Composing Urban History and the Constitution of Civic Identities
Composing Urban History and the Constitution of Civic Identities concerns the successes as well as failures of urban communities at creating a way of life embracing the many varieties of people and institutions that make cities both urban and urbane.
The volume studies nine cities long divided by race, nationality, class, and religion: Washington, D.C., Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, L'viv, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona, and Riga. All have undergone greater and lesser transitions from authoritarian to democratic forms of government, creating new needs and opportunities to shape a civic identity.
The contributors study these cities' presentations of their own history as embodied in everything from museum exhibits to architecture to street names. Do a city's efforts at material renewal and reform reflect and promote an inclusive, pluralistic self-image that supports nascent democratic institutions, or an exclusionary one that claims all the city for some particular group? Drawing on the experiences of the past half-century, Composing Urban History and the Constitution of Civic Identities shows how the emergence of pluralistic images of the past, present, and future can open the way for more pluralistic understandings of power and social relations.
John J. Czaplicka
Blair A. Ruble
Former Wilson Center Vice President for Programs (2014-2017); Director of the Comparative Urban Studies Program/Urban Sustainability Laboratory (1992-2017); Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies (1989-2012) and Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Resilience (2012-2014)