Pertti Anttonen. Community Making in Folklore Research
When in the mid-1970s the American folklorist William Wilson published his critical study on folklore and nationalism in Finland, Finnish folklorists were not too enthusiastic about the way in which he had depicted their colleagues’ nationalistic fervor in the early part of the 20th century. Wilson did not hide his discomfort about Finnish folklorists being patriots first and scholars second. The book was translated into Finnish in conjunction with the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Kalevala epic in 1985, but far (to the left) from the key institution organizing the celebrations, the Finnish Literature Society. The leading Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko called Wilson “an outside observer”, an epithet not commonly applied to a scholar engaged in serious fieldwork or archival work. To be sure, Wilson himself was keen to place himself outside the community making he was witnessing through his research, although he eventually revised some of his theses in the article ‘Partial Repentance of a Critic’. Wilson’s case offers an interesting example of the ways in which geographies of knowledge may be constructed.
I will also discuss the article that I wrote some time after the organizing of the Nordic-Baltic Seminar, which invited a number of folklorists from the newly liberated Baltic States to Turku in 1992. This was written in Swedish and published in the NordNytt journal of ethnology and folklore in 1994. I addressed selected aspects of power and authority within Nordic folkloristics and consequently, I lost my job at the Nordic Institute of Folklore. With reference to my doctoral degree from an American university, I was told that my research was not Nordic.
It is not my intention to make generalizations on the basis of individual instances, but to discuss through a few cases the ever-present potentiality for boundary work in scholarly networks. Communities are not merely some of the key targets in folkloristic analyses, but can also provide the very means for such targeting.
Martin Boiko. Pēteris Šmits and the Concept of the Historical Lament-Loss
The archives and collections of Latvian traditional music and folklore do not contain any documentation of laments. This establishes an exception in the context of neighbouring musical cultures: Lithuanian, Estonian, Belarusian and Russian. The lack of laments became a concern among the early 20th century Latvian intellectuals. As though confronted with some kind of cultural defect, they hurried to “close the gap” by claiming a former existence and a later disappearance of that phenomenon in Latvia. In claiming this they always referred to several passages from the medieval Livonian Chronicles: The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (written about 1225/1227) and The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (beginning of the 14th century), containing, as they were convinced, evidence of the later-lost-laments.
This practice was introduced by the influential linguist and folklorist Pēteris Šmits (1869–1938) in 1918 through his book “Latvian Mythology”. Šmits was deeply influenced by the “Psychologie der Volksdichtung” (1906)of the German folklorist and politician Otto Böckel (1859–1923), who theorised, that the evolution of the death lament (Totenklage) is an essential part of every folk tradition, and if a contemporary tradition lacks it, this is due to its historical disappearance. Šmits has adopted Böckel’s scheme and way of thinking, and has “rescued” the Latvian case by claiming Latvians have lost their laments and the mentioned chronicles have preserved evidence of them. Šmits’ idea has been passed from book to book until the late 20th century.
Yet a simple semantic and contextual analysis shows that the existence of medieval laments cannot be proven by the aforementioned chronicles. And it is surprising that the idea of Šmits could flourish in the context of the advanced chronicle research presented in the 1920s and 30s by the historians Leonid Arbusow Jr (1882–1951) and Vilis Biļķins (1884–1974).
The case under discussion is symptomatic in many ways: it focuses the sources of ideas and the ways of thinking used in the early 20th century Latvian folkloristics, characterizes the interdisciplinary relations, and registers important ideological and other extra-scientific implications.
Mícheál Briody. A “Handmaiden” to International Scholarship. The Irish Folklore Commission and Research
The Irish Folklore Commission (1935–1970) had by the end of the 1940s amassed one of the largest collections of folklore in the world. In simultaneously assembling a large specialist library of folkloristic works to accompany this collection of manuscripts and sound recordings, its Honorary Director, Séamus Ó Duilearga, had ambitions to make Dublin a virtual Mecca in folklore scholarship. Nevertheless it would appear that he saw Dublin’s role more as that of handmaiden to international scholarship than as a major actor in its own right. Nevertheless the Irish Folklore Commission was influential in its day and Ó Duilearga a formidable actor on the international stage.
Ó Duilearga as a young man made the acquaintance of two major Nordic folklorists, Reidar Th. Christiansen and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow. Both men were to significantly influence the work of the Irish Folklore Commission, as was the Historic-Geographic or Finnish Method. Ó Duilearga also maintained a large network of international contacts in Europe, North America and to a lesser extent in Britain; scholars he met with on his travels and with whom he maintained an extensive correspondence.
In this paper I will examine why Dublin did not become the Mecca ÓDuilearga hoped it would become. I will look at the international reach of the Commission as well as some of Ó Duilearga’s international contacts and influences, in particular his relationship with Carl Wilhelm von Sydow. I will also look at Ó Duilearga’s predilection for Continental scholars as opposed to scholars associated with the Folklore Society of London, as well as his preference for collecting folktales, which sometimes led to tensions between him and members of the Commission who were heirs to an older native approach to collecting oral tradition, and at least one of whom also had links with the Folklore Society.
Dace Bula. Disciplinary Past and Shifting Geographies of Knowledge: Addressing the Interwar Period of Latvian Folkloristics
The paper, first, will characterize one of the incentives for organizing the conference “Mapping Disciplinary History”, namely, the project on the history of interwar folkloristics, recently carried out by the Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF). The project has resulted in a collective monograph Latviešu folkloristika starpkaru periodā whose findings will be presented in a number of conference papers.
Second, it will discuss the interwar period in European folklore studies with regard to constitutive processes of the discipline, quite active at that time with several tendencies seeking to dominate the field. Latvian folkloristics, refraining from proposing a distinctive self-defining programme, found itself at the crossroads of international influences. One of them derived from Anna Bērzkalne’s (the founder of the ALF) close ties with Folklore Fellows’ circles and her preference of Volksdichtung as a disciplinary keyword. Another was the influence of the newly established field of European ethnology that entered Latvian folkloristic thought through Kārlis Straubergs’s (the Head of the ALF since 1929) communication with Sigurd Erixon. Dag Trotzig, Erixon’s student, teaching ethnology at the University of Latvia and actively publishing in Latvian media, was another propagator of the divide between ethnology and “psychological folk-lore”, established by his mentor. The opposite move towards an integrative discipline under the name of folklore, entertained by French scholars, Arnold van Gennep and André Varagnac in particular, in Latvia, was promoted by historian Arveds Švābe. And, finally, the nationalistic orientation of German Volkskunde was not unfamiliar to Latvian intellectuals, too.
Yet, the interwar period in Latvian folkloristics might be called a period of unfulfilled plans. Establishing of disciplinary foundations for both ethnology and folklore belong to the plans interrupted by WWII and the emigration of scholars that followed. The paper will introduce a couple of interwar projects that have remained in a draft and archival manuscript format, namely, an intended handbook of folklore and ethnology and Švābe’s unpublished book Folklore.
