Director Mare Kõiva
Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, 51003 Tartu
Phone +372 737 7744
Fax +372 737 7706
Outcomes of project LABOR
Following the instalment of optical line in the museum, servers Haldjas and Kirmus have been connected to the new server system, and the first subserver has been supplied with FreeBSD. Images of the new server room and technology acquired through LABOR project are available at http://www.folklore.ee/labor/labor.pdf
Overview of data service connected with the project available at http://www.folklore.ee/labor/
Pilot project of Russian school lore collection campaign
The questionnaire and strategy for the pilot project of school lore collection among Russian schoolchildren, planned to early winter 2008, has been accepted. The pilot project will be carried out in five schools, one of these a bilingual Estonian-Russian school.
Visiting scholar from Slovenia
Yuri Fikfak will be working at the Estonian Literary Museum at the invitation of centre of excellence and the Department of Folkloristics for two week. In addition to lectures and work with archive material, Fikfak will interview successful company directors of the Soviet period.
Lecture meeting of the Academic Folklore Society and the centre of excellence
The joint lecture meeting of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia and the Academic Folklore Society will take place at 16:15 on Thursday, November 29, 2007 in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum.
Slovenian ethnologist Yuri Fikfak delivers a lecture on South-Slovenian carnival rituals.
Dr. Fikfak discusses agrarian and urban carnival traditions, also the role of local cultural workers and scholars in reviving rituals. The lecture is illustrated by a number of slides and videos.
Yuri Fikfak is affiliated with the Slovenian Institute of Ethnology in Ljubljana and his research topics have included the history and methods of ethnology, rituals, identity. Recently he has focused on processes undergoing in post-Socialist societies.
Lecture event Venemaale veerenud III. Estonka
The third lecture event on Estonian emigrants in Russia will be organized by Anu Korb and will take place at 12 on October 13, 2007, in the main hall of the Estonian Literary Museum (Vanemuise 42, Tartu). Papers will discuss villages with Estonian names in Russia.
PhD thesis defence
On September 11, 2007, Ergo-Hart Västrik, member of the centre of excellence, defended a dissertation on the description of Votian and Izhorian religion from the Middle Age to the first half of the 20th century (Vadjalaste ja isurite usundi kirjeldamine keskajast 20. sajandi esimese pooleni).
PhD thesis defences
On August 28, 2007, Eda Kalmre and Anu Korb (Siberi eesti kogukonnad folkloristliku uurimisallikana), members of the centre of excellence, will defend their doctoral theses. Eda Kalmre’s dissertation Hirm ja võõraviha sõjajärgses Tartus. Pärimuslooline uurimus kannibalistlikest kuulujuttudest discusses fear and the hatred of the ‘other’ in Tartu in a folkloristic study on rumours, and Anu Korb’s thesis focuses on Estonian communities in Siberia as a folkloristic source material.
2007 Annual Conference of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia
We call for papers and poster presentations from leaders and members of the centre for the annual conference of the centre of excellence. Deadline for registration is September 5, 2007, at email@example.com
Overviews of applied projects, fieldwork, and applied articles
We welcome applied articles, overviews of applied projects and major fieldwork for the 2007 Annals of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia. The papers with not be peer-reviewed. Contributions with figures and summary in English should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Interviews with members of cooperation partners of the centre of excellence are also welcome.
Academic publishing in Estonian Literary Museum
In June, 2007, the official website informing of academic publishing in ELM became available at www.folklore.ee/kirjastus. The website mediates information on academic editions and electronic scholarly publications. The new site provides a better overview of periodicals, series and monographs issued by the publishing group.
Introduction of database and online environment
On May 25–29, 2007, the annual conference of the SIEF work group The Ritual Year and History was held. At this event the ritual year database model, in which holidays are presented as different based on the view of Emily Lyle, president of the work group, in which calendar holidays are presented in annular form and the linear and hierarchical presentation has been dropped, and also the solutions of dynamic distribution maps of Europe. Among the conference participants were Estonian scholars Aado Lintrop, Mare Kõiva and Andres Kuperjanov.
Research group of post-Socialist jokelore
Leading scholars of the humanities and social scientists of post-Socialist countries prepared under the lead of Arvo Krikmann and Liisi Laineste the network for the 7th joint framework programme.
