UAB professor receives award to compare history, memory

Andrew Demshuk to spend a year comparing cities rebuilt after World War II.

andrew demshukAndrew Demshuk, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, has received a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award that will enable him to pursue a comparative history of post-1945 reconstruction and urban planning in three cities divided by Cold War borders — Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, Leipzig, East Germany, and Wrocław, western Poland.

The award is granted to researchers “whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future,” according to the website. Winners spend up to one year on a long-term research project with colleagues at a research institution in Germany.

Demshuk’s project is “Rebuilding after the Reich: Urban Reconstruction as Politics, Protest, and Memory in Frankfurt/Main, Leipzig, and Wrocław (1945-2015).” His work compares three cities that had been part of Germany before World War II, but were rebuilt under three differing regimes. From August 2014 through July 2015, he will tap into hardly assessed archival and other contemporary sources in several locations in Germany, most notably in Leipzig. He intends to measure the role of politics, protest and memory in the evolving discourses about reconstruction in particularly memory-laden sites in Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig and Breslau (Polish Wrocław after 1945).

Demshuk says this work, in addition to yielding data for a manuscript, articles and conference presentations, will offer new insights and approaches for his teaching.

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