Lina Būgienė. Lithuanian Folklore Research: Overcoming the Recent Challenges
Being rooted in the romantic nationalist views of the 19th century, the Lithuanian folklore research has ever since experienced all the developments characteristic to the folkloristics worldwide, including search for the “national character” reflected in folklore, safeguarding of the rapidly disappearing relics of the ancient worldview and creativity, establishing authenticity as key value in folklore, etc. Still, following yet another outstanding national upsurge of the folklore movement connected with striving for and regaining of the Lithuanian national independence in 1990, folkloristics experienced a distinctive setback related to its certain inability to define the new identity and the new goals under the radically altered circumstances. Doubts were voiced even in 2007 regarding the future use and existence of folkloristics in general, stating that the discipline had lost its research object and, due to its inert character and inability to establish interdisciplinary connections, should simply be merged into and used by other areas of humanities. In view of its survival being so dramatically challenged, the Lithuanian folklore research took pains in shaping itself as a modern and relevant field of humanities — both in terms of its subject, interdisciplinary links and methods. The turning point in this development was the newly defined concept of homo narrans, together with a significantly broadened understanding of folk narrative in general. The current subject of folklore research now includes traditional folklore genres and their modern transformations as well as such forms of narrative that hitherto have been regarded as falling out of the range of interest of folklorists. The scope of changes taking place in the Lithuanian folklore research during recent decades is dramatic indeed, and some of its most relevant aspects will be examined in this paper in greater detail.
Jean-Nicolas De Surmont. Disciplinary Filiations and Unity of Interest
This contribution will focus to locate the place of the oral within its main actors. Characterizing the location of the oral allow us to understand how ethnomusicology shares research topics with geolinguistics. Just as in the collection phase, the transcription phase of the investigator requires common qualities and knowledge of orality for both disciplines. After focusing on methodological aspects of ethnomusicological research, we will analyze the closest connection it has with the development of sister disciplines such as dialectology. We study the role of folklore in the development of the symbolic representation of the nation, a role played by literary circles in the nineteenth century by including into their works vocalised poems. This will lead us to investigate the actions taken by the Société du Parler français in Canada and the great tenors of ethnology in the work of collection of songs and language materials of French Canadian heritage. While being theoretical, this contribution is also historical and recalls the various stages of the transformation of work in the collecting and will describe the intimate ties between Quebec intellectuals coming from different spheres of activity.
James Deutsch. Crossing Borders on the U.S. National Mall: The African Diaspora Programs at the Festival of American Folklife
In December 1973, the Smithsonian Institution’s Performing Arts Division proposed “the concept of the African Diaspora . . . as a coordinative structure and a unifying philosophy” for future festivals on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.The first response wasa modest African Diaspora program at the 1974 Festival of American Folklife, followed by a more ambitious program at the 1975 Festival, and culminating in a twelve-week program for the Festival in 1976 to mark the bicentennial of the United States.
Each of these programs sought to demonstrate the adaptations, continuities,and transfers of cultural heritage across borders from the African world to the Americas. Festival participants from the United States engaged directly in dialogue with participants from Brazil, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zaire. The results far exceeded the expectations of the Festival organizers. In the words of oneSmithsonian curator, “Perhaps for the first time ever in American public history, a Black American mythos — the notion of the unity of African peoples across time and space — was presented by a preeminent cultural institution.”
Yet these African Diaspora programs at the Smithsonian in the mid-1970s have attracted relatively little attention among scholars. Accordingly, this paper will explore the genesis, production, and legacies of those programs. Sources will include memoranda and reports from Smithsonian archives; rarerecordings (both cassette and reel-to-reel) of conversations among participants on Festival discussion stages; and interviews with Festival staff members.
Preliminary conclusions are that these three Festival programs from the mid-1970s: 1) introduced the very notion of an African Diaspora to millions of Festival visitors; 2) profoundly affected and enriched the lives and careers of folk artists throughout the African Diaspora; and 3) helped to fostergreater unity and dialogue within the diversity of African Diasporic cultures.
Sandra K. Dolby. Personal Narrative: More Reflections on an Enduring Resource
Forty years ago I was, with great delight, researching the topic of my PhD dissertation, “The Personal Narrative as a Folklore Genre.” A few articles on the personal narrative came out of that research. Some fifteen years after that, I was still interested in the topic and wrote a book titled Literary Folkloristics and the Personal Narrative. In the intervening years there had sprung up a thriving area of research within folklore studies that examined the personal experience story in new ways and considered its application within the field. By the time I wrote a Preface to the 2008 Reissue of LFPN, I was able to survey a growing bibliography of works by scholars worldwide focusing on the personal narrative, research that went well beyond questions of genre and the defining characteristics of folklore.
Now, as we are “mapping disciplinary history,” I see the personal narrative continuing or emerging as an essential resource in many areas of folklore research as well as in a host of neighboring disciplines. Over the last decade, an impressive number of publications have used the personal narrative as an essential resource in developing new research. These studies bridge many disciplines and have often inspired additional work on the topic. Some such studies may seem expected, given the history of personal narrative research within the field of folklore: ongoing studies of genre, intertextuality, performance, context and storytelling rights, identity and ethnicity, and the nearby fields of oral history and family history. But other applications have emerged as well: diaspora and immigration studies, journalism, narrative medicine and other health-related research, occupational studies, examinations of war, conflict, and trauma, place studies, ESL and language studies, social activism and communal life-sharing sites, life writing, and a reinvigorated use of personal narrative in teaching writing in the public schools and colleges.
My own continuing interest has been in assessing the way personal narratives are used in self-help books. I see the authors of such books as serving the goals of popular education, teaching values through the use of illustrative stories, many of them their own experiences. I will close with an examination of a story that demonstrates this rhetorical use of personal narrative.
Inta Gale Carpenter. Applied Ethnography in Service to Community
This presentation discusses the design of a class in applied ethnography co-taught by a folklorist and an anthropologist for five semesters at Indiana University. Its goal was to introduce students to field methods as tools for understanding conditions of poverty, illness, and inequality. The “field” was a Boys and Girls Club located in a public housing neighborhood stigmatized as “where the poor people live” and as a place replete with crime, drugs, and violence.
Historically, the discipline of folklore has not sustained a commitment to using theory and methods in the service of social issues, while anthropology has a vigorous core of proponents who argue that a radical empiricism can publicly reveal inequities and lead to change. In the class, folklore drew attention to values and artistic forms of communication; anthropology opened up issues of race, class, and gender and asked questions about knowledge, truth, power, and justice.
Students displayed varying levels of comfort with and respect for the children at the club. Certain students seemed to “click” with them. Others remained detached, even superior. Most reported the sense that they had gained an understanding of a way to approach both unfamiliar and familiar situations. In other words, they had practiced something that might serve them well in life.