Aleksandra Arkhipova from Moscow updated the typology of jokes about Stalin, compiled by Arvo Krikmann (and was published as Volume 2 of the Annals of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia with a trilingual preface). Arkhipova’s contribution to the typology was revisions based on Russian manuscript (1920s–1940s) and post-Second World War published sources.
School lore competition reward ceremony on May 26
The ceremony for rewarding the best contributor and their supervisors is held at 12 on May 26, 2007 in Estonian Literary Museum in Tartu.
The collection campaign was organized by the Department of Folkloristics at the Estonian Literary Museum and the Estonian Folklore Archives, the Chair of Estonian and Comparative Folklore at the University of Tartu, and the Estonian Institute of Folklore. The event was supported by the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia.
Conference on the ideals, aesthetics and significance of the Estonian literary group Noor-Eesti (Noor-Eesti kümme aastat II: ideaalid, esteetika ja tähendus) will be held on May 24–25, 2007 in the Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, Tartu.
Campaign for collecting school lore came to an end
From March 1 to May 10, 2007, the nationwide campaign for collecting school lore, with an aim to record modern youth culture, was held in Estonia. The questionnaire yielded responses from 2,800 schoolchildren from 71 schools in four age groups between grades 4–12, resulting in more than 15,000 pages of material, which will serve as the source material for studies into school and youth lore initiated in 2006.
The questionnaire involved six topics: (1) Leisure time and friends, (2) Jokes, (3) Fears, beliefs, prophesies, (4) Computer and television, (5) Holidays and festivities, (6) Games.
Further information on the collection campaign at www.folklore.ee/kp
Fieldwork in the Setu region
Ruzha Neikova at the Institute of Folklore, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences accompanied Triinu Ojamaa and her fieldwork team to record Setu polyphonic song culture. Dr. Neikova’s visit to Tartu takes place in the course of the joint project of Estonian Literary Museum and Bulgarian Institute of Folklore.
New server room
Adjusting the new server room to meet the requirements is nearing completion.
A new safe server room for storing a server system mediating major data corpora, was set up in the archive fonds on the second floor of the Estonian Literary Museum. From now on, the formerly separately located servers Haldjas, Ohto and Kirmus will be brought together in one room; the system will run Windows, FreeBSD and SyBase environments and mediate rare culture historical and folkloristic materials accumulated in internal servers. Tuning the system and transferring data will be carried out in July–August.
The updating of the server system will be carried out in the framework of LABOR project, financed by Enterprise Estonia.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is held in the main hall of the Estonian Literary Museum. Dr. Ruzha Neikova at the Institute of Folklore, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences will be showing her fieldwork videos on the ritual of nestinarstvo (barefoot dance on embers).
The 19th– 20th century form of nestinarstvo ritual, as it was practiced in southern Bulgaria and northern Greece is a substrate of paleo-Balkan solar or fire ideology, originating in prehistoric Thrace. In modern times, nestinarstvo has been preserved in folk tradition as a popular village festivity, which is celebrated on various saint days and which aims to ensure fertility and people’s welfare. The central character of the ritual is nestinara – a person who contacts deities by treading on smouldering embers, and whose most important function is to mediate message from the other side.
Sacred groves and similar natural sacred places are increasingly gaining popularity as archaeological monuments. In addition to the significant public focus, the topic of prehistoric sacred sites is becoming more and more important for scholars studying the history of Northern Europe.
In order to bring together scholars from Finland and the Baltic countries, and to learn about other scholars’ research topics and objects, the seminar “Holy Groves around the Baltic Sea” will be held on May 4 in the Estonian Literary Museum.
The seminar is organised by the Estonian Literary Museum in cooperation with the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia and the Dept. of Archaeology at the University of Tartu.
Further information: Tõnno Jonuks, email@example.com, phone 56 690 481
Seminar web site: http://www.folklore.ee/rl/fo/konve/hiis_07
10.00 – 11.30
Anna Wickholm. The Finnish Hiisi-sites and their connections to Iron Age cremation cemetries
Juha Ruohonen. From groves to cemeteries. Burial places as sacred sites
Andrei Prokhorov. One grave symbol from North-West Belarus
11.45 – 13.45
Vykintas Vaitkevičius. Balt's sacred groves: lost history and modern research
Sandis Laime. The sacred groves of the central Courland in diachronic aspect
Heiki Valk. Holy natural places of Estonia: regional pecularities
Tõnno Jonuks. Holy groves from Virumaa: some dating possibilities
15.00 – 16.30
Bernd Gliwa. A linguistic view on Lithuanian gojus 'grove'.
