New project: After 1918: Changing Situation of Minorities in Mid-war Urban Space

The aim of the project is to create a web based tool focusing on the post 1918 developments regarding ethnic minorities in the Visegrad region. It compares changing ethnic composition of 10 cities in V4 that have been cultural capitals in the post 1918 period. The web tool will capture the interwar period characterized by important transformations in ethnic minorities' representation in cities. Its main goal is to offer its users a combination of interactive maps and funded analytical material. Using interactive methods, it covers changes in minorities’ representation in urban spaces of the most important cultura1 and social centres of what are currently the V4 countries. As such, it is envisioned to serve as a tool for conveying insights not only about the distant past, but also for understanding its legacy in the region's more recent history.

Web based interaction map
The web based tool will contain interactive maps conveying the transformation of the various ethnic minorities' representation in selected in V4 countries (large cities and important regional cultural centres). The design of the interactive maps will be based on current urban composition with ethnic reality of early post 1918 period. Areas in which the respective minorities lived in the selected cities are highlighted, while it is going to be possible to change the captured time period and observe the changes in the representation of minorities.

Events linked with 1918 are often perceived and evaluated with nostalgia about multiethnic Central Europe. In addition to that, in case of Czechoslovakia and Poland, the year 1918 is also viewed as a flash point of democratic processes which began in 19th century. Therefore, historic heritage is sometimes flattened into nostalgic perspective, which offers a complex picture of an era that has significantly shaped Central European states. A following text aims to draw an attention to structurally difficult situation on local level in specifically chosen cities. When leaving out the narrative of Czechoslovakian and Polish state-building on national level, we get a complicated picture of ethnic belonging with various centrifugal tendencies.
There have been tendencies of political elites and a society after 1989 to look up to the period after 1918 as an ideal of democratic regime, in which the main role was played by nation that had been more or less suppressed until the year of 1918. Nowadays, those formerly suppressed nations of V4 countries are now at the crossroads and all of them are taking different direction. It will be fully up to them how they exploit their position. However, the countries share a common basis of their destiny which came after 1945. This shared history includes gradual disappearing of ethnic minorities and political and social attention consecutively focusing on one and only dominant ethnic group, not on historical ties. By this process, the idea about how the cities of Central Europe actually looked like is disappearing. Therefore, a detailed insight into chosen cities uncovers a starting position in which the narratives of national states have been developed in everyday life.

With regard to above mentioned, it is necessary to ask these basic questions.

Why to focus on the 1918?
Erosion of the Hapsburg Empire and its implications to constitute nations in Poland and Czechoslovakia, with different impact on Hungary; founding of Poland and Czechoslovakia as a results of long term aims of Slavic nations in region of CEE.
Why to focus on regional level?
Need to discover social, cultural, and political conditions in the 1918 on regional level that executed creation of institutions of newly founded states; divergent tendencies on national and regional level: shaping national states in in multi-ethnic context on regional level
Why V4 approach:
Is each country a different story? How to conceptualize daily nationalism on regional level in public administration and culture?

We will provide further update in September 2017