Prof. Dr. Hartmut Lutz (Universität Greifswald): "'The Land is Deep in Time': Stories, Places, Immigrants and Indigeneity in Canada"

 21.01.2013, 18:15 Uhr, U2/00.25

In his memoir Lake of the Prairies (2002) the Métis author Warren Cariou relates, how one day he realized that the land where he grew up is layered historically, is “deep in time”, and that the place had been inscribed by generations of people prior to the coming of immigrants. A fundamental difference between Indigenous people and immigrants in Canada rests on the historical dimension of their land-connectedness, which is constructed and transmitted in stories ranging from oral traditions to modern historiography and fiction.  According to some Aboriginal philosophers, the land is also “a teacher”, and the stories produced in specific cultures convey the complex empirical knowledge necessary for survival in the most sustainable way. Immigrants bring their own stories, which construct their own specific cultural identities, but which are from “the Old Place” and therefore mismatched on “Turtle Island.” In Canada, multiculturalism encourages “Newcomers” to cling to and celebrate their own stories, potentially obstructing attempts to indigenize immigrant narratives or to read the depth of the Aboriginal presence in the land.

Hartmut Lutz is Professor emeritus in American Studies at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald, where he established a research center for Canadian studies. He also taught at the universities of Osnabrück and Köln, and was a guest professor at twelve universities in the US, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Poland and Spain. His awards include the Diefenbaker Price from the Canadian Government in 2003, and the Harris German-Dartmouth Distinguished Visiting Professorship in 2001.

Hartmut Lutz’s research interests focus on Canadian Aboriginal literatures and German perceptions of North American aboriginal cultures. He is the author of five monographs, including Approaches: Essays in Native American Studies and Literatures (Wißner, 2002) and Contemporary Challenges: Conversations with Canadian Native Authors (Fifth House, 1991), and the editor of twelve volumes of essays and fiction, including The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab (University of Ottawa Press, 2005), translated and annotated with students of the University Greifswald, Beatrice Culleton’s Halbblut: Das Mädchen April Raintree (Peter Hammer, 1994), and Joseph Bruchac’s  Langes Gedächtnis und andere Gedichte (Wurf, 1989).