Klaudia Rixmann & Jordan Solis, “Mapping German and Polish Borderlands”
Mentor: Karolina May-Chu, Foreign Languages & Literature
Ideas surrounding borders and their figurative meanings have gained increasing attention in the academic and literary world; however, support for these ideas in the educational world is lacking. Physical borders are staging grounds for social and cultural crossings, like the language barriers that are created between separated families. These figurative borders can be further abstracted to include life and death or belonging and ostracization. The project seeks to map the shifting physical borders of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine during the 20th and 21st centuries, while tracing the journeys of fictional characters in the novels Katzenberge (2010) and Ambra (2012) by Sabrina Janesch, House of Day, House of Night (2003) by Olga Tokarczuk, and Himmelskörper (1998) by Tanja Drückers. ArcGIS Online, a cloud-based geographic information system, will be used to map these borders on layers. Viewers can click through layers to observe both physical and figurative border shifts. Each location visited by the characters as well as the location of symbolic events and figures will be marked. The characters’ locations and figurative crossings will be highlighted by pop-up features that will include quoted text, photographs, and basic historical context. The conglomeration of these mapped case studies will serve as a visual aid of border fluidity and cosmopolitanism to students, instructors, and scholars.