Nathaniel WoodFeb 23, 2012
Urban Selfhood and the Making of Modern Cracow
Northern Illinois University Press 2010
When I began my graduate history, virtually all my fellow apprentice historians of eastern Europe were captivated by nationalism and focused their research accordingly. Of particular interest was how people from nobles to peasants came to identify themselves as part of a common national identity as society modernized. Nathaniel Wood was as caught up in this trend as the rest of us, but as he began his research of the nascent boulevard press in Cracow, he discovered a quite different identity issue was of central concern, what it meant for Cracow and Cracovians that their city was becoming a metropolitan center. In Becoming Metropolitan: Urban Selfhood and the Making of Modern Cracow (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010) Wood tells an engaging story about how Cracow, a city associated more with the glories of its medieval past adapted to modernity, expanding its geographical boundaries, adopted to new transportation technologies like the electric tram and the car, and came to be seen by its citizens as part of a larger community of large cities throughout Europe.