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Shklar Fellows for Academic Year 2013-2014

Sofia Dyak

Sofia Dyak

Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Academic Director

Title of Research:

“(Re)Imagined Cityscapes: Lviv and Wrocław after 1944/45”


Dyak plans to compare the history of the post @World War II integration of two Central European cities, Lwów/Lviv and Breslau/Wrocław into new systems of national and political belonging, imagination and power. Dyak’s chose to look at these two cities not only because they are connected to a wider group of European cities, from Königsberg/Kalinigrad to Trieste and Thessalonica, but also because the cities offer a sharply focused lens on the dramatic urban changes that occurred during the twentieth century. Between 1939 and the late 1940s, both cities experienced war, brutal demographic transformations, and the establishment of new socialist-communist regimes. Because of the cities’ historical heritage both Wrocław and Lviv became associated – even tainted – with unwanted legacies. Dyak’s research will look at how local and central authorities approached the cities’ visual appearance. In particular, she will look at the question of how they treated individual elements of the cityscape in order to incorporate Wrocław and Lviv into new political and discursive contexts. Through her work, Dyak hopes to contribute to the understanding of the post-war processes of ascribing, effacing and acquiring meanings in cities that are subjected to dramatic changes in population and political regimes.