Mysteriously, some VU University faculty members and VAMA teachers still manage to find or make time to write books. In November, Amsterdam University Press published Koos Bosma‘s book Shelter City: Protecting Citizens Against Air Raids, which examines air-raid protection plans and structures in Europe between 1933 and 1945. “Air Raid Protection represented an era: a mode of thought, a political and administrative concept, and a collection of technical and organisational measurements to protect citizens against attacks from the air. This book offers an interpretation of the Dutch, English and German air raid protection systems, and the construction of a Shelter City, parallel to the existing city. The reconstruction of Shelter City, of which some remnants still present themselves as theatrical memories or enjoy a fragmented existence in deeper layers of the earth, could be characterised with a medical metaphor: the historian must scan the urban body in order to imagine Shelter City. This insightful study explores the hidden traces of war, outlining ways of dealing with the physical remnants of air raid protection, which have long been useless but are still part of our landscapes.”
In March, Duke University Press will publish Ginette Verstreate‘s Tracking Europe. “Tracking Europe is a bold interdisciplinary critique of claims regarding the free movement of goods, people, services, and capital throughout Europe. Ginette Verstraete interrogates European discourses on unlimited movement for everyone and a utopian unity-in-diversity in light of contemporary social practices, cultural theories, historical texts, media representations, and critical art projects. Arguing against the persistent myth of borderless travel, Verstraete shows the discourses on Europe to be caught in an irresolvable contradiction on a conceptual level and in deeply unsettling asymmetries on a performative level. She asks why the age-old notion of Europe as a borderless space of mobility goes hand-in-hand with the at times violent containment and displacement of people.”
The spring will also see the publication of History in Motion by Sven Lütticken (Sternberg Press), which deals with the current “economy of time,” marked as it is by ubiquitous real-time media, and its impact on the representation and the production of history. More on that publication at some future moment.