CFP: “1920: continuation or change?”

CFP: “1920: continuation or change?”

The conference attempts to answer the question of continuity and change in the issue of urban spatial transformations. It is relatively commonly assumed that World War One and the period of struggles for independence by the post-imperial states (1918‒1923) brought about a vast change in Central and East-Central Europe. The political significance of this period, i.e. the changes to state borders and the ruling elite, is indisputable. But if we look at the changes that occurred in the cities, we can infer that they were subject to lengthier processes, which were deeply rooted in the nineteenth century. These processes included changes in economic methods, including receding liberalism and laissez-faire, and the rise of state management, or a shift from the idea of the free circulation of goods to separate customs zones. They also included the political changes, such as the idea of nationally (or nationalistically) defined territories, the exclusion of particular communities, and the divided partisan spectrum in democratic states of the period. Finally, cultural changes were also visible, including changes in aesthetic taste and the rising popularity of the hygienically-oriented social theories. However, the changes in architecture and urban space since 1920, especially in new cities like Gdynia, were deemed to be a real turning point at that time and should also be treated as such nowadays.

The conference aims to answer the question of continuity and change during two periods in the history of the region in question: the last decades of the nineteenth century until 1914 (the Belle Époque) and the interwar period until 1939. We would like to find answers to such detailed questions as:

- what were the changes in the background of urban development between both periods (economic, social, cultural)?

- what similarities and continuities are visible in town planning and architectural ideas, and what sort of influence could the social transformations possibly have on them (including women’s emancipation)?

- to what extent did modernism and the international style stem from the nineteenth century, and to what extent did they diverge from it, and if this divergence was a matter of pure rhetoric, or real practice?

Historians, art historians and cultural studies’ specialists who deal with the last decades of the nineteenth century or the interwar period are invited. The conference aims to confront the results of research into different aspects of urban development during both periods as well as common discussions among researchers who deal with both, and so highlight different historical caesurae.

The conference will take place on 45 June 2020 at the Gdynia Naval Museum. Paper proposals up to one page along with a short CV should be sent by 1 March 2020 to the email address: Successful selections will be announced around mid-April. No conference fee is provided. After the appropriate review process, the papers will form part of the planned monograph about continuity and change in the ideas and background of urban history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Conference languages:

Polish and English

Conference organizers:

Gdynia City Museum – Jacek Friedrich

Institute of History Polish Academy of Sciences – Aleksander Łupienko

Gdynia Naval Museum

Organizing committee:

dr Aleksander Łupienko

dr hab. Jacek Friedrich

Conference council:

dr hab. Jacek Friedrich

dr hab., prof. TU Berlin Rafał Makała

prof. dr hab. Małgorzata Omilanowska

prof. dr hab. Jacek Purchla

prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Stefański

dr hab., prof. UWr. Agnieszka Zabłocka-Kos