Research Group on Urban History

The post-war transformation of Czechoslovak cities became a favorite topic in the fields of sociology and art history. The goal of the research group of urban history is to place this research in a broader context of contemporary political and social history and subject it to rigorous source-analysis. The research group stems from a broader research interest in expert cultures (projects Expert roots of post-socialism and Path to Technocratic Socialism) and in the technocratic governance (monograph of Matěj Spurný: Most do budoucnosti: Laboratoř socialistické modernity na severu Čech, Karolinum, 2016). Changes in understanding of space, urban environment, housing and home will be among the main topics of the research group studied among others through the prism of shifts in urban planning and urban policies. Based on the example of understanding of the cities the goal is to describe and explain the rise of high modernity of the sixties and its subsequent crisis during “normalization” and perestroika periods. One of the aspects of this process that the research group focuses on is changing understanding of urban historical heritage and heritage protection. It also intends to study history of post-war cities “from bellow”, i.e. the issues of social and cultural changes in the urban environment and their perception by historical actors. Finally, the group will study the theme of representation of cities and the city as a space of memory. Though all these topics are framed by the political context of state-socialism, the working group aspires to use specific nature of urban history to describe various levels of temporalities that are often crossing the borders of political history.

Research Team

head: Roubal Petr
Janáč Jiří, Spurný Matěj, Zarecor Kimberly (external member)

Ongoing projects

Thematic webs