Iron Curtain Cities? Urban Space in Cold War Europe
September 3-6, 2014
Moritz Föllmer (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)/Mark B. Smith (University of Leeds, United Kingdom).
We invite proposasl for a conference session which is meant to focus on urban space in Cold War Europe. The official description of the session (No 38) reads as follows:
The transformation of European life after 1945 has been the subject of a wide scholarship, but surveys of the period have not taken sufficient account of urban history. Moreover, urban historians have overwhelmingly focused on the periods up to the early twentieth century and are only beginning to explore the post-war period. In particular, the similarities and differences between cities in different parts of Europe, and especially on either side of the Iron Curtain, have not been adequately studied. After 1945, the cities of Western and Northern Europe experienced suburbanization and the emergence of conurbations, while Eastern, Southern and Southeastern Europe were subject to very rapid urbanization. Were these simply different stages of a common process of European urban modernization? Or, between the 1940s and the 1980s, did the contrasting ideologies of the Cold War separate European cities into two fundamentally different types: the ‘capitalist’ and the ‘communist’? How differe
nt or similar were the ways in which urban space was reordered, controlled, represented and appropriated by residents? How we answer these questions is not only highly relevant to urban historians but also affects our understanding of European history in this period. And it can throw light on the way we look at post-communist urban identity in Eastern and Central Europe today.
The organizers, one of whom has worked on urban themes in Western Europe and one of whom has researched urban life in Eastern Europe, have already explored urban life in Europe since 1945 from various angles in a series of conferences held at the University of Leeds. For the proposed panel, they would seek papers on any part of Europe provided that they relate the investigation of urban space to the broader theme of the Cold War. The hope is to find speakers who are prepared to reflect on how their own case study informs the wider debate about the similarities and differences between cities on either side of the Iron Curtain. Researchers working on cities on the ‘periphery’ of Cold War Europe, including Scandinavia, Iberia and the Balkans, would be as welcome to apply as researchers who work on the urban heartlands of Western and Eastern Europe.
Proposals (300 words abstract) should be submitted online via the EAUH 2014 website
The deadline for paper proposals is October 15, 2013. The papers themselves will be due in July 2014. For more information about the timetable, see the “Dates and Deadlines” section of the EAUH 2014 website.
We encourage prospective presenters to contact us at the following e-mail address before making an official proposal.