The Johann Gottfried Herder Foundation, which operates at the University of Gdańsk, would like to invite you to the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the figure of its patron on October 2, 2023, at 10.00 a.m. in the main building of the UG Library.
The exhibition will feature exhibits made available by the Johann Gottfried Herder Museum in Morąg, a branch of the Museum of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. They are to present the forms of commemorating Herder in Morąg, the history of the museum named after him in the local town hall, the background of creating a permanent exhibition in the Dohn Palace, and erecting the monument.
In addition to the Morąg exposition, a bilingual Polish-German board exhibition on Herder, developed by the East Prussian Cultural Centre in Ellingen, Bavaria, will be shown. The joint exhibition at the UG has been organised on the occasion of the upcoming 280th anniversary of the birth and 220th anniversary of the death of Herder, the outstanding writer, thinker and philosopher of culture, author of aesthetic and philosophical texts.
Honorary patronage was assumed by the Rector UG prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski, and the Consul General of Germany in Gdańsk, Cornelia Pieper. The exhibition's opening ceremony will be honoured by the presence of Ms Daniela Schmitt, State Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Vineyards of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. The opening will be attended by the manager of the Museum in Morąg and, at the same time, the curator of the Polish part of the exhibition, Angelika Rejs. Also present will be the East Prussian Cultural Centre in Ellingen director Gunter Dehnert and former director Wolfgang Freyberg.
The exhibition in the Main Library will open the Herder Year, organised at the University of Gdańsk in the academic year 2023-2024, which will include guest lectures by foreign scholars at the Faculty of Philology on the role of German literature and culture in Central and Eastern Europe.
The first lecture will be given on October 10 by dr Beata Paškevica from the Latvian National Library in Riga, who will talk about Herder's fascination with folk songs and their influence on the circle of scholars in Livonia. Another lecture, by prof. Michael Braun of the University of Cologne, on the fragmentary writing of Franz Kafka, will take place on November 29, 2023. A further three lectures are scheduled in the summer semester. In March 2024, dr Silke Pasewalck from Oldenburg, Germany, will discuss shared heritage as a theme in contemporary German and Polish literature. In May, prof. Peter Arnds from Dublin will give a lecture on 'Grass's political bestiary and world literature'. Also scheduled for the same month is a meeting with dr Joachim Mähnert, director of the Museum of East Prussia in Lüneburg. He will present the concept of a new Immanuel Kant department at his museum. The lectures will be in German, but interested listeners can benefit from Polish translations of their abridged versions.
A meeting of former DAAD grantees from UG and Pomerania with German scholars is planned to conclude the Herder Year. Detailed information about guest lectures and further events will be posted on the website of the Institute of Germanic Philology: https://fil.ug.edu.pl/wydzial/instytuty/instytut-filologii-germanskiej-institut-fur-germanistik/instytut-filologii-germanskiej/aktualnosci-i-wydarzenia.
The UG Herder Centre has also prepared a rich programme of celebrations. On the Open Day, Saturday, September 23, thematic walks, meetings and discussions popularising the figure of Herder and bringing closer the reality of Gdańsk in his time are planned, which will be led by prof. Marion Brandt, Barbara Piórkowska and dr Janusz Mosakowski, and by dr Tomasz Siwiec and dr Anna Kowalewska-Mróz.
Under the common title 'Gdańsk and its surroundings in the time of Johann Gottfried Herder', a series of five meetings with specialists in history, culture, and literature dealing with the history of Gdańsk and its surroundings will be organised in October and November this year. They will open on Friday, 6.10. with a lecture by dr Ewa Barylewska-Szymańska on Gdańsk bedrooms in the 18th century. A week later, on Friday, 13.10., dr Magdalena Sacha will talk about August von Lehndorff's descriptions of Gdańsk inhabitants in 1799. The following day, Saturday 14.10., dr Sacha will also lead a walk entitled 'Visiting Gdańsk with Count August von Lehndorff'. On Friday, October 27, dr Dobromila Maria Rzyska-Laube will give a lecture at the Herder Centre entitled 'On the coexistence of two nationalities - Polish and German on the example of Polish landowners from the Vistula Pomerania'. On Friday 24.11. dr Janusz Mosakowski will present the creators of Gdansk legends.
With high school students in mind, the Herder Centre at the University of Gdansk has prepared an essay competition for high school students from the Pomeranian Voivodeship, inspired by the work of Johann Gottfried Herder - their task will be to refer to selected quotations from Herder. The competition will be decided in November 2023. Information about the competition will be sent out to schools.
For further information on all Herder Centre UG events, visit www.herder.ug.edu.pl, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/niemieckicentrumherdera, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/centrumherderaug.
A few words about Johann Gottfried Herder:
Herder was born on August 25, 1744, in Morąg. Although he came from a poor bourgeois family - his father worked as a cantor in an Evangelical church - he was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time. After studying theology in Königsberg, where, among other things, he attended Immanuel Kant's seminary, he worked for four years as a pastor in Riga. There, he got familiar with the multicultural environment and began to appreciate the importance of national cultures. He later travelled throughout Europe, settled in Germany and spent the last 27 years of his busy life in Weimar, where he held the office of general superintendent, the highest position in the Lutheran Church of the Saxony-Weimar Duchy. He died there on December 18, 1803.
In Riga, Herder published extensive works on modern literature, with which he initiated the 'storm and thrust' movement. He significantly influenced the work of the young Johann Wolfgang Goethe, with whom he became friends in 1770. With his works, he also contributed to shaping the idea of the nation, pointing to language as an important bonding element of the national community and emphasising the value and uniqueness of each national culture. He initiated research into folk songs and collected and translated into German folk songs of various nations, published in the collection Voices of Nations in Songs. The exhibition, which can be visited until December 18 this year, is intended to recall his character and achievements.