NARRATING A NEW WORLD: Maps, Myths, and Legends in Early Postwar Europe

Carmen Enss's picture
October 23, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Historic Preservation, Social History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies


The Centre for Historical Research in Berlin of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Centre for Cultural Heritage Studies and Technologies, Universität Bamberg, and Carleton University’s “War Damage Atlas” initiative jointly extend a warm invitation to researchers interested in the spatial, material, and narrative reconfiguration of early postwar cities. “Narrating a New World” is free of charge. No registration is required.


Location: Zentrum für Historische Forschung Berlin der Polnischen Akademie der

Wissenschaften, Majakowskiring 47, 13156 Berlin,




Conference Description:


In the wake of World War Two destruction, municipal administrations throughout Central and Eastern Europe had to decide quickly about what to remove, keep, reconstruct, and build anew. In cities such as Warsaw, Berlin, Kiev, and Wrocław, the historical period between the collapse of the urban organism and the completion of flagship reconstruction projects laid the foundations for a physical reconstitution and mythological rebirth of cities, regions, and nation states. Discursive spaces between technology, politics, and memory provided fertile ground for myths and legends surrounding heroic acts and everyday particularities of the reconstruction process. “Narrating a New World” asks what war damage maps, reconstruction planning documents, and design drawings (among other often-overlooked sources) can tell us about the relationships between memories, myths, and burgeoning values-based conservation in urban heritage. Built around three central themes – knowledge transfer, damage mapping, and myth-making – the symposium aims to establish links between the tangible aspects of rebuilding and the intangible heritage of attendant stories.


9:15–9:30     Welcome

Igor Kąkolewski and Małgorzata Popiołek-Roßkamp (Center for

Historical Research Berlin of the Polish Academy of Science)


9:30–11:00  Panel 1: Urban Geographies of Damage

Chair: Jerzy Elżanowski (Carleton University)

  1. Christian Lotz and Paul Grünler (Herder-Institut Marburg) Is There a Critical Geography of 1940s Aerial Photography in Central and Eastern Europe?
  2. Robin Woolven (Independent scholar, Willersey, UK) The Middlesex Bomb Damage Maps
  3. Iva Raič Stojanović (Zagreb University) Post-Second World War Reconstruction of Šibenik: Realities and Narrative

11:00–11:30            Coffee Break


11:30–13:00            Panel 2: (Trans)local Perspectives on Post-Conflict Planning

Chair: Carmen M. Enss (Bamberg University)

  1. Laurence Ward (London Metropolitan Archives) Archiving the London County Council Bomb Damage Maps
  2. Simone Bogner (TU Berlin) Authority or Think Tank? The Role of the Architects' Department in the London City Council Between War Damage Mapping, Reconstruction Planning, and Nation Building, 1939–1951
  3. Łukasz Stanek (Manchester University) ‘Baghdad Was Like Warsaw’: Comparison in the Cold War

13:00–14:00            Lunch


14:00–15:30            Panel 3: Agency at Times of Crisis

Chair: Małgorzata Popiołek-Roßkamp (Center for Historical Research Berlin of the Polish Academy of Science)

  1. Michael Grass (Warwick University) Agents – Networks – Resonance: The ‘Transnational Momentum’ of Defining Heritage in Postwar Europe
  2. Anna Vyazemtseva (University of Insubria / Institute of History and Theory of Architecture and Urban Planning, Moscow) Urban Planning and the ‘Foreign’ Experience in the Soviet Union Towards the End of World War Two
  3. Ella Chmielewska (Edinburgh University / Edinburgh College of Art) Warsaw Afterimages: On Memory and Poetry in Ruins

15:30–16:00            Coffee Break


16:00–17:30            Keynote Lecture

David Fedman (University of California, Irvine) Blackened Cities, Blackened Maps: Toward a Social Geography of Japanese Cities Aflame


17:30–18:00            Break


18:00–19:00            Roundtable      

Chairs: Jerzy Elżanowski (Carleton University) and

Carmen M. Enss (Bamberg University)


Ella Chmielewska (Edinburgh University / Edinburgh College of Art)

Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper (TU Berlin)

Igor Kąkolewski (Center for Historical Research Berlin of the Polish

Academy of Science)

Zoya Masoud (TU Berlin)

Łukasz Stanek (Manchester University)

Gerhard Vinken (Bamberg University)




Contact Info: 

Dr. Carmen M. Enss

University of Bamberg, Germany, Centre for Cultural Heritage Studies and Technologies