Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk: Official Memory about the Jewish Past

Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk: Official Memory about the Jewish Past

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Alla Marchenko 

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / Center for Urban History

September 23, 2019 / 4.00 pm

Library, Center for Urban History

According to the concept of Pierre Nora, we live in the epoch of cultural memory characterized by the replacement of content by forms, such as museums and monuments, commemorative events and dates, etc. At the same time, all the forms characterize the present vision of the past, power relations, and hierarchies of significance within the community. It is especially notable through the examples of official memory. The workshop will explore official memory about the Jewish past in three towns of Belz (Ukraine), Bobowa, and Leżajsk (Poland). The three towns are symbolically united by the regular pilgrimage of the Hasidim, which determines their international visibility and actualizes process connected to cultural memory about the Jewish past.

How is the past represented in official sources, and which is its role within the general narrative of urban history? What exactly is reflected in the documents and in public spaces of Belz, Bobowa, and Leżajsk, and what is omitted? Who keeps and releases the memories in each of the towns? Which memory practices are related to the Jewish past? Has the official memory on Jewish past been modified over the recent years and in which way? What factors can help explain the shared, the different, and peculiar things in each town – are they international, national, regional, or local, social or individual?

Alla Marchenko presents a range of answers to these questions, among others, on the basis of her analysis of official pages of the towns’ cultural centers and town councils, tourist guidebooks and maps, local history publications, as well as memorial sites within public spaces of the three towns. The research is part of her doctoral thesis.

Alla Marchenko 

is a doctoral student at the program of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw). Title of her doctoral thesis: “Comparative Analysis of Hasidic Pilgrimages’ Effects upon the Local Frames of Memory in Poland and Ukraine”. She received her first degree in Sociology in Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. She was teaching there at the Department of the Methodology and Methods of Sociological Research at the Faculty of Sociology, for 9 years. Alla has participated in many international projects, such as the Carnegie Research Fellowship Program in New York University, and doctoral workshop in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Alla’s recent publications related to the subject appeared in the journals Contemporary Jewry; Discourse, Context, and Media.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Nataliia Otrishchenko ([email protected]) to receive the materials in advance.