Journal of Ethnology 4/2014

Journal of Ethnology 2014/4 is devoted to World War I as an interdisciplinary theme. In his study, Slovakian historian Ferdinand Vrabel pays attention to the first historical and philosophical analyses of this historic event (The First Czech and Slovakian Analyses of “The Great War” from 1914–1915: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Fedor Ruppeldt). Cultural historians Jiří Hanuš and Petr Husák deal with the theme of how important the reminiscences of a particular war reality are for the society (The Picture of the Great War: the Anniversary as an Occasion to Review the Historical Consciousness?). Austrian researchers Verena Moritz and Julia Walleczek-Fritz open the theme of prisoners of war (Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary 1914 – 1918). Ethnologist Petr Janeček deals with folkloristic research that reflects the theme of war as well as the structure of oral folklore genres at that time (Prosaic Folkloristics and the World War I Phenomenon). Dialectologist Marie Krčmová writes about crucial social aspects in connection with the development of language (Bohemian, Moravian, and Silesian Dialects in Transformations of Time). Stopping with Photo column remembers mass production of postcards depicting the themes of war, as well as aestheticization of the phenomenon of war (Promotional Graphics in the Employ of War, author Hana Dvořáková). Review Section publishes the contribution The Great War in the Eye of Ethnography (author Hana Dvořáková), the profile Jan Tomeček, a fiddler from Horňácko (author Judita Kučerová) and the essay by writer Josef Holcman aimed at the folklore movement in Moravia – The Beginning of Infinity (not only about this year’s rides of the kings, Strážnice festival, Horňácko festival and feast in Skoronice). Social Chronicle remembers anniversaries of Slovakian ethnologist Kornélia Jakubíková (born 1944), Czech ethnographer Zuzana Malcová (born 1954), historian Jan Rychlík (born 1954), and philologist Rudolf Šrámek (born 1934). Other regular columns publish reports from exhibitions, conferences, festivals, and review of new books.

The First Czech and Slovakian Analyses of “The Great War” from 1914–1915: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Fedor Ruppeldt

The author devotes himself to two analyses from the first period of the War – the Czech one by T. G. Masaryk, and the Slovak one written by Fedor Ruppeldt. Both analyses constitute an important historical document about how the contemporaries felt the initial stage of the War; they show many similarities but also differences. The authors partially are in agreement about their views, assessments, and conclusions; however, they partially differ from each other. They analyse the issue of the outbreak of the War, they partially even reflect on the responsibility for the outbreak of the War – to the extent allowed by limited possibilities given by the cautiousness because of the war censorship – and they try to come to conclusions as to its next development. Differences between the Masaryk’s and the Ruppeldt´s view of the War arise both from the differences in their professional specialization, life practice and opportunities to be in contact with politicians and representatives of foreign countries, and from the possibilities to travel; in the case of Ruppeldt also from the absence of his long-time stay abroad.

The Picture of the Great War: the Anniversary as an Occasion to Review the Historical Consciousness?

The anniversary of the outbreak of First World War in 1914 brought a plethora of articles, books, radio and television programmes, professional and popularizing events, profane and religious meetings. It is impossible not to ask a question why this particular anniversary was and still is remembered by such a powerful polyphony; in fact whether a certain historicizing of our consciousness, the causes of which are worth researching, is not a “sign of our time”. After a short introduction into the theoretical frame of the problem, the authors research this issue on the following levels: European discussion and its responses within the Czech environment (novel Náměsíčníci / The Sleepwalkers); new Czech interpretations and the breach of “taboo subjects” (thinking and acts of Tomáš Garrique Masaryk); return of “old Austria” with its institutions into public discussions (Jiří Rak phenomenon); activation of the wide public by means of events, including the religious ones; formation of new collective identities. In the conclusion, the authors express a thesis about the interconnection of historiographic, media and political production as well as about a real shift in the historical memory of the Czech public in view of the Habsburg Empire history.

Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary 1914 - 1918

The following article offers an overview of the central fields of research concerning Prisoners of War (POWs) in the Habsburg Empire during World War One, including living conditions in war camps, propaganda campaigns, forced labour and repatriation. The text also shows the discrepancy between the principles of Austro-Hungarian authorities relating to POW politics and an often harsh reality: All POWs were affected by the supply shortages which began in 1916 or even earlier: Thousands of POWs died from disease, exhaustion and undernourishment. In addition, soon after their capture POWs were confronted with the introduction of a new dimension of captivity: forced labour. The majority of prisoners were used for several work projects in the hinterland, behind the Austro-Hungarian front lines and even in the combat zones. The article also illustrates how the Russian Revolutions in 1917 influenced the fate of POWs in the Habsburg Monarchy.

Prosaic Folkloristics and the World War I

The contribution deals with the overview of more significant literary-folkloristic studies that paid their attention to the analysis of prosaic folklore phenomena developed and/or spread during World War I both in the battlefields and in the hinterland zones. While some texts of folklore nature drew researchers´ attention nearly immediately (prophecy, folk beliefs), the analyses of some others began several years later (demonogical legends, jokes, folk graffiti) – a part thereof came to a more thorough analysis only at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries (rumours and contemporary legends). Within European folkloristics, World War I proves to be a period that drew researchers´ attention mainly because of an unexpected increase in “irrationality” in both rural and urban environment. At that time, this phenomenon was most often interpreted as “tradition revival” and welcomed as a mean for revitalization and legitimacy of a discipline focused on the documentation of ostensibly disappearing folk culture associated with traditional rural areas. Although this concerned quite isolated partial studies in the most cases, yet as a whole these helped increase the interest of European folkloristics in the texts circulating in the current oral tradition. The texts of that time devoted to the interpretation of World War I paved the way for the later researches into contemporary folklore to a certain extent. This research direction was made more topical again at the end of the 20th century as it served as an inspiration for the contemporary study of the World War I folklore, which was based on the exploration of more types of source materials.

Bohemian, Moravian, and Silesian Dialects in Transformations of Time

Historical milestones are not projected immediately to the set of language means typical for a particular dialect, because the dialect is a private manner of speech actively acquired in childhood and passed down in a natural way by generations between which the continuity survives. It is necessary not to look for the causes of dialect transformations in the language itself, but in changed condition under which the dialect as means of communication is used. In our territory, such means are influenced mainly by the industrialization, which causes the migration of inhabitants and forms new communication communities in which a common usual language is created. Such a process was running in Bohemia in the entire 19th century, resulting in a quite stabilized general colloquial Czech; in Moravia and Silesia, however, we can notice it much later and the traditional dialect survived until recently. Unfortunately, because of the lack of older relevant authentic language material ,we are not able to show any concrete data about the rate of transformations, and the results of the contemporary development of general manner of speech will be obvious in some tens of years.

Journal of Ethnology 3/2014 is devoted to the theme Space transformations of cultural phenomena. In their study, Daniel Drápala and Martina Pavlicová have a think about the term ethnographic area and its formation (Ethnographic Differentiation: Reflections on Its Historical Development and Sense of Contemporary Existence). Jiří Bláha and Alena Dunajová deal with one type of rafter construction at village buildings (Origin and Spreading of Principal Rafter Roofs in Central Europe). Tereza Zíková and Gabriela Fatková pay attention to the interaction of the human being and the landscape (Local Identity and Landscape’s Memory: important landscape components in the perspective of participants). In Other Studies column, Martin Šimša introduces the application of the geographic information system in the case of folk dress (Map Application: Folk Dress in Moravia) and Jarmila Teturová presents contemporary research of ethnocultural traditions in Moravia (Modern Feast-Day Tradition in the Village of Dobročkovice in the Bučovicko Region). Review Section remembers important personalities from the historiography of the discipline – 100th anniversaries of the birth of ethnographer and ethno-organologist Ludvík Kunz (1914–2005) and folk songs collector Václav Stuchlý (1914–2000) as well as what would have been the 80th birthday of Václav Frolec (1934–1992). Social Chronicle writes about anniversaries of ethnologists Eva Urbachová (* 1924) and Zora Vanovičová (* 1944) and publishes an obituary for Slovakian folklorist Bohuslav Beneš (1927–2014). Other regular columns publish reports from exhibitions, conferences, festivals as well as reviews of new books.

