Heritage and the post-socialist cities, small towns, and peripheries: cultural, social, and economic perspective

« Social Histories of the Right to the City in East-Central Europe in the 20th Century” aims to bring together recent research on urban activism for a one-day on-line workshop (26 November 2020). We aim to explore the urban from the perspective of how various individual and collective actions have mobilized local resources for obtaining, defending, and consolidating collective and individual rights in domains such as: economic and social (housing, work, health, education, food), civil and political (property, association), and cultural (heritage, ethnic, religious, sexual minorities, feminism). We invite contributions that consider how urban populations in East-Central Europe have internalized social changes produced by development projects across the region and how various participatory practices adjusted the decision-making processes on different levels of the state leadership. Our workshop will shed light on the emergence of urban spaces of solidarity informed by various forms of mobilization, thus problematizing the East-Central European city in the 20th century as encounters between grassroots shifts and nation-building processes that aimed to catch up with the West.  


We encourage contributions that adopt a comparative and trans-national perspective so that aspirations of urban dwellers, participatory involvement, and negotiations mobilized across the region can be highlighted through a critical and creative analysis of the forms of « right to the city » emerged in various national contexts and historical settings. We also encourage participants to consider various theorizations about the city, issues related to synchronicity in development processes, as well as similarities and interconnections with other regions of the world, thus providing the possibility for the integration of the East-Central European (semi)periphery in an expanding global body of knowledge about the city and urban experiences in the 20th century.


Possible topics include:

–  Mobilization of collective and individual actors (experts; cultural, political, religious associations; NGOs etc.)

–  Expertise in urban policies vs. public and private initiatives

–  Funding strategies

–  Forms of resistance

–  Activism channels – mass-media, petitions, cultural actions (literature, visual arts, film)

–  Generational dynamics in the city

–  Inclusion through architectural spaces and heritage management

–  The state and the city (bureaucratic mechanisms, regulation of informal interactions, and their integration into legislative forms and decision-making processes)

–  Gentrification, segregation, marginalization (the relationship between the right to the city and the various forms of exclusion outlined in various political and economic contexts)

–  Periodization of the urbanization processes from the perspective of the right to the city


Paper proposals – including a title, an abstract (500 words max), and a short CV (one page) may be submitted until 15 October 2020. Accepted contributions will be notified by 25 October. Please direct all your inquiries to Mara Marginean at mara.marginean@gmail.com

Contact Info: 

Mara Marginean

George Baritiu Institute of History, Romanian Academy Cluj Branch


Contact Email: 

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