Adventures of Academic Mobility: Roman Jakobson in Slovakia Cover Image

Adventures of Academic Mobility: Roman Jakobson in Slovakia
Adventures of Academic Mobility: Roman Jakobson in Slovakia

Author(s): Marína Zavacká
Subject(s): Cultural history, Semiology, Recent History (1900 till today), Philosophy of Language
Published by: Historický ústav SAV
Keywords: Roman Jakobson; Structuralism; Linguistics; Slovakia; Czecho- slovakia; Communism;Travel;

Summary/Abstract: The study focuses on the repeated visits of Russian-born Harvard linguist Roman Jakobson to Slovakia. The author traces Jakobson’s Slovak contacts from the interwar period up to 1968. Based on analysis of secret police documents and memoir literature, the research offers an insight into contemporary academic and cultural life in 20th century Czechoslovakia.Jakobson’s first Slovak contacts in the 1920s were linked to his activities in the Prague Soviet legation and the Charles University. In the 1930s he visited Bratislava more frequently, while teaching at Brno University. During the Stalinist era in Czechoslovakia, a number of his friends and colleagues were politically prosecuted. Only in 1957, was he able to return to Czechoslovakia for Slavonic Studies conferences in Prague and Olomouc, using this occasion to give a lecture also in Bratislava. In the approaching wave of hate-campaign against local “unreliable intellectuals” he was denounced as a “cosmopolitan” and “Western agent”. Subsequent attempts for Jakobson’s academic and public rehabilitation, urged by his Czechoslovak friends, became a reality only during his visit in 1968. The presentation ceremony of the Golden medal of the Slovak Academy of Sciences to Roman Jakobson was scheduled in Bratislava on August 21, 1968, the day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact.

  • Issue Year: 67/2019
  • Issue No: 5
  • Page Range: 851-878
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: English