Ethnographic differentiation: reflections on its historical development and sense of contemporary existence

Nowadays, local culture is understood as an important phenomenon of culture in the society, as an identification factor of local inhabitants, as an important part of a place to live in. In many cases, this is connected, directly or indirectly, with traditional folk culture. This also includes the issue of ethnographic differentiation as well as the definition of ethnographic regions, as these were formed especially in the 19th and at the outset of the 20th centuries and have been declared as a legacy of tradition so far. Significant is the issue of the formation of these regions as well as the development of the cultural environment belonging to them, which is the basis for the reflections in the submitted study: to what extent the general contentions about ethnographic differentiation are valid and what the major impulse for the progress thereof is. Two Moravian ethnographic areas (Slovácko and Moravian Záhoří), which today are an integral part of the map with ethnographic areas, have been chosen to allow a particular view of the given issue. Their genesis and development, however, are not identical. They differ in their territorial extent, distinctiveness, inner differentiation as well as in the intensity of regional consciousness. Both probes try to prove that perception of an ethnographic area can often be a professional stereotype and that it is necessary to come back to the theme of ethnographic regions in new contexts and meanings.

Origins and the Spreading of Principal Rafter Roofs in Central Europe

Roof frames on village buildings with principal rafters crossed under the roof head to carry the ridged piece are termed scissor truss in Central-European languages. The authors focus on their origin, structural function and constructional arrangement in relation to other types of roof frame constructions most frequently appearing in vernacular architecture, in particular to ridge post roofs, purlin roofs and common rafter roofs. The field and archive research, along with dendrochronological dating, in the Znojemsko and Vranovsko regions was compared with those from the Slovakian part of the Danube Region. The results shows that the geographical spreading of principal rafter roofs does not always mean the spreading of a genetically identical phenomenon. Principal rafter roofs in both surveyed regions have their specific features and their genesis is not identical. In the roofs in the Danube Region the post supports of the ridge piece were gradually improved and replaced by principal rafters providing better weight displacement, whereas the constructions widespread in the region along the Dyje River likely witnessed the reception of a finished type of construction applied firstly to nobility houses and then adapted to the needs of residential and farm buildings in villages.

Local Identity and Landscape’s Memory: Important Landscape Components in the Perspective of Participants

Using the analysis of semantic domains, the Geographic Information System (GIS) and interpretation, the contribution introduces important places in landscape in a micro-perspective of the inhabitants of selected locations in the Plzeň region. The locations presented in the contribution represent different configurations of population and landscape. The community of Bušovice is typical for its stability in population and the agricultural character of the landscape. The community of Lesná is situated in a border region, where the population fully changed after the World War II and the work in forest has been the main means of earning the living so far; simultaneously, the forest is dominating the local landscape. Within the contribution, there is presented a map of landscape components with the cultural and historical value defined based on the responds of local inhabitants. By means of the GIS, it is possible to simulate which places in the landscape are considered important in the collective memory of the inhabitants, and how the selection of particular landscape components changes in connection with other features of those informants (e.g. gender). The cultural domain of important shared places is also interpreted in the text whereby stress is put on collectively shared ideas of the participants, which are manifested in the space (they create so-called memory places) and become a field to symbolize the local identity.

Map Application Folk Dress in Moravia and Ethno-Cartographic Presentation of Coat Dress

In 2011, the National Institute of Folk Culture in Strážnice was charged to solve the project titled Traditional Folk Dress in Moravia; Identification, analysis, preservation and continually sustainable condition of collection material from 1850–1950. Within this task, a plethora of expert outputs of identification or analytic nature came into being. Many of them were presented to the professional and amateur public in the form of expert studies or publications. The information about documented garments could only be made available thanks to the GIS (geographic information system) map web Folk Dress in Moravia. The web shall provide the researchers with source information about the folk garments placed in collections of Czech and Moravian museums. Particular types of garments, such as trousers, vests, jackets, coats, shirts, blouses, skirts and women’s waistcoats or bodices etc. will be identified according to united systematics and the acquired information will be placed in a database. It allows to compare the garments and to form a group with identical properties. Based on these properties, particular types and variants thereof are presented on the map. The depicted pictograms of garments allow to move to a database card, in which not only the source information but also drawings and pattern sketches are included.

