Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Architecture, urban space and new memory practices

Syncretic place-making and cosmopolitan imaginaries in the European city

Gruia Badescu PhD

Abstract

In an increasingly diverse Europe, there are calls for both city-making and memory-work to engage more with the plurality of resident experiences and backgrounds. This project interrogates the emergence of new memory practices, which I call syncretic place-making, shaped by initiatives and movements from below to include diverse voices in the negotiation and representation of the past. It examines the role of cities in reshaping European memory by analysing how city-makers respond to new socio-political and cultural conditions through the production of places and memory practices that include concerns for diversity. Moreover, it scrutinizes how these approaches relate to an EU-scale support for a cosmopolitan memory, as well as how they link places transnationally. I discuss several situations of memory place-making centred around concepts of cosmopolitan imaginaries and practices of diversity, corresponding to different scenarios on the European continent. These include syncretic memory place-making both in cities experiencing high migration in Western Europe and in cities featuring historical diversity challenged by conflict (Sarajevo), cosmopolitan enactments as part of practices of Europeanization (Alba Iulia), and transnational place-making (Barcelona and beyond), highlighting a diverse continent with localized, yet entangled memory practices.