15.10. until 16.10.2018 in Marburg, Germany

"Exhibiting cities" – City museums in the emerging cities of East Central and Northern Europe, 1880-1939

Link to this post: https://www.pol-int.org/en/node/6626

CFP: "Exhibiting cities" – City museums in the emerging cities of East Central and Northern Europe, 1880-1939

15-16 October 2018, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg

  • Nowadays European cities, like their Asian and North and South American counterparts, compete with one another to become pre-eminent centers of economic and cultural exchange, and tourism. The culture, history and heritage of contemporary cities, and their effective representation in various forms, such as in city museums, is a cultural capital (a part of symbolic economy), as Sharon Zukin (1996) has pointed out. This workshop, proposed by the Herder Institute (Germany) in cooperation with the Grazer Stadtmuseum Graz GmbH/Stadtarchiv (Austria) and the University of Tampere (Finland), and supported by the Leibniz Research Alliance "Historical Authenticity", nevertheless, argues that perceiving the city and the city's image as urban capital was also known for the cities in East Central and Northern Europe, which emerged with the ambition becoming regional and/or national centers an enormous speed in the end of the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th century in the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empire. By doing so, the workshop intends to illustrate, on the one hand, the so far less researched processes of urban image and identity construction by the city museums in East Central and Northern Europe in a longue durée perspective, and to discuss and capture the particularities of exhibiting cities in these regions, on the other.

The workshop addresses e.g. the following questions:

  • How did cities use city museums for image and identity creation and for which purposes?
  • What kind of histories were told by the city museums, and how were these histories "authenticated"?
What kind of strategies and practices of image creations were applied in the museums? Who were the main actors in the process?
  • What role did city museums play in the modernization and urbanity in Northern and East Central Europe?
  • In what ways were city museums and the 'local' histories represented by them, part of the everyday reproduction of nationalism?

We are looking forward receiving proposals for case studies on cities and city museums, and with different thematic focal points. Proposals with cross-city references are especially welcome, be it by comparisons or by the analysis of transfers. Please send your abstract (max. 500 words) and a short CV until April 1, 2018 to forum@herder-institut.de.

The conference language is English. We expect to be able to cover the expenses for travel and accommodation. We plan to publish the revised conference papers.

Time and Venue of the conference

  • Herder Institute, Marburg, October 15-16, 2018

Concept and organized by

  • Eszter Gantner (Herder Institute, Marburg)
  • Heidi Hein-Kircher (Herder Institute, Marburg)

We thank for the generous support of the Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity


Dr. Eszter Gantner / Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher

Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe


Dr. Wolfram Dornik

Stadtmuseum Graz GmbH/Stadtarchiv (Austria)

Dr. Tanja Vahtikari

University of Tampere (Finland)