Modern feast-day tradition in the village of Dobročkovice in the Bučovicko region

The study deals with the modern feast-day tradition in the village of Dobročovice in the Bučovicko region, which is situated in the southern part of the ethnographic area of Haná. The study summarizes the accessible resources substantiating the extinction of the original folk culture expressions in this location as early as in the mid-19th century. The principal part of the text includes assessment of the results from the field research into contemporary form of the feast day. The research was made in 2013. The feast-day is the most important folklore event and the main dance opportunity in Dobročkovice. Attention is paid to the transfer of feast-day customs, dances, songs, and folk costumes from the Kyjovsko region, taking into account their function within the feast-day procession and dance entertainment. In this context, the importance of verbuňk, a Slovácko dance that occurs here as well, is described. In verbuňk, dance figures have been changed by which they have digressed from those of the Kyjovsko regional type. The study provides basic starting points for other researches and those interesting in modern traditions in the locations where the original process of passing-down was interrupted in the past and not renewed later.

Journal of Ethnology 2/2014 is devoted to the theme of Heuristics, Criticism, and Interpretation of Ethnographic Resources. Daniela Stavělová publishes a contribution to historical study of dance folk culture (Dance in Diaries, Memories, and Memoirs: a Dilemma of Interpretation). József Liszka focuses on how the verbal art was affected by printed production, in particular by broad-side prints (On the Boundaries of Popular Literature and Folk Verbal Art /on one Hungarian-Slovak-Czech Pilgrimage Legend and its Inter-Genre Context/). Barbora Machová and Eva Šipöczová deal with school chronicles (Reflection of the Relation between Village Teachers and Local Communities on the Background of Events Recorded in School Chronicles in Moravia at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries). Libor Svoboda explains the reports from gendarmerie stations (Memory Books from Gendarmerie Stations – One of Less-Known Historical and Ethnologic Resources). Juraj Hamar brings practical experience with the transcription of audio recordings of plays from a puppet theatre (Transcription and Reconstruction of Audio Recorded Plays by the Folk Puppet Player Bohuslav Anderle).

In Review Section, Petr Spielmann publishes his contribution Works Inspired by Folk Songs and Folk Customs (Ad One-Hundred Years of Vladislav Vaculka’s Birth) and Jan Krist his contribution relating to what would have been the birthday of Adam Pranda (1924–1984), a Slovakian ethnologist. Social Chronicle remembers the anniversary of fine artist and writer Kamila Skopová (born 1944), ethnologists Alena Jeřábková (born 1934) and Olga Kandertová (born 1944), and publishes an obituary for ethnologist Jan Souček (1946–2014). Other regular columns include reviews of new books and news from the branch. 

Dance in Diaries, Memories, and Memoirs: a Dilemma of Interpretation

The study introduces resources of folk origin, which has almost not been used by the ethnology so far and which can bring valuable evidences about the lived form of folk dance culture. The development of those resources relates to the period when a kind of well-read persons or amateur writers came from village society, who paid their attention to farmers´ economic matters; they were interested in the expressions of social and cultural life, as well as in patriotic events in the second half of the 19th century. A special attention is paid here to the description of dance parties as a part of the events of that period. The interpretation of these resources requires combining of different methods and approaches; the ethnochoreology is supported here both by the attitude of so-called new cultural history focused on the study of mentalities, and by narrative approach. The source material is understood as life stories that simultaneously express the situations and contexts within which they were produced. The following issues constitute the basic dilemmas of interpretation: whether the structure of what is interpreted (text) or its function (context) should be accentuated, if one should focus on content or form, whether one should proceed on a part or a whole, and if the interpretation should be aimed at an individual or culture.

On the Boundaries of Popular Literature and Folk Verbal Art (on a Hungarian-Slovak-Czech Pilgrimage Legend and its Inter-Genre Context)

The author of this essay devotes himself to mutual relations and inter-ethnic processes between written and folk culture. On a particular example of a legend about a pilgrim who brought her heart, ripped out by outlaws, to Mariazell, the author introduces a text transcription within the literature (within inter-ethnic context) as well as from the literature to verbal art. The theme can be found in pilgrimage prints written in Hungarian, Slovak, and Czech. Even German variants are anticipated to have existed/exist but these could not be supported by particular materials so far. The variants known from the literature occur sporadically in Hungarian and Slovak verbal arts, however just their organic life in folklore has been documented; we do not know other variants – these were probably read directly from manuscripts, without melody etc. The process of folklorization has not been finished in this case, the text borrowed from the literature have not become an organic part of Hungarian or Slovak verbal art. Based on our contemporary knowledge we can state that they have remained on a halfway to folklorization.

