Panel Discussion. How to Deal with the Soviet/Socialist Past in Urban Context? Georgian, Ukrainian and Polish Experiences with Ketevan Khutsishvili, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Mariusz Czepczyński

How to Deal with the Soviet/Socialist Past in Urban Context? Georgian, Ukrainian and Polish Experiences

September 04, 2017, 6.00 pm, Europa-Universität Viadrina
Große Scharrnstraße 59, 15230 Frankfurt/Oder, HG 109

  • Dr. Vasyl Cherepanyn, Cultural Studies Department of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Head of Visual Culture Research Center, Kyiv (Ukraine)
  • Prof. Dr. Mariusz Czepczyński, cultural geographer, professor at the Department of Spatial Management, University of Gdańsk (Poland)
  • Prof. Dr. Ketevan Khutsishvili, Professor of Ethnology in Tbilisi State University (Georgia)

The process of social construction of our past(s) is a never-ending political struggle over the events and historical figures that we prefer to remember and the ones we tend to relegate to oblivion. Crystallizing our memories in monumental and architectural forms, the cities we live in, thus, become open-air muse-ums that find themselves constantly in the making, while the exhibits that are presented there become the object of heated political debates at the turning points of history. The problem of dealing with material legacies from the previous epochs couldn’t be more relevant in the context of the countries of post-Soviet/post-socialist space. De-communization campaigns that have been promoted in Georgia, Ukraine and Poland at different points of recent history have often placed Soviet/socialist architectural and symbolic heritage at the center of political debates about identity and produced ambivalent public effects in those countries. The often polarizing nature of such debates begs the question how this legacy is defined in the public or professional discourse in the respective countries and what kind of meaning it is usually invested with. Are there socially accepted ways of dealing with that heritage that would not presuppose its blatant destruction and erasure from public sphere? And what traces, if any, such destruction and erasure leave behind? These are the questions that will be elucidated in the course of the podium discussion.

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Claudia Weber (European University Viadrina)

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