Repositioning the Lusatian Sorbs in Post-reunification Germany: Demands, Support, and Migration

Upcoming Events Login

Monday, September 16th, 2019

DateTimeLocation
Monday, September 16, 20194:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
+ Register for this Event Print this Event Bookmark this Event

Description

The Sorbs of Lusatia are a Slavic minority community which has traditionally lived in parts of present-day Saxony and Brandenburg in Germany. Their identity is primarily expressed through the use of Upper and Lower Sorbian, West Slavic languages currently spoken by approximately 20,000 people in total. It is also reflected in these individuals’ self-identification as Sorbs, as members of the Sorbian society, who cultivate and receive Sorbian culture, wear Sorbian costumes, attend Sorbian religious services or participate in the teaching of Sorbian.

In my talk, I will discuss a number of factors that play a role in the maintenance of the Sorbian identity. These include the political representation of Sorbian interests on the state level, education (from preschools to elementary and high schools), higher education and research, religion, media (magazines, newspapers, radio, television, internet) and cultural institutions (music ensembles, book publishers, museums, theaters).
I will also explore the conditions necessary for the maintenance of the Sorbian language, culture and identity. Above all, and as history has shown, the state must be able to create policies which promote a minority-friendly atmosphere. Every citizen living in a bilingual territory is deserving of support. However, from the more contemporary perspective, the efforts for the continued existence of the Sorbian people can only succeed if their own initiatives, the tolerance and support of these initiatives from all citizens, and initiatives favoring government intervention work in cooperation with one another.

The Sorbs’ own efforts will be able to develop only to the degree that they are accepted by the German population, as the minority is always dependent on the goodwill of the majority. The specific situation of the Sorbs as an ethnic group lacking a “home country” in which they would be the majority is accompanied by the fact that, to date, no adequate answers to many fundamental questions have been found.


Speakers

Timo Meškank
Institute for Sorbian Studies, University of Leipzig


Main Sponsor

Joint Initiative in German and European Studies

Sponsors

German Academic Exchange Service

Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies


If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.