Heritagisation in the Transcarpathian region

Principal investigator: Csilla Fedinec

Partner institution: Antal Hodinka Language Institute, Berehove

Research questions and objectives:

The concept of cultural heritage has a history of its own. Heritage is a version of the past that can be seen in the present, whether it be through a monument, a sight, a memorial service, or an artistic experience. Borders and border regions are shaped by a variety of factors, ranging in a broad spectrum from cooperation to conflict. The influence of neighbourhoods, cross-border relations, migration, prejudices, stereotypes, state policies, regional policies, and traditions are particularly exciting in an area that is in a state of constant transformation, because, for instance, the state authority changes within a short period of time and does not cover ethnic or cultural boundaries. We are searching for the answers to the following questions: who have marked and what in Transcarpathia since the turn of the 19/20th century, how memory culture and national identity have been shaped by parallel nation-buildings and state policies, has a regional identity construction been formed, towards what power centres the visual culture is orienting the visitors, and how political and public discourses have changed and transformed during the last 150 years.

The possessor of power over the public space is consciously trying to leave a trace on the landscape while striving to eliminate earlier or unwanted narratives). These practices, commonly referred to as symbolic spatial occupation procedures, may take different forms: the removal of the memories of the previous power is usually followed by the placement of symbols of the new power, but occasionally by the reinterpretation of former symbols or their simple expropriation. And, sometimes the regional consciousness develops a practice along ‘indigenous’ logic, such as the practice of clock usage and public display in Transcarpathia, which is unknown in any other regions of Europe.

In the proposed research, the examination of the linguistic landscape will be viewed and analysed as a dynamically changing process and is used to explore and interpret the linguistic ideologies behind the filling of the public space. We do not aim for a comprehensive description of the region's linguistic landscape, but rather for an understanding of the linguistic and memory-political processes taking place in the region of Transcarpathia, by analysing certain aspects of the linguistic landscape.