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The Linguistic and Visual Portrayal of Identifications in Slovenian and German Picture Postcards (1890–1920)

  • Karin Almasy
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karin@almasy.at
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1 Hall, Nigel and Gillen, Julia, “Purchasing Pre-packed Words: Complaint and Reproach in Early British Postcards,” in Ordinary Writings, Personal Narratives: Writing Practices in 19th and Early 20th-Century Europe, ed. Lyons, Martyn (Bern, 2007), 103.

2 Osborne, Peter D., Travelling Light: Photography, Travel and Visual Culture (Manchester, 2000); Thurlow, Crispin, Jaworski, Adam, and Ylänne-McEwen, Virpi, “Half-hearted Tokens of Transparent Love: Host and Tourist Perceptions of Postcard Representations,” Tourism, Culture, Communication 5, no. 1 (2005), 112; Tropper, Eva, “Das Postkartenalbum als Ordnungsraum. Die 99 Reisen der Else E.,” in Reisen über Grenzen in Zentraleuropa, eds. Balogh, András F. and Leitgeb, Christoph (Vienna, 2014), 205–20.

3 Holzheid, Anett, Das Medium Postkarte: Eine sprachwissenschaftliche und mediengeschichtliche Studie (Berlin, 2011), 81120; Barton, David and Hall, Nigel, eds., Letter Writing as a Social Practice (Amsterdam, 2000); Milne, Esther, Letters, Postcards, Email: Technologies of Presence (New York, 2010).

4 Julia Gillen and Nigel Hall, “The Edwardian Postcard: A Revolutionary Moment in Rapid Multimodal Communications,” paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester, 2–5 Sept. 2009, 1, accessed 20 Oct. 2017, http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/projects/EVIIpc/docs/Early%20Postcard%20BERA%2009%20paper.pdf.

5 For overviews on the history of the postcards, see Staff, Frank, The Picture Postcard & Its Origins (London, 1966); Tropper, Eva, “Das Medium Ansichtskarte und die Genese von Kulturerbe. Eine visuelle Spurenlese am Beispiel der Stadt Graz,” in Kulturerbe als soziokulturelle Praxis, eds. Csáky, Moritz and Sommer, Monika (Innsbruck, 2005), 3356; Tropper, Eva, “Bild/Störung. Beschriebene Postkarten um 1900,” Fotogeschichte. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie 30, no. 118 (2010): 515; in the Slovenian context, see Lukan, Walter, “H kulturni zgodovini razglednic” [On the cultural history of postcards], in Pozdrav iz Ljubljane. Mesto na starih razglednicah [Greetings from Ljubljana: The town on old picture postcards], ed. Krušič, Marjan (Ljubljana, 1985), 623. For the turn to the visual, see Mirzoeff, Nicholas, An Introduction to Visual Culture (London, 2005); Mitchell, W. J. Thomas, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation (Chicago, 2007). For the emerging visual discourse, see Jäger, Jens, Photographie: Bilder der Neuzeit (Tübingen, 2000), 47.

6 For individual studies on language use on postcards, see Kempgen, Sebastian, “Postkarten als Quelle zur bulgarischen Sprachgeschichte der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts,” Slavistische Linguistik 2006/2007 (2009), 221–46; and Pfandl, Heinrich, “Slowenische Identität(en) auf Ansichtskarten der Monarchie zwischen 1890 und 1918. Am Beispiel des österreichischen Kronlandes Steiermark,” in Konfliktszenarien um 1900: Politisch - sozial - kulturell; Österreich-Ungarn und das Russische Imperium im Vergleich = Scenarii konfliktov na rubeže XIX - XX vekov; političeskie - social’nye - kul’turnye; Avstro-Vengerskaja i Rossijskaja imperii, eds. Deutschmann, Peter, Munz, Volker, and Pavlenko, Ol'ga (Vienna, 2011), 251–88; Pfandl, Heinrich, “Razglednice Spodnje Štajerske kot vir informacij o obdobju med letoma 1890 in 1918” [Picture postcards from Lower Styria as a source of information between 1890 and 1918], Obdobja 36 (2017), 197210.

