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Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-2019): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence


Since 2004, public spaces in European cities have been hit by more than ten major terrorist attacks, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands. Whilst trying to come to terms with recent acts of urban terrorism, governments, security agencies, and local communities are bracing themselves for further attacks. UrbTerr will offer the first in-depth comparative analysis of memory discourses and responses to recent acts of urban terrorism in four European countries that have suffered particularly as a result of this wave of violence: Spain, the UK, France, and Germany. Drawing on concepts and methods from memory studies, cultural studies, feminist theory and anthropology, UrbTerr will document and analyse a range of voices in contemporary debates on urban terrorism in Europe and problematise the narrow concept of imagination and creativity underpinning recent counter-terrorism measures and a great part of the academic literature on this subject. It will: (1) analyse the collective forms of forgetting, remembering, and imagining that have shaped urban spaces in the four countries after recent terrorist attacks; (2) develop a new materialist approach to terrorism and use this framework to critically assess policies and material security infrastructures that were created in response to these attacks at a local and European level; (3) use performance art as a creative tool to develop and experiment with alternative forms of remembering and different visions of the future. Outputs of the project will include a website with footage of interviews with city residents, politicians, architects, political activists, and other key actors, as well as other resources for terrorism research, two academic monographs, articles in peer-reviewed journals, a co-edited volume, two PhD theses, and a series of thought-provoking public art performances that will spark critical debates about securitization processes in contemporary Europe.

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