Slavic Studies

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Slavic or Slavic philology (also Slavic or Slavic philology ) is the science of the Slavic languages and literatures . It is divided into linguistics and literary studies , “while historians , theologians , archaeologists , art historians , educators , geographers , economists , lawyers , political scientists , sociologists who deal with the Slavic countries do not belong to 'Slavic studies' in the sense of the German university system All of these disciplines are combined with Slavic Studies for East European Studies (e.g. in the German Society for East European Studies ).

Within Slavic studies, a distinction is made between the East Slavic , West Slavic and South Slavic languages ​​and literatures. After the treated languages, the Slavic can be further divided into Belorussistik , Bohemian , Bulgaristik , Kaschubologie / Pomoranistik, Croatian Studies , Makedonistik , Polish Studies , Russian Studies , Serbistik , Serbokroatistik , Slowakistik , Slowenistik , Sorabistik and Ukrainian studies . In addition, expressions such as Old Slavonic Studies, Paleoslavonic Studies or Church Slavonic Studies are sometimes used for research into Old Church Slavonic and Urslavic .

The umbrella organization of the worldwide Slavic is the International Slawistenkomitee , the five-year comprehensive all fields International Slawistenkongress performs. The German umbrella organization is the German Slavist Association , which organizes the German Slavist Day every three years , in Austria there is the Austrian Slavist Association and in Switzerland the Swiss Academic Society of Slavists .

The article Slavic languages provides a comprehensive overview of the languages, their classification, geographical distribution and the number of speakers .

Important sub-areas of subject Slavic Studies are in addition to the language training, among other Slavic Literature and Linguistics ( Linguistics ), and more recently the Slavic cultural studies .

The Slavic languages

Slavic Linguistics

Slavic linguistics researches, documents and mediates the development of the Slavic languages ​​from the beginning to the present. The linguistic areas of investigation in Slavic studies include the usual linguistic sub-disciplines such as phonetics , phonology , morphology , syntax , semantics (theory of word and sentence meaning), pragmatics , etymology , dialectology , historical linguistics and sociolinguistics .

Slavic linguistics is used to study the history of language, geography and culture of the Slavic peoples. This not only takes into account mutual linguistic influences between the Slavs, but also interactions with neighboring non-Slavic peoples and language groups (e.g. Romance or Germanic languages ).

The subject area of ​​Slavic studies includes not only those spoken today but also the extinct Slavic languages, e.g. B. Old Church Slavonic , Church Slavonic , Slovincian and Polabian .

Slavic literary studies

Slavic literary studies is the academic study of Slavic literatures. It is essentially made up of the sub-areas of literary history , literary theory , literary interpretation and literary criticism and is structured according to content categories such as genres or forms, materials , motifs ; historical epochs and authors . Further areas form the history of impact and reception history .

There is a narrower and a broader literary term. In the broader term of literature, everything that is written is counted as literature and, in the narrower sense, only fictional literature. The literature so concerned with how to literature defined or what exactly literature and attempts to define criteria for it. This also depends on various social conventions . The literature is also ambiguous and a process. Among other things, literary scholars examine both the context and the relationship between author, text and reader (the role of the reader). The literature is divided into the three main genres of poetry, prose and drama , which are processed and analyzed in literary studies.

German-speaking Slavic literary studies, like literary studies in general, has increasingly opened up to newer theoretical fields such as gender studies and post-colonial criticism. Slavic literary studies played a prominent role in the development of literary theory: see in particular Russian formalism , structuralism , poststructuralism .

Russian , Polish , Czech , Croatian and Serbian literature are among the most researched areas of Slavic literary studies in Germany . The literatures of other Slavic peoples, on the other hand, have only come into the focus of German research in recent years.

Slavic cultural studies

“Culture in its broadest sense can be viewed as the totality of the unique spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional aspects that characterize a society or a social group. This includes not only art and literature, but also ways of life, basic human rights, value systems, traditions and beliefs. ”(UNESCO Conference Reports No. 5, Munich 1983, p. 121.)

Slavic cultural studies is the academic study of Slavic cultures. It is an interdisciplinary subject and combines cultural aspects of art studies , literary studies , media studies , linguistics , ethnology , philosophy , theology , psychology and sociology .