Ave Goršič. August Martin as a Correspondent of the Folklore Archives
August Martin (1893–1982) was an Estonian schoolteacher, regional lore collector and activist. He started his career already at 16, later working in various schools of various sizes. In 1912, during the first all-Russian educational congress, he belonged to a group demanding the right to education in one’s mother tongue. As a result he lost the right to teach in the Baltic area and moved to the Caucasus, working in Estonian settlements as a teacher and school director 1915–1921. As a pensioner he was an active local lore researcher and took up correspondence with the then folklore department (Estonian Folklore Archives) at the Literary Museum in Tartu upon the request to record data on the correspondents of parson and folklorist Jakob Hurt (1839–1906).
He mainly collected data for the archive from the late 1950s and in the 1960s, but also posted data later. It is noteworthy that he not only collected data from the North-eastern Estonian region, but also in Siberia and the Caucasus. He questioned many villagers, relatives and acquaintances of runo song singers and took great pains in working with various archival records, trying to fill in the gaps in singers’ and correspondents’ life stories. In addition he sent in melodies of collected songs, explanations of sayings, descriptions of calendar customs, if possible, together with photos — altogether hundreds and hundreds of pages, in ten manuscripts. He also collected family lore during his field trips and often described, in his letters to the archive, his searches, places he visited and people he met.
My presentation will give an insight into August Martin’s work and his attitude to collecting folklore.
Risto Järv. Drawing and Transgressing Boundaries in Fairy Tale Publications
The presentation draws on practical issues that have arisen in publishing the materials of the Estonian Folklore Archives. In 2014 the folk tale workgroup issued two fairly dissimilar publications of folk tales, one them being Volume 2 of the scholarly edition of Estonian fairy tales (Estonian Folk Tales I: Fairy Tales), the other a set of reading cards — a postcard-type selection of different traditional Estonian folk tales (Good Estonian Folk Tales, 2014, 50 pages/cards).
The publications thus cover a wide span, ranging from a serious hardcover source publication of textual criticism, to a set of summaries each compressed to less than a page in scope. Both include folk tales of Estonians from Estonia as well as from regions further away, including for instance the Estonian language enclave in the Ludza region in Latvia.
As we give out contemporary publications of folklore it can be presumed that the texts have to be explained on the level of content as well as lexis in order to reach the contemporary reader. On the one hand, society expects the archives to engage in extensive and fast publishing; on the other hand what is expected is informed commentaries without which the scholarsʼ publication activities seem to have little meaning. Much space is taken up by glossaries, and as these would have to cover rather a great proportion of several texts, a considerable number of whole texts in the academic volume have been translated into literary Estonian. At the same time it turned out that several systemic changes were required in comparison with the original texts.
The other set of issues addressed concerns the question of drawing a boundary when it comes to selecting texts for publication. If in the case of legends it is considered obvious that legends recorded in recent times can also be published, then, in the case of folk tales, drawing a temporal boundary seemed to be necessary. Although tales told by good professional storytellers have been recorded for the purpose of archivisation even today, the change in the tradition seems to be somewhat more serious here. Nevertheless exceptions were made in the case of some storytellers.
The third important set of problems in making archival materials available and adapting them for today’s audiences is the topic of modifying the texts. Even in the case of the academic edition we were concerned that the one-time poetic genre for grown-ups may have become remote for today’s people on the content level and the dire violence occurring in the texts may need commentaries, while the issue becomes all the more burning when it comes to adaptions. For instance, in the case of adaptations there were heated discussions with the publishers as to which elements typical of fairy tales could be admitted into a text that had suffered cuts anyway. Drawing a boundary can be rather problematic, as by leaving out an element the gist of the story may become lost, yet if the alternative was to exclude the tale altogether, certain changes might be in order. The readers have a preconceived idea of fairy tales as a sunny genre meant for children that can be difficult to challenge.
Barbro Klein. Baltic Folklorists and Ethnologists in Sweden: Reflections on Scholarship in Exile and Discipline Formation
Among the thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians who fled to Sweden during and after World War II were some eminent folklorists and ethnologists. A few had been invited by the Nordic Museum, but most had no such invitations. What did it mean for these scholars to live as foreigners in a self-enclosed country such as Sweden? After all, they had been central, academically and politically, in the building up of ethnological museums and folklore departments in the recently independent Baltic countries. What kinds of scholarly spaces did the newcomers create for themselves in the new country? What was their impact on Swedish scholarship and vice versa? What are the more enduring effects on “the ethnological disciplines” of the flight across the Baltic?
On the basis of interviews, archive research and personal recollections from the late 1950s, this paper delivers contradictory answers to these questions. Many refugee scholars experienced humiliating professional degradation and numbing estrangement and some did not publicly refer to their past at all. However, a majority found it vital to continue studying the culture of their homelands before the Soviet invasion. For a few years the journals Arv and Folk-Liv, were filled with contributions by Baltic scholars some of whom were also hired to teach university courses in the late 1940s and 1950s. Yet, their work has seldom been recognized as “real” Swedish ethnology and their contributions are not mentioned in Swedish textbooks. This paper is an attempt to undertake a long overdue re-evaluation of the ways in which their work is simultaneously part of the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Swedish disciplinary legacies. Indeed, the contributions of these scholars in exile constitute intriguing components in the joint Baltic-Nordic disciplinary formations that have been shaped after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Marija Klobčar. Locality in Folklore Studies — the Reflection of National Representations or the Challenge of Overcoming them?
The strivings of romantic nationalism strongly marked Slovenian folklore studies: originating in philology, Slovenian folklore studies was of one the most important bearers and promoters of a national idea. This idea shaped its totality approach and created a tradition with the nationalization of folk culture: the culture of the “folk”, the people from the underdeveloped countryside, embodied the national idea. The most important achievements of Slovenian folklore studies were therefore the representational editions of folk songs, presented as the most vivid expressions of national uniqueness.
In this way all the traces of interviewing with other cultures, especially with the Germans, were avoided, but at the same time the social differences of the folk were overlooked. With the changes of the state borders this attitude has not changed although the institutionalization of the research brought extensive fieldwork and strong international cooperation. Regional characteristics gained more scholarly attention and in the first regional monograph some important questions were brought up, but the recorded folk songs still represented regional realizations of national representations, up to the “spatial turn”.
The paper will focus on the changing understanding of locality in part of the Slovenian folklore studies of the last decade. Focusing on the local study in the Kamnik region, it will present its achievements and discuss the importance of local studies in contemporary folklore research: is the locality just the local realization of national representations in songs or does it enable a deeper structural view of the processes which enabled or formed these representations? Including folk and popular songs into the study of the history and culture of the Kamnik region, the paper will show how such studies can contribute to overcoming the borders between different cultures.
Kristīne Konrāde. Meter of the Latvian Dainas: A New View
I have had the opportunity, during the last ten years, to participate in the creation of a new theory of meter, which now has taken the form of a book Meter in Poetry: A New Theory. The authors of the theory and the book are the renowned linguists Morris Halle and Nigel Fabb, and a chapter in the book is devoted to the dainas. The authors, while studying a very large sample from many different poetic traditions and languages, communicated with scholars of those traditions and in this manner, together with many others I became a consultant of this distinguished work.
