PoSoCoMeS Online Seminar Series

“No Neighbors’ Lands in Postwar Europe. Vanishing Others”

Online | Monday, 2 October, 2023 5.30 pm CET

At the monthly PoSoCoMeS seminar, Anika Walke discusses the social aspects of the population movements in Europe during and after the Second World War with the editors of the book under discussion: “No Neighbors’ Lands in Postwar Europe. Vanishing Others”.
This book focuses on the social voids that were the result of occupation, genocide, mass killings, and population movements in Europe during and after the Second World War. Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists adopt comparative perspectives on those who now lived in ‘cleansed’ borderlands. Its contributors explore local subjectivities of social change through the concept of ‘No Neighbors’ Lands’: How does it feel to wear the dress of your murdered neighbor? How does one get used to friends, colleagues, and neighbors no longer being part of everyday life? How is moral, social, and legal order reinstated after one part of the community participated in the ethnic cleansing of another? How is order restored psychologically in the wake of neighbors watching others being slaughtered by external enemies? This book sheds light on how destroyed European communities, once multi-ethnic and multi-religious, experienced postwar reconstruction, attempted to come to terms with what had happened, and negotiated remembrance.

Zoom Meeting Link: Here

Anna Wylegała is a sociologist and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Her work focuses on the individual and collective memory in Poland and Ukraine, and on the social history of the II World War and the immediate postwar period. She is an author of “Displaced Memories: Remembering and Forgetting in Post-War Poland and Ukraine” (2019) and “Był dwór, nie ma dworu. Reforma rolna w Polsce” [There was an estate, there is no estate any more. Agricultural reform in Poland] (2021). She also co-edited two other volumes: “The Burden of the Past: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Ukraine” (2020), and “No Neighbors’ Lands: Vanishing Others in Postwar Europe”. Currently, she is a coordinator of the Polish part of the project “24.02.2022, 5 am: Testimonies from the War”, focused on the documenting of the Ukrainian experience of the current war.
Sabine Rutar is Senior Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg, Germany, where she works as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of Comparative Southeast European Studies. In 2022/23 she was interim Professor of Global History at the University of Potsdam. She recently coordinated a thematic cluster on “Nationalism, (Anti-)Communism, and Violence in the European Cold War” published in Slavic Review. In her forthcoming monograph “Work and Resistance Under Hitler and Tito. Mining and Maritime Industries in Yugoslavia, 1940s–1960s” she compares microhistories of industrial labor during World War II and the early Cold War. She is co-editor, with Anna Wylegała and Małgorzata Łukianow, of “No Neighbors’ Lands: Vanishing Others in Postwar Europe”.
Małgorzata Łukianow is an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Warsaw and the Center for Research on Social Memory. Earlier, she was an assistant professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and a research assistant at Chemnitz University of Technology. Co-chair of the Polish regional group of the Memory Studies Association. She is co-editor of the volume (with Anna Wylegała and Sabine Rutar) “No Neighbors’ Lands in Postwar Europe” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) and the monograph on personal documents in the pandemic “Pamiętniki Pandemii” (Krytyka Polityczna 2022). She is interested in memory studies, sociology of knowledge and sociology of culture. She is currently conducting research on the Russian imperial heritage in Poland and discourses related to it. She is also collecting oral history accounts of war refugees from Ukraine to Poland within the initiative “24.02.2022, 5 am: Testimonies from the War”
Anika Walke is the Georgie W. Lewis Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis. Walke’s research and teaching interests include World War II and Nazi genocide, migration, nationality policies, and oral history in the (former) Soviet Union and Europe, and she has published many articles and book chapters on related themes. Her book, Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia (Oxford University Press, 2015), weaves together oral histories, video testimonies, and memoirs to show how the first generation of Soviet Jews experienced the Nazi genocide and how they remember it after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. From 2014 to 2022, Walke served as Co-PI of “The Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events,” an NEH-funded endeavor of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative to develop a Historical GIS of Nazi-era ghettos in Eastern Europe. A current research project is devoted to the long aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II in Belarus, a recently published article named “Testimony in Place: Witnessing the Holocaust in Belarus” (East European Jewish Affairs, 52:1 (2022)) offers some preliminary insights into this work. At the moment, Dr. Walke is looking forward to being a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies at Freiburg University in 2024