Anne Hyvärinen. Hiisi Places in the Landscape of Easter Finland in Light of Archive Materials
Auli Kütt/Ahto Kaasik. Sacred sites of indigenous Estonians Contradiction and symbiosis of different times in Estonian historical sacred groves
Mari-Ann Remmel. Holy groves and their reception nowadays
Elo Liiv. Researcher of natural holy places versus their user
Visiting Estonian sacred places and groves on May 5 and 6.
Discussion about the online content of the Ritual Year website
Emily Lyle, Liisa Vesik and Andres Kuperjanov discussed the construction of a database and shared environment reflecting the dynamics of European calendar lore.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on Monday, April 2, 2007, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is held in the main hall of the Estonian Literary Museum. Dr. Emily Lyle from Edinburgh (School of Scottish Studies) discusses the understanding and representation of the structure of the ritual year.
The paper explores several concepts. Ideas are presented about the rituals of the yearly cycle, which shares parallels with the life cycle. Then it is demonstrated how the structure of a year may be formed on the basis of three pairs of polar oppositions:
a) Summer vs winter
b) The period between midsummer and midwinter vs the period between midwinter and midsummer
c) The bulk of the year vs a brief period of destruction.
The speaker will briefly touch upon the issues of compliance of different systems, such as the Julian and Gregorian calendar.
Dr. Vanya Mateeva visited the Estonian Foundation of the Visually Impaired
Vanya Mateeva, visiting scholar of the centre of excellence, visited the Estonian Foundation of the Visually Impaired to get acquainted with the organisation of the visually impaired in Estonia and the problems they need to tackle with. Dr. Mateeva aimed to collect data for a joint study of Estonian Literary Museum and the Baltic Institute of Folklore.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on Friday, March 30, 2007, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is held in the main hall of the Estonian Literary Museum. Dr. Vanya Mateeva at the Institute of Folklore, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences discusses the topic “Visually impaired: Myths, cultural legacy, socialisation”.
The presentation is based on Vanya Mateeva’s long experience in working with visually impaired people, and is also the first study on the topic in Bulgarian folkloristics and anthropology. The paper centres on the integration and communication of the visually impaired in the Bulgarian society from the aspect of common social issues. The paper discusses the interpretation of the mythological image of a blind person, but also practical issues, such as access to information, coping in the architectural surroundings, the availability of technical support necessary for the visually impaired and the opportunities of children with visual disability in receiving education.
The paper is illustrated by a video featuring visually impaired musicians and people practicing art, who reside and are active in various Bulgarian cities.
We welcome the following proposals for project LABOR of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia:
1. Backup system and infrastructure
2. Central disk array
Deadline: May 1, 2007. Contact and further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
International colloquium “Ethnomedicine and Ethnobotany within Cultural Context and Everyday Life”
Koke, March 23–24, 2007
Friday, March 23
9.00 – Departure from Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, Tartu
10.30 – Arrival at Koke, accommodation
11.00 – Local sights tour
13.30 – Lunch
Symbolic Rituals and magical practice - Mare Kõiva, Estonian Literary Museum
Healing Skills as Group Folk Knowledge - Anu Korb, Estonian Literary Museum
Ethnomedicine of the Estonians - Ulve Pihlik, Department of Pharmacy, University of Tartu
16.00 Coffee break
16.30 – 18.00
What Makes a Medicinal Plant: Analysis of Relations between the Plant and the Disease - Renata Sõukand, Estonian Literary Museum
Can Environmental Conditions Affect the Chemical Composition and Medicinal Properties of Officinal Plant? - Julia Shilina, Department of Botany, University of Tartu
Naturalized Plants in Estonian Ethnomedicine - Raivo Kalle, Estonian Literary Museum
Mongolian Shamanism - Aado Lintrop, Estonian Literary Museum
Chukckee Shamanism - Ülo Siimets, Estonian National Museum
Anthropomorphic Figures in the Besermians’ Modern Methods of Treating Illnesses - Elena Popova, Izhevsk, Udmurtia
The Role of Religion in Coping with the Trauma of Political Persecution: the Case of Estonia - Tõnu Lehtsaar and Heino Noor, University of Tartu
21.00 Herb gardener Katrin Luke shares her experience
Saturday, March 24
Bulgarian Folk Medicine as Common Heritage – Vanya Ivanova Mateeva, Institute of Folklore Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Illnesses and Treatment of a Pet in Komi Traditional Representations – Ljudmila S. Lobanova, Folklore Department of the Institute of Language, Literature and History of Komi Science Center of Ural Division of Russian Academy of Sciences
Suppressed Ethnomedicine. The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among the Finnish Cancer Patients during the 20th Century – Piret Paal, Department of Cultural Studies, Folkloristics, University of Helsinki
11.30 – Coffee break
Impressions of Questionnaires on Folk Medicine – Ave Tupits, Department of Folkloristics, University of Tartu
Local Traditions in Folk Medicine of Komi – Irina Ilyina, Institute of Literature and History of Komi Scientific Centre of Ural Division of Russian Academy of Sciences
Those Healing Iridescent Spring Waters – Marju Torp-Kõivupuu, Tallinn University
14.00 – Lunch
15.00 – 17.00 Discussion panel: Ethnomedicine and Ethnobotany within Cultural Context and Everyday Life
17.00 – Departure to Tartu.