In this paper I will provide an overview of the theory and present an alternative analysis of the meter of the dainas within the postulates of the theory. There is an analysis of the dainas given in the book, but as the authors themselves affirm, the theory does not exclude the formulation of an alternative view. The theory of meter in poetry by Halle and Fabb is innovative and, next to the traditional approaches of classification, it offers a more universal and precise view of the meter of poetry.
Anu Korb. On Supervising Collectors of Estonian Folklore in the Soviet Period
In Estonia in the 1870s, Jakob Hurt was the first to organise a country-wide collecting campaign and with his appeals, published in national newspapers, he encouraged a remarkable number of volunteers to join in collecting folklore. The Estonian Folklore Archives, which was established in 1927, also developed its own network of collaborators.
Dramatic changes in society (the establishment of the Soviet regime, World War II) and the resulting dispersion of the staff of the so far effectively functioning Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Folklore Archives disrupted the continuity of collecting and research of folklore. In 1940, the Estonian National Museum was divided into two independent state institutions: the Estonian Ethnography Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum. Estonian Folklore Archives remained a part of the Literary Museum.
My paper discusses the strategies of supervising collection work, typical of the period, at the Department of Folklore of the Estonian Literary Museum (the present-day Estonian Folklore Archives) under the Soviet regime. I will approach the development of collections and the accumulation of the material as a dialogue between the collectors and the researchers/archive workers at the time.
The study is based on two main sources. The first is the material collected by Marta Mäesalu (1893–1984), a correspondent from Pärnu County, who started to collect folklore in the 1930s, the period of the first independent Republic of Estonia, and continued her work in the Soviet era. The second source is the material collected from 1969 to 1976 by Rosalie Ottesson (1889–1979), an Estonian correspondent in Siberia. In addition to the materials recorded by these two collectors, I have used correspondence, that archive workers and researchers sent to the collectors, and instructions for collecting folklore from the same period.
The sources enable us to observe what the collectors, who were familiar with the tradition, used to consider worth collecting, and the degree to which a collector’s personal background (origin, occupational history) and the specific time period influenced the collecting work. Correspondence, guides to collecting folklore, and reviews of collecting activities will be helpful for understanding the folklore department’s collection strategies at the time.
Kari Korolainen. Outlining Folklore: Drawings and the Disciplinary Relations of Folkloristics and Ethnology in Finland
Drawings, maps and other graphic representations were employed commonly in Finnish ethnology and folkloristics in the late 19th century and in the 20th century. However, the role of the drawings, especially, from the view point of scholarly history is less frequently discussed. Thus, what was the role of the drawings in folkloristics and ethnology?
The research conducted by ethnologist Axel Olai Heikel (1851–1924) serves as a starting point. The material consists of Heikel’s published studies. In addition, the archive materials and the public discussions concerned with his studies are examined as well. The material is analysed ethnomethodologically. In other words, the role of the drawings, as well as the categorisations, such as ‘researcher’ and ‘artists’, and moreover, the academic institutions connected with the studies are analysed in detail. Heikel comprises an interesting example since he co-operated with artists, such as Agathon Reinholm. Heikel and Reinholm made several descriptions of Finnish stoves, for example. The delimiting of the stove as an object of the description was not only justified scientifically, but it was also targeted poetically (Kalevala), and composed artistically in some cases, just to mention a few illustrations. Furthermore, the subject matter is discussed also within the studies of other Finnish folkloristics, such as Samuli Paulaharju who is well known as a talented drawer. In addition, the studies of Oskar Relander and Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio are analysed in order to illustrate how folk poetry, especially Kalevala and visual aspects in it were discussed.
The analysis will demonstrate that there were similarities and continuities between folkloristics and ethnology, as for example, the use of Kalevala illustrates. Similarly, there existed specific practices and irregularities, as the role of the epic poetry and the drawings. Hence, the paper will discuss aspects of the less frequently explored history of Finnish ethnology and folkloristics.
Baiba Krogzeme-Mosgorda. Folklore as Literature. Literary Approach in Latvian Folklore Research 1920s–1940s
Latvian folkloristics, like the European, is a relatively new field of culture research, rooted in the ideas of national romanticism and closely related to literary scholarship. During the era of national romanticism in Latvia (the second half of the 19th century) some long lasting traditions in folklore literary interpretation were established. Firstly, due to the extensive collection and publication of folklore, a literary edition and transcription of verbal folklore texts was introduced. A telling example is “Latvju dainas” — the published literary version of Latvian folksong tradition comprising more than 200 000 texts. Secondly, in folklore research folksongs as a unique national genre were prioritized, and “Latvju dainas” became the main source of folksong literary analysis. Thirdly, in order to enrich the history of Latvian culture, folklore was presented as a predecessor, even primary form of literature.
These traditions were continued in folklore literary research during 1920–40 when particular attention was paid to the development of national philology as a cultural basis for the new national state. Folklore as a part of Latvian literature was introduced in school and university programs, as well as textbooks — “Histories of Latvian Literature” were published with introductory chapters on folklore. In these chapters the application of classical literary theory in folklore text analysis was presented by literary scholars. Their attempts were further developed by literary folklorists who in turn strived to broaden the classical text analysis with historical, social, functional etc. aspects essential for the interpretation of folklore texts, as well as for defining their difference from written literature. The main object of interest for literary folklorists in this period was the poetics of Latvian folksongs.
Kaisa Kulasalu. From the Estonian Folklore Archives to the Folklore Department of the State Literary Museum: Sovietization of Folkloristics in Late Stalinist Estonia
Folklore collections in Estonia are large and their history varied. A reflexive approach and awareness of their history is needed for using the collections. The Estonian Folklore Archives were founded in 1927 as a central depository for Estonian folklore collections. The archives were reorganized as the Folklore Department in the State Literary Museum in 1940. However, the changes were not only institutional — the content of the archives had to be appropriate for the Soviet state. The content of the folklore collections was sovietized in two ways: censorship of the older collections and collecting new, Soviet folklore. To start with, the folklore collections of the Estonian Folklore Archives were censored during the late Stalinist period between 1945 and 1952. Most of the manuscript collections were controlled by the staff of the archives, who had to follow orders given by other institutions. The anti-Soviet folklore texts were covered with ink, paper was glued on them or the pages were cut out. Inappropriate texts were not only political ones; one of the goals was also to get rid of obscenities. What is more, folklorists were expected to collect Soviet folklore that dealt with topics like class struggle, the benefits of collective farms or revolutions. Ideologically appropriate folklore that depicted the changes in a positive way was hard to find. This new content also went through censorship. Ideological and full of clichés, these materials are interesting and relevant for understanding how the new rhetorics came to being after World War Two. The presentation will cover the changes in the content and organizing the folklore collections during the late Stalinist period. The changes in political order also brought revision of the central and peripheral or even banned materials in archives and questions in research.
