Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Migration, Transfers, Cultural Contact

The study group comprised doctoral students, postdocs and principal investigators from two disciplines: history and linguistics. Our main points of interest were the encounters of (and the transfers between) people, cultures and languages. Encounters bring about communication as well as miscommunication, increase as well as loss of shared information. Failed recognition of a common historical experience (often a result of miscommunication), or conversely, recognition and consolidation around common experience, has direct impact on the preservation or disintegration of cultural and linguistic identifications.

Cases of information loss are for example fading migrant memories, obsolescence of traditional cultural practices or reduction and loss of grammatical categories in language contact. A process of information reduction may, however, give rise to new complex phenomena as well. Examples from linguistics are the innovations occurring in the grammar of semi-speakers of dying languages. In migration contexts, the detachment from the original cultural and social context is often linked to the emergence of new identifications and patterns of interaction. Furthermore, cultural and linguistic transfers often bring as a counter-reaction conscious revitalization and renewal attempts; examples include deriving novel identity anchors on the basis of shared fragments of common memory, imagining of stable though trans-territorial "national bodies" or introducing new grammatical structures on the basis of archaic or reconstructed forms.

As historians and linguists we merged our expertise and strove for synergy as regards both theory and practice. The practical consideration behind our cooperation included the exchange of methodological know-how (e.g. data extraction, sampling, reductionist techniques, patterns of logical reasoning, and methods for identification of recurrent patterns). The theoretical interfaces between our disciplines and individual research projects included issues related to complexity, illocutionary acts and performativity (both in narrative discourse and grammar), as well as common interest for those cognitive capacities that are crucial in information processing, reduction and renewal.

Former group leaders:

Former members and projects:

  • Dr. Katharina Anna Aubele
    The Commitment of Displaced Women in the Early Years of the Federal Republic of Germany within Religious Institutions, Refugee Organizations and Politics
  • Kathleen Beger, M.A.
    Kleine Bürger für die große Zukunft: Sowjetische Einrichtungen für Kinder und Jugendliche im Vergleich (1925-1965)
  • Dr. Beate Feldmeier, Dipl.-Math.
    Language contact and courtesy: Reflection and use of the salutary strategies of Czech migrants in German-speaking countries
  • Petar Kehayov, PhD
    Grammars in Language Death: Finnic-Russian Contact Interfaces
  • Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács
    Central Europe's Starving Children: Humanitarian Child Relief in Budapest after WWI
  • Ana-Teodora Kurkina, M.A.
    Intelligentsia in Exile. Bulgarian Revolutionary Emigration in the Second Half of the XIX Century and the Projects for a Balkan Federation
  • Henner Kropp, M.A.
    The Colonists in Russian-America and the Imperial Expansion of Russia and the United States of America, 1787-1867.
  • Bajro Murić, M.A.
    Exploring Family Language Policy, Linguistic Repertoires and Identity Construction of the Bosnian Immigrant Population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • Jakub Sawicki, M.A.
    Esskulturen im modernen Nachkriegseuropa. Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Deutsche Demokratische Republik und Volksrepublik Polen 1965-1975 im Vergleich
  • Sophie Straube, M.A.
    Transformation der Diaspora. Polen, die politische Emigration und die Amerikanische Polonia 1989-2004
  • Dr. Karina Shyrokykh
    Challenges of illiberal multilateralism: The role of Russian-led international and regional organizations in regime stability and change
  • Oana-Valentina Sorescu-Iudean, M.A.
    The Evolution of Testamentary Behavior in Eighteenth Century Hermannstadt (Sibiu)
  • Dr. Jasper Trautsch
    Remapping the Euro-Atlantic World and Imagining ‚the West’: The Spatial Reordering of Europe and North America, 1945-1957
  • Dóra Vuk, M.A.
    Kongruenz in der kroatischen Herkunftssprache in Ungarn und Österreich
  • Veronika Wald, M.A.
    Valenzstrukturen im russisch-deutschen Sprachkontakt
  • Kai Johann Willms, M.A.
    Historiker als Mittler des Kulturtransfers. Polnische Historiographie im amerikanischen Exil, 1939-1989