Date: September 13-14, 2018, Herder Institute, Marburg, Germany
Organizers: Olga Sezneva, Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam, Eszter Gantner, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe
From the works of Walter Benjamin to writings of Andreas Huyssen, cities have been recognized in their role as depositories of history and memory. Different cities performed differently in this role, of course. Issues of ‘truth’ and ‘distortion’, ‘silencing’ and ‘forgetting’ were at the forefront of public discussions during the period of 1990s’ transitions in Eastern Europe and Russia (Czaplicka, Gelazis and Ruble, 2009). As capitalist economies took root and the ‘heritage industry’ expanded, political uses of the past gave way to its commercial exploitation (Labadi & Logan, 2015; Samutina and Stepanov, 2014). Quarter-of-a-century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, socialism and its legacy are no longer debated in terms of either ‘truth’ or ‘lie’ but urban ‘atmospherics’: structures of feelings, which are spatially generated but temporally significant.
Our goal in calling this workshop is to examine and extend the existing knowledge about the political potential of heritage in the context of the post/socialist city, in the past and present.