Toms Ķencis. Soviet Latvian Folkloristics: Censorship and Mythography
After the Soviet occupation in 1944 (1940), the discipline of folkloristics in Latvia faced significant changes similar to the revision of social and human sciences in other new Soviet republics. On the one hand, it was the censorship of previous works attested to “bourgeois scholars”, on the other hand, the implementation of Marxist-Leninist methodology in its Stalinist variety. Folkloristics as a discipline dealing with subjects of nationality and religion became especially problematic for the new regime of knowledge production. An additional dimension of this process was the creation of propaganda mythography, the simultaneous construction of a new research field and its content. While institutional reorganization followed the centralised Soviet model, the major role of shaping the local discipline belonged to certain personalities with their respective backgrounds and agendas.
Sandis Laime. Kārlis Straubergs and his Research on Latvian Witchcraft
Kārlis Straubergs (1890–1962) was one of the most remarkable Latvian folklorists in the interwar period, professor of philology at the University of Latvia and the director of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (1929–1944). His scholarly interests included Latvian folk belief, customs and charms. His most remarkable study — Latvian Magic Formulae was published in two volumes in 1939 and 1941 (Straubergs, K. Latviešu buramie vārdi. Rīga: Latviešu folkloras krātuve, 1939–1941). The author had set several tasks for his study, among them the elaboration of the typology of Latvian magic formulae and their origins in the context of the development of local witchcraft ideology.
One of the sources used by Straubergs in his study along with folklore was the 16th–18th century witch trial records. Straubergs compiled the information on published and unpublished Latvian witch trial records, summarized their contents, excerpted from them more or less precisely documented magic formulae and gave a detailed overview of the development of witchcraft ideology in the territory of Latvia.
Latvian Magic Formulae is hitherto the most detailed study on witch trials and witchcraft ideology in Latvia. Unfortunately, Straubergs’ research was interrupted by the Second World War. During the following fifty years of Soviet occupation such scholarly topics as folk belief, charms and witch accusations were not supported by the ruling ideology, thus Straubergs’ research was not continued. The situation was different on the other side of the Iron Curtain as starting from the 1960s, i.e., a couple of decades after the publishing of Straubergs’ research, European witchcraft beliefs became a fashionable and respectable scholarly topic. Unfortunately Straubergs’ contribution to this scholarly debate remained unknown, as it was published in Latvian.
Aigars Lielbārdis. Fricis Brīvzemnieks at the Very Origins of Latvian Folkloristics — An Example of Research on Charm Traditions
Fricis Brīvzemnieks (Brīvzemnieks-Treilands, 1846–1907) is a Latvian poet, translator, teacher, New Latvian and also one of the founders of Latvian folkloristics in the 1860s–1870s. Thanks to the recommendation of another Latvian cultural activist — Krišjānis Valdemārs and the financial support of the Society of Devotees of Natural Science, Anthropology, and Ethnography in Moscow, F. Brīvzemnieks undertook field research in the summer of 1869 in the Latvian territory of the time — Kurzeme, Vidzeme and the Vitebsk Governorate. During this scientific expedition, F. Brīvzemnieks collected and noted folklore and encouraged others to do so as well. As a result, a wide network of collectors of folklore developed, who sent the collected materials — folk songs, legends, riddles and also charms — to F. Brīvzemnieks in Moscow. The collected materials became the foundations of the collection of Latvian folklore — Krišjānis Barons’ Latvju dainas (1894–1915, 6 volumes) and Ansis Lerhis-Puškaitis’ Latviešu tautas teikas un pasakas (1891–1903, 7 volumes, the 5th volume includes mainly the F. Brīvzemnieks collection), and F. Brīvzemnieks’ publication of charms in “Ethnographic materials of the Latvian Tribe” (Материалы по этнографии латышского племени, 1881, 717 charm units).
A separate chapter called “Latvian Charms and Magic Formulae” in a publication called “Ethnographic Materials of the Latvian Tribe” is the first wider publication and research on Latvian charms. Alongside the texts in Latvian and Russian, F. Brīvzemnieks also provides explanations about mythological characters, and descriptions of items used in healing, various illnesses and healers’ activities. The collection has significantly influenced the Latvian charm tradition and its collection since the 1920s and 1930s, when schoolchildren were involved in the collection throughout Latvia, and even today, when the transcripts of charms published by F. Brīvzemnieks circulate within society.
Māra Mellēna. The Communicative Dimension of the Tradition: Heritage in Theory and Practice
The tradition can be analyzed both as a cultural process (transmission, safeguarding and application in practice) and the result — the totality of texts, where the text means the totality of different signs and symbols, therefore the natural question arising from the aforementioned is the question of the analysis of process and the reading and interpretation, or, to generalize, the existence of the tradition within the communication and the continuity of the tradition in theory and practice, including the responsibility of the tradition-bearers regarding the selection, safeguarding, practicing and further development of the tradition in correlation with actual contexts.
The comprehension of the tradition within communication on the one hand means the coexistence of diverse interpretations; on the other it brings forward the issue of critical assessment and validity of interpretation within the framework of hermeneutical paradigm. This means the responsibility of the interpreter for the comprehensibility of the explication, the correspondence of the interpretation to the initial text and the impact of it to the development of the tradition and its communicability beyond its natural limits. This principle of complementarities in the analysis to be achieved, through the hermeneutical dialogue, is the strategy, which has become a topical issue in the cultural space of Latvia in relation with the familiarization and transmission of the traditional culture in practice to be explained in the light of theories by the hermeneutics H.G. Gadamer and P. Ricoeur.
The contemporary theory of culture sees these issues in the context of heritage. The heritage can be analyzed within the paradigms of essentialism and constructivism. The paper will offer the insight in the arguments of both paradigms, building the concept of heritage in the context of Latvian traditional culture, including analyzing the experiences of interpretation of the notion „heritage” in works by B. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, K. Kuutma, N. Akagava etc.
Marleen Metslaid. To Develop a National Science or to Become an Exotic Other for Big European Ethnologies — These are Our Options. Estonian Ethnology in the Late 1930s
In my paper I will analyse the situation of ethnology in Estonia in the second half of the 1930s. This period marks an interesting epoch in the history of the discipline in Estonia and in a wider European context also. Despite being national sciences, ethnologies with shared theoretical and methodological backgrounds were looking for common grounds, but were also facing World War II and its outcomes in the 1940s.
Ethnology of the 1930s has been generally characterized as a well-established academic discipline in Estonia (it was institutionalized already in 1924). This paper looks at one person and his activities in shaping and evaluating the discipline during this short period of time. Gustav Ränk (1902-1998) belongs to the first generation of Estonian ethnologists, who studied under Finnish scholar Ilmari Manninen and worked at the Estonian National Museum from the beginning of his studies. After defending his doctoral dissertation he became the first professor of Ethnology in Estonia in 1939 (at the University of Tartu). In his numerous articles from the 1930s about the discipline and its future prospects, Ränk does not question the identity of his discipline (unlike Erixon in Sweden). He has doubts about the survival of ethnology in the contemporary Estonian political and economical situation (i.e. shortage of money and professionals). The analysis shows a more differentiated picture of ethnology, with restrictions coming from outside and big expectations from inside the discipline. I will add some thoughts about developments during and after the war.