Reflection of the Relation between Village Teachers and Local Communities on the Background of Events Recorded in School Chronicles in Moravia at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries

The submitted study focuses on the social position of village teachers and their relations to village local communities at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It is based on large source study of school chronicles in five Moravian districts (Vsetín, Zlín, Uherské Hradiště, Znojmo, Žďár nad Sázavou). Based on the analysis of chronicle reports, the authors define the auto-image of a teacher and reconstruct the hetero-image: how a teacher viewed the community and mutual relations. The study analyses situations that used to be a matter of frequent disputes between a teacher on the one side, and church administration, municipality, and local inhabitants on the other (teacher’s salary, school attendance, construction of a new school building, relation to local priest). The teacher who entered the local community as a strange element was on the boundary between the internal and external world (he was a state administration representative) and he had to build-up and defend his position. By means of defined situation, the authors search for deeper factors affecting the relations of the teacher with other engaged parties. The study puts stress on the importance of school chronicles for the study of social culture of the country, as well as on their contribution for ethnology of the village at the end of the19th and the outset of the 20th century.

Memory Books from Gendarmerie Stations – One of Less-Known Historical and Ethnologic Resources

The study writes about so-called memory books of gendarmerie stations – a resource that so far has been used mainly by those interested in modern military history (in many memory books are vividly described the events from 1937-13-939 and from May 1945), history of security corps and regional history. The opportunity to use the memory books for social history, history of everyday life or history of criminality remains aside. The memory books of gendarmerie stations were one of fruits resulting from an unusual boom of chronography in the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire and then in Czechoslovakia in the early-20th century. Although they existed for less than forty years as official documents, they were written in one of the most dynamic and dramatic stages of Czech modern history limited by the World War I from the one side, and the communist totalitarian regime from the other. All social turns were also reflected in gendarmerie memory books that became one of the important resources of Czech modern history.

Transcription and Reconstruction of Audio Recorded Plays by the Folk Puppet Player Bohuslav Anderle

Anton Anderle (1944–2008) was a representative of the third generation of the Anderles, a folk puppet-player family from Radvan. Although the activity of folk puppet players was limited first and fully restricted later by the former governmental authorities in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, a part of their repertoire survived in their memory. In 1972, Anton recorded on tape his father, Bohuslav Anderle (1913–1976), who recorded nearly thirty puppet plays from traditional Anderle’s repertoire, while speaking by heart, without puppets and outside the stage. The contribution writes about transcription and reconstruction of these audio recordings, heuristics, autopsies, and other methods the author was working with when transcribing the recordings. The author published the final form of transcribed and reconstructed texts in the monograph Hry ľudových bábkarov Anderlovcov z Radvane Plays by the Anderles, Folk Puppet Players from Radvan (2010), which also contains, inter alia, twenty-eight plays, comments on repertoire and typology of characters as well as transcriptions of songs Bohuslav Anderle used in his plays.

Journal of Ethnology 1/2014 is devoted to visual anthropology. Martin Soukup explains developmental transformations in visual anthropology and its definition (Drawing and Painting in Anthropology), Tomáš Petráň deals with the relation between the profession of an ethnologist and that of a film-maker (Ethnographic Film: an intersection between scientific and artistic viewing of the world). Barbora Půtová focuses on the expressions of visualisation in African Benin (Visual Presentation of the Benin Empire and its King: From British Colonial Rule up to Present), Jaroslava Panáková writes about decorative carpet as a visual symbol of Soviet aesthetics (A Thing, a Photo and Socialism: A Carpet Story).
Transforming Tradition column publishes an article From Caricature to Race Face – a contribution on contemporary visual comic (by Eva Šipöczová) and a essay about the ride of the kings in Skoronice in the last year (by Josef Holcman). The interview with ethnochoreologist Daniela Stavělová reminds of her anniversary (*1954), Social Chronicle reminds of the anniversaries of ethnologist Naďa Valášková (*1944) and Leoš Šatava (*1954) and the decease of Věra Haluzová (1924–2013), an organizer of different folklore activities. Other regular columns submit reports from the branch, especially overviews of conferences, exhibitions, and reviews of new books.

