Travel, technology and political developments have brought increasing interaction between countries and cultures around the globe. The dissolution of the USSR, the reunification of Germany and the expansion of the European Union have led to the creation of new political and economic structures, and have brought Canada into intensified interaction with Central and Eastern Europe. These developments have once more underlined the importance of language competence and cultural literacy for international understanding. Manitoba has large populations of Slavic and German descent, whose numbers have been boosted by waves of recent arrivals. These are among the reasons why in the Department we believe that the study of languages and cultures offers both an opportunity for personal enrichment and the possibility of a rewarding career.
Students in our Department can concentrate on the national tradition of Germany, Russia, Ukraine or Poland. Or they can take an interdisciplinary approach by majoring in Central and East European Studies. A degree in Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies, and courses in Yiddish language are also available.
Elena Baraban (Russian Studies)
Research on representations of war in literature, cinema, and popular culture. Particular emphasis on Soviet and post-Soviet representations of World War II and formation of collective identity; on the Russian/Soviet cultural memory, gender studies, and on individual and collective trauma because of war and human rights violations (in particular in World War II). Specific focus on inter-cultural representations of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, of perpetrator or victim (questions of morality/ideology and war). Co-editor of Fighting Words and Images: Representing War across the Disciplines (Úniversity of Toronto Press, 2012), as well as articles/book chapters on representations/effects of World War II.
Alexandra Heberger (German Studies)
Current book projects on the work of controversial writers Edgar Hilsenrath and Elfriede Jelinek. Hilsenrath is a Holocaust survivor who deals with the topic of National Socialism in satirical ironic and humourous texts. Elfriede Jelinek is the Nobel-prize winning Austrian writer whose work focuses on power relationships in politics and in private life. Heberger’s work focuses on Jelinek’s critique of fascism. Heberger has published extensively on literary representations of Nazism, including the books Der Mythos Mann in ausgewählten Prosawerken von Elfriede Jelinek (The Myth of Man in the Works of Elfriede.Jelinek) (2002) and Faschismuskritik und Deutschlandbild in den Romanen von Irmgard Keun Nach Mitternacht und Edgar Hilsenrath Der Nazi und der Friseur: Ein Vergleich. (Critiques of Fascism and Images of Germany in the Novels of Irmgard Keun and Edgar Hilsenrath) (2002).
Stephan Jaeger (German Studies, Mauro Centre)
Research on “Representations of War,” especially historiographical representations in German and European literature, film, historiography, and museums. Particular interest on the theory and aesthetics of representation between ideological/moral, epistemological, and aesthetic challenges of representation (how do moral/legal definitions of war/human rights relate to war’s representation?). Special areas: 21st century representations of World War II in the museum; 21st century representations of the air-war in World War II (human rights question for the air war/morality of war and ideology/discrimination inherent in its representation/relation civilians – combatants; perpetrator – victim, bombing of Dresden); relation of Holocaust and war representations. Co-editor of Sign of Wars (Ludwig 2006, in German) and Fighting Words and Images: Representing War across the Disciplines (University of Toronto Press 2012), Special Issue of Seminar: German Representations of War Experience (forthcoming 2014) as well as numerous articles/book chapters on war representation in the 18th century and on World War II. Co-coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Network “War and Violence” of the German Studies Association.
Myroslav Shkandrij (Ukrainian Studies)
From the earliest cave paintings to the Obama “hope” poster, the arts have powerfully documented the political state of affairs. Dr. Myroslav Shkandrij’s research traces literary and fine art depictions of slavic relations to show how they reflect the political climate of their day.
His most recent book, Ukrainian Nationalism: Politics, Ideology and Literature, 1929-1956, deals with the evolution of 20th-century nationalism and ways it has been represented.
In Jews in Ukrainian Literature: Representation and Identity, Shkandrij showcases major writers and trends in Jewish-Ukrainian relations over the last two centuries.
He has also written on the Great Famine (Holodomor) that occurred in Ukraine from 1932-1934, and on the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Dr. Shkandrij has also curated a number of art exhibitions dealing with the avant-garde that flowered in Ukraine in the 1920s. These include Futurism and After: David Burliuk, 1882-1967 (2008) and The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-Garde, 1910-35(2001), both of which opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery before travelling.