The Place of the Hasidic Pilgrimages in the Local Frames of Memory: cases of Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk and Uman

The GSSR announces the thirteenth in our new series of seminars addressed both to doctoral students and academic staff. The seminars aim to bring together students and established researchers working in the same field, thus promoting closer interaction and future collaboration between them.

During the seminars doctoral students present for discussion well-advanced research projects, with experienced scholars from various academic centres in Poland and abroad invited to take the role of commentators.

The seminars take place on the Zoom platform and are open to all.

This seminar is scheduled for November 16th, 11:00 Warsaw time (CET, GMT+1) with Alla Marchenko presenting the topic, “The Place of the Hasidic Pilgrimages in the Local Frames of Memory: cases of Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk and Uman”, and Prof. Marcin Wodziński (Wrocław University) and Dr. Marta Duch-Dyngosz (Humboldt University) as commentators

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Meeting ID: 841 5615 0094

Passcode: 251384


Chair: Naum Trajanowski

11:00 Introduction: Sławomir Kapralski (supervisor)

11.05  Seminar presentation: Alla Marchenko “The Place of the Hasidic Pilgrimages in the Local Frames of Memory: cases of Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk and Uman”

11.40  Comments from Marta Duch-Dyngosz

11:50 Comments from Marcin Wodziński

12.00 Discussion

12.15 Closing remarks

Next seminar:

December, 2021-  Damian Wyżkiewicz (details to be announced)


Alla Marchenko

In this presentation, I will discuss patterns of interactions between the official and vernacular memories in four towns connected to the Hasidic pilgrimage – Bobowa and Leżajsk in Poland, Belz and Uman in Ukraine. Results are based on the analysis of interviews with local memory keepers, observations, social media discussions, available archival documents, and surveys. Nisbet’s scheme of social interactions (Nisbet, 1970) was applied to cultural memory interactions (cooperation+exchange, competition, conflict and coercion). Concepts “memory regime” and “mnemonic actors” (Kubik & Bernhard, 2014) were applied to research of vernacular memories (surveys in Uman and Leżajsk).

A pattern of memory cooperation prevails in all towns of my research; however, it is realized in different contexts and with different instruments. Hasidic pilgrimages play specific roles in each town, constructing different meanings for different audiences. In Uman, the Hasidic pilgrimages have become the object of social tensions – both with memory keepers and inhabitants of the town. Politicians play active role in keeping and developing existing situation. In Leżajsk, the Hasidic pilgrimages have become the object of interest in the official narratives (as a mean to attract tourists in the town) and dissatisfaction among the inhabitants of the town. In Belz, they have become the object of interest and, previously, some hope (investments in the town, etc.) among the memory keepers and inhabitants. That hope seems to be lost in recent years, while the Hasidim come irregularly. In Bobowa, the Hasidic pilgrimages have become the object of formal pride in the official narratives and memory keeping, and an object of social distance among the inhabitants of the town.

In all mentioned localities, Hasidic pilgrimages are visible for memory keepers, and they are formally included into the general narratives; however, on an interpretation level there is a significant distance between memories connected with the Hasidim or Jews, in general, and a dominant population of each locality (Ukrainians in Ukraine, Poles in Poland). The Hasidic pilgrimages shape peculiarity of each town, which is reflected in most frames of memory (monuments, plaques, local newspapers, maps, events, etc.).

The New Projects Seminar is funded by Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju, the project “Humanities and Social Sciences for Society and Enterprise” (POWR.03.02.00-IP.08-I019/17). The project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund under the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development 2014 – 2020.

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