Exercises: [BA-VM/BA-S] [Übung] Communism in Post-1989: Poland und Eastern Germany - Details
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Course name Exercises: [BA-VM/BA-S] [Übung] Communism in Post-1989: Poland und Eastern Germany
Semester WS 2022/23
Current number of participants 9
maximum number of participants 15
Home institute Institut für Geschichte
participating institutes Aleksander-Brückner-Zentrum für Polenstudien
Courses type Exercises in category Offizielle Lehrveranstaltungen
Preliminary discussion Tuesday, 22.11.2022 12:00 - 14:00, Room: Seminarraum 11 (R.2.39) [EA 26-27]
First date Tuesday, 22.11.2022 12:00 - 14:00, Room: Seminarraum 11 (R.2.39) [EA 26-27]
Learning organisation The proposed course focuses on presenting an anthropological and historical perspective on several socio-cultural processes observable in post-1989 Poland and Eastern Germany associated with the post-war presence of Red Army (Soviet army) soldiers – both physical (in their military bases) and symbolic (through monuments) in the territories of the two countries, and the consequences thereof. A major part of this analysis shall be devoted to processes taking place in Poland after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and examples that illustrate them. The East-German context shall be used as a means of comparison, in order to present the complexity and ambiguity of the analysed phenomena in different contexts, consequently contributing to a fuller understanding of the topic.
The course is focused around three thematic segments: (1) the reorganisation of public memory space as exemplified by the history of the Red Army monuments; 2) mapping the meanings and sensing of the past as exemplified by the history of selected post-Soviet military bases; 3) exploring tourism-related activity and contesting tourism spaces in relation to Red Army monuments and former post-Soviet army bases.
The first segment aims to present the history of the monuments to Red Army soldiers in public space often referred to as ‘monuments in gratitude’. It shall provide the necessary information about the history of the mass-scale erection of these monuments under the communist regime and the functions such structures were intended to serve as instruments of communist propaganda. In addition, the segment will endeavour to explain how public spaces featuring such commemorative structures have been used in the multilayer and multifaceted process of forming collective identity and how the new central and local authorities have attempted to shape and control the (re)construction of memorial landscapes after the fall of the Iron Curtain until today.
The second thematic block aims at presenting the complicated cultural and social landscapes of former Soviet military bases. Selected examples shall be used to illustrate how this legacy or ‘contentious heritage’ is remembered and narrated under the present circumstances and how this period and remnants thereof have been and could be recycled and mobilised for new purposes. Aside from outlining the geographical and strategic map of the network of bases present in Polish and German territory before the ultimate withdrawal of Russian Federation soldiers that took place in the early 1990s, the thematic segment shall present the three main paths that the later history of these locations followed: (1) continued military use; (2) abandonment, gradual deterioration and the subsequent emergence of ‘ghost towns’; (3) conversion into structures used by the civilian population and the subsequent resettlement of bases. The choice of these ‘scenarios’ will be presented in a spacio-temporal context including the changing geopolitical and social circumstances.
The aim of the last segment is to present the development of tourism-related activity in the former Soviet military bases and around the monuments to the Red Army. Through discussing various tourism practices (e.g. the emergence of parks of monuments, the organisation of military rallies, the foundation of local and private (quasi)museums, the ‘urban exploration’ movement, historical reenactment), associated with the places and objects under scrutiny, the segment shall analyse the potential of tourism activity for the development of the local communities that settled within the grounds of the former military bases, as well as for the transformation of meanings linked to contentious memorial sites. The discussed issues will include how tourist practices affect the negotiation of different (often conflicting) visions of the past, how they transform original functions, forms and meanings of sites and objects, and how they influence remembrance activities.

Hinweis: Für Studierende des Studienfachs Soziologie kann die Lehrveranstaltung als Seminar: ST "Spezielle Themen der Soziologie" besucht und anerkannt werden.

Fields of study

Module assignments


Hinweis: Für Studierende des Studienfachs Soziologie kann die Lehrveranstaltung als Seminar: ST "Spezielle Themen der Soziologie" besucht und anerkannt werden.

Admission settings

The course is part of admission "Beschränkte Teilnehmendenanzahl: [BA-VM/BA-S] [Übung] Communism in Post-1989: Poland und Eastern Germany".
The following rules apply for the admission:
  • The enrolment is possible from 26.09.2022, 00:00 to 16.10.2022, 23:59.
  • A defined number of seats will be assigned to these courses.
    The seats will be assigned in order of enrolment.