(In)visible border regions - Transcarpathia


Prof. Dr. Sandra Birzer, Slavic Linguistics

Prof. Dr. Andreas Dix, Historical Geography

Prof. Dr. Werner Scheltjens, Digital History


The Transcarpathian region receives little attention from the public or in cultural research, even though it is located in the centre of Europe. It is an invisible border region. There are many such border regions in Europe that appear in the public consciousness every now and then and then "sink" back into invisibility. Border regions like Transcarpathia are like laboratories for researching social structures and their long-term development. They are shaped by the impermanence of their territorial affiliation, which causes both adaptation and demarcation processes. The plurality that characterises border regions is both a research problem and a research object.
Due to their inherently transnational and territorially volatile character, border regions pose a research problem in the truest sense of the word. Border regions do not fit into the usual, territorially conditioned patterns for memory institutions and their administrative systems, whether it is a matter of physical authority or the indexing of cultural assets with metadata. The search for materials for researching such a region is correspondingly difficult. However, with the help of adapted, in some ways 'resourceful' digital methods, it will be possible to understand the invisibility of the border region of Transcarpathia as an opportunity, i.e. as a test case for researching the effects of territorially conditioned administrative practices on the digital management of transnational cultural property.
At the same time, Transcarpathia is a highly relevant object of research. Located in the heart of Europe, but at the same time on the periphery of each country, the history of Transcarpathia offers unique opportunities for research into how the inhabitants of this region deal with their own history(s), language(s) and culture(s). Starting with the history of the region in the long 19th century, we will examine the processes of formation and change that took place in the region and how these continue to have an impact today. With our project, we thus want to make a fundamental contribution to the study of this unique region, which, due to its invisibility, can only succeed with combined, interdisciplinary forces.