Dr Michal Murawski
Lecturer in Critical Area Studies
- Joined UCL
- 1st Sep 2014
I am an anthropologist of architecture and of cities based at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, where I am Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Critical Area Studies. During 2017-2018, I carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Moscow, where I was Visiting Professsor at the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism, Higher School of Economics.
My work focuses on the complex social lives of monumental buildings and on the architecture and planning of Eastern European communism. I am especially interested in the powerful - and subversive - impacts that communist-era built environments continue to exert on the capitalist cities of the 21st century.
I received my PhD in social anthropology from Cambridge University in February 2014. My dissertation was about the Palace of Culture and Science, a vast Stalin-era skyscraper 'gifted' to Poland by the Soviet Union in 1955. My book on capitalist Warsaw's self-perceived 'obsession' with the Stalinist Palace, entitled Palace Complex, was published by Indiana University Press in March 2019. My Warsaw research has also resulted in several articles and book chapters, while my Polish-language book about the Palace was published by the Museum of Warsaw in July 2015.
I am currently conducting a major research project on the urbanism of Putin-era Moscow, funded during 2016-2019 by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (held first at Queen Mary, University of London and subsequently at SSEES). In 2018, I co-curated the exhibition Portal Zaryadye - featuring 18 new works by Russian artists exploring the relationship between architecture, politics and ecology in contemporary Russia - at the State Shchusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow.
I am Director of UCL's FRINGE Centre the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity; and co-convener (with Denis Maksimov and Masha Mileeva) of Perverting the Power Vertical (PPV), a nomadic research and event platform based at UCL. In 2020, PPV curated PiraMMMida.life, a virtual mutation of a show planned for that year's postponed Venice Biennale of Architecture; in 2019, PPV co-curated The Palace of Ritual in Venice's Palazzo Dona Brusà, held during the preview week of the 58th Venice Biennale of Art.
In 2021-2022, I will be teaching students for the following MA and BA courses at UCL:
Cities in Eastern Europe (BA+MA course, SSEES), course coordinator, lecturer, seminar instructor
Interdisciplinary Area Studies: Critical Area Studies (MPhil+PhD course, SSEES, course coordinator, lecturer, seminar instructor)
Researching Politics and Society (BA dissertation preparation and methods course, SSEES, course coordinator, lecturer)
Qualitative Methods (MA course, SSEES), lecturer, seminar instructor
I have supervised MA and BA dissertations at UCL SSEES, UCL Anthropology, the Bartlett, Cambridge and the Higher School of Urban Studies at the Moscow Higher School of Economics.
I am open to inquiries from prospective PhD students looking to work on architecture, urbanism, art and material culture in the socialist and post-socialist world.
I am currently supervising five PhD students:
Elena Agofonova (expected 2023): Norms and regulations in Soviet housing 1970-2017 (UCL Bartlett, with Iain Borden)
Kelsey Weber (expected 2022): Tatar Muslim women in Poland (Anthropology/SSEES, with Ruth Mandel)
Oliver Banatvala (expected 2024): Shopping malls in post-Soviet Russia (SSEES/Bartlett, with Murray Fraser)
Kitty Brandon-James (expected 2024): art tusovki in post-Soviet Russia (SSEES/Courtauld, with Sarah Wilson)
Makar Tereshin (expected 2024): space scavengers in Russia/Kazakhstan (SSEES/Anthropology, with Victor Buchli)
- University of Cambridge
- Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2014
- University of Cambridge
- Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 2008
- School of Oriental and African Studies
- First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 2006