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Reflecting the Past, Re-envisioning the Future: Local, Ethnic and Transnational Contexts of Heritage Projects in Eastern Europe

11 February 2015
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 2 )
In my talk I look at the city of Lviv in western part of Ukraine, known for many people as Lwów/Lemberg/Lviv and a hometown for Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians until mid-20th century. Multiple intersecting historical memories make today's Lviv a place of high emotional attachment for many people and especially descendants of these communities now living in Poland, Israel, Canada, and the United States. Memory of trauma is tightly connected to the city. This is a place revisited as an ancestors’ home with family roots, as well as a site of rich cultural heritage. Shared by different communities and groups, however, these memories and images not only conflict with each other, but also are very often exclusionary. A particular focus for this seminar will be on various initiatives and projects of marking, preserving, studying, and commemorating the sites of three destroyed Jewish religious buildings in the city. My main questions are: How heritage initiatives supported or influenced by different groups, local, national, and international, attempt to restore and shape awareness of the city’s Jewish history and multi-ethnic past? More specifically, to what extent these projects, undertaken just before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union commemoration, create new possibilities for the city by raising public awareness about its complex past, but also may reinforce borders between the city's different ethnic pasts. Finally, is a more inclusive and "multi-cultural" approach to heritage of the city possible?
Dyak, Sofia