I would say that concentrating on one person and on a short period of time, will help to discover the underlying motives and factors shaping the discipline. I hope that this case-study will extend the existing work in the reflexive history of European ethnology and folkloristics (e.g. Anttonen 2005; Kuutma & Jaago 2005; Nic Craith [et al.] 2008; Kencis 2012).
Diarmuid Ó Giolláin. Province, Nation and Empire: the Remit of Folklore Studies
There is some truth in arguing that two different orientations have shaped the growth of European folkloristics, each an expression of a specific form of nation-state development or aspiration. In the case of long established polities, folklore was defined socially by certain cultural forms proper both to the lower classes of the residual European agrarian world and (where relevant) to the colonial domain. With the building of nations before a (unified) state was achieved, however, folklore was defined aesthetically by the various forms of Volkspoesie. Folklore studies tended to become intellectually marginalized in the first case, especially when colonialpoliticsfavoured anthropology. In the second case, a successful cultural (and eventually political) nationalism led to a professionalized scholarly discipline. The two orientations nevertheless sometimes overlapped, or in certain circumstances succeeded one another. In Italy one orientation characterized folklore studies before, the other after the Risorgimento, a situation broadly similar in Ireland before and after the beginning of its cultural nationalist movement. In France, both orientations to some extent co-existed in the Société du Folklore françaiset du Folklore colonial in the 1930s and early 1940s. This paper will look at such case studies and will attempt to draw some general conclusions.
Guntis Pakalns. Pēteris Šmits and the Culture of Folktale Study
Pēteris Šmits (1869–1938), the outstanding Russian sinologist, professor at the Oriental Institute in Vladivostok (1899–1920), as well as a Latvian linguist, researcher of Latvian ethnography and folklore, especially folksongs, professor at the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy of the University of Latvia (1920–1938) has also compiled the largest ever publication of Latvian folktales and legends, comprising 15 volumes (1925–1937, 7630 pp., ca. 8000 texts, including variants). The paper will focus on folktale research and interpretation theories and ideas current and “travelling” around the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, that exerted their influence on P. Šmits’s choice of texts: both compiling and editing the publication and supplying it with a research “frame” — the focus of his writing about folktale study in Europe in the texts accompanying this publication, the theories along the guidelines of which he studied folktales and legends. Which researchers, which approaches or schools were of interest to and influenced him? To what extent has he promoted “the immigration of the European folktale study” in Latvia? A less studied issue is that of whether he also had (or still has) any impact on folktale research outside Latvia, as all of his publications on the subject were exclusively in Latvian.
Ulf Palmenfelt. Intellectual Trends and Folklore Research
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, several academics and intellectuals in Northern Europe starting collecting folklore, sometimes with the outspoken premise that this would contribute to strengthening the national feelings in their respective countries. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, in Sweden, the strong nationalistic motivation among the collectors seems to have faded away. Instead, collectors increasingly appear to have regarded their informants as representatives of a rapidly disappearing traditionalism, in contrast to the growing modernity they considered themselves to be part of.
In my presentation, I will discuss some of the possible factors behind this shift in focus from nation to tradition. My empirical examples will be taken from nineteenth century fairy tale collecting in Sweden.
One explanation was that the collectors’ close contacts with the tradition bearers soon made it obvious that in the everyday world of the narrators, fairy tales were rather used as ironic criticisms of the superiority, as playful explorations of the limits of reality, or as mere entertainment, far from channeling any reverences to nationalism. Another reason was that the interest seems to have moved from the core of nationalism towards national borders. Ideas concerning cultural areas, cultural borders and the migration of culture (that a few decades later would find its academic form in the Finnish historical geographical school) started to appear. One expression for this was that collectors started to observe and annotate local dialects when writing down the tales.
From my perspective, more than a century later, it is fairly easy to claim that our early colleagues in folklore were strongly influenced by contemporary intellectual trends. As folklorists active in the beginning of the 21th century, maybe it would be appropriate that we asked ourselves what contemporary intellectual trends we are following, perhaps without being fully aware of them?
Aldis Pūtelis. Who Needs Folklore?
The birth of the term “Folk-Lore” is quite well documented, as is the personality of the man behind this “good Anglo-Saxon compound”. The phenomenon the term was created to designate is much older, though. Or maybe it isn’t? Because the “folklore” of the 19th century was not exactly the same phenomenon, common to the whole group of tradition bearers it may have been several centuries earlier. This folklore was understood as some remnants from an ancient tradition, endangered and scattered among the less civilised people, though of value to the whole nation.
The reasons why such shards of the ancient grace should be sought after and recovered were not quite purely scholarly. Roger Abrahams speaks of the “phantoms of romantic nationalism” in his seminal article, when characterising what he believes to have detected in the 20th century. But a century before that, romantic nationalism was no ghostly phantom, it was alive and flourishing. Notwithstanding the numerous expressions of folklore-related though not-folkloristic views back then, scholars discussing the formation of nations in the 20th century (like Miroslav Hroch and Anthony Smith) see the place of folklore in the process. Which means — folklore was necessary for a cause. The way it was — a treasured remnant of some golden age. And as such folklore left its dwelling space among the peasants and labourers, and became part of the political processes. Latvians have an extremely demonstrative case of these processes.
Still the ages come and they pass. After the great political events forming the nation’s history, the focus shifts to completely different matters. Thus folklore is no longer in the public spotlight, losing the interest of general public and its place in the annual state budget. The natural existence of folklore is undoubtedly a matter of the distant past, while contemporary manifestations of the traditional genres are much more of some specific stage performance. Every stage production and show is produced and directed, though. So, here comes the heretical question: who needs folklore in today’s Latvia?
Svenja Reinke. Who is Belonging … Whose Belongings? Talking about Historical Processes of Appropriation in the Kaliningrad Region
It was only in the course of perestroika that it became possible to talk publicly about an important chapter of history in the Kaliningrad Region: the postwar years of coexistence between the remaining Germans and newly arrived Russians in Königsberg/Kaliningrad and the surrounding area, i.e. the former East Prussian, henceforth Russian territory. A group of historians from Kaliningrad, led by Yury Kostyashov, was among the first in the Soviet Union to take advantage of the ‘Western’ research practice of oral history. During the years 1988–1992 they collected about 320 interviews with early settlers, who had come to repopulate the region in 1945–1950. A special point of interest then lay in the Soviet settlers’ image of their local relationship with the Germans. At last an anti-Prussian, socialist perception of friend and foe concerning the German-Russian encounter in Königsberg was countered by a different picture of many voices. Folk knowledge was about to undermine a hitherto authoritative conception of history. Possibly therefore, the book based upon the interviews endured a difficult and lengthy story of publication.
The planned contribution scrutinizes passages of the archived interviews, in which the former settlers talk about their relationship with the Germans and with the things the latter had to leave behind. How were the uttered experiences and views transferred into public discourse in Russia, Germany and between the two? The aim is to bring out the underlying narratives of property and belonging. Studying science, it is remarkable how the German share of the Kaliningrad Region’s past was made a known issue for the first time. Moreover, it should be considered how context-sensitive the findings were as to the uncertain future of the Russian exclave and its opening up to the West during the early 1990s.
