Estonian – German – Russian.
Representations in literature and media of a tense cultural relationship.
in cooperation with the Seminar für deutsche Philologie at the University of Göttingen
Venue: University of Tartu, Department of German Studies
Date: October 8-9 2015
Organization: Silke Pasewalck, Anna Bers, Reet Bender
Estonian, German and Russian – these three languages have been considered as "kolm kohalikku keelt" – three local languages – in Estonia until the Estonian Republic, and until today the language-trio has left its traces on the region’s linguistic and cultural landscape. Hence the changing colonial forms of power relationships starting with the colonization of Eastern Europe, the belonging to the Russian Empire until the German occupation and the Soviet times, have led to asymmetries in the relation between the cultures and languages that are not understood in a value-free way but have until today evaluative connotations.
How has the tense relationship between the Estonian, (Baltic-)German and Russian culture been represented and reflected in the historical regions Estonia and Livonia, in 20th century’s and contemporary’s Estonia, including Soviet Estonia, in the field of literature and media? What kind of auto- and heterostereotypes can be found in the Baltic German, Estonian and Russian literature in the past and in the present, and how are the intercultural relations realized or expressed, e.g. in Siegfried von Vegesack’s Baltische Tragödie (1935), in Edzard Schaper’s Der Henker (1940), in the work of Anton Hansen Tammsaare (e.g. Ma armastasin sakslast; ger. Ich liebte eine Deutsche, 1935), Jaan Kross (e.g. in his novel Keisri hull; ger. Der Verrückte des Zaren, 1978), Viivi Luik (e.g. Seitsmes rahukevad; ger. Der siebte Friedensfrühling, 1991), Ene Mihkelson (Katkuhaud, 2007), Andrei Hvostov (e.g. Sillamäe passioon, 2011) and Meelis Friedenthal (Mesilased; eng. Bees, 2012)?
How is the relation between the three languages and/or cultures mirrowed in popular culture, in films (e.g. Ristituules/In the crosswind, 2014; Poll, 2010 etc.) or in media coverage in the past and today? And how can the relation be described from an ever broader perspective – in semiotics of space – examining inscriptions on memorials, buildings, memorial tablets, cemeteries, the language policy of the University of Tartu etc.? And how finally the historical narratives and historical myths that are related to these languages and cultures stand to each other?