Call for Book Chapters: Contested Pasts: Urban Heritage in Divided Cities


Contested Pasts: Urban Heritage in Divided Cities
Mirjana Ristic and Sybille Frank

Important Note: This call for book chapters is specifically aimed at attracting contributions that would cover case studies of urban heritage in divided cities of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Editors’ Details
Dr Mirjana Ristic, Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Sociology, TU Darmstadt,
Professor Dr Sybille Frank, Institute for Sociology, TU Darmstadt,

Topic and Objective of the Book
Through history, urban heritage has played a prominent role in the construction of collective memory and identity of national, ethnic or sectarian groups. Historic places, buildings, and monuments invested with ‘myths’ about glorious periods of the past gavea group of people a sense of continuity and strengthened their collective unity. Nevertheless, urban heritage also includes places invested with ‘contested pasts’ recalling violence, oppression and division during wars, periods of political unrest or colonial and authoritarian political regimes. Relics, traces and memories of such events in the cityscape have been regarded in the academic literature as ‘dissonant heritage’ (Tunbridge and Ashworth), ‘difficult heritage’ (McDonald) and ‘places of pain and shame’ (Logan and Reeves) due to their capacity to impose collective trauma or stigma upon a social group and create the grounds for continuous political tensions and disputes.

This book seeks to explore the role of contested urban heritage in mediating and/or overcoming political conflict in the context of divided cities. We take urban heritage in a broad sense to include tangible elements of the city such as ruins, remains of border architecture, traces of violence in public space, and memorials; as well as intangible elements of city, including urban voids, everyday rituals, place names and other forms of spatial discourse. These can be both designated and undesignated urban heritage sites. We look for contributions that will cover one of the following themes:

1. Heritage at war
Recent political events show that urban heritage in divided cities plays a role in the war not merely as the site of violence and terror, but the very tool through which they are mediated. The Old Bridge in Mostar was bombed out in 1993, the Nablus old town was bulldozed and demolished by tank fire in 2002, while Syrian ancient sites are still being pulverized by ISIS.

We ask: Why is urban heritage so often rendered a target of the war? What are the political, social and urban effects of its destruction? How can urban heritage be used as a tool for political resistance to war, conflict and violence?

2. Divided heritage
Urban heritage is often re-designed, re-invented and employed as an instrument of political division in the cityscape. Discrete religious heritage dominates the Greek and Turkish sides of Nicosia, urban parades invested with separate sectarian traditions are held in Belfast, streets in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo acquired different commemorative names after the war.

We ask: What role do spatial remnants, practices and discourses of the past play in the demarcation of urban territories and construction of collective identities? What happens when heritage of one social group becomes ‘displaced’ on the side of the other? How does urban heritage mediate and contest socio-spatial marginalization, discrimination and exclusion?

3. Dealing with contested heritage
The political division of the city itself often leaves contested urban heritage in the cityscape. The legacy of ethnic clashes is still visible in the cityscape of Beirut, while traces and memories of the Berlin Wall still haunt the city.

We ask: What should be done with remnants of the city’s division in the post-conflict scenario? What influence do preservation and commemoration of these places have on transformation of the city’s spatial morphology, flows of urban life and place identity? In what ways can transformation of such heritage contribute to reunification and reconciliation?

4. The Everyday Life of Urban Heritage in Divided Cities
Common research on urban heritage often focuses on representational capacities and the symbolic role of heritage sites.

We ask: How are the official discourses of history and memory embedded in these sites accepted, contested and/or transformed through their use? In which ways are new popular and unintended meanings inscribed in these sites through spatial practices around them?

Target Audience
The book will be of interest to academic audiences seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the socio-spatial role of urban heritage in the context of political conflict. The main fields include: sociology, political sciences, history, cultural studies, human geography, urban design and planning, architecture and landscape architecture, archaeology, ethnology and anthropology. It will also be useful to a number of professionals involved in governing, planning, designing and transforming urban heritage, including: heritage practitioners, policy makers, government and city officials, urban planners and designers, and architects. The book will also be relevant for undergraduate, Masters and PhD students who are engaging in socio-spatial analysis of contested urban heritage.

Type of Contributions and Submission Procedure
This book will expand on a conference panel entitled “Contested Pasts: Urban Heritage in Divided Cities”, held as a part of the third biannual conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies in Montreal from 3rd to 8th of June 2016. The conference panel included presentations focused on the case studies from Europe and the Middle East. In contrast, the book will be of a global scope. We specifically seek for contributions that would cover the cases of urban heritage in divided cities of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. We welcome chapter proposals from different disciplines including but not limited to: urban studies, architecture, human geography, sociology, political sciences, history, cultural studies, human geography, archaeology, ethnology, anthropology and other. We look for both empirical and theoretic chapters.

Submission deadlines and guidelines:

31 Jan 2017: An abstract of up to 300 words is to be submitted to the editors by email.

15 Feb 2017: Editors will select chapters on the basis of the following criteria: relevance to the theme and goal of the book, originality of the contribution, theoretical rigour and wealth of the empirical material. All authors of submitted abstracts will be informed about the editorial decision via email.

31 May 2017: The 1st draft of all chapters is to be submitted to the editors by email. Chapters need to be 6-8,000 words in length and written in English. Authors of chapters are responsible for the language and style editing. The guidelines for the editing style, references and bibliography will be sent to authors of selected chapters with the editorial decision.

31 Aug 2017: Feedback and comments of the 1st review of chapters will be emailed by editors to authors of all chapters.

30 Sep 2017: The 2nd draft of all chapters is to be submitted to the editors by email.

30 Nov 2017: Feedback and comments of the 2nd review of chapters will be emailed by editors to authors of all chapters.

24 Dec 2017: Final editing of chapters and book submission.

Jun/July 2018 Book publication

Yujie Zhu