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Urban Space

Urban space is an essential subject within the field of urban studies, as it allows historians to explore the history of city development from an architectural viewpoint, and how urban design influences community development. Understanding the history of urban spaces provides insight on the evolution of human values and the relationship humans have had with their material or natural environment over the course of history. Our Educational Platform provides historical sources that exemplify how particular urban spaces such as squares, streets, architectural complexes (districts), parks, or avenues shaped contemporary metropolitan life. We also investigate modern practices of urban segregation and the fight for the city’s space, how non-places (such as shopping malls, markets, or airports) differ from heterotopias (such as cemeteries), and how the media can turn urban spaces into vehicles for global movements or how urban spaces can reflect the collective imagination and psyche of a society. The history of urban spaces may show the evolution of the current distinction between places and non-places, which is often derived from the opposition between urban space (i.e. a street) and the agency of place (i.e. a local identity).

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Primary Sources

Documents (15)

Image for Christmas and Easter in Lemberg in 1908: The Case of One Multidenominational Family
Christmas and Easter in Lemberg in 1908: The Case of One Multidenominational Family
Teofil Hrushkevych a teacher of classical languages at the Second (German) Gymnasium in Lviv, commenced his diary in 1895, though it was only after his retirement in 1906 that his entries became regular. The extant handwritten diary comprises eight notebooks, documenting entries for 1895, 1903, and 1906 (intermittent), and for 1908-1915 (almost daily). Typically, the author penned his notes in the evening, commencing with a depiction of the weather, followed by an account of the day's events: personal matters, such as receiving a pension, settling bills, visiting friends or acquaintances, attending church services, and social engagements, such as participating in meetings of Ukrainian societies to which he belonged, attending the theatre or a...
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“Proletarian Journey” in Soviet Ukraine by Fred E. Beal, 1937
Fred Beal’s memoir, A Proletarian Journey: New England, Gastonia, Moscow, was published in New York in 1937. Beal, an American textile worker deeply involved in the labor movement and trade union organizing, resided in the socialist city of “Novyi Kharkiv” [New Kharkiv] from 1931 to 1933, which was established for workers of the Kharkiv Tractor Plant. This city served as a foreign enclave, hosting up to 800 workers and their families. In 1933, prompted by his experiences, Beale published a propaganda pamphlet in English titled Foreign Workers in a Soviet Tractor Plant: A Pictorial Survey of the Life of Foreign Workers and Specialists During the Period of Socialist Construction 1931-1933 (M-L: Iskra revolutsii,...
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Michal Dubianecki about trade on the Minsk market, 1985
In 1979–1986, a Belarusian publisher, translator, and publicist Michal Dubianecki (1927-1990) was the director of the publishing house "Mastatskaya Litaratura" (lit. - Art Literature), and in the late 1980s he actively joined the national public life and co-founded the society "Martyrologist of Belarus" and the "Renaissance" Belarusian National Front. His diaries for 1979–1988 were published after the author's death in the journals "Flame" [Bel. - Полымя] and "Verb" [Bel. - Дзеяслоў]. In the quoted excerpt, Michal Dubianetsky talks about trade in the Minsk Komarovsky market in the mid-1980s. He talks about the prices for goods and shares his impressions of typical bazaar scenes.
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Israel Joshua Singer about Yekaterynoslav in 1920s
The report by Israel Joshua Singer, a Polish writer who wrote in Yiddish, was part of his 1926 tour of the Soviet Union. The reporter's journey covered a wide region, from Moscow to the colonies near the Black Sea, and the subject of his essay touched on the lives of Jews in a new environment — large industrial cities such as Katerynoslav or Kharkiv or agricultural colonies. Israel Joshua Singer's travel notes allow us to observe the coexistence of various minorities of the Soviet Union in the new state. He looks at national politics and state initiatives such as Ukrainization from a distance and asks local Jews about their attitude and adaptation to...
Image for The pornography trade in Kyiv in the early 1900s
The pornography trade in Kyiv in the early 1900s
This source comprises correspondence between branches of the tsarist bureaucracy on the issue of the pornography trade in Kyiv at the beginning of the twentieth century. The sale of visual and textual materials deemed to be ‘obscene’ (nepristoinyi) and ‘immoral’ (beznravstvennyi) deeply concerned the tsarist authorities and was broadly regarded as a negative consequence of modernisation. The tsarist authorities were not alone in their concern about the increasing availability of ‘obscene’ materials in this period. Across the European continent, innovations in photographic technology, falling costs of printing and distribution, and the development of postal systems generated an explosion in pornography in old and new media in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries....
Image for Ryszard Gansiniec writing about everyday life of Lviv in 1945-1946
Ryszard Gansiniec writing about everyday life of Lviv in 1945-1946
Ryszard Gansiniec is a classical Polish philologist and linguist. In 1920–1941 and 1944–1946 he was a professor and Head of Classical Philology Chair of Lviv University. His “Notes of Lviv” are a compilation of his letters to his wife who left for Stryzow (Poland) in 1944. R. Gansiniec stayed in Lviv until June 1946, working at Lviv University and at the Academy of Science under Soviet authority. In January 1945 he was arrested and kept in jail until May. After he moved on to Poland, he was appointed the position of professor of Wroclaw University. In 1948 and until his death, he was a professor of Jagiellonian University. In the compilation of letters presented, R....
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Images (2)

