Prof. Leo Gruber (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania): "The Pennsylvania Germans: Over 300 Years of Secular Integration and Religious Separation"

04.07.2011, 12:15 Uhr, K25/00.16

Often called the “Pennsylvania Dutch” because of a corruption of the word “Deitsch,” the Pennsylvania Germans are a mixture of settlers who came to America from southwestern Germany’s Palatinate, Alsace, and German speaking Switzerland. 

The Pennsylvania Dutch are a particularly fascinating group of immigrants because they both developed their own culture and dialect as unmistakably German, and adapted to the new world. Over the course of the twentieth century, with its secularization, industrial development and two world wars, most Pennsylvania Dutch become part of mainstream American culture. That is why today, when people think about the Pennsylvania Dutch, they almost always think about the Amish and Mennonites, the two religious groups who have rejected change and modernity in favor of a simple, rural existence. But while it is true that the Amish and the Mennonites have preserved the linguistic heritage of the Pennsylvania German dialect, many other Pennsylvanians with a German background continue to practice folk traditions of their ancestors and strive to ensure that the historical significance of the Pennsylvania Dutch is not lost. This lecture will focus on various cultural aspects of the Pennsylvania Germans such as food, hex signs, powwowing, the Swiss barn, Belsnickel, the Pennsylvania German dialect, the Conestoga wagon, the Kentucky Rifle and much more–and show how the Pennsylvania Germans have found their place simultaneously inside and outside of contemporary U.S. American Culture. 

Leo Gruber ist Dozent für deutsche Sprache und Kultur an der Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Er ist der Autor der Monographie Morphologische Aspekte der Jugendsprache Deutscher aus Russland in Bayreuth (2001); seine Forschungsschwerpunkte umfassen die deutsche Jugendsprache, Slang und Redewendungen, sowie die Kultur und Sprache der „Pennsylvania Dutch“.

Vortrag in englischer Sprache, Diskussion auf Englisch und Deutsch.

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Akademischen Auslandsamt und freundlicher Unterstützung des Welcome Centers der Universität Bamberg