Eastern Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries

Eastern Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries

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April 23, 2014

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Center  has held a meeting with associate professor of intellectual history at Yale University Marci Shore.

The topic of the researcher’s first book Caviar and Ashes: Warsaw Generation’s Life and Death in Marxism covers the destinies of people, communities, and several generations of radical intellectuals in Eastern Europe in the 1920-60s. The book was also translated into Polish and started a discussion about the continuity and presence of Marxism not only in the times of Communist Poland. In Caviar and Ashes, the author traces the real and intellectual journeys of representatives of different communities, which were engaged in discussions and which formed leftist views in Poland in the twentieth century. This book is an example of an intellectual collective biography of communities. On the one hand, it focuses on one country, Poland, and even several cities in Poland, and on the other hand, it traces the trajectory of the ideas and destinies, which encompassed a wide range of geographical locations in Europe, as well as in Asia and America. One of the sections of the book is devoted to Lviv at the time of the Soviet occupation in 1939-1941 During this period the city became a haven for many refugees from Poland, which was occupied by Nazi Germany. Among them were several figures from Marci Shore’s book such as Aleksander Wat and Wladyslaw Broniewski. In her latest book The Taste of Ashes: The After Life of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe she researched and reflected on the recent history and modernity of Eastern Europe by analyzing the presence of the communist and Nazi past in different areas of different societies in the region.

This meeting was an opportunity to discuss with Marci Shore about Eastern Europe in the twentieth century, the challenges of modernity for the interwar generation of Eastern European intellectuals, and post-socialist Europe and its relationship to its totalitarian past. We also had an opportunity to reflect on the role of intellectual historians in events by looking at the recent Euromaidan movement in Ukraine.

We also invite all interested to read Marci Shore’s works in the Center for Urban History library.