Drawing and Painting in Anthropology

The subject of the study is to analyze the use of native drawings as a gnoseological tool in cultural anthropology taking into account the developmental transformations in visual anthropology. This was established as an independent anthropologic sub-discipline aimed at the study of culture especially by means of film and photograph. Native drawing is still rather undervalued in visual anthropology even though it disposes of considerable potential for the research of culture by visual means. This is documented by results of the research conducted by Mead, Bateson, Fortes, Alland and many others whom the contribution pays a special attention. In his study, the author will proceed not only from the analysis of implemented researches focused on native drawings, but he also will build on his own empiric experience with using the native drawings in the research of the Nungon ethnic group of Papua New Guinea. The aim of the study is to introduce the status of using the native drawings in anthropologic research, possibilities of using, analyzing, and interpreting the collected data and wider connections with visual anthropology.

Ethnographic Film: an intersection of scientific and artistic viewing of the world

This study is focused on the area of ethnographic film and video in the process of interdisciplinary interaction between ethnographers and filmmakers. In past creation of image required considerable effort, based on technical mastering of visual techniques and on individual dispositions of the filmmaker. This has changed dramatically by means of industrialization of production as well as distribution of consumer images. The amount of images is constantly growing, they are omnipresent and instant. In the first decade of new millennium, the role of film within the framework of anthropological research is being redefined. New roles of visual anthropology are occurring together with the development of experimental methods in social sciences and with the newly recognized role of Art in the research itself. The requirement of professionalism of audiovisual record, which burdened the ethnographic film with established visual processes and conventions, is disappearing under the influence of massive transmission of personal and private images. Democratization of the creative process and almost unlimited possibilities of distribution lay new questions about the definition of the genre.

Visual Representations of the Benin Empire and its King: From British Colonial Rule up to Present

The study presents the image of the Benin Empire and its king through photographs and artworks that contribute to the construction of social reality and have the ability to capture cultural changes visually. Visual representations of the Benin Empire presented in this study encompass particularly the period from British colonial dominance to these days. Depicting the Benin king has been a frequent motif used in traditional as well as contemporary art (bronze sculptures, relief plaques or oil paintings). The study also analyses photographs taken by colonizers, court photographs and anthropologists during their research at the palace courtyard. Special attention is paid to the continuity in Benin bronze artefact creation and the development of contemporary Nigerian art – works and artists who continue the traditional depiction of the Benin king enriching it with their specific view of the world. The analysis also focuses on photographs seen as symbolic systems capturing the colonial and post-colonial situation – historic events relating to the British invasion, European colonial dominance, power relations, asymmetry, injustice and everyday life. The study presents photographs not only as mere period documents, artefacts and historic source that serve to the purpose of scientific analysis and interpretation, but also the purpose of inspiring the contemporary artistic work.

A Thing, a Photo, and Socialism. A Carpet Story.

The way of our viewing fulfils every political, economic, and social concept with certain audiovisual materials, rules, and canons of imagination as well as with visual style and aesthetics. Socialism offers plentiful examples how the convention of “good manners” penetrated into photographic viewing. One of them is the series of domestic group or individual portrays in front of a “Persian” carpet hanging on the wall. This carpet stands for the all-including identity of Soviet citizen, socialistic wealth, cosy socialistic dwelling, and constitutes a frequent element of domestic Soviet photographs. While the foreground changed according to one leader replacing the other one and alongside the politicians, also the giant agitating mosaics or tapestries intended for exterior or interior changed, the carpet remained unchanged. Even though this convention is suppressed by another one in Moscow or Petersburg, and “sovok” – the culture of socialistic households and everyday life - is understood as a negative one, this convention is still surviving in Siberia. The question is why the people still insist on being photographed in front of the carpet. This study introduces an in-depth analysis of the origin, development, and transformations of this specific visual practice. We will show how the socialistic Alltagswelt and the idea of a right Soviet citizen were interconnected with a peculiar way of (photographic) viewing and how this visionary project failed while the visual one is still living.