Mapping Warsaw: The Spatial Poetics of a Postwar City (Paperback)

Mapping Warsaw: The Spatial Poetics of a Postwar City By Ewa Wampuszyc Cover Image

Mapping Warsaw: The Spatial Poetics of a Postwar City (Paperback)

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Inspired by the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences, Mapping Warsaw is an interdisciplinary study that combines urban studies, cinema studies, cultural studies, history, literature, and photography. It examines Warsaw's post-World War II reconstruction through images and language.

Juxtaposing close readings of photo books, socialist-era newsreels called the Polska Kronika Filmowa, the comedies of Leonard Buczkowski and Jan Fethke, the writing and films of Tadeusz Konwicki, and a case study on the Palace of Culture and Science—a "gift" from none other than Stalin—this study investigates the rhetorical and visual, rather than physical, reconstruction of Warsaw in various medias and genres. 

Ewa Wampuszyc roots her analysis in the historical context of the postwar decade and shows how and why Poland's capital became an essential part of a propaganda program inspired by communist ideology and the needs of a newly established socialist People's Republic. Mapping Warsaw demonstrates how physical space manifests itself in culture, and how culture, history, and politics leave an indelible mark on places. It points out ways in which we take for granted our perception of space and the meanings we assign to it.
EWA WAMPUSZYC has taught Polish language, literature, and culture at the University of Florida, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Product Details ISBN: 9780810137899
ISBN-10: 0810137895
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: October 15th, 2018
Pages: 240
Language: English
"Mapping Warsaw uncovers the dominant narratives that Poland's Communist regime crafted from the ruins of Warsaw to legitimize its political authority. Wampuszyc explores this dynamic in a number of places in Warsaw, but most richly in her highly insightful discussion of the capital's most famous building —the towering Palace of Culture and Science, Stalin's gift to Poland. While situated within the field of East European studies, this book makes a broad contribution to the study of how regimes deploy narratives to gain political support and how those narratives collapse when exposed as such." —Michael Meng, author of Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland

“Combining original, up-to-date research and expert knowledge of Polish political and cultural contexts, Mapping Warsaw makes a significant contribution to Polish and Central European studies.” –Marek Haltof, author of Screening Auschwitz: Wanda Jakubowska’s The Last Stage and The Politics of Commemoration

"In recent months, the contentiousness of space—and the ideological narratives reflected in our spaces/places—has come to the forefront of our contemporary political discussions. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent waves of Black Lives Matter demonstrations throughout the United States (and much of the world), serious and important questions have been raised about to whom society should build its monuments and after whom society should name its streets and buildings. These, of course, are not new questions. And while Ewa Wampuszyc’s Mapping Warsaw: The Spatial Poetics of a Postwar City could have never anticipated the political moment in which we currently find ourselves, her book’s excellent treatment of Warsaw’s spatial reconstruction after the Second World War can certainly remind of us that the 'spatiality of place is ever-changing,' as well as offer us a fantastic historical example of how ideology constantly informs the creation and evolution of a city’s topography." —Matthew D. Mingus, H-Maps