7 This is the approach of the three-year project “Postcarding Lower Styria: Nation, Language and Identities on Picture Postcards (1885–1920),” at the department of Slavic Studies at the University of Graz, funded by the Austrian Research Fund FWF (P-28950-G28), of which the author is a research member. All examples and information can be considered preliminary results from this research project. A digital collection of such postcards named POLOS (Postcarding Lower Styria), developed by the Centre for Information Modelling of the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities, will be available online as a research tool for public use in 2018/19. It will allow for complex inquiries based on the postcards’ visual and textual components. The POLOS numbers in the captions refer to the ID number this postcard will have in the online collection. Moreover, an exhibition on this topic will be opened for the wider public in 2018. For further information, see the website of “Postcarding Lower Styria: Nation, Language and Identities on Picture Postcards (1885–1920),” accessed 31 Oct. 2017, https://postcarding.uni-graz.at/en/.

8 Landry, Rodrique and Bourghis, Richard, “Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Empirical Study,” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16 (1997): 2349; Gorter, Durk, ed., Linguistic Landscape: A New Approach to Multilingualism (Toronto, 2006); Gorter, Durk, ed., Minority Languages in the Linguistic Landscape (Basingstoke, 2012).

9 Holzer has already made this point eloquently with his study on the visual representation of the Dolomite mountains, Tre Cime di Lavaredo/die drei Zinnen: Holzer, Anton, Die Bewaffnung des Auges: Die Drei Zinnen oder Eine kleine Geschichte vom Blick aufs Gebirge, (Vienna, 1997), 31. For the representation of Styria's provincial capital Graz, see Otti, Margareth, Hochreiter, Otto, and Holzer, Anton, eds., Hier ist es schön: Grazer Ansichtskarten; aus den Sammlungen des Stadtmuseums Graz (Salzburg, 2007).

10 On the origins and the growth of national categories of identification in the mixed Slovenian–German areas of the Habsburg monarchy, see Hösler, Joachim, Von Krain zu Slowenien. Die Anfänge der nationalen Differenzierungsprozesse in Krain und der Untersteiermark von der Aufklärung bis zur Revolution. 1768 bis 1848 (Munich, 2006); Kosi, Jernej, Kako je nastal slovenski narod: Začetki slovenskega nacionalnega gibanja v prvi polovici devetnajstega stoletja [How the Slovenian nation was invented: The beginnings of the Slovenian national movement in the first half of the 19th century] (Ljubljana, 2013); Almasy, Karin, Wie aus Marburgern “Slowenen” und “Deutsche” wurden: Ein Beispiel zur beginnenden nationalen Differenzierung in Zentraleuropa zwischen 1848 und 1861 (Graz, 2014). On the German-Slovenian nationalist conflicts, see Cvirn, Janez, Das Festungsdreieck: Zur politischen Orientierung der Deutschen in der Untersteiermark (Vienna, 2016); Judson, Pieter M., Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria (Cambridge, MA, 2006); Moll, Martin, Kein Burgfrieden: Der deutsch-slowenische Nationalitätenkonflikt in der Steiermark 1900–1918 (Innsbruck, 2007). For the topic of national differentiation and nationality conflict in Bohemia, see King, Jeremy, Budweisers into Czech and Germans: A Local History of Bohemian Politics, 1848–1918 (Princeton, 2005); Wingfield, Nancy, Flag Wars and Stone Saints: How the Bohemian Lands Became Czech (Cambridge, 2006); for a broader overview on the situation in different Crownlands, see also: Wingfield, Nancy, ed., Creating the Other: Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism in Habsburg Central Europe (Oxford, 2003).

11 Judson, Pieter M., The Habsburg Empire: A New History (Cambridge, MA, 2016), 271. This idea is already discussed in more detail and length in Judson's Guardians of the Nation.

12 For substantial studies regarding postcards from the Bohemian lands, see Jaworski, Rudolf, Deutsche und tschechische Ansichten: Kollektive Identifikationsangebote auf Bildpostkarten in der späten Habsburgermonarchie (Innsbruck, 2006); Jaworski, Rudolf, “Nationale Botschaften im Postkartenformat. Aus dem Bildarsenal deutscher und tschechischer Schutzvereine vor 1914,” in Schutzvereine in Ostmitteleuropa: Vereinswesen, Sprachenkonflikte und Dynamiken nationaler Mobilisierung 1860–1939, ed. Haslinger, Peter (Marburg, 2009), 142–57; for the Slovenian national movement, see for example, Škrabec, Milan, Slovenstvo na razglednicah [The Slovene-ness on postcards] (Ljubljana 2009).

13 Judson, Guardians of the Nation, 100–40.

14 One of the project's objectives is to portray a linguistic landscape of Lower Styria to detect language conflict as well as national indifference, and to portray the power relations in which both languages competed for public visibility in the region through the medium of postcards. Therefore, we will also try to find distribution patterns within the region, and where and how intensely such phenomena manifested.

