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Dr Michal Murawski
16 Taviton Street
Dr Michal Murawski profile picture
  • Associate Professor
Research Groups
Research Summary

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 Associate Professor in Critical Area Studies. 

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. 

Teaching Summary

In 2022-2023, I will be convening 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)

​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 seven 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)

Daria Anosova (expected 2026): informal arts and culture institutions in post-Soviet Ukraine

Armen Aramyan (expected 2026): corporate ideologies in post-Soviet advertising 

01-JUL-2017 – 31-AUG-2018 Visiting Research Fellow Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation
01-SEP-2016 – 31-AUG-2018 Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Department of Russian Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2016 – 31-AUG-2018 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies University College London, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2013 – 01-OCT-2014 Affiliated Lecturer in Social Anthropology Department of Archaeology and Anthropology University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2014   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
2008   Master of Philosophy University of Cambridge
2006   Bachelor of Arts School of Oriental and African Studies
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