The colloquium is organized by Estonian Folklore Institute, Department of Folkloristics at the Estonian Literary Museum. The colloquium is supported by Estonian Cultural Endowment, the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia. Further information available at http://www.folklore.ee/rl/fo/konve/medicaIV/, contact address: email@example.com
2007 development projects of the centre of excellence
The approved development projects of the centre of excellence in 2007 are:
1. The nationwide campaign for collecting school lore in Estonia. The project ensures the basic research into the material, prepares the collection campaigns for Russian youth lore and student lore in Estonia in 2008–2009 (coordinated by Piret Voolaid).
2. International colloquium "Ethnomedicine and Ethnobotany within Cultural Context and Everyday Life" and consulting about the corresponding medical anthropological network (coordinated by Renata Sõukand).
3. International seminar “Holy Groves around the Baltic Sea” and the Baltic-Scandinavian network of studying sacred places (coordinated by Tõnno Jonuks).
4. Preparations for an international network and IASA-BAAC conference “Building an Archives for the Future” in Riga (coordinated by Piret Noorhani).
5. Consult meetings of the international network of early song culture (in cooperation with Finnish Literary Society in Finland, Latvian archives in Riga; coordinated by Ergo-Hart Västrik).
6. Research project of contemporary music (in cooperation with Finland and Sweden; coordinated by Triinu Ojamaa).
Announcement: The launch of a nationwide campaign for collecting school lore in Estonia
From March 1 to April 15, 2007 the countrywide campaign for collecting school lore is held. The campaign will involve schoolchildren of grades 4–12, divided in age groups: 4–5 graders, 6–7 graders, 8–9 graders and 10–12 graders.
This collection campaign is a follow-up to the campaign for collecting school lore in Estonia and Finland held in 1992. As a result of the 1992 campaign, the Estonian Folklore Archives received more than 27,000 pages of rich and valuable student lore from the total of 1,797 respondents in 26 Estonian schools. The outcome of the campaign has resulted in several academic conferences and numerous academic and popular-scientific publications published in Estonia.
Over the past fifteen years, the Estonian society has undergone considerable changes: a new generation has emerged, whose intangible lore facilitates observing the developments and processes occurring in the contemporary society. The earlier, mainly oral repertoire has moved to new electronic media, such as the Internet and mobile communication. Popular cultural phenomena, such as traveling, sports, watching television, online communication, etc. often generate new types or genres of lore.
The respondents will be asked to submit school lore on six topics: (1) Leisure time and friends, (2) Jokes, (3) Fears, beliefs, prophesies, (4) Computer and television, (5) Holidays and festivities, (6) Games.
Respondents can also fill in online questionnaires, the home page of school lore is at http://www.folklore.ee/kp The submitted material will be archived as original manuscripts in the Estonian Folklore Archives.
The campaign for collecting school lore will be organized by the Department of Folkloristics at the Estonian Literary Museum, Estonian Folklore Archives, Estonian Folklore Institute, the Chair of Estonian and Comparative Folklore at the University of Tartu, with the Gaming Board of Estonia as the main financer.
Ave Tupits (koordinaator), firstname.lastname@example.org, 5176 643
Risto Järv, email@example.com, 7376 214
Mare Kõiva, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7377 740
Astrid Tuisk, email@example.com, 7377 737
Contest for development projects of the centre of excellence
Call for applications to the contest for development projects of 2007 of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia.
