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  • 04
    SEP

    Identities in transit: the (re)connections and (re)brandings of Berlin's municipal railway infrastructure after 1989

    Advanced seminar arranged by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

    Speaker: Dr. Samuel Merrill
    Chair: Anne Kaun
    Discussant: Marco Nase
     

    In this seminar Dr. Samuel Merrill will approach urban railway infrastructures as landscapes in order to reveal their role as constructions and constructors of collective and individual identities. The notion of 'identities in transit', a rhetorical category that problematises the tendency to consider the nexus of urban infrastructure and identity formation only during discrete moments and in relation to abstract subjectivities, will be introduced.

    Specifically, the attention will be paid to the (re)connections and (re)brandings that Berlin's municipal railway infrastructure, the Stadtschnellbahn (S-Bahn) and Untergrundbahn (U-Bahn), experienced in the years surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall, and  their contribution to the formation of post-unification municipal identities. These discussions will be historicised and contextualised by an account of the consequences of Berlin's Cold War division on its transport infrastructure.

    The subsequent impact of the city's reunification and how the S- and U-Bahn became a means of constructing more unified municipal identities will also be considered. The process by which Berlin's municipal railway networks were reconnected after November 1989 is thus framed as a metaphor for both the different durations and protracted process of the city's reunification and the identities these gave rise to.

    Thereafter, Dr. Samuel Merrill will discuss how the rebranding strategy pursued by one of the city's municipal transport authorities provides one of the earliest examples of an attempt to manufacture a unified identity for the New Berlin. This will highlight that while processes at the municipal level emphasised the unification of collective identities, experiences of the infrastructures themselves often involved persisting divides and forms of subversion and social conflict that reveals the meeting of more diverse individual identities.

    Tid och plats

    När: måndag 4 september kl. 13:00-14:30

    Vad: högre seminarium

    Var: Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University

    Arrangeras av: The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University

    Evenemangsspråk: engelska