15 Again, this is a preliminary finding from our project's research so far. See note 7.

16 Reimann, Reinhard, “‘Für echte Deutsche gibt es bei uns genügend Rechte’: Die Slowenen und ihre deutsche Minderheit 1918–1941,” in Slowenen und Deutsche im gemeinsamen Raum: Neue Forschungen zu einem komplexen Thema, ed. Heppner, Harald (Munich, 2002), 134.

17 This is the research project members’ observation after our first preliminary findings and archival work over the last few months of examining thousands of postcards from Lower Styria between 1885 and 1920. Results and distribution patterns in collections from private collectors and public libraries that were examined will be presented in the digital archive POLOS (forthcoming 2018/19).

18 The Slovene gymnastics association Sokol was founded in 1863, following the example set by the Czech Sokol, founded in 1861. On the Czech Sokol, see Nolte, Claire E., The Sokol in the Czech Lands to 1914: Training the Nation (Basingstoke, 2003); on the Slovene Sokol, see Zelnik, Damijana, Gerlovič, Dušan, and Čuk, Ivan, eds., 150 let sokolstva v Sloveniji (1863–2013) [150 years of the Sokol association in Slovenia (1863–2013)] (Ljubljana, 2014).

19 J. Kossär, “Pozdrav iz Mislinja” [Greetings from Mislinja], sent after 1905, from Mislinja/Missling to Arja vas/Arndorf near Celje/Cilli. POLOS_4003, source: private collection Domej.

20 We found a surprisingly large number of postcards featuring Latin. For a brief discussion of this phenomena on postcards, see Martin Sauerbrey, “‘Danes na peči faulencam. Jutri grem pa na Jegerbal’—Was man aus Postkarten aus der Untersteiermark aus den Jahren 1880–1920 lernen kann” [“Today I am relaxing near the oven. Tomorrow I will go to the hunter's dance” —What we can learn from postcards from Lower Styria (1890–1918)], in Signal. Jahresschrift des Pavelhauses (forthcoming 2018).

21 “Gruss aus Gurkfeld. Gurkfeld. Schiessplatz. Obermaierhof” [Greetings from Krško. Krško. Shooting range. The hamlet Veliki Marof], sent in 1902, from Krško/Gurkfeld to Knittelfeld. POLOS_2521, source: Admont Abbey postcard collection.

22 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (New York, 2006), 133.

23 Franz Knollmüller, Graz: “Marburg a./Dr.—Franziskanerkirche” [Maribor—Franciscan church], produced in 1916 and sent from Maribor/Maribor to Dolnja vas/Niederdörfl, nearby St. Margarethen/Šmarjeta v Rožu in Carinthia. POLOS_4081, source: private collection Domej.

24 In the Crownlands with Slovene-speaking population, according to the Census of 1900, illiteracy rates were between 13.18 percent (Styria) and 32.13 percent (Littoral) among the male population and 15.42 percent (Styria) and 38.87 percent (Littoral) among the female population. In comparison, Lower Austria had only 4.4 percent among men and 5.76 percent among women, whereas Dalmatia had 64.84 percent among men and 80.67 percent among women. Moreover, literacy rates varied considerably between urban and rural areas: In Carinthia, the home of the sender of the postcard being discussed, villages with less than 500 inhabitants still had 34.8 percent, whereas towns with 2,000 to 5,000 inhabitants were only 20.59 percent illiterate. All information from K. k. statistische Central-Commission, ed., Österreichische Statistik. Die Ergebnisse der Volkszählung vom 31. December 1900 in den im Reichsrathe vertretenen Königreichen und Ländern. vol. 2 (Vienna, 1903), 4552.

25 See Hajnal, John, “European Marriage Patterns in Perspective,” in Population in History: Essays in Historical Demography, eds. Glass, D. V. and Everseley, D. E. C. (London, 1965), 101–43.

26 Ferdinand Woschitz was born on 2 November 1872, married Ursula Bergmann on 28 April 1901, and died 1 July 1957. Moreover, they had at least one daughter together, Justa Woschitz, who was married on 27 July 1940. All this information is taken from the Trauungsbuch of St. Margarethen im Rosental/Šmarjeta v Rožu, Matricula Online, accessed 31 October 2017, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/oesterreich/gurk/st-margareten-i-rosental-marjeta-v-rou/S40_020-1/?pg=121.

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