Sorbian/Wendish Cultural Revival in the Age of Globalization

Lecture | February 1 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Hélène Yèche, University of Poitiers

 Institute of European Studies, Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, GHI West, The Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington DC

Hélène Yèche will introduce the audience to the case study of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority living in today’s Germany. The Sorbian community of Lusatia recently developed a few important ways of preserving identity and culture in the context of globalization through language revitalization. Sorbian identity challenge is part of a global minority revival trend, which is not only taking place in Europe. The Wends of Texas – the descendants of more than 500 Wendish people who emigrated from Lusatia to Texas in 1854 under the leadership and pastoral care of John Kilian – are also currently struggling to regain knowledge about their Wendish origin and culture. Professor Yèche will investigate the Sorbian/Wendish cultural revival in an age of globalization as a possible context in which the voice of minority culture can be taken seriously.

Hélène Yèche is a Professor of German Studies at the University of Poitiers. Former student of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS Fontenay-Saint-Cloud, 1988-1992), she earned her PhD in contemporary East German Literature from the Paris IV-Sorbonne University in 1994. Main research areas include GDR culture and literature in the 1980s, as well as German post-wall cultural studies with a strong focus on the Sorbian minority.

 heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558