Urban Authenticity in an International Perspective

Start date: 2. June 2022
End date: 3. June 2022
Time: 0:00 - 0:00
Location: Szczecin
Conference

Perceptions – Discourses – conflicts

International Conference, June 2-3, 2022 in Szczecin, Poland

„Authenticity“ as the purportedly „original“ character of persons, objects, or practices has increasingly become an object of scholarly research, public discourses and a powerful driver of heritage debates. There is a broad consensus among researchers in favor of constructivist approaches, according to which historical authenticity is a social and cultural construction, and where, in terms of materiality, there is no such thing as the „original“. However, the case of built heritage with its various forms of reconstruction, renovation or destruction seems to challenge this approach. Authenticity has subsequently come under fire as one of the most slippery concepts in heritage discourses worldwide.

The conference „Urban Authenticity“ reflects on how cities, urban districts, and buildings were and are perceived as “authentic”. The major influence of touristification of cities and its role in processes of authenticating and de-authenticating urban images will be discussed. A special focus is on the actors in the urban space such as citizens‘ initiatives, journalists, and scientists, but also on representatives of minorities and migrants. They contribute to a process of socio-cultural pluralization, which has a strong impact on notions of urban authenticity and identity. Within this broader process the ways in which individuals and groups use objects such as buildings and city ensembles to interpret the past have fundamentally changed. The conference will examine various forms of creating and visualizing urban authenticity:

  • The impact of urban temporal cultures and time regimes on the making of urban authenticity
  • The key role of media, visual representation, and visual memory
  • Migration as a driving force of cultural change and shifts in urban identity
  • Local players and citizens’ initiatives as key actors in debates on authentification
  • Tourism as a trigger of image production

The conference is part of the project „Urban Authenticity. Creating, contesting, and visualizing the built heritage in European cities since the 1970s“, which is funded by the Leibniz Association. It is a collaboration of the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, the Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin, the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Leibniz Centre for Contemporary Historical Research, Potsdam, and the Museum Association Berlin-Brandenburg.

Due to Covid restrictions the number of additional participants in person at the conference is limited. Please register at urban-hi@herder-institut.de to attend the conference or the only the keynote in person. Conference languages: English, Keynote in Polish with translation

Program

Thursday, 2nd June 2022

12:00    Registration and introduction to library collection
12:30     Lunch
13:15    Welcome address
13:30    Conference introduction
14:00    Session I: Urban authenticity – Examples from Poland
Chair: PD Dr. Christian Lotz (Herder Institute, Marburg)

  • Dr. Małgorzata Popiołek-Roßkamp (IRS, Erkner): Genius Loci. Historical Urban Pattern as Agent of Authenticity in Reconstructed Old Towns.
  • Prof. Dr. Małgorzata Praczyk (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań): Environmental Aspects of Memory of Post-War Migrations to „Recovered Territories“.
  • Tabitha Redepenning, M.A. (Herder Institute, Marburg): Suddenly a Green Szczecin. Re-discovery of Szczecin’s Greenery.

15:30     Coffee break
15:45     Guided tour of Szczecin (90 min)
18:00    Keynote: Prof. Dr. Jörg Hackmann (University of Szczecin): „Sollt’ ich einmal fallen nieder, so erbauet mich doch wieder!” – Authenticity in Historic Town Centers on the Baltic Rim between Luebeck and Tallinn.
Chair: Prof. Dr. Magnus Brechtken (IfZ, München)

Friday, 3rd June 2022

9:30       Session II: Urban identity and otherness
Chair: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bernhardt (IRS, Erkner)

  • Dr. Daniel Hadwiger (IRS, Erkner): An “Oriental“ or French City Center? Discourses on Urban Authenticity about the Center of Marseille and its Migrant Population, 1960–2000.
  • Dr. David Templin (Osnabrück University): From Dangerous “Concentrations of Foreigners” to “Hamburg´s Most Colored Neighborhood”? Perceptions of Urban Arrival Neighborhoods in a North German Harbor City, 1970–2000.
  • Dr. Nora Lafi (ZMO, Berlin): The Complex and Contradictory Regimes of Historicity of Urban Authenticity: Reflections on the Case of Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Cities.

11:00    Coffee break
11:30    Session III: Visual memory and public discourses
Chair: Dr. Achim Saupe (ZZF, Potsdam)

  • Simone Bogner (Identität und Erbe, Berlin, Weimar): The Dissemination of “Identity“ in the Urban(ist) Discourse from the 1950s to the 1970s. 
  • Dr. habil. Magdalena Saryusz-Wolska (DHI, Warsaw): Rewriting City History: Polish Writers Talk about the „Authentic“ Past of Gdańsk and Wrocław.
  • Dr. Elke Kimmel (ZZF, Potsdam): Loved, Disputed, Lost, Rediscovered. A Vivid Archive of Urban Authenticity in Brandenburg.

13:00    Lunch break
14:00    Session IV: Citizen groups and temporality
Chair: Prof. Dr. Elke Seefried (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Julia Ziegler, M.A. (IfZ, München): Space for Modernity? Building Policy and Civic Protest in Nuremberg’s Old Town.
  • Dr. Sebastian Haumann (University of Antwerp): Producing Truthful Knowledge About the Urban Past. History as a Resource in Civil Society and Conflicts over Urban Redevelopment.
  • Dr. Jürgen Danyel (ZZF, Potsdam): Conflicts and Attributions of Authenticity through Public Debates and Civil Society Initiatives analyzing „Herrschaftsorte“ in the GDR on the Examples of „Bogensee“ and „Wandlitz“.

15:30    Coffee break
16:00    Session V: Closing remarks

Project Website: Urban Authenticity: Creating, Contesting, and Visualising the Built Heritage in European Cities since the 1970s (UrbAuth)