Above: Austrian leaders show off treaty that guaranteed independence in 1955
York will play host to a workshop on cultural diversity in Central Europe this weekend in conjunction with celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Austria’s State Treaty and as part of York’s efforts to enhance the University’s international opportunities.
The workshop, which is sponsored by the Canadian Centre of German and European Studies at York (CCGES), York’s Division of Humanities, The Austrian Culture Forum and the Austrian Trade Commission in Toronto, will take place in 230 York Lanes on Friday and Saturday.
Titled “Sustaining Studies of Central European Cultural Diversity”, the workshop is intended to help participants move beyond area-based discussions of the topic by adopting the notions of diaspora, hybridity and border spaces championed by the journal spacesofidentity.net, a multidisciplinary international Web-based journal dedicated to issues of tradition, cultural boundaries and identity formation in Central and Eastern Europe.
The workshop, organized by Susan Ingram, coordinator of the European Studies Program in York’s Division of Humanities, brings some of the journal’s key contributors and editors from North America and Central Europe together with the York academic community, and members of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies in particular, in order to reflect upon theoretical and methodological frameworks adequate to explore the implications of ongoing discussions about a Central European culture space, formulate concrete research agendas and establish the framework for joint medium-scale research projects, and consider implications for teaching Central European culture within the framework of European Studies.
Adrian Shubert, York’s associate vice-president international, and Mark Webber, director of CCGES, will join Ingram in welcoming workshop participants immediately before the first session, titled “Probing the Centrality of Central Europe”, which begins Friday at 10:30am. Other sessions planned for the two-day workshop include:
- “Transnational Cultures of Migration”, Friday, 1:30-3pm
- “Hybrid Ethnicities in Theory and Practice”, Friday, 3:30-5pm
- “Central EU/ropean Cultural Imaginaries I: Austria vs. Hungary”, Saturday, 10-11:30am
- “Central EU/ropean Cultural Imaginaries II: Eurotrash”, Saturday, noon-1pm
Other events planned for the weekend include a reception, at 5pm Friday, with greetings from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science & Culture, and a spacesofidentity.net editorial meeting on Sunday from 2:30 to 4pm.
Workshop participants include speakers from universities in Canada, the US, Austria and Hong Kong. For more information, see the workshop program, which is available on the CCGES Web site.
Launched in 2001, the Web-journal spacesofidentity.net is a peer-reviewed Web journal and one of the material outcomes of a series of research projects funded by the Austrian Ministry of Education. These projects are part of the cultural studies research priorities initiated in 1998 by the Ministry’s Department of Social Sciences.
Contributions to the journal, which reaches out to the Central European academic communities on both sides of the Atlantic, have explored the cultural basis of post-Soviet symbolic geographies, investigated the (historically and culturally) constructed nature of common symbols and histories, and traced the multiple vectors of domination and resistance involved in their emergence. The journal focuses on migration patterns, diasporic experiences, urban lifestyles, multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity, both in Central European nations and cities and North American immigrant communities. It shares York’s vision of transnational studies as a concept that extends beyond geographical areas, in order to do justice to the complexities of ongoing cultural and political changes and find more adequate ways to think about, and teach, cultural spaces that are perpetually in motion.
About Susan Ingram
Professor Susan Ingram is coordinator of York’s European Studies Program in the Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, and a member of the editorial board of spacesofidentity.net. She currently teaches courses on romanticism, European studies and the literature and culture of Berlin. She is the author of Zarathustra’s Sisters: Women’s Autobiography and the Shaping of Cultural History (UTP, 2003) and the co-editor of several volumes on the cross-cultural constructions of Central Europe and North America and on the development of themed exhibitionary complexes in urban environments.