Slavic cultural studies was particularly shaped by the semiotic theory of Juri Lotman . On the basis of the work of the Russian formalists, Lotman developed a semiotics (teaching of signs) based on cultural studies . In addition to natural signs (such as symptoms, signs and phenomena), which have no purpose, there are cultural signs that are identified for people by codes (conventions) and have a communicative function (e.g. traffic signs, nods of the head).

Lotman, who gained importance not only in literary studies, in that the focus was not on the temporal structure of the narrative but on the spatial structure, coined the term semiosphere :

"A semiosphere is a semiotic space, the totality of all sign users, texts and codes of a culture, it is a semiotic continuum filled with semiotic structures of all types."

Inside the semiosphere, codes, texts and users of symbols are coordinated with one another. Since a semiosphere is only defined by a foreign semiosphere, there are boundary points that represent an important functional and structural place where translation processes take place and which create new codes. Transferring this mechanism to the development process of languages ​​results in the following example: If one imagines one language as a semiosphere that comes into contact with another, a new language arises that consists of elements of the respective languages ​​(e.g. Spanish ). With his model, Juri Lotman made a decisive contribution to semiotic cultural theory and was a co-founder of the Tartu-Moscow School. The members of the Tartu-Moscow School deliberately turned against ideological science. Their approach was and still is today to be able to carry out a more in-depth, interdisciplinary analysis of culture using signs (be they of a linguistic nature or not). In order to understand cultural events and processes, methods from a wide variety of disciplines are necessary, such as ethnology , sociology , anthropology , linguistics or psychology . Overcoming the difficulties of such a broad approach is still one of the goals of the semiotics institutes in Estonia and Russia.

Research and Teaching

The subject has a tradition in German-speaking countries and is represented at universities as follows:


In Germany there are around 100 chairs for Slavic Studies at 39 institutes, at which a total of around 12,000 students are enrolled for Slavic courses: In Baden-Württemberg , Slavic Studies is at the universities of Freiburg (2 Slavic chairs), Heidelberg (2 chairs), Konstanz (2) and Tübingen (3), while Slavic Studies in Mannheim (0) has been deleted. In Bavaria , Slavic studies are carried out at the universities of Bamberg (3), Munich (3), Passau (1), Regensburg (4) and Würzburg (2); the Slavic studies in Erlangen (0) was deleted. In Berlin , after reunification, Slavic Studies from the Free University (1) was relocated to the Humboldt University (9), where the oldest chair on the territory of the Federal Republic ( Vatroslav Jagić's appointment in 1874) and today the largest Slavic Studies in Germany is. In Brandenburg there is a full Slavic studies in Potsdam (3) as well as Polish studies at the Frankfurt Viadrina (2) and in Cottbus (Lower Sorbian Chóśebuz ) the Lower Sorbian department of the Sorbian Institute in Bautzen , Saxony . At the University of Bremen (2), a Slavic master’s degree is offered in cooperation with the University of Oldenburg. There is, however, a full Slavic studies at the University (4) in Hamburg . In Hesse , all Slavic studies were concentrated in Gießen (4) and the traditional Slavic studies in Marburg and the one in Frankfurt were given up. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there are only Slavic studies in Greifswald (3), the Slavic studies in Rostock have been canceled. In Lower Saxony , Slavic Studies are taught at the Universities of Göttingen (2) and Oldenburg (2). Of the five former Slavic statistics in North Rhine-Westphalia, it has been decided to dissolve Bielefeld (0) and Bonn (1), while those in Bochum (3), Cologne (2) and Münster (1) will apparently be continued. Rhineland-Palatinate offers Slavic Studies in Mainz (6) and Trier (2). At the University of the Saarland , there are 1 Slavic Department. In Leipzig (9), the state of Saxony has the second largest Slavic Studies in Germany and the world's only institute for Sorbian Studies, as well as, in addition to Slavic Studies in Dresden (3), an independent Sorbian Institute (1) in Bautzen (Upper Sorbian Budyšin ) with a Lower Sorbian department in Brandenburg Cottbus. In Saxony-Anhalt , Slavic Studies are taught in Halle (3) and Magdeburg (3). In Schleswig-Holstein there are Slavic Studies in Kiel (2), in Thuringia in Erfurt (1) and Jena (3). Since February 2020, Slavic Studies has no longer been classified as a minor subject in German university policy . An overview of the specialist locations and the development in the number of professorships is provided by data from the Small Subjects Unit.


