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DAAD – Go East International Summer School

Different tales of one historic region – Negotiating shared heritage in Klaipeda, Kaliningrad and Gdansk

Cultural heritage has a universal value for humans, communities and societies. Nonetheless, the varieties of cultural heritage are huge: material or immaterial, natural or anthropogenic or even digital. Especially for local communities cultural heritage is a resource of (re-)assuring identity. It can be incorporated into the self-conception of people on a subconscious level or it can be negotiated amongst a society. Apart from its value for a bottom-up development, it is also possible to instrumentalise it from top to down. Therefore, cultural heritage can be an instrument for the construction and transformation of “wanted” identities.

Within this framework the three cities of Klaipeda (formerly Memel), Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) and Gdansk (formerly Danzig) are very good examples for a shared heritage and actual processes of negotiating the cultural heritage. The development paths of the three cities are very similar and separated not before the end of the First World War. Today, the three cities belong to three different countries, which allows a unique perspective on the development and negotiating processes of cultural and shared heritage.

Target Group

Students of Geography, History, Cultural Studies and Urban Planning.

Bachelor students must have completed at least four semesters of undergraduate study by the start of the summer school. Master students of all semesters are welcome.

No prior specific knowledge is required to participate in the summer school but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Course language is English

Course aim

This module’s key aim is to give students the possibility to explore the cultural heritage and its dimensions in the Baltic Rim region between Klaipeda and Gdansk. It should give a platform for discussions of actual approaches to cultural heritage and shared heritage. Another focus is the importance of cultural heritage for social acquirement of a region and identity processes.

This will include a discussion of consequences for the region as a whole and each of the three cities including recommendations for city planning, historic preservation and tourism.