Wednesday, May 3, 6:45 pm
Lecture – “The Politics of Nostalgia: Literary Return Journeys in Arno Surminski's East Prussian Trilogy" by Meghan O'Dea, Ph.D. Lecturer, Georgetown University.
English. No charge. RSVP required.
This talk addresses nostalgia as a form of remembrance commonly found within literary return narratives written by German expellees. In the aftermath of Nazi racial atrocities and World War II, over twelve million ethnic Germans either fled or were expelled from territories that had historically comprised the German nation. While German expellees confronted the impossibility of returning to their homes in Central and Eastern Europe over the course of the postwar period, former homes and historical places nonetheless became important sites of individual and collective memory. In his East Prussian trilogy, the author Arno Surminski presents the dynamic of revisiting former personal and familial homes and invites a consideration of revisiting’s emotional dimensions. Within the context of so-called Heimwehtourismus – “homesick” or “nostalgia tourism” – popularized in the 1970s in West Germany, Surminski prompts reflection upon the motivations for revisiting as well as the complexity of memory and nostalgia.
Meghan O’Dea is currently a German Instructor at Georgetown University. She received her Ph.D. in German from Georgetown University in December of 2016 with a dissertation titled: “Geopolitical Transformation and Nostalgic Returns: Literary Return Visits to Former East Prussian Homes.” Her research interests include twentieth and twenty-first-century German literature and film, memory and migration studies, as well as private/public commemorative practices.
Meghan O’Dea, PhD, Instructor, Georgetown University
Come join us at the Goethe-Institut of 1990 K St. NW, Suite 03 (entrance on 20th St. NW, lower level) Washington, DC 20006