweden in 2007 and worked between 2007 and 2015 at Södertörn University, Stockholm. Since July 2015 Droste has been a professor of history, and head of the Institute of Urban History at Stockholm University.

Droste's research concerns German, Swedish and Baltic history between the fourteenth and eighteenth century, mainly questions of urban and court history, friendship and patronage, cultural transfer, and finally different aspects of the early modern media history. In 2018, he finished a German book about the news market in the seventeenth century, which was published in English: The business of news, Brill 2021. Since then, he has worked on urban memories and the uses of history.