Dr. Sofia Dyak

Dr. Sofia Dyak

historian, researcher (2007-2010), director of the Center and the head of the Foundation in Ukraine (2010-present)

Holds a BA in history from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, an MA in history from the Central European University in Budapest, and a PhD in sociology from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw). Her dissertation "(Re)imagined Cityscapes: Lviv and Wrocław after the Second World War" compared the postwar history of integration of two Central European cities, Lwów/Lviv and Breslau/Wrocław.

Dr. Dyak was a fellow of the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, the Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights of Columbia University, and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. In 2019-2023, she is a senior research fellow at the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam. In 2021, she joined the Board of Directors of the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter initiative.

Dr. Dyak’s research interests include post-war urban recovery and transformation in Eastern Europe, heritage infrastructures and practices in socialist cities, and their legacies. She is preparing a manuscript with the preliminary title "New Lives in Old Cities: Postwar Lviv and the Power of Accommodation." Her new projects address two topics. One of her recent projects looks at the management and infrastructures of the "local turn" in Soviet Ukraine during the late Socialism period, including twenty-six volumes "The History of Cities and Villages of U[krainian]SSR" and the network of local history museums. Another look at urban professionals from the areas incorporated into the Soviet and socialist realm after 1945 who were involved in infrastructural projects across Africa and Asia, and how their individual and professional trajectories developed after involvement in such projects.

Another area of her work is public history. She curated exhibitions and educational projects related to rethinking the past, especially in urban public spaces.

Her teaching includes seminars on public history at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, the course "Cities and Culture in the Cities" (with Dr. Bohdan Shumylovych) at the Ukrainian Catholic University. During 2010-2017, she was a co-curator (with Dr. Iryna Matsevko) of summer schools on Jewish history and culture at the Center for Urban History.

Selected Publications:

  • "Impressions of Place: Soviet Travel Writings and the Discovery of Lviv, 1939-40," in: Lviv – Wrocław: Parallel Cities? Myth, Memory and Migration, c. 1890-present, ed. by Robert Pyrah, Jan Fellerer (Budapest: CEU Press, 2020).
  • "Nowa Huta, Where Art Thou?" A Review of Katherine Lebow, Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949-56 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2013) at Second World Urbanity Forum, published September 23, 2014 (http://www.secondworldurbanity.org/book-discussions/nowa-huta-where-art-thou/)
  • "Local, Ethnic, Transnational: Discussions, Challenges and Heritage Practices in the Synagogue Square Project in Lviv," in City and Renewal: Urban Studies, ed. Svitlana Shlipchenko, Vladyslav Tymisnkyi, Andriy Makarenko, Ludmyla Males, Ihor Tyshchenko (Kyiv, 2013): 315-33
  • (editor) Home: A Century of Change. Exhibition Documentation . Lviv: Center for Urban History, 2012
  • "Druha svitova viyna u pislyavojennomu peysazhi Vrotslava" [The Second World War in the Postwar Landscape of Wrocław] in Blessed Land? Sketches of History and Memory of Lower Silesia. Eds. Dagmar Margel, Krzysztofor Ruchniewicz. Wrocław: Oficyna Wydawnicza ATUT. 2011, pp. 145-167.
  • "Tvorennia obrazu Lvova yak rehional’noho tsentru Zakhidnoji Ukrajiny: radjianskyj proekt ta joho urbanistychne vtilennia" [The Creation of the Image of Lviv as a Regional Center of Western Ukraine: The Soviet Project and Its Urban Realization], East-West: History and Culturology Collection. Issue 9-10: Patria, ed. by Volodymyr Kravchenko, Kharkiv: "NTMT" Ltd., 2008, pp. 75-86.

Selected Presentations:

  • "Від центральної площі до індустріальної зони: бачення та обмеження радянського Львова, 1944-60рр." на семінарі "Вперед чи назад? Зміни у містах Центрально-Східної Європи у 19 та 20 стоілттях" (Інститут історії ім. Тадеуша Мантойфля, Польська Академія Наук, жовтень 2009
  • "Вшанування пам'яті та збереження спадщини у Львові: Єврейське минуле та сучасний міський простір" на конференції "Українсько Єврейська Зустріч: Культурні зв'язки, репрезентації та пам'ять" (організована ініціативою "Українсько Єврейська Зустріч" з Музеєм Ізраїлю та Єврейським університетом, Єрусалим, жовтень 2010)
  • "Encountering and Appropriating Cityscapes: Soviet Ukrainian Lviv and Polish Communist Wrocław after 1944/45," presentation at the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Stanford University (23 April 2012)
  • "Diaspora Battlefield": Commemorative and Heritage Projects in Lviv after 1991, paper for the 2012 World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, Columbia University (April 20, 2012)
  • "Histories of Heritage: Soviet Ukrainian Lviv," paper for the workshop "New Approaches to the History of Sovetization" at Harriman Institute, Columbia University (February 24-25, 2012)
  • "Looking at Polish Studies from Urban Perspective" at the round table "Chances and Pitfalls of Transatlantic and Interdisciplinary Polish Studies" / discussant at the panel "Late Socialist Cityscapes II: Power, Memory, and Mobility in Ukraine and South Caucasus," 2015 ASEEES Annual Convention, November 19-22, 2015
  • "Reflecting the Past, Re-envisioning the Future: Local, Ethnic and Transnational Contexts of Cultural Heritage Projects in Eastern Europe," PhD Program Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage, the IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy, February 11, 2015.
  • "Socialist Paths to a Living Utopia," conference "The Living Cities of the Second World" of the "Second World Urbanity" research network at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University and the European University in St. Petersburg, February 27-March 1, 2015.
  • Sofia Dyak, "Revisiting the Center: Lviv/Lvov as a Soviet Historic City", conference "Cities East and West: New Maps for Research," University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, April 13-14, 2015
  • "Engaging with Jewish and Soviet Sites: Heritage, Legacies and Public in Lviv" at the international workshop "ACCOMMODATIONS: Positive strategies for documenting, conserving and re-inhabiting ‘outmoded’ spaces in Poland and East Central Europe," at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, October 22-23, 2015.