12. October | 2016

Picking Up the Pieces from the Communist Past. Transitional Heritage in Post 1989 Romania and Germany

IRS Seminar with Laura Demeter

Starting from the premises that not everything is heritage nor will acquire the
official recognition as heritage, but anything has the potential to become heritage, in my research I introduce the analysis of “transitional heritage” in the context of post-authoritarian societies. This aims at providing a better understanding of the conditions affecting heritage processes, in particular in countries emerging from post-authoritarian regimes of governance, and which subsequently engaged on the paths to society democratisation. Hence a critical approach to heritage making processes, and discourses emerging in former socialist countries such as Romania and Germany immediately after the political shift of 1989, is proposed for the analysis.

Various case studies from Bucharest and Berlin will reveal the complex mechanisms involved in the process of heritage making and its contesting, when dealing with the legacies of the communist regimes. This is relevant to be highlighted in order to better understand current failures or successes of the decisions affecting heritage preservation in the above-mentioned countries. In line with the discourse encouraged by the critical heritage studies, this research proposes an alternative to analysing and understanding heritage mechanisms within fragile political contexts, and by doing so is questioning the globally promoted “authorised heritage discourse” (Smith, 2006).


Laura is currently a PhD Candidate in the field of Management and Development of Cultural Heritage at IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy. She is conducting her research on the Critical Assessment of Mechanisms of Heritisation of the Communist Past, by analysing contested case studies for preservation in Bucharest and Berlin. Her areas of interests range from mechanisms of heritigisation, value creation, preservation, conservation, museum studies, to memory and identity building discourses, Communism and Eastern Europe. She receveid her Master’s Degree in World Heritage Studies (UNESCO) at the Brandenburg University in Cottbus Germany, Bachelor Degree in Arts and Italian at the Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany and the Diploma Degree in History at the Bucharest University, Romania.

About the event

Wednesday, 12. October 2016
14:00 -16:00
Pavilion, Leibniz Institute
for Research on Society and Space

More Information

Research Areas