Image for View on the Monument to the Soviet Constitution, Lviv 1940
View on the Monument to the Soviet Constitution, Lviv 1940
The monument to the Soviet constitution, or the Stalin Constitution, was built in Lviv in October 1939. The authors were the sculptor Serhyi Lytvynenko and Kyiv artist Mykhailo Dmytrenko, it’s possible that, the artists adapted the project, originally conceived in Moscow, to the new city conditions. The sculptors Yevhen Dzyndra and Andryi Koverko carried out the project, but the participation of Lytvynenko’s student the young sculptor Yakiv Chaika is also a possibility. The monument was made in the ceramic-sculpture factory, which opened on Muchna St. in 1939. The location for the monument was chosen in the city centre, the “island” on the boundary mark of the Hetman embankments, between Yahellon’ska st. and Holy...
Image for Olha Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka, Lviv, spring 1939
Olha Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka, Lviv, spring 1939
This photo is a testimony to a photographic practice popular in the 1930s. It was about making portraits of passers-by on the city streets. Such photos often recorded people in motion in the middle of a large street, and seemed to emphasize the belonging of those depicted characters to urban culture. In view of this, the genre of such photography can be called street portrait, the street and commercial photography. The photo shows the great-grandmother and great-grandfather of Bozhena Pelenska — Olha-Maria Zhydacek and her husband Hryhoriy Bandurka (b. 1899). Based on the Bozhena's memories, the story was recorded of the photograph and of the people in it. The photo was taken on...
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Videos (1)

Image for For the Family Hearth, a 1970 film
For the Family Hearth, a 1970 film
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ivan Franko, written in 1892. In his story, the problem of sexual slavery (or “white slavery” in the terms of those times) and women’s engagement as its victims and enablers. The author’s choice of topic must have been influenced by the lawsuits against human traffickers that were actively taking place in Galicia at this time. One of the most high-profile cases was the Lviv trial in 1892 against 27 traffickers (men and women) accused of organizing sexual traffic abroad. The investigation confirmed 29 cases of selling girls from Galicia to brothels in Constantinople, Egypt, and India. The “white slavery” usually...
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Modules (2)

The Soviet government aimed to profoundly transform the styles and structures of people’s everyday lives, encompassing housing, leisure, and work. Particularly ambitious projects were conceived and executed during the 1920s and 1930s. Workers were at the forefront of Soviet social policy, with the Bolshevik Communist Party depicted in Soviet discourse as the avant-garde of the proletariat, primarily serving the interests of the working class. 
In the 19th century, the gender pact dividing public and private spheres, as man-owned and women-inhabited, found its most solid reasoning. The separation of the private and the public was accelerated by the Industrial Revolution when it fixed a role of the key “bread-winner” for the man. The gender-divided lines of responsibility certainly existed before the 19th century, but the role of women in family economy before the Industrial Revolution was much more visible. Since the Enlightenment era, the idea of the private and the public (as female and male, respectively) has been included in legal codes of most European states. This way, the new economic order was enshrined in the law, where...

Digital stories (4)

The three stories presented in this text are dedicated to three different women united by one city. Sharing a common urban space, they experienced it in different ways, given their different social positions, status and starting opportunities. The time in which they had to live their lives was in one way or another reflected in microstories from the life of each of these women. The first story is dedicated to Maria Hrushkevych, a long-time employee of the Lviv post office, who was among the "first" women employed by the state. In the second, Maria Linchak will be talked about, who was a maid in the house of Teofil and Liudmyla Hrushkevych, a chorister...
At the time of autonomy, the General Regional Exhibition was the third attempt by Galician elites to show their achievements in the industrial, economic, and cultural development of the region. The first such attempt took place in Lviv in 1877, the second in Krakow in 1887. In turn, the next one was to open its gates to visitors in 10 years in Lviv. The official countdown to the beginning of its opening began in June 1892, when the Main Exhibition Committee was formed. The monetary fund of the exhibition was filled with donations from county communities, government subventions and the Provincial Office, the City Council of Lviv, individuals, and organizations. Most of the...
This research focuses on three women: 20-year-old Maria Shutek from Znesinnia [the area of Lychakivskyi District in Lviv, t\n], put on trial for the murder of her daughter Sofia in Lviv in May 1870; a 45-year-old midwife from Virmenska st. [Armenian street, t\n] named Klara Weisshaar, accused of complicity in the crime of abortion, which she helped to perform on a servant named Katarzyna Słodka in March 1905; and 35-year-old Elżbieta Wenne, convicted of pimping out her daughter in 1887. The stories told by these women are not the stories of victims. At least, it would be hard to call them that. These stories are about choices made, mistakes and their consequences, human...
On Sunday, September 10, 1893, at about 11 p.m., in the vicinity of ul. Rappaporta, Maria Kopańska, a maid, was attacked by four men — Stanisław Julian Starzewski, Michał Bendyk, Antoni Równy and Emil Bilo. The company was returning from a restaurant on ul. Szpitalna. As they later admitted, they "had been drinking vodka and beer" there. On ul. Rappaporta they saw Maria, who was walking home alone from a wedding. For the woman, the encounter ended in a gang rape. The court proceedings, which soon began on the victim's claim, although confirming the fact of violence, released three defendants from criminal liability. The fourth one, Emil Bilo, was never brought to trial,...

