Who wrote on walls in ancient Pompeii, early modern Venice, and Cairo during the revolution of 2011? When is graffiti subversive and when is it an accepted urban practice? And how can we use these at times ephemeral traces of the past in our research?
Lucinda Dirven and Maartje van Gelder have edited a special issue of the Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis on urban graffiti. ‘Tekens aan de wand’ explores the role and impact of graffiti in cities from ancient Dura-Europos to contemporary Cairo. The volume of essays is the result of the conference organised by the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History in January 2016. In addition to the introduction by Dirven and Van Gelder, ACUH researchers Emily Hemelrijk, Josephine van den Bent, Bram Vannieuwenhuyze, and Maartje van Gelder contributed essays, as did J.A. Baird (Birkbeck), Marianne Ritsema van Eck (Leiden), and Jobbe Wijnen. The essays examine what unites graffiti across time and space and how archeologists and historians use these traces to consider the ways in which cities were experienced in the (distant and recent) past.
The table of contents can be found here: https://tijdschriftvoorgeschiedenis.org/2018/04/17/nummer-131-1-tekens-aan-de-wand/