The conditions are the same than in 2006. Preference is given to projects connected with preparing international cooperation agreements, EU projects and networks, and pilot projects for new basic research.
Deadline for applications is March 11, 2007. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visiting scholars at the centre of excellence
In the first part of 2007, the centre of excellence at the Estonian Literary Museum has invited to work here in Tartu the following scholars: Dr. Vania Mateeva from Bulgaria (European youth lore and medical anthropology), Dr. Ruzha Neikova from Bulgaria (polyphony, contemporary music culture), Dr. Ekaterina Anastasova from Bulgaria (Old Believers), Dr. Emily Lyle from Edinburgh (joint project Ritual Year), Dr. Yurij Fikfak from Slovenia (ethnic myths), Dr. Harry Mürk from Toronto (editing and textology). All the mentioned scholars are connected with specific research projects, which will result in joint studies and articles.
School lore in Estonia 2007
On January 23–24, 2007 the seminar outing of the Department of Folkloristics, Estonian Literary Museum is taking place in Kiidi tourist farm, South-East Estonia.
The aim of the seminar is to provide an overview of the pilot project for collecting school lore held in four Estonian schools (Collegium Educationis Revaliae, Antsla Secondary School, Jäneda Basic School, Mart Reiniku School in Tartu). The questionnaire that will be used in the nationwide campaign of school lore collection was tested in four schools. Seminar participants will be able to familiarise themselves with copies of material contributed to the pilot project, and the final questionnaire will be compiled. Seminar programme available in Estonian at www.folklore.ee/rl/fo/konve/kp/
The seminar is supported by the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia.
International symposium “Post-Socialist Jokelore”
International symposium “Post-Socialist Jokelore”
On January 15–16, 2007 the international symposium “Post-Socialist Jokelore” is held at the Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, Tartu. The launched international cooperation project involves leading scholars of the humanities and social sciences of Post-Socialist countries. The symposium is an introductory event approaching the issues of status, content and form of contemporary, mostly political, jokelore. Nine humour scholars from Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Poland and Estonia present papers on two conference days. The symposium is held in English and Russian.
The symposium website: http://www.folklore.ee/rl/fo/konve/joke07/
Further information: Arvo Krikmann, phone +372 53 416 520, kriku@ folklore.ee, Liisi Laineste, phone +372 51 37 927, email@example.com
Monday, January 15
10:00 – 12:00
E. Shmeleva & A. Shmelev (Moscow): Contemporary Russian Jokes: the Evolution of Speech Genre
A. Belousov & M. Lurye (St Petersburg): Youth Humour in Post-Soviet Russia
12:00 – 14:00
L. Laineste (Tartu): Post-Socialism and Political Jokes on Estonian Internet
D. Brzozowska (Warsaw): Jokes in Poland in the Period of Transition
16:00 – 18:00
D.-E. Popa (Bucharest): Contemporary Political Humour in the Romanian Public Sphere
S. Stanoev (Sofia): Power and Society in Bulgarian Post-Totalitarian Period Joke Telling
Tuesday, January 16
10:00 – 13:00
S. Nekliudov (Moscow): Origin of an Anecdote: “The fly, the jabberer” on Trial of Soviet Leaders
A. Arkhipova (Moscow): Tradition and Innovation in Jokes on Putin
A. Krikmann (Tartu): Estonians in Contemporary Russian Jokes
We welcome proposals for the supply of A2 format book scanner for project LABOR. The recommended optical resolution is 600dpi, capability to process publications ranging from small formats to up to A2 format media publications. Supplier will ensure technical instalment and software maintenance.
Deadline for proposals December 12, 2006. Information on technical data and conditions: firstname.lastname@example.org
For applying scholarship at project LABOR.
We call for offers to fulfil the following tasks:
Preparing dynamic sub-databases, programming support and online solution for LABOR databases; monitoring and administrative output for digital academic editions; database and administrative environment for folk calendar songs (text, metadata, notations, sound files).
Information on source data and conditions: email@example.com
Deadline for the tender February 1, 2007.
Call for papers: 2007 Annals of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia
Participants of the 2007 annual conference and scholars exploring the same area of research are called to submit articles for the forthcoming peer-reviewed yearbook. Deadline for manuscript submission is May 31, 2007. Guidelines for referencing style and submitting the manuscript for peer-review, etc. are similar to those required by folklore journals Mäetagused and Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore. Further instructions available at http://www.folklore.ee/tagused/submiss.htm or http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/
NB! The length of the summary in English has grown. For further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Conference of Estonian centres of excellence
On November 2006 the conference introducing the achievements and issues of Estonian Centres of Excellence was held at the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The conference is chaired by academician Ain-Elmar Kaasik.