In Austria there are six Slavonic Institute, two in Vienna (at the University of Vienna , where 1,849 francs Miklošič was appointed to the first chair of Slavic Studies of the world, and at the University of Economics ) and other in Graz , Salzburg , Innsbruck and Klagenfurt .

One of the world's largest Slavic institutes is Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna with the following main research areas:

  • Language, literature and cultural contact research
  • Contact and sociolinguistics
  • Slavic dialectology including Burgenland-Croatian and Slovenian in Carinthia
  • Slavic literatures in comparison and in their relation to German-language literature
  • Slavic Medieval Studies (early medieval Slavic including primeval Slavic)
  • Slavic substrate in Austria
  • Comparative Slavonic Linguistics
  • History of the Slavic written languages

This institute enjoys a high international reputation and also conducts research in areas of the language that are underrepresented, such as Ukrainian , Bohemian , Slovakian, Balkan and Bulgarian studies .

The Slavic Institute in Klagenfurt has specialized in the languages Russian , Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian and Slovenian . Due to the connection to Slovenia , there are many projects at this institute, such as B. the cooperation with Slovenian publishers, newspapers, cultural associations, student homes and the Slovenian editorial team at ORF. The Russian language focuses on teaching and research in Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as modern Russian linguistics. The research of the institute members span all areas of philology . It examines the history of language, modern grammar and literature from the oldest to the newest. A special concern of the institute is the study of the language and literature of the Carinthian Slovenes , but also the Burgenland Croats . This activity resulted in dialectological and folklore studies, studies on linguistic interference and translations.

In Graz , the Slavic Institute offers the languages Russian , Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian and Slovenian . There are also regular language courses in Polish , Czech and Bulgarian .

The Slavic Institute in Salzburg focuses on research in the field of literary studies :

  • Gender studies
  • auto (bio) graphic writing
  • Remembrance and memory culture
  • Literature of the Shoah and the avant-gardes of Eastern Europe
  • Emigration and Migration Literature
  • ancient Russian literature

In the field of linguistics , the focus is on:

  • synchronous description of the East and West Slavic languages ​​(especially morphology, morphosyntax, syntax and semantics)
  • Language history
  • Language contact research

The Cultural Studies research in the following areas:

  • cultural relationships in music, art and literature
  • in correspondence with linguistics: cultural and language policy
  • in correspondence with literary studies: Postcolonial Studies, Intermedialität


In Switzerland there are three German-speaking institutes for Slavic Studies in Basel , Bern and Zurich , one bilingual German-French in Friborg and two French-speaking ones in Lausanne and Geneva .

Well-known Slavists

Professional slavists

Slavists known in other sciences

Librarians and archivists




Journalists and publicists




Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Kasack . The Association of University Lecturers for Slavic Studies at the universities of the Federal Republic of Germany including Berlin (West): A contribution to the history of Slavic Studies 1945–1980. In: Materials on the history of Slavic studies in Germany. Part 1. Wiesbaden 1982. pp. 3–9, here p. 3.
  2. Giessen University
  3. Jurij Mihailovič Lotman - A Portrait ( Memento from January 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. See the corresponding information from the German Slavist Association
  5. ^ "Student statistics WS 2007/08", internal paper of the German Slavist Association of October 2, 2008.
  6. The information on the number of chairs is taken from: Norbert Franz: Who's Where at the Slavic seminars and institutes and on other Slavic professorships in the Federal Republic of Germany. Status: summer semester 2008. In: Bulletin of German Slavic Studies. Volume 14, 2008, pp. 13-20.
  7. Mainzed-Mainz Center for Digitality in the Humanities and Cultural Studies: Small subjects portal. Retrieved February 28, 2020 .
  8. Small subjects: Map of the specialist locations for Slavic Studies in Germany on the Kleine Fächer portal , accessed on April 23, 2019
  9. University of Lausanne ( Memento of the original from December 11, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /