Herder and Modernity: From Lesser-Taught Languages to Lesser-Taught Cultures

  • Martin Votruba University of Pittsburgh

Abstract

The typical North American curriculum of a lesser-taught Slavic language implicitly relies on the legacy of Johann Gottfried von Herder’s interpretation that language in and of itself contains national (ethnic) culture. At the same time, enrolments are dwindling even in courses in the most commonly taught Slavic languages. Millennials’ understandable focus on the practicality of the courses they take make it unlikely for the lesser-taught languages to survive the slump. On the other hand, foreign culture courses are appearing to hold their ground more successfully. Slavic departments may reconsider Herder’s dictum as they try to maintain or establish programs in lesser-taught languages and cultures.

Author Biography

Martin Votruba, University of Pittsburgh
Director of the Slovak Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh
Published
2017-03-04