On November 22–23, 2006, the international conference on the myths and ideologies of Kalevala-metric folk song (“Regilaulu müüdid ja ideoloogiad”) is held at the main hall of the Estonian Literary Museum. In two days, answers are sought to the following questions: Which myths can be found in Kalevala-metric folk songs? Which views and attitudes it has grouped around itself? How have different institutions and persons employed Kalevala-metric folk songs to achieve their aims. The discussion also seeks answer to the question to whom belongs oral lore and to which extent does it reflect the worldview of participants in this process. The conference is held in Estonian and Finnish, the conference programme and abstracts are available at http://www.folklore.ee/rl/era/uudis/regikava2006.htm
Further information: Aado Lintrop, ph. 53419770; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2006 Annual Conference of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics
On November 1–2, 2006, the annual conference of the centre of excellence is held in the Koke guest house, South-East Estonia. The conference programme available at http://www.folklore.ee/tippkeskus/tsensuur/kava.htm
For further information contact email@example.com
Abstracts of the 2006 annual conference “Censorship and Self-Censorship”
Abstracts of the 2006 annual conference of the centre of excellence are available at http://www.folklore.ee/tippkeskus/tsensuur/kava.htm
Annals of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia
Volume 4 of the peer-reviewed annals of the centre of excellence has been published. The publication was recognised by the editorial board of the centre. The board suggested publishing the English summaries at least in electronic form and promoting research results and applied projects.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on July 4, 2006 the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of “Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Bulgaria in the Transition Period” is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper on Old Believers in Bulgaria is delivered and the video shown by Ekaterina Anastasova at the Institute of Folklore, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia.
The lecture discusses the typology of the revival of ethnic and religious minorities in Bulgaria in the Post-Socialist period. The focus is on two different minority groups: Russian Old Believers/Nekrasovites and Aromanians (a specific transnational group in the Balkans speaking an Eastern Romance dialect).
The topic is investigated in the context of changes, which began in the Bulgarian society after the democratic reorganisations in the 1990s. Two development routes, depending on the international as well as local regulations in defending the rights of the minorities, can be observed in these two communities. An important aspect is also the history and culture of a specific group, as well as the size of the settlement area and the group. The paper discusses the activities of the groups’ elite and the populace’s response to these.
The situation in Bulgaria is juxtaposed with the development tendencies in Romania, which allows drawing general conclusions at the typological level in the Balkan context.
The lecture is held in English.
Dr. Peter Pomozi is the visiting scholar of 2006
The visiting scholar at the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is preparing the book introducing research results of Estonian folkloristics.
2006 annual conference of the centre of excellence
The conference, held on November 1–2, 2006, in South Estonia and which main theme is “Censorship and Self-Censorship” (vs Control and Self-Control) welcomes approaches on phenomena of censorship encompassing next to text and professional arts the treatments of other types of censorship, such as religious, corporative, moral, political and economic and reactions to censorship.
The preferred periods are Socialism and Post-Socialism, but considering that it is an old phenomenon, we welcome papers exploring earlier periods for creating a broader historical context. Also, there will be no geographical, methodological or philosophical restrictions for observing the said areas of research.
Attempts to restrict and censure online material, including implementing mechanisms of neighbour watch and self-censorship, have prompted wider discussion. Can the scandals connected with weblogs, private letters and comments be associated with the hurt self-pride of the commenters or does the problem lie in the violation of ethical, religious and political norms?
Next to manuscripts and books, professional art has been censured throughout centuries, and have, in turn, triggered the mechanism of the creators’ self-control. What is the nature of these mechanisms? Does it make one create texts of more complex structure? Or use mimicry, pre-censure one’s own work? Strict censorship has been imposed also on achievements in science and technology, in the light of which it is possible to ask, what is the nature of self-censorship of a researcher?
In addition to papers we welcome project overviews or intermediary reports as poster presentations.
Deadline for abstract submission is October 10.
Seminar of the centre of excellence on May 23
At 12 on May 23, 2006 the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of “The Power of Popular Culture and Ethnic Identity in the 21st Century” is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper is delivered by Tarja Rautiainen from the Chair of Ethnomusicology at the University of Tampere.
