Beyond Disciplinary Communities | Poland National Network NUBS 2.04
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.8. Decentering Polish Memory II: Entangled narratives about difficult pasts in Poland

One perspective on how to describe Polish memory in a decentralized way is to frame it in such a way as to show "smaller", local memories or memories that have so far been less accepted in the public space. In addition to the intense debate about historical politics, we cite discussions taking place elsewhere in Polish memoryscapes (Kapralski 2017, Sendyka 2019).This panel aims to show how the various narratives of memory and the identities based on them are connected and entangled in a variety of historical contexts. In their presentations, the panelists will address issues related to difficult memory - of authoritarian regimes, of war losses, of minority memory - shown from the perspective of the various voices through which this memory is told. A feminist perspective on memory will be presented, a perspective on the entanglement of memory in the space of place, all in the context of less dominant Polish memory narratives.

Kamilla Biskupska

Cities wounds. Traces of war destruction in the topography of Warszawa and Wrocław as (difficult) heritage.The topic of my speech is the difference in the perception of the difficult heritage of World War II, still present in the space of Polish cities (mainly the war damage and traces of shelling). The subject of my analysis are contemporary practices of commemorating (or ignoring) the traces of WWII present in the space of two important Polish cities: Warsaw and Wrocław. At the end of 1945, both of these cities were nearly 80% destroyed and depopulated. However, the fact that Wrocław was a German Breslau until 1945 makes its history begin only after the war - together with its Polish period of existence. Using the example of these cities, whose authorities and residents have a completely different attitude to th ...

NUBS 2.04 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
22 attendees saved this session

One perspective on how to describe Polish memory in a decentralized way is to frame it in such a way as to show "smaller", local memories or memories that have so far been less accepted in the public space. In addition to the intense debate about historical politics, we cite discussions taking place elsewhere in Polish memoryscapes (Kapralski 2017, Sendyka 2019).
This panel aims to show how the various narratives of memory and the identities based on them are connected and entangled in a variety of historical contexts. In their presentations, the panelists will address issues related to difficult memory - of authoritarian regimes, of war losses, of minority memory - shown from the perspective of the various voices through which this memory is told. A feminist perspective on memory will be presented, a perspective on the entanglement of memory in the space of place, all in the context of less dominant Polish memory narratives.



Kamilla Biskupska

Cities wounds. Traces of war destruction in the topography of Warszawa and Wrocław as (difficult) heritage.

The topic of my speech is the difference in the perception of the difficult heritage of World War II, still present in the space of Polish cities (mainly the war damage and traces of shelling). The subject of my analysis are contemporary practices of commemorating (or ignoring) the traces of WWII present in the space of two important Polish cities: Warsaw and Wrocław. At the end of 1945, both of these cities were nearly 80% destroyed and depopulated. However, the fact that Wrocław was a German Breslau until 1945 makes its history begin only after the war - together with its Polish period of existence. Using the example of these cities, whose authorities and residents have a completely different attitude to the city's war past, I will show how complicated, multi-layered and evading one-way evaluation is the concept of difficult heritage.


Małgorzata Łukianow

The Discreet Charm of the Tsarism: Telling the Story of Bialystok's Past

In social memory, temporal distance from the present is not determined by the even rhythm of the calendar, but by what seems "closer" or "further away" emotionally for the community. Periods identified by social subjects as glory and splendour seem longer and richer. Those less coveted are sometimes only mentioned, even if they lasted longer than others. In my presentation, I would like to show how the history of Bialystok (Poland) is currently told and narrated in museum exhibitions, from the death of the last owners of the palace, the Branicki family, to the outbreak of WWI. How does the period of glory of the Polish magnates compare to the period of the Russian tsarism? The Fall of the Polish Republic in the 18th Century and the conquest by the Russian empire was associated with the intense Russification of Bialystok, but what is "Tsarist" today remains of interest, in architectural (former Ritz Hotel) and culinary dimensions, among others. However, the narrative about the Branicki Palace almost omits the tsarist period. This makes it possible to map uneven narratives about different periods within the city's topography. In my presentation, I will show examples of exhibition art and narratives carried out within local trade journals on the formation of memory of the past in Bialystok during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.


Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

Mediation of the difficult past on film and lessons of history. The case of the Polish film "Hatred"

The paper puts in the limelight the problems involved in the efforts to mediate traumatic memories on film and to use them as "never again" - lessons of history for a broad audience. It asks questions such as: What can we learn from narratives about the dark and conflicting past, mediated in popular culture? Who learns lessons, when and how? The author bases the discussion of these issues on the scrutiny of the reception of the Polish film "Hatred" from 2016. This historical film made, by the renown director Wojciech Smarzowski, deals with the traumatic memory of the massacres of Polish civilians by the Ukrainian nationalist guerilla in the shadow of the raging Second World War. The film awoke a lot of controversies. The paper analyses the discrepancy between the director's intention to make a film that warns against the excesses of nationalism and represents the trauma of the victims and the film's actual effect on the viewing public. The case highlights the complex entanglement of several factors determining the reception of the lesson of history, projected by a film.
Bio: Barbara Törnquist-Plewa is a professor of Eastern and Central European Studies at Lund University in Sweden. Her main research interests are nationalism, identity, collective memories and cultural heritage in Eastern and Central Europe. In the years 2012-2016 she led the European research network "In Search for Transcultural Memory in Europe" (EU's COST-action) and in the years 2017-2020 she was co-leader of Nordic research network on Historical Trauma Studies, financed by Nordic Research Council. Currently she is a WP-leader in the Horizon Europe project – "Facing the Past. Public History for Stronger Europe"(EUROPAST). She edited and authored a number of publications in English, Swedish and Polish and he is also co-editor of the book series " Memory, Heritage and Public History in Central and Eastern Europe", published by CEU.


Małgorzata Praczyk

The Environmental Dimension of Nazi Postindustrial Heritage in Poland

In my presentation I will analyze the postindustrial heritage of the III Reich, that was located in Poland, mostly on the hidden terrains of forests and other difficult accessible, natural sites. I propose to take a closer look at the case of the former Nazi factory Police and the history of its post-war existence. This example reveals an interesting problem concerning a process that took place there in the long distant period of over 75 years. After being dismantled in parts by the Soviet Army and partly taken away to the Soviet Union, it became the neglected area that slowly came into ruination and in consequence happened to grow into a thriving natural site that transformed into a kind of natural reserve. Its original reason for existence was rather forgotten. In last decades it had become the place where its past has slowly been going through the process of recovery, along with the process of revitalization of the site, which has become attractive in terms of its environmental conditions. The given research problem poses many important questions concerning ways of dealing with the dissonant heritage; the question of identity work inspiringly framed by Sharon Macdonald; the problem of transnational memory as proposed by Astrid Erll, and the environmental history perspective.

prof. UAM dr hab.
,
Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan
PhD
,
University of Wrocław
assistant professor
,
Uni of Warsaw
Professor
,
Lund University
Associate Professor in the Cultural History of Eastern and East-Central Europe
,
University of Bremen
 Katarzyna Anzorge
Phd Candidate
,
University of Lodz
Upcoming Sessions
398 visits