The Wendish Research Exchange

Lorenz, Robert: Counting Sorbs. Arnošt Muka and his „Statistika łužiskich Serbow“

mersiowsky - 12-3-2019 at 08:57 PM

Lětopis Abstract 2019 2: Robert Lorenz: Counting Sorbs. Arnošt Muka and his „Statistika łužiskich Serbow“

Between 1884 and 1886, the Sorabist Arnošt Muka published one of the most influential Sorabian scientific works of the 19th and 20th century. His „Statistika łužiskich Serbow“ (Statistical Study of the Lusatian Sorbs) can be regarded as the first Sorabian sociological study in history as well as one of the most significant texts of early Volkskunde (ethnology) in central Europe. Despite this fact, the study was never appropriately acknowledged by German scholars, nor could it escape the narrow interpretation of its findings by the vast majority of the Sorabian scientific and public community up to the present day. This essay examines some of the attitudes and intellectual discourse that have led to this present situation and encourages a fresh look at Muka’s work.