Theme I: The Incredible Cosmopolitanism of Wroclaw

Editor’s Note

The incredible part of Wroclaw’s story—here retold through the editorial vision of the city’s Mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz (2002–2018)—is its ability to project itself into the progressive reaches of the twenty-first century while not forgetting its cultural past. The 14 short essays on Wroclaw attest to its resilience through time, its destruction during the Second World War and rejuvenation thereafter, and its subsequent transformation into a pan-European city after the fall of the Soviet led communist bloc. The ‘incredible’ cosmopolitanism is of a city that over the last 1,000 years has known both Europe’s traditions and modernities: its wars, destructions, and upheavals; its humanism and religions; and its sense of community—Silesian, German, Polish, East European, and now that of the European Union. It rightfully earned its place in 2016 as a European Capital of Culture.

doi: 10.18278/aia.4.2.2

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Theme II: Reflections on Borders

Editor’s Note

This theme reflects on the glues and fissures of cosmopolitanism. Saeed bin Mohammed forwards a discussion of cosmopolitanism as a “theoretical framework” but one that attends to issues of justice, openness, and inclusion through the post-war figure of UNESCO. Renée Marlin-Bennett speaks to the borders that cosmopolitanism traverses. She describes the “the emotional resonances of borders, the places in which one ontology—one state of being—is exchanged for or gives way to or is taken over by another.” Joanna Zielińska visits the medieval city of Sarajevo literally through a different lens. Her documentary and commentary present Sarajevo through the voices of six women and the feminine narrative that is often overlooked in the cultural histories of cities. Sascha Priewe discusses the cultural roots of cities to then address the pathologies they face. He writes that “to deal with the challenges that cities and the world are facing, to stem the populist tide and to manage life alongside one another in the densest and most connected human agglomerations, a systematic and holistic approach to culture and its global dimensions needs to happen.” The way to move forward is through networks of cultural diplomacy. The World Cities Culture Forum is an example. 

doi: 10.18278/aia.4.2.21