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.


List of Tables and Figures
Living Apart Together: The City, Contested Identity, and Democratic
Transitions, Blair A. Ruble
Part One: The Archeology of the Local
Introduction, John J. Czaplicka
1. Looking Behind the Marble Mask: Varied African American Responses to the Difficult History in Washington, D.C., John Michael Vlach
2. Dual History: The Politics of the Past in Kaliningrad, Former Königsberg, Olga Sezneva
3. Filling Dwelling Place with History: Communal Apartments in St. Petersburg, Ilya Utekhin
Part Two: The Instrumentality of Historical Images
Introduction, Blair A. Ruble
4. Identity Contents: Local History and Electoral Politics in St. Petersburg
5. Constructing a National City: The Case, of L'viv, Yaroslav Hrytsak and Victor Susak
6. The Battle for Public Space on Prague's Old Town Square, Cynthia Paces
7. Washington, D.C., in White and Black: The Social Construction of Race and Nationhood, Howard Gillette, Jr.
Part Three: Historical Alterity
Introduction, John J. Czaplicka
8. Black Washington and the New Negro Renaissance, James A. Miller
9. Vienna since World War II, Siegfried Mattl
10. Local Responses in Berlin to Urban Decay and the Demise of the German Democratic Republic, Brian Ladd
Part Four: Transformations
Introduction, Blair A. Ruble
11. Barcelona: Cultural Strategies and Urban Renewal, 1979-1997, Pep Subirós
12. Growth and Stagnation in 20th-Century Prague, Jíri Musil
13. The Rebirth and Restoration of Administrative, Political, and Cultural Symbols in Riga's Town Hall Square, Ojars Sparitis
Conclusion: Urban History after a Return to Local Self-Determination--Local History and Civic Identity, John J. Czaplicka
Editors and Contributors


"This collection is a fascinating, important, and disturbing book. When we are awash in a lot of happy talk about diversity and 'contested identities' in cities, it reminds us that such contestations can be matters of the most bitter and violent conflicts aimed at the cultural and sometimes physical extermination of the losing parties. At their best, the contributors and their cities strive to rise above the often horrifying legacy they describe toward a genuine pluralism."--Robert Fishman, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan