The contribution aims to deal with the „folklore revival movement“, that is, activities of folk ensembles – a wide spread phenomenon in the former socialist Czechoslovakia (1848–1989), which has its continuity in today´s Czech Republic. It is an interdisciplinary project based on the methods of oral history, textual analysis and anthropological study of music and dance which aims to explore the ambivalence of the phenomenon and its ideological connotations. The investigation is based on narratives which occur in the discourse of socio-cultural context of the folk ensembles in different periods of the so-called folklore movement. Narratives provide considerable material to be interpreted with the aim of understanding specific features of the phenomenon of the folklore revival movement in a particular socio-cultural and political context. The project aims to explore the ambivalence of the phenomenon of folklore movement in Czech Lands. The research will provide various perspectives for considering to what extent the movement was an instrument of power and to what extent it was an opportunity to implement one´s own strategies.
The first part of the paper describes Frank Wollman’s (1888–1969) theoretical opinions on the genesis, nature and function of folklore formulated by the Czech comparatist and Slavonic scholar in his hitherto unpublished university textbook Uvedení do methodologie literárněvědné a do theorie literatury (přelom 40.–50. let 20. stol.) [An introduction to the methodology of literary theory and to the theory of literature (at the turn of 1950s)]. Generally, Wollman conceived the textual ingredient of folklore as a reproductive art attached through its formative capacity to the entire verbal art. His structuralist starting points were reflected here primarily in the conviction that what matters in an analysis of a folkloric text is not its originality, but the act of reception and an individual existence, i.e. communicatively semiotic being. The second part of the paper examines “Wollman’s Moravian collections”, deemed lost by the pundit community. In contrast to the extensive collection of Slovak folk prose, completed by Wollman and his Bratislava-based students between 1928–1947 and not published, except in selections, until the turn of millenium (Slovenské ľudové rozprávky I–III, 1993–2004) [Slovak folk stories], the field researches in the whole territory of Moravia were conducted under Wollman’s guidance by his students at Brno University. Regardless of these collections being carried on between 1929–1933, with only a limited circle of narrators and recorders, their genre and thematic variety manifest a specific type of folk verbal art interconnecting West Slavonic and East Slavonic cultural areas within the Central European context. The find of Moravian collections in Wollman’s private inheritance and their expected publication can thus be seen as a seminal contribution to the history of both Czech and modern European folklore studies.
The article follows a narrative tradition concerning the bandit Jan Vojta, alias Kovářík (ca. 1744 – 1803). There is evidence, collected in the first half of the 20th century, which mentions the existence of a vivid and extensive oral tradition surrounding this noble robber. Folklorists, however, did not pay attention to this phenomenon. The author of this article has managed to collect surviving fragments of this tradition in the field in central-eastern Bohemia. An interesting fact is that Kovářík is one of the few bandits in Bohemia who fit the definition of social banditry proposed by English historian Eric Hobsbawm. The tradition surrounding him even shows some features which are atypical for Bohemian bandits, and which show him to be more similar to Slovakian and East-Moravian (social) bandits. These include motifs such as the theft of cattle, cooperation with a reeve and participation in a peasant uprising. These findings could serve as inspiration for further historiographic research into this figure.
Personal stories and testimonies of individual survivors are the main compounds of the common narrative of the European trauma of Nazi concentration camps. A variety of individual memories of a certain event contribute to the creation of its collective representation which is then accessible for a wider range of people. Memory is understood as socially determined. Thus the role of in-group relations is crucial for memory-construction, for it is only in social interactions that individuals become aware of memories and localize them. As Maurice Halbwachs argues, there are as many collective memories as there are groups and institutions in society. The relation between a collective memory and a group is reciprocal – both are constituting and constituted at the same time. Departing from the theories of memory and trauma as social constructs, this article examines the processes of remembering of the deportation to a concentration camp, structuring of collective memories and constructing of meanings from memories in public and private contexts. The objective is to identify the routes of memory and the impacts on memory transmission in different spaces and temporalities. Deploying ethnographic methods, the focus is on a) remembering in witnesses, women-concentration-camp survivors, and b) the relation to the past familial experience in informants from various countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.
The aim of this study is to present the journey of the Czech geographer Jiří Viktor Daneš (1880–1928) to the New Zealand (1923), to explain the origin of his photographic collection and postulate how Daneš had presented his view of foreign cultures to Czech society both as a scientist and a former Czechoslovak consul in Sydney.
Analysing pictures from the North and South Islands of New Zealand it seems Daneš wanted to take his original look at geomorphology, nature, climate, society and culture of living. Based on his travel book Tři léta při Tichém oceáně [Three Years at the Pacific Ocean] (1926) it is possible to declare Daneš used photographic pictures as trails and sources for next scientific research and also for popularization. It is clarified the structure of this archival collection (positives, glass negatives and diapositives) and the extent of its damage during the floods of 2002. Using the archive classification and the method of cultural transfer, it was possible to restore the former photographic archives.