Sigrid Rieuwerts. Illustrations of Northern Antiquities (1814): A Bicentenary Commemoration
The publication of Illustrations of Northern Antiquities marked an important development in the history of the study of comparative folkore, language and literature. It was in Riga in 1808 that Robert Jamieson first conceived the idea of “publishing a half-yearly journal of a Northern Miscellany of Dissertations & Transactions in prose & verse, translating from the German, Danish, Swedish, French, Italian, etc.” on his return to Scotland. Sir Walter Scott and Henry Weber, a young German refugee living in Edinburgh, joined him as Editors and their edition of Northern Antiquities — as Nordic folklore was then called — contained the first partial English translation of the Nibelungenlied, the Heldenbuch and the Hildebrandlied, all provided by Weber; the first English abstract of the Eyrbyggja saga, written by Scott, and the first translations of Scandinavian ballads,contributed by Jamieson. “It is the purpose of the Editors to extend their researches to the Romances of Russia; to the more rare and less known Sagas of Scandinavia; to the Original Songs of the Letts and Esthonians” (Northern Antiquities v) — the editors announced in their introduction and yet, the pioneers turned into a “motley caravan” and the beginning was also the end. This paper will follow their trailfrom Riga, Copenhagen and Jena to Edinburgh, discuss their discoveries en route, examine their final destination and explore the influence of their journey on the Grimm Brothers, Francis J. Child and Svend Grundtvig.
Svetlana Ryzhakova. Anthropology and Folklore in the Study of Worship and Performance in India
Two disciplines, cultural anthropology (and sociology, in many ways) and folkloristics, seem to have very different histories, institutional state and agendas in Indian studies. However, a number of research topics need a special methodology, where both anthropological and folkloristic approaches would have been combined. It is especially true in the case of religious studies and in the history of performing arts, quite often tightly interconnected. One of the major problems here is the evaluating and analysis of sources: the vast number of narratives, lack of historical records, and contradictions in informant’s reports. Some basic models of possible social, anthropological and historical interpretations of folklore and mythological materials were introduced in fundamental books by eminent scholars, Verrier Elwin (“Folk-songs of Chhattisgarh”, 1946; “The Muria and their Ghotul”, 1947; “Myths of Middle India”, 1949), Asutosh Bhattacharyya (“The Sun and the Serpent lore of Bengal”, 1977), Alf Hiltebeitel (The Cult of Draupadi”, 1988), Wendy Doniger (O’Flaherty) (“The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth, 1998; “The Hindus: An Alternative History” 2009).
I will discuss the relevance and limitations of both anthropological and folkloristic methods in the study of one regional tradition of folk-theatre Yakshagana and a ritual-performance Bhoota-Kolam (in Karnataka). Both are living orally transmitted traditions, in different ways connected to religious culture (temple festivals, spirit worship, possession, impersonation), and both are certain “mirrors” of the local social set-up. The paper is based on my fieldwork material, collected in 2013–2014 in coastal Karnataka (Gunawante, Udupi, Mangalore districts), India.
Kirsti Salmi-Niklander. Reciprocal Challenges — Folklorists and Book Historians Exploring Grey Areas and Marginal Genres
The interaction of orality and literacy has become a field of multidisciplinary research, leading to many publications and research projects in the fields of folklore studies, ethnology, book history, social history, sociolinguistics and literary studies. One of the key terms in this research field is vernacular literacy, focusing on reading and writing practices among peasants and the working classes. These groups have produced texts in writing, even though these texts have vanished or been hidden in local archives or private homes. Two recent publications summarizing the results of this research field are White field, black seeds. Nordic Literacy Practices in the Long Nineteenth Century (eds. Anna Kuismin and M. Driscoll, 2013), and Martyn Lyons’s monograph The writing culture of ordinary people in Europe, 1860–1920 (2013).
My long-term research interests have focused on hand-written newspapers, which were a strong tradition in Finland and, apparently, in other Nordic countries during the long nineteenth century. These papers have most often been produced as only one manuscript copy, and been read out aloud in meetings and social evenings. As a young doctoral student in the early 1990s I was quite alone with this research topic. Book history provided possibilities to place apparently marginal Finnish material into a wider historical context. Today, a lot of path-breaking research is done in the “grey areas” between oral, scribal and print culture. A recent example is Ellen Gruber Garvey’s monograph Writing with Scissors (2013), which focuses on marginal archival material, scrapbooks, exploring their political and social contexts with multidisciplinary perspectives. I will discuss these new research trends, and possibilities for further multidisciplinary co-operation.
Mari Sarv. Folklore and Nationalism in the 21st Century
The emergence of folklore collection and folkloristics in Europe is often discussed hand in hand with the emergence of the modern nationalism in the 19th century (e.g. Anderson 1991). Folklore collections were meant to give evidence of the level of culture of the nations without literary history, and to support their identity and independence. In folkloristic discourse, the relationship of folklore and nationalism is usually discussed as a historical phenomenon, overlooking the fact that folklore and folklore collections still fulfil their national agenda in certain conditions: in the case of Estonia, a long history of suppression and a small population has resulted in a constant concern for the future of the nation and higher than average nationalism. A short history of literacy has left the native culture unrepresented in the older literature, the folklore collections being one of the few sources to get an insight into the worldview and way of thinking of Estonian ancestors. According to the results of the Estonian Folklore Archives’ visitors’ survey conducted in 2013–2014, the folklore collections are perceived as ’a basis for our culture’, ’our roots and history’ etc. The folklore materials are constantly used for the support of national and/or local identity, and are in everyday use in newspapers, on the stage and in multimedia, in hobby groups, in developing the national religion system etc. In the reproduction of national narrative the folklore as well as ethnographic collections are used. The Estonian Constitution declares the purpose of the state as “to guarantee the preservation of the Estonian nation, language and culture through the ages”. All this has its implications for folkloristics, which on the one side follows the turns and developments of international research with its clearly non-nationalist discourse, on the other hand is supposed to fulfil the national quest for the collecting, publishing, reinterpreting of ’our own culture’. National engagement may be interpreted either as an unnecessary burden in developing contemporary folkloristics or as an emotional force securing the constant actuality of folklore studies both for the researchers as well as for the public.
Rita Treija. Towards International Scholarship: Early Years of the Archives of Latvian Folklore
The principles of international scholarship were the basis for the establishment (1924) and work of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (Latviešu folkloras krātuve), its approach to collecting and archiving folklore. Anna Bērzkalne (1891–1956) who was the founder and the first Head (1924–1929) of the Archives of Latvian Folklore was a representative of the international folkloristics in Latvia, and she actively collaborated with professionals from other countries. She worked on the Archives’ board together with Jānis Endzelīns (chairman of the board), Professor Pēteris Šmits, and assistant professors Ludis Bērziņš and Jānis Kauliņš. In her time, the newly established institution obtained its legitimate status and began actively collecting folklore, performing systematization and cataloguing the material. Bērzkalne also carried out folksong studies strongly following the so-called Finnish school principles.
