Seminar: Alexander Maxwell, ‘Panslav Linguistic Classification: Status Disputes Beyond Languages and Dialects’

The famous savant Pavel Josef Šafařík proposed a six-layer system for linguistic classification: he divided the Jazyk (language) into mluvy, the mluva into řeči, the řeč into nářeči, the nářeč into podřeči, and the podřeč into různořeči. These terms enjoyed popularity among mid-nineteenth-century Slavists. Classificatory taxonomies also became objects of patriotic contestation: one celebrated dispute over the status of Slovak interestingly revolved not around the “language” (since all participants accepted a Slavic jazyk) but over the categories řeč and nářeč. Subsequent historiography, insensitive to Šafařík’s classificatory labels, has misrepresented leading figures of Slovak history.

Alexander Maxwell studies the origins of nationalism, mostly in the Habsburg Lands. He did his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin/Madison and taught in Wales and Nevada before coming to Victoria University. He is the author of Choosing Slovakia, Patriots Against Fashion, and the forthcoming Everyday Nationalism in Hungary. This talk builds on research for a book on Panslavism as linguistic classification.

Venue:            Old Kirk 406 (F L W Wood Seminar Room)

Date:               Friday, 24 May 2019

Time:              12:10pm to 1:30pm

For more information: Contact Dr Alexander Maxwell (; 04 463 6753).