UC Santa Cruz
Urban Space and National Memory: The Narratives of Berlin, Prague, and Gdańsk
- Author(s): Smeltzer, Erica Gale
- Advisor(s): Godzich, Wlad
- et al.
This interdisciplinary dissertation examines the built and written topographies of three cities central to the contested histories and national narratives of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Using a variety of texts—novels and poetry as well as urban planning documents and submissions to architectural competitions—I show how the narratives of these cities reflect different modes of navigating national trauma and identity creation. I explore how these spaces, often divided culturally and physically, are used to construct national historical narratives and project ideal futures. The dissertation maps narrative tropes such as metaphor/metamorphosis, synecdoche, and kitsch onto physical and literary urban topography to suggest how these tropes’ unique representations of time act as sutures for each city’s particular social and historical traumas.