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Who is Dr. Peter Barker?

Monday 23 March 2099 at 5:21 pm. Used tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dr Peter Barker does not have any family links to the Wends. He read German and Russian at Cambridge University in the 1960s and developed an interest in German-Slav relations. He also specialized in the German Democratic Republic and it is in this context that he came across the Wends/Sorbs. He completed a PhD thesis on GDR cultural policy and the novel, and one of the writers he discussed was Erwin Strittmatter, who, as you may or may not know, had a Sorbian family background in Lower Lusatia. When he started teaching at Reading University, he developed a course on the history of the GDR and included material on the nationalities policy in the GDR. He visited Lusatia in 1987 and invited two Sorbian writers to the United Kingdom, Jurij Koch in 1988 and Kito Lorenc in 1991. When the SED and Stasi archives were opened in the 1990s he found a lot of material on the Sorbs and this lead to the book he published in 2000 on policy towards the Sorbian minority in the GDR and after reunification, Slavs in Germany: The Sorbian Minority and he German State Since 1945. He also attended two intensive courses in Upper Sorbian in the 1990s. He retired 8 years ago but continues to take an interest in Lusatia. He did do a lot of archival research on the churches, Lutheran and Catholic, after 2000 and was intending to write a book. But after he retired full-time in 2004, it was difficult to get funding for research visits and publication costs, although the Sorbian Institute did part-fund some of his visits. As a result, he only published several articles on the churches, which appeared in Lětopis and elsewhere, based on a large amount of material he collected from Church archives in Lusatia.

Dr. Barker has have been translating the abstracts for Lětopis since 2008. He is happy for any material he sends to be put on a blog, but like Gerald Stone he doesn’t really go in for blogging.  He is, however, happy to answer any questions. A bibliography of his publications on the Sorbs is listed below. He is of course familiar with the continuing interest in Wendish matters in Texas, especially since he translated a number of chapters for Trudla Malinkowa’s book on Jan Kilian.




 The Sorbian Minority and the German State since 1945, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000, 256pp

 Book chapters and articles:

Sorbian Ethnic Interests, the GDR State and the Cold War. In: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the European Cold War, ed. Robert Knight, Continuum, London/New York, 2012, pp. 171-194

Sorbische Interessen, die DDR und der Kalte Krieg (1945-1971), Lětopis, Jahreszeitschrift des Sorbischen Instituts, 2/2009, 29-43

‘Dislocation and reorientation in the Sorbian Community (1945-2008)’. In: Dislocation and Reorientation. Exile, Division and the End of Communism in German Culture and Politics, ed. Axel Goodbody, Pól Ó Dochartaigh Denis Tate, German Monitor No. 71, Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, 2009, pp. 179-195

Die Domowina und die politische Revolution in der DDR, 1989/9. In: Views from Abroad. Die DDR aus britischer Perspektive, ed. Peter Barker, Marc-Dietrich Ohse, Dennis Tate, W. Bertelsmann Verlag, Bielefeld, 2007, PP. 129-136

‘Kirchenpolitik und ethnische Identität: Das Beispiel des Sorbischen Evangelischen Superintendenten in Sachsen,’ Lětopis, Jahreszeitschrift des Sorbischen Instituts, 1/2006, 52-65

 “The Pain of a Dying Species” or the “New Waters” of a Bicultural Literature: Sorbian Literature since 1990, Neohelicon, Journal of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, XXXIII (2006) 2, 89-101.

„Cierpienia ginącego gatunku” czy „nowe wody” lieratury dwóch kultur?  Literatura łużycka po 1990 roku (‘“The Pain of a Dying Species” or the “New Waters” of a Bicultural Literature: Sorbian Literature since 1990’), in Literatury Słowiańskie po Roku1989, vol. IV, Mniejszości (Minorities), M. Dąbrowski (ed.), University of Warsaw, 2005, pp. 55-66

  ‘Kirchenpolitik und ethnische Identität: Das Beispiel der Evangelischen Kirche in der DDR,’ in H. Timmerman (ed.), Die DDR zwischen Isolation und Öffnung, LITverlag, Münster, 2005, pp. 269-79

 ‘The Sorbs of Lusatia, the Socialist Unity Party and the Soviet Union (1945-53)’, in Breuning, E., Lewis, J., Pritchard, G. (eds.), A Social History of Central European Politics, 1945-1953, Manchester: MUP, 2005, pp. 96-109

 ‘Refugees, Expellees and the Language Situation in Lusatia (1945-7),’ Special Number ed. Graham Jackman, The End of a Taboo? The Experience of Bombing and Expulsion in Contemporary German ‘Gedächtniskultur,' German Life and Letters, 4(2004), 391-400

‘Die sorbische Sprache und ethnische Identität im Transformationsprozess nach der Vereinigung’ in Wolfdietrich Hartung und Allissa Shethar (Hsg.), Kultur und ihre Sprachen. Die Wahrnehmung anders Sprechender und ihr Selbstverständnis, Berlin: Trafo Verlag, 2002, 207-218

 ‘Autochthonous minorities in the German-speaking countries: an overview,’ in: Migrants in German-speaking countries: aspects of social and cultural experience, ed. P. Barker and J. Jordan, Modern German Studies, vol. 2, London: Centre for Information on Language Teaching (CILT), 2000, pp. 137-155

 ‘From Wendish-Speaking Germans to Sorbian-Speaking Citizens of the GDR: Contradictions in the Language Policy of the SED,’ Finding a Voice: Problems of Language in the GDR, ed. Graham Jackman and Ian Roe, Amsterdam: Rodopi 2000, 39-54

 ‘“Die Schmerzen der endenden Art”. Ecological themes in the works of Sorbian writers from the 1970s to the 1990s,’ in: Literatur und Ökologie, ed. Axel Goodbody, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998, pp.199-212

 ‘Images of Dominance and Submission in German-Sorbian Cultural Relations,’ in: Cultural Negotiations: Sichtweisen des Anderen, ed. T. Seidel and C. Brown, Cologne: Francke 1998, pp. 51-67

 ‘A Short History of Press and Media in Sorbian’ in: Mercator Media Forum, 3 (1997), 29-44

 ‘The Birth of Official Policy towards the Sorbian Minority in the Soviet Zone of Occupation in Germany (1945-1948),’ German History, 1 (1996), 1-17

 ‘Das Britische Auswärtige Amt und die Lausitzer Sorben (1942-47), Lětopis. Jahreszeitschrift des Sorbischen Instituts, 43 (1996) I, 48-57

 ‘Wends, Serbs or Sorbs?  The British Foreign Office and the Sorbs of Lusatia (1942-47),’ German Life and Letters, 3 (1995), 362-370

 ‘“Eine slawische Insel im deutschen Meer.” Eine Einführung in die sorbische Literatur,’ Lesart, 1 (1995), 3-6

 ‘“Die neue deutsche Literatur der slawischen Sorben:” On the development of a Sorbian Literature in German after 1945’, German Life and Letters, 3 (1994), 254-266

 ‘Some Reflections on the reception of Sorbian Literature in German after 1945,’ in: Perspektiven sorbischer Literatur, Walter Koschmal (hsg.), Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 1993, pp. 265-281

 ‘Einige Schwierigkeiten bei der Auswertung der Sorbenpolitik in der DDR (1945-89), Lětopis, 1 (1992), 48-52

 ‘The Sorbian Minority in the GDR before and after the ‘Wende’,’’ German Monitor, 24 (1991), 21-37

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