Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Palimpsestic Memoryscape: Heterotopias, “Multiculturalism”, and Racism in the Polish Cityscape
19 October 2021 16.00 (EEST)
Tallinn University (online)
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In this talk, I will present an article that has recently been accepted for publication in the History & Memory journal. The article examines the palimpsestic memoryscape of Białystok, the largest city in northeast Poland, to illuminate the ongoing struggle in contemporary Poland between two memory regimes: the declarative “multiculturalism” and the submerged racism. It employs the concept of “heterotopia” as a theoretical device and walking as a method to study the Jewish Heritage Trail (JHT) as an attempt to recover the memory of bygone multiethnicity and, in doing so, to mint a new “multicultural” brand for the city. By analyzing the post-Jewish spaces located on the JHT—all of which have been appropriated, erased, and/or marginalized—the article shows that this new “multicultural” memory regime is shot through with racism, because it reproduces the inequalities and segregation that structured inter-ethnic relationships in the past.
Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius is Postdoctoral Researcher (Core Fellow) in media and communication at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. Having previously done research on ethical trade communication, she is currently working on a project concerning mediated racism and nationalism in Poland. Her articles have been published in journals across disciplines such as Nations and Nationalism, Globalizations, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, and Media and Communication.