Reflections

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Syllabi (9)

This course forms a part of Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th-20th Centuries summer school. The syllabus is availible only in Polish.
In our mini-course we will explore cultural interaction between Jews and non-Jews (Ukrainians, Poles, Russians) in the borderlands of the Habsburg and Romanov empires. This is interaction that may have been conscious or unconscious, and may have involved encounter, appropriation, negotiation, exchange and destruction.
The course intends to show the possibilities afforded by applying the gender (cultural sex) perspective in the study of Jewish culture. Proceeding from the analysis of the role of the woman and man in traditional Jewish society, we will present gender difference in the process of modernization among Jewish women and men. In looking at autobiographical materials, we will trace characteristic stages and stories, as well as life’s choices of Jewish maskilim (advocates of Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment). We will use the examples of the life and work of Pua Rakowska (known as "the Grandmother of Zionism") and Sara Szenirer (reformer of the traditional education system of Jewish girls) to analyze the problem...
When the well-known German author Alfred Döblin visited Lviv in 1924 he wrote: “Lviv is a lively, medium-sized, western, modern town; its streets are peaceful and bustling with life. But suddenly something strange confronts me. This city lies in the arms of two enemies, each of whom wants to dominate it. Subterranean enmity and violence are fermenting in the background”. Döblin, the son of assimilated German Jews from Stettin, also commented on the undercurrent of antiSemitism and voiced his fears, especially for the many poor Jews living in the city. (Alfred Döblin, ReisenachPolen).
This seminar explores ideas and practices of heritage in Eastern and Central Europe between 1945 and now. The course is designed as a set of five meetings, which will include short lecture introductions, seminar discussions, and at the end – practical workshop. Our meetings will be about discussing the texts, addressing cases you will read about or already know. Thіs the seminar will be our common effort in reading, asking questions and searching for answers. Therefore it is crucial that you will read assigned parts of selected texts and also consult texts from the recommended reading list. While reading assigned texts, please keep a short track of your ideas and formulate several questions...
This short course looks at Jewish history in the context of two multinational empires: the Russian and the Habsburg. Both of these states must be understood as fundamentally pre-modern, non-national (even anti-national) political structures, a fact that is crucial for understanding Jewish history here. In the mid-19th century, the great majority of world Jewry made its home in this region and even at the end of the First World War, after the great wave of emigration to the Americas, western Europe, Erets Israel / Palestine, and South Africa, the Jewish presence here was considerable. In 1918 even antisemites could hardly imagine a Warsaw, Wilno, Lwów, Odesa (etc.) without Jews.
From Lviv to New York City, walking tours are a unique form of teaching and public history, transcending the everyday interactions of the classroom. On an urban walking tour, students go to the city but the city also comes to them, often in unexpected ways. This course will provide students with a focused analysis of the walking tour as a tool for higher education and for public history.
This intensive 5-lecture mini-course (12 academic hours) takes a close look at various urban centers (sometimes the shtetl-like and sometimes the city-like) that shaped Jewish-Polish-Ukrainian cultural encounters that inspired the rising literary figures to explore East European multi-cultural urban legacy and make this legacy central in their creative writing. Students will explore various forms of East European urban culture—a shtetl (Chortkiv and Berdychiv), a provincial center (Chernivtsi and Ternopil), a city (Kyiv), a metropolis with a strong East European diaspora presence (Montreal and New York). This course will provide students with methodological tools at the intersection of the literary and cultural studies, urban studies, and social history.
The course offers a short introduction to some of the key concepts and literary and cultural practices that shaped the represenations of modern Jewish spaces in Eastern Europe as well as their contemporary reconstructions and exhibitions. While focusing on (Jewish) Poland and Yiddish culture, this course introduces critical tools for understanding and interpreting modern (Jewish) contructions and experiences of space and place.