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Vincent Baptist MA

PhD candidate

E-mail: baptist@eshcc.eur.nl

Phone number: 0104082571

Research project

Pleasure in the Port: Spatial Histories of Notorious Entertainment Culture in Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication Project: Pleasurescapes: Port Cities’ Transnational Forces of Integration (HERA project) Promotor & co-promotor: Prof. Dr. Paul van de Laar & Prof. Dr. Ben Wubs Aanstelling: Vanaf juli 2019

This PhD research is embedded within the collaborative HERA project Pleasurescapes: Port Cities’ Transnational Forces of Integration, which explores the relations between European port cities’ public spaces, culture and integration by means of popular culture. It asks for the ways in which public spaces of entertainment in European port cities, termed ‘pleasurescapes’, have unfolded cultural and social forces of integration in the past and present and thereby fostered traits of modern European urban practices.
These pleasurescapes can be seen as transnational microcosms, representing conformity and rebellion at the same time. They are also characterized as public zones of encounter and melting pots for divergent classes, cultures and religions. In studying the past and present of European port cities’ pleasurescapes, this project gains insights into Europe’s cultural pluralism. Within the overarching HERA project, four cities and their pleasurescapes are of special interest (Hamburg (DE), Rotterdam (NL), Barcelona (ES) and Gothenburg (SE)) in revealing the fundamental societal importance of pleasure culture.
This specific PhD project focuses on three particular pleasurescapes (Zandstraatbuurt, Schiedamsedijk and Katendrecht) that could be found in Rotterdam and respectively succeeded each other throughout the period 1870-1975. In doing so, this research centers on the following questions and objectives: How did public spaces of notorious entertainment develop in and shift across Rotterdam, and why did they ultimately disappear from the street scenes of this port city? In addition, how can the historical development of Rotterdam’s pleasurescapes be connected transnationally to that of other European port cities’ entertainment districts, and how can it retroactively be linked to current European practices of urbanization?