Le Normand, Brigitte

Associate Professor of History

University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada


Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2007/2008

Ph.D. Institution

University of California, Los Angeles , United States


I am a native of the city of Montreal Canada.  I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History from McGill University (2000) and a Master of Arts in Russian and East European studies from the University of Toronto (2002).  For my Masters research I focused on the representation of the Second World War in Croatian school textbooks, later expanding the project to compare Croatian and Serbian textbooks.
In 2002 I joined the History program at the University of California, Los Angeles, obtaining a Master of Arts in 2004 and a Ph.D. in the summer of 2007 under the supervision of Ivan Berend.  In 2005-2006, I was a visiting fellow of the Institute for the Recent History of Serbia, in Belgrade.
My dissertation research was funded by a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. My dissertation, entitled “Raising the Phoenix: the Wax and Waning of Modernist Urban Planning in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1945-1972” investigated the role of various actors in shaping urban planning policy in Yugoslavia’s capital during a period of rapid social change.  Yugoslavia’s policy-makers saw Modernism in architecture and urban planning as a means of forcing through cultural and economic modernization.  However, my research shows how the profound social and economic transformations set in motion by Tito’s regime – including the arrival of impoverished peasants in the city, on the one hand, and the rise in the standard of living, on the other – put a serious strain on urban planning projects, eventually discrediting the Modernist vision of the late 1940s and 1950s.
I discuss some of my findings in a recent article in East Central Europe, and will be contributing an article to a special issue of Informationen zur Modernen Stadtgeschichte on Southern European cities.
As a Max Weber fellow, I wish to explore some of the avenues opened by my research, including the effects of urban planning and other factors on the individual neighborhoods of Belgrade and on the identities of their inhabitants, and more specifically the role of consumption in shaping these identities.
My teaching interests include urban history, the history of state-socialism, and the related topics of identity, ethnicity and nationalism.

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