This course explores the following paradox: peace settlements tend to reinforce and reinstate (inter)national borders but often leave cities divided, languishing – with their unresolved status – in the interstices of the international system. What is it like to live in such divided spaces? What kind of politics colors everyday life in divided cities? What kind of imaginaries do they foster? This course focuses on post-conflict politics in Belfast, Nicosia, Sarajevo & Mostar, and Jerusalem. Lectures and discussions about these cities will be informed by comparisons to other European cities, which were formally and/or informally divided in the past – Danzig/Gdansk (before WWII), Trieste (up to the 1950s), Vienna (between 1945 and 1955), Berlin (until 1989) – but also with cities historically segregated or divided or conjoined by class, race and/or imperial politics.
The course has an extensive reading list, complemented with films and examples of literary and visual arts produced in divided cities. While in many ways akin to a journey without travel, the course in fact focuses on temporal and spatial dimensions of power and violence – especially on the ways in which architecture and memory intersect to delimit horizons of (and create possibilities for) political action in contested places.