To a great extent, Bērzkalne’s activities in Latvian folkloristics were stated by the standards of the Finnish, Estonian and German folkloristics as well as such disciplinary authorities as Walter Anderson (Tartu), Kaarle Krohn (Helsinki) and John Meier (Freiburg). Her collegiate friendship with Oskar Loorits (Tartu), the Head of the Estonian Folklore Archives (Eesti Rahvaluule Arhiiv), deserves a prominent place in the history of Latvian folkloristics, too. In 1920s and 1930s, Bērzkalne was involved in a wide folklorists’ collaboration network. Her communication circles included researchers from Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and other European countries.
The paper seeks to analyze the impact of the international scholarship and Bērzkalne’s private professional contacts on the early years of activities of the Archives of Latvian Folklore. The main source of the study is Bērzkalne’s correspondence with foreign folklorists.
Svetlana Tsonkova. Transmission Impossible? Bulgarian Charms Research Terminology Shared and Used
This paper is based on my own doctoral research on medieval and early modern Bulgarian verbal charms, preserved in manuscripts and on amulets. While preparing the chapter on the relevant terminology, I faced a peculiar terminological problem. Usually, other Bulgarian scholars call the verbal charms “апокрифни молитви”, which literary means “apocryphal prayers”. Some scholars use this literary translation, when publishing in English. Writing my thesis in English, I soon found that the phrase “apocryphal prayers” is inaccurate and misleading, and even meaningless. In my paper here, I shall focus on the appearance and the development of the term “апокрифни молитви” in Bulgarian scholarly practices. This raises a number of questions, involving a number of Bulgarian scholars. Is this term a result of knowledge transmission? Is it really understood and defined in relation with the Bulgarian source material? It seems that it has been borrowed from other national scholarly traditions. Did this happen because the foreign traditions were regarded as more authoritative? Or it was simply easier to borrow? What was actually borrowed — a meaningful term or a “convenient” phrase? Is this a shared notion or just copying? How did the term “апокрифни молитви” became so central for the Bulgarian medievalist and folkloristic studies? Expression of regional style? Did all the Bulgarian scholars follow this practice? Also, I shall discuss the term “апокрифни молитви” in relation to my own research. Why is it inapplicable for my studies, and how I solved this terminological problem? While I examine Bulgarian material, I do this in a Central European (Hungarian) scholarly tradition, and I am also strongly influenced by Baltic (especially Estonian) and Scandinavian (especially Finnish) scholarly approaches. Also, I present my results in English and Hungarian. Therefore, such self-reflection can give a different perspective on transfer and translations between different scholarly traditions and frames of mind.
Anita Vaivade. Folklore: Conceptual Shifts between Science and Law. European Experiences
Legal texts, over the decades, continuously mirror the changes of seeing folklore as an object of purposeful and legislatively framed action — be it documentation, dissemination, safeguarding or other. Conceptual shifts in science do have an impact on the developments of legal debates, and, in a reciprocal manner, legislative developments also do influence the language of science and its thinking. The paper is aimed at witnessing certain experienced conceptual shifts within international and national experiences in Europe, looking into legal texts and their connections to larger context of changing paradigms of science.
A particular wing of international, as well as regional and national, legislative debates on folklore is taking place in the framework of intellectual property rights, questioning the existing legal regimes and eventual sui generis legislation. In all levels of the debate, conceptual issues are at the core. The understanding of the phenomenon to be protected — be it folklore, traditional knowledge or traditional cultural expressions — and the understanding of its legal framing, for instance, within the concept of property, continuously invites reconsidering existing explanations and interpretations. Scientific arguments and scholarly debate is playing its significant role in the developments of these debates.
The paper namely concentrates on current or recent legislative developments. However, certain historic references would be necessary for pursuing conceptual consistencies or sequence of changes. The paper provides an insight into an undergoing international research initiative of comparative legal analysis, questioning conceptual and political choices made in order to develop national legislation in the domain of the currently so called intangible cultural heritage that also refers to folklore, even if not naming it.
Vilmos Voigt. The Importance of Latvian Folklore for the Comparative Folklore Research
It is a well known fact that it was first J. G. Herder who understood the values of folk songs during his time in Riga. He started the collection of folk songs in 1765, and later formulated the sentence: “Denn jedes Volk ist Volk; es hat seine Nationalbildung wie seine Sprache” (Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit — 1782–1791). He was instrumental also in accepting the „popular” songs. See e.g. the Lettisches Singe in Herder’s archive II/1. (It is less known that Latvian folk songs were first included into a printed work already in Der Unteutsche Opitz … (1697) by Johans Višmanis.) Following the early Indo-German mythology trend, Wilhelm Mannhardt stressed the importance of Latvian Sun-Mythology (1875) and of mythology in general (Letto-preussische Götterlehre). But later he himself criticized that view, and his works were discussed only later, by Max Muller, James Frazer and Andrew Lang. The contemporaries widely praised the song collection Latvju dainas by K. Barons and H. Visendorfs (six books, 1894–1915). The literary work Lāčplēsis by A. Pumpurs (1888), a continuation of compilations as the Kalevala and Kalevipoeg, was accepted mainly at home. The “song festivals”, from 1873 on, modelled the folklorism among the Baltic peoples. It is less well known that the riddle collection by Augusts Bielenšteins (1000 lettische Rätsel — 1881) was used by Robert Lehmann-Nitsche (1911) for his classification of riddle texts — which later became the model for Archer Taylor’s system (see his Bibliography of Riddles 1939).
Already in this context Latvian folklore was directly used for the comparative study of folklore. The unsurpassed publications of Latvian folk songs, tales, legends, etc. follow up until now, and they serve the same purpose. The influence was just strengthened by creating the Archives of Latvian Folklore (1924).
Susanne Ziegler. Cooperation between German and Latvian Folklorists in the 1920s
The interest of German scientists in Latvian folklore dates back to the time of J. G. Herder. It was taken for granted that Latvian folklore was representing an older stratum of folk music which has disappeared in Germany long since.
Sound recordings were collected from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. Among the first recordings of Latvian music and language were several wax cylinders and records made in German prison camps during WW1. These recordings are today preserved in two Berlin sound archives, the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv and the Lautarchiv of Humboldt-University. However, the recordings were not accessible until recently.
Some years later recordings were also made in Latvia. Wilhelm Doegen, who has been organizer of the recording activities in German prison camps, became director of the Lautarchiv in 1920. In the 1920s he organized several recording trips in different European countries; among others in 1924 a short recording trip to Latvia was realized. More than 109 examples of Latvian folklore (music and language) were recorded for the Lautarchiv and later published on records.
My paper is not focusing on the recordings themselves, but is concentrating on the person of Doegen. My intention is to find out about Doegen’s reasons and motives, and to discuss the procedure and output of this “fieldwork” in Latvia on the basis of archival documents. Doegen was not a folklorist himself, but an organizer and manager. The records were later available on sale, but they hardly reached the scientific community, neither in Germany nor in Latvia.