Migration, Transfers, Cultural Contact

Former group leaders:Prof. Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer, Prof. Dr. Björn Hansen

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 members:

Kathleen Beger, M.A.
Kleine Bürger für die große Zukunft: Sowjetische Einrichtungen für Kinder und Jugendliche im Vergleich (1925-1965)

Petar Kehayov, PhD
Grammars in Language Death: Finnic-Russian Contact Interfaces

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

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
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
Historiker als Mittler des Kulturtransfers. Polnische Historiographie im amerikanischen Exil, 1939-1989