Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Border Narratives in Transnational Areas

Western Ukraine, 19th and 20th centuries

Dr. Alexander Kratochvil, Katharina Schwitin

In collaboration with Dr. des. Renata Makarska and Dr. Annette Werberger (both Slavisches Seminar der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

Mentoring: Prof. Dr. Schamma Schahadat (Slavisches Seminar der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)


Preliminary work on this project has led to the conclusion that transnational areas, in contrast to their national counterparts, reveal a multitude of internal borders; in texts these become visible or are concealed, metaphorized, banished, or measured. In this context, Western Ukraine, with its many invisible and visible inner (religious, ethnic, etc.) border demarcations and its historical placement, can be considered a late nineteenth and early twentieth century borderland par excellence: one often described historically as a transitional zone to “barbarism” or the “east,” and later promoted to the ideal of a borderless culturalism.

The stories and novels examined in this project (the texts are in Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Yiddish and German and either were written between 1900 and 1930 or refer directly to that period) can actually only contain indigenous material through external demarcation, for instance from other nations, the colonies, exotic loci, the Orient), to a limited extent. As an everyday neighbor, the alien, colonized other is always present.