Round table

The exhibition will be accompanied by a round table discussion. The term and idea of patriotism are strongly linked to issues of the local, of placement and displacement, attachment to a specific culture and language. During the round table we would like to look at patriotism from a special point of view – from the outside, from the emigrants’ perspective.

Patriotism stirs many emotions. Emigrants, especially political ones, who maintain contact with their native countries, frequently react firmly to the transformations in the country they remember from their youth. At the same time, they have acquired a detached, more objective view and have a wider experience, which goes beyond the borders of a single country.

Today is the time of great migrations, both those undertaken in serach of a better job and those embarked upon in order to find a better place to express oneself, to access global culture. Sometimes we migrate to represent our country by our work; we create, take part in discussions on important subjects, protest against certain phenomena or support others. Patriotism, then, is a matter of ethics.

To this discussion we would like to invite people who have emigrated or spent a prolonged period of time outside their native countries, or have been born as emigrants, but still feel attached to their homeland and identify themselves with it.

How does a British-born Ruth Fruchtman, living in France, Germany, and Poland, define patriotism? How does Alex Motyl, professor of politology, specialist on Soviet Russia and nationalism, born in a Ukrainian ghetto in New York, see it? What is patriotism for Jerzy Mackow, a Pole living in Germany? Why does Emil Brix, an Austrian diplomat living in many different countries feel emotionally attached to Cracow? What does Krisztina Jerger, a Hungarian director of the Hungarian Institute of Culture, art curator, think about the topic?

Why do we want to maintain contact with our country after having left it? What causes this need? Genes? Upbringing? Tradition and culture? Why can’t we stop feeling strongly attached and concerned? And why – in spite of feeling so concerned – do we decide to stay elsewhere?

I will stay in England as long as I know I’ve got work to do there, as long as I feel I’m needed there, said Marysia Lewandowska, a Pole.

Renata Rusnak


The round table discussion Patriotism of Emigrants

Participants: dr Emil Brix (Austria), Ruth Fruchtman (Germany/Poland), Krisztina Jerger (Hungary), prof. Jerzy Maćków (Poland/Germany), prof. Alexander J. Motyl (Ukraine/USA)


**25.11.2006, Saturday **
Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdańsk, Doki 1/145 B


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