Transnational Comradeship: South Africa and Central Europe – research seminar
Data: 19.10.2023 - 20.10.2023
Miejsce: Collegium Novum (Room 30)
The aim of this research seminar is to investigate South Africa’s multifaceted engagement and dialogue with Central Europe – its history, culture, literary production, and heritage. How have South Africans understood, perceived, and conceptualised Central Europe over the decades? Has its singular status, famously theorised by the likes Milan Kundera, Claudio Magris, or Maria Todorova, been sufficiently acknowledged in South Africa? Or, alternatively, has Central Europe suffered from being considered part of the so-called “East,” a mere supplement to the study of Russian/Soviet influences on South Africa? What kind of role has it played in South African cultural production and how to explain Central Europe’s appeal to a number of iconic South African writers and artists such as J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, or William Kentridge? Was the creative conversation with Central Europe a way to de-provincialise one’s own oeuvre? Should it be understood as an attempt to seek alternative alliances and genealogies, as the search for phantasmagorical home? What are the possible parallels between South Africa and Central Europe (e.g. their hinternationalism; being subjected to repeated acts of colonisation; subversive “provincialism” and “peripherality”)? Finally, has the South African–Central European comradeship been a reciprocal relationship?