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)
Research on “Representations of War,” especially historiographical representations in German and European museums, literature, film, and historiography. 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?). Discussion of representations of ‘difficult knowledge’ between history and human rights/social justice. 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. Author of The Second World War in the Twenty-First Century Museum: From Memory, Narrative, and Experience to Experientiality (de Gruyter 2020). Co-editor of Views of Violence: Representing the Second World War in German and European Museums and Memorials (Berghahn 2019), a special issue of Seminar: German Representations of War Experience (2014), and Fighting Words and Images: Representing War across the Disciplines (University of Toronto Press 2012), as well as numerous articles/book chapters on war representation in the 18th century and on World War II.
(Professor Emeritus, Ukrainian and Russian Studies)
Dr. Myroslav Shkandrij’s research has examined human right issues through the prisms of literature, politics and art in Eastern Europe.
He has published books on Revolutionary Ukraine 1917-2017 (2019), Avant-Garde Art in Ukraine 1910-1930 (2019), Ukrainian Nationalism 1929-1956 (2015), and Jews in Ukrainian Literature (2009). Each deal with aspects of the struggle for human and civil rights over the last two centuries.
A number of his essays deal with the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine (1932-1934), mass arrests and secret police interrogations during Stalin’s time, and the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Dr. Shkandrij has also helped to curate a number of art exhibitions dealing with the avant-garde in Ukraine in the 1920s, Bolshevik propaganda posters in the years 1919-21, and Ukrainian-Jewish relations.