… and other stories from Kella, the little village that found itself next to the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. After Kaffeetrinken with a view of Braunrod – the former “window on the GDR” – Jutta took me up the hill behind her house to the chapel I had read about in Daphne’s book.… Read more The chapel in the no-man’s land, and the monk who pushed the envelope
Today’s post explores how “our everyday lives are criss-crossed by border zones” (anthropologist Renato Rosaldo) and how not only physical but also social borders shape our identities. Find out what the late anthropologist Daphne Berdahl had to say about this and how she came to settle in Kella for her field work shortly after Reunification… Read more Of borders, identities, and friendship
The next few posts will be about my visits with people in Kella, population plus minus 500. When Germany was divided after WWII, Kella ended up in the 500-meter Schutzstreifen (“protective zone”) right next to the border strip, which meant that its residents had to put up with considerable restrictions on everyday life, imposed by… Read more Visiting
How do you reconnect with your home country after living an ocean away for more than half your life? If the country is Germany and you like to travel by bicycle, you embark on a border journey. At least that’s what I did… You are invited to a presentation about my expedition at the Fletcher Free Library next… Read more Border Journey: Public talk at the Fletcher Free Library
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (Section 2 (c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act) This certainly sounds like a good idea in an age where human… Read more “It’s complicated”: Borders and Wilderness
Earlier this year, the German word Heimat made it into the New York Times. Heimat means home, homeland, or place of belonging – straightforward enough, you might think. But these are not straightforward times, which is why the word made it into the New York Times, and why Germany now has a Heimat minister, and why… Read more Reflections on Heimat
When the Berlin Wall opened under the pressure of protesters 28 years ago today, a wave of euphoria swept not only through Germany but around the world. Listen to my commentary on Vermont Public Radio on the disappearance and reappearance of borders since then.