The focus of the paper is the role and position of popular music in the western societies of the 21th century. Tarja Rautiainen proceeds from the view that the historical context and formation of popular cultures, though sharing common principles, diverge in different cultures. This is why the development of popular music should therefore be studied in the ethnic context.
The paper outlines the perspectives on how to describe the history and nature of popular culture and study on the academic level.
Seminar of the centre of excellence on Febr. 13
At 12 on February 13, 2006 the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of “Medieval Sources of Describing Votians: Facts and Interpretations” is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper is delivered by Ergo-Hart Västrik, head of the Estonian Folklore Archives.
Written sources about the early history of Votia and Votians are very scarce. These are mostly a limited corpus of documents and literary works, in which single mentions of Votia repeatedly occur in written histories and overviews of history. Though the number of sources is limited, the scholars have been able to provide relatively different interpretation of the available data. An important issue in the context of studying the Votian folk religion is Christianisation of Votians, on which there are no primary written sources and the interpretations on the time and extent of contacts with Christianity are largely construed on the basis of secondary sources and hypothetical.
In medieval times (and later), Votians and Votia have been described as positioned in the periphery of Oriental and Western culture area and as a result, they have had contacts with the early Novgorod State as well as the crusades from Livonia and Sweden to christianise pagan territories. The interpretations of these relations with either side have differed dramatically in the works of different authors.
In order to provide the background of the more detailed 16th-century descriptions of Votian folk religion, the speaker attempts to take a closer look at the sources, which mediate the emergence of Votians and Votia in history and the christianisation of Votians. An attempt has been made to build a contextual framework to the corresponding reports in sources and juxtapose the different interpretations proposed about them.
Seminar of the centre of excellence on Nov. 29
At 12 on Tuesday, November 29, 2005, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of “Research Issues and Angles of Women’s History or Gender History” is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper is delivered by literary historian Eve Annuk.
Women’s studies have become a rapidly developing area of research in recent years. As an interdisciplinary field of study, women’s studies brings together different disciplines, using gender as the basic category of analysis and demonstrating its importance in the study of society and culture. Official history writing, for example, has traditionally focused on ‘manly’ narratives, describing the achievements of men in history and recording it, and turning women invisible in official history.
Women, however, have not been merely passive objects in history, but have been actively involved in shaping the society. Women’s history attempts to reintroduce women, their activities and achievements in history, searching for answers to several questions: Why have women often remained “silent shadows”? Is the gender aspect in the context of historical research important at all? How can history be interpreted from the gender aspect?
The study, springing from the charting of women’s history, underwent a paradigmatic change in the 1980s, when women as a research object was replaced by gender category, and gender was approached as the primary aspect of social organisation (gender as a historical category of analysis). Differentiating between the biological and social aspects of gender provides us the opportunity to study gender as a product of social and cultural process and demonstrate the course of the historical construction of social gender.
Seminar of the centre of excellence on Oct. 11
At 12 on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of “Tricksters in North-American Folklore and their Eurasian Descent” is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper is delivered by Yuri Berezkin, head of the Department of American Studies at the Kunstkamera, St Petersburg.
A trickster is not merely someone who plays pranks, creates absurd situations, but rather a figure characterised by contradictory qualities. A trickster may be strong and weak, foreign and own at the same time. According to this categorisation, tricksters are either heroes, who are always strong and invincible, or they are sad losers. The role of trickster is most often assumed by fox, hare, mink, coyote, raven or jay, though anthropomorphic tricksters are also widely known. In the traditions of different regions the representations of a trickster and the creator may be merged into a same figure.
North America with the adjacent North-East Asia is the area where the character is most well developed. The trickster known in South America, mostly in South Andes, Patagonia and especially in Chaco, is most likely the direct descendant of the North-American figure, having migrated there with paleo-Indians or some other major migrant groups. The majority of Old World parallels with the trickster tales of North America is known either in West Siberia (though not among the Sakha and Tungus in eastern Siberia) or along the western stretch of the Pacific Ocean up to New Guinea and Australia. The origin of trickster motifs may be searched for and found in the Indian Pacific mythology, which differs from the tradition in continental Europe.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on September 26, 2005, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic of Shamanism as an alternative interpretation of mid-Neolithic burials (4000–2500 BC) in Estonia is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The paper is delivered by archaeologist Tõnno Jonuks.
