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Peter Blickle: “New Developments in the Discourse of Heimat”
January 27, 2011 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm | Humanities 1, Room 520
Today, just as during any other period since the end of the eighteenth century, the idea of Heimat (home, homeland) is a central part of German-speaking people’s attempts to make sense of the world they live in. The regressive aspects of the idea are troubling. Any concrete interaction with the idea of Heimat in the political realm has, historically speaking, served sooner or later to further exclusions. And all too often the idea of Heimat has assisted in more than mere exclusions.
Starting with definitions from his book Heimat: A Critical Theory of the German Idea of Homeland (2002), Professor Blickle look at examples of such excluding uses of the traditional idea of Heimat. He then goes on to investigate more recent uses. They show the idea of Heimat in a new light – at home in the margins and including the Other rather than excluding it.
Over the past decade and a half fundamental shifts have occurred in the uses of Heimat. For many, Heimat has become mobile and unpredictable. Heimat surprises. And the fundamental feminization of the traditional Heimat has given way to more open, more ambiguous, more searching, and sometimes even more playful interactions with the world.
Peter Blickle received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1995. He is the author of two scholarly books, one in English, Heimat: A Critical Theory of the German Idea of Homeland (Camden House 2002), and one in German, Maria Beig und die Kunst der scheinbaren Kunstlosigkeit (Maria Beig and the Art of Appearing Primitive, Edition Isele 1997). His book on Heimat (home, homeland) has established itself as one of the standard works on this German concept. He is also the author of a novel, Blaulicht im Nebel (Ambulance in Fog, Edition Isele 2002), and he translated Rosina Lippi’s novel Homestead into German (Im Schatten der Drei Schwestern, Rowohlt/Wunderlich 2002). Together with Jaimy Gordon, he translated Maria Beig’s novel Lost Weddings into English (Persea Books 1990). For his creative works in German, he received the Irseer Pegasus Award (2004), the Robert L. Kahn Poetry Award (2007), and the Geertje Potash Prose Prize (2009). He is professor of German at Western Michigan University.