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Embracing the City

Memory, Contestation, Politics

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Publié le mercredi 07 mai 2014 par João Fernandes


The Summer School seeks to embrace the city as a focal point for examining questions of belonging, place, power and the intersection of society and state in urban space. It welcomes proposals that embrace the city from many disciplines in the social sciences and adjacent fields, such as history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, architecture, and urban studies. Our regional focus is the former Soviet Union, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.



One of the most powerful lenses on the transformative past and present is the city. The region of East and Central Europe, in particular, witnessed dramatic changes in urban space over the last centuries. Industrialization encouraged urban growth from the late 19th century; projects of social engineering, deportation, migration and ethnic cleansing transformed the city in the 20th century; today new movements, communications, and technologies are shaping the 21st century city. The city offers itself as a space for investigation: social construct, material reality, economic unit, national symbol, artistic project, political battlefield, and intellectual idea. Cities everywhere face the challenge of global change, but cities in East and Central Europe face the past everyday in urban space. Cities in East and Central Europe are often torn “east” and “west,” and between different “posts,” whether socialist, communist, or colonial. 

In Ukraine Euromaidan changed the face, the identity, and the meaning of the city of Kyiv for its residents, for Ukrainians, and for the world watching as buildings, streets, and neighborhoods took on new meanings. The emerging civil society and the terrifying urban violence transformed urban space, and urban space also shaped the movement itself. Beyond Maidan, we can theorize more broadly movements of urban mobilization. Today’s map of the city reflects both the historic sea change of the last several months, but also much more: the traces of multiple imperial projects, and a rich interwoven ethnic and religious and linguistic past. Traces of the past exist in close proximity and emerge in new ways in the present; today people both new and old are using the built environment and spaces of the past for a new vision of the future.

The Summer School seeks to embrace the city as a focal point for examining questions of belonging, place, power and the intersection of society and state in urban space. What makes a city? What are the boundaries of the city--and within the city? Who are the stakeholders in building, transforming, managing, and narrating the city? How do urban changes shape and represent changes in society at large? How is the identity of city in the age of branding and rebranding shaped and challenged? How does the city shape urban mobilization and what is the connection between urban space and political change?

How do people transform the built environment around them, and how are people, in turn, influenced by buildings, places, and urban space? 

Main themes

Topics of investigation could include: 

  • urban mobilization: political protest movements in urban space
  • urban social movements: civil society, media coverage, support and social media in urban space and transforming urban space
  • urban socio-economic development: power, property and politics
  • architecture and the built urban environment: urban renewal, gentrification, preservation and conservation
  • urban planning and development: local, national and international stakeholders
  • the city and national projects: historical legacies in contested places
  • the city as commodity and symbolic space: tourism, mega-events, heritage industry
  • the city as a space of inclusion and exclusion: diversity, conflicts, cohesion between new and old inhabitants
  • borders inside and outside the city: migration, accommodation, belonging
  • reforming the city: activists and activism, neighborhood activism, preservation activism
  • governing the city: managers and city officials, public policies, practices, and their reception among the urban population 

The Sixth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine welcomes proposals that embrace the city from many disciplines in the social sciences and adjacent fields, such as history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, architecture, and urban studies. Our regional focus is the former Soviet Union, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. While the primary focus will be on the 20th and 21st centuries, 19th century proposals are welcome.

Format: workshop and fieldwork

The Summer School is interdisciplinary and follows a workshop format. Each participant will present a pre-circulated paper and receive comments from a group of international faculty, as well as from other participants. Participants are expected to contribute actively to discussions and to participate in the extracurricular program. Throughout the week we will include several roundtables, field visits, local interviews and excursions within the region. 

Location : Lviv (Ukraine)

The International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine takes place in a different city of Ukraine every year. Previous schools have been held in Uman (2009), Dnipropetrovsk (2010), Ostroh (2011), Zhytomyr (2012) and Mykolaiv (2013). 
Lviv, known also as Lwów, לעמבערג, Lemberg and Lvov, offers an ideal location for exploring the city as a space and place where different ideologies, belongings, and visions of futures and pasts intersected on the micro and macro level. 

Lviv was a true crossroads between East and West. Founded by a Ruthenian prince in the 13th century, the city belonged to the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1340-1772, was capital of Austrian Galicia from 1772-1918, second city to Warsaw in independent Poland from 1918, then from 1939 brought into the Soviet fold and part of Soviet Ukraine until 1991, interrupted by one of the most brutal Nazi occupations from 1941-1944. In Lemberg-Lwow-Lviv a panoply of now-famous figures lived and/or studied: historian Adam Ulam and nuclear scientist Stanislaw Ulam, science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, architects of international human rights Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht, economist Ludwig von Mises, philosopher Martin Buber, poet Zbigniew Herbert, and screen actor Alexander Granach.

World War II transformed the city: only 10% of the pre-1939 population, but most of the city's Habsburg-era built environment, survived the war. Re-narrating and re-allocating urban resources characterized the Soviet period. In the post-Soviet period Lviv has become a site for Ukrainian nationalism, including right-wing nationalism, and displays a complicated desire to embrace and erase its multi-ethnic past. Who belongs in Lviv? How have these multiple, competing, interacting projects shaped the city? What is the future of this city with a past? How does the city’s identity shape its role in the future of Ukraine, Europe, and the post-Soviet geopolitical landscape? 

Lviv inspires these questions and serves as an ideal place to discuss larger issues of embracing the city in Eastern and Central Europe. Moreover, the Euromaidan movement has shaped not only Kyiv, but also Lviv, as well as other urban spaces throughout Ukraine. While events in Ukraine are still unfolding, the role of the city, urban space, and mobilization deserves attention; Lviv offers a platform and laboratory to discuss the city in all its political, social, economic, and cultural contexts. 


One week, Tuesday 1 July – Tuesday 8 July 2013. 


The Summer School is open to PhD students (or students enrolled in a kandidat nauk program) and young researchers (up to six years removed from their PhD or kandidat nauk degree). Proposals strong on theory and empirical research are particularly welcomed. The working language of the Summer School is English. Participants must be comfortable working in English. 

Program Costs

There is no program fee. The organizers will cover accommodation, meals, workshops and all excursions. The participants (or their institutions) must pay travel expenses to Lviv. Lviv has an international airport with many European connections, and can also be easily reached by train from Kyiv. 

Application Guidelines

To be considered for the Summer School, candidates must complete an application form (that includes a 500 word project proposal) and add a CV. They can also send an additional written sample, such as a conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or a publication (optional). The application must be sent by e-mail to,

by 1st May 2014

The applications will be reviewed by a selection committee

Selection committee 

  • Dominique Arel, U of Ottawa, Canada
  • Anna Colin Lebedev, the Franco-Belarusian center for European studies, Belarus
  • Mayhill Fowler, Stetson U, USA
  • Sophie Lambroschini, Paris Ouest U, France
  • Mikhailo Minakov, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy U, Ukraine
  • François-Xavier Nérard, U Paris I, France
  • Ioulia Shukan, Paris Ouest U, France

The application form can be requested at or downloaded from the following address:


  • Lviv, Ukraine


  • jeudi 01 mai 2014

Fichiers attachés


  • summer school, social science, ukraine, urban studies, power, contestation, mobilization, politics


  • Anna Colin Lebedev
    courriel : anna_lebedev [at] yahoo [dot] com

Source de l'information

  • Anna Colin Lebedev
    courriel : anna_lebedev [at] yahoo [dot] com

Pour citer cette annonce

« Embracing the City », École d'été, Calenda, Publié le mercredi 07 mai 2014,