The phenomenon of Shamanism has been repeatedly used for providing interpretations on Estonian prehistoric religion. The interpretations, however, have remained vague and have approached the topic of Shamanism and Shamans in very general terms. At the same time, the phenomenon of Shamanism has been widely used in analysing Stone Age religion in northern Europe. The source material of such interpretations is mostly petroglyphs, to a lesser extent also the tangible findings, but also a quite extensive use of ethnographic parallels with contemporary Shamanic communities in Siberia.
In the paper, Jonuks discusses burials of the pit-comb ware culture in Estonia, mostly discovered in the famous cemeteries of Tamula and Valma. The speaker analyses grave objects, burial types and the burial sites. Next to analysing the found objects and other archaeological material, the interpretation is based on ethnographic parallels. Jonuks assumes that the grave objects have served mainly ritual functions and are not merely “things that one might need in the world beyond the grave”. Pendants hanging on the clothes of the buried have represented the souls of spirit helpers rather than decorations. In the light of this, it is likely that the Tamula and Valma cemeteries are the burial sites of Shamans or religious leaders who had employed such practices. The paper concludes with a comparison of burials of the pit-comb ware culture with burials of the following period – the corded ware culture (3200–1800 BC) and an attempt to explain their differences in connection with the receding of Shamanist representations.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on April 26, 2005, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. Art historian Mari Laaniste gives a lecture "In What Language Do Images Speak to Us?"
The increasing growth in the use and influence of visual communication in the globalising culture of the past decades has reintroduced an old question in the academic study of culture: how does 'visual language' function. The Western cultural theory has approached the ability of images to communicate and mediate information somewhat cautiously, claiming it to be unpredictable and inapplicable to the clearly definable rules of reason. The ability of people to receive information via the mediation of images has always, and quite justifiably, regarded as an innate quality. Thus, in the tradition, the visual communication is set in opposition with the verbal communication (conventionally referring to written rather than oral text).
The fact that the message of a visual representation tends to precede the verbal message (which often does require interpretation), and does not necessarily require an interpretation these days, has recently made the scholarly research of communication modify its views. Contrary to the generally recognised fact that the message conveyed by means of images or words cannot be mediated without allowances or loss of information, the communication theory studying the majority of visual information is built upon the forcing of communicative ability into the framework of the semiotic system based upon linguistics. The newer trend in the theory objects to this. Perhaps the images do not "speak" with us at all? The ability of a human being to receive information can not be limited to language only. Moreover, even the existence of the so-called pure verbal communication, still untainted by visuality, can be questioned: graphic design is increasingly creating the meanings that we receive from written text.
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on Wednesday, March 30, 2005, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia is held in the main hall of Estonian Literary Museum. The topic of the seminar is 'Hyperventilation as an Alternative Trance Mechanism" and the paper is delivered by ethnomusicologist Triinu Ojamaa.
The study is based on a Nganassan round dance, in which dancers imitate the movements and sounds of a bear. For ethnomusicologists, the purpose of the dance accompaniment lies mainly in a rhythmic coordination of the dance movements. But could the musical accompaniment of the Nganassan dance be associated with deliberate hyperventilation, the aim of which is to reach the state of trance?
Seminar of the centre of excellence
At 12 on Tuesday, March 1, 2005, the seminar of the Centre of Cultural History and Folkloristics in Estonia on the topic 'Reindeer, Rodina and Reciprocity: Kinship and Property Relations in a Siberian Village'. The seminar paper by Aimar Ventsel.
The collapse of the Soviet planned economy brought along changes in the life of Siberians. Formerly subsidised villages are currently living in serious poverty, and even though stores are filled with goods of which there used to be a shortage of, these remain out of the reach of the majority of the population. Siberian villages have mostly shifted to subsistence economy, the form of economy in which the income is the minimum of which a person needs to survive. In the situation of an uneven distribution of resources, the general population is forced to look for alternatives to access the resources they need. Since official channels and structures cannot guarantee a minimum level of subsistence, the unofficial kin-based networks gained increasing importance. In his paper, Ventsel analyses how the property relations have developed in the Siberian villages during the Post-Socialist period and how kin relations, ethnic identity and laws are being manipulated for the sake of redistribution of resources. The paper is based on a defended dissertation.
Annual conference 2005
January 27-28 annual conference of the centre of excellence. Tartu, Vanemuise 42.