The text follows the post-cultural turn oral history paradigm, as expressed in concepts of Luisa Passerini, Alessandro Portelli, and others. It also makes use of the “dream stories’’ (Traumgeschichten) research by Reinhart Koselleck, to discover and interpret the cultural processes and forms related to the problematic historical subjectivity of an ex-Czechoslovak People’s Army conscript. The main historical source is the recorded oral-history narrative of a person, whose compulsory military service (1975–1977) led to a decidedly negative turn in his life. The narrator attempted to treat his shaken historical subjectivity through the creative construction of an elaborate uchronic story, merging his own military experience with motifs of imaginary service in units armed with nuclear weapons, with contemporary legends dealing with similar topics, and with older cultural strata, highlighting the phenomenon of “magical mountains” and apocalyptic military prophecies.
The paper is based on interviews with Czech Muslim community leaders and focuses on the way they interpret the concept of jihad, how they think the concept should be implemented in action, and what factors shape their interpretations. It reveals two parallel understandings of the concept: a wider interpretation (i.e., the struggle to promote something good) and a narrow one (armed struggle). Three different typologies of jihad have been identified. With regard to the narrow definition of the concept, there is a consensus that jihad is legitimate in self-defence. Conversely, there is a tendency to reject the offensive jihad, but there is little consensus regarding the many conditions under which jihad can be declared and waged, especially as to the authority that can declare jihad or if it exists. The interpretative plurality is shaped by five factors, which relate to different authorities, ethical principles and audiences, different interpretations of Islamic history.
Until recently, legal ethnography has been understood as an integral part of legal anthropology and its studies of law in particular societies and cultures. In some older national traditions of European legal ethnology, including the Czech tradition, it has been considered a legal rather than a social science. Recent shifts in the perception of ethnography, which is increasingly understood as an autonomous methodology or a technology for knowledge production, are an opportunity to re-think the specific position of legal ethnography. This paper therefore explores the difference between ethnography as it is understood in the anthropology of law and the new relationship of “law and ethnography” as two autonomous variables. On the basis of several recent legal-ethnographic studies, it also seeks to identify the persistent common denominators of both approaches and attempts to show their possible contribution to the traditional methodology of legal research.
This text discusses the history of the Ethnographic Department during the 1938–1948 period, i.e., chiefly during the Second World War and the Third Czechoslovak Republic. There was the significant shift in the ideological concept of the National Museum, as the institution progressed from the ideology of Czechoslovakism to defence of the Czech nation, and it was also necessary to deal with the pervading Nazi ideology and its specific manifestations (e.g., Germanization and Aryanization). On a practical level, the department primarily had to cope with a lack of space, as well as the gradual loss of and the fluctuations in staff. The fate of Drahomíra Stránská, who was a key figure in the museum’s ethnography, is also discussed. On a conceptual level, the department did not advance much and remained at the level of descriptive or comparative ethnography with an emphasis on other Slavic nations and the domestic environment.
This study presents the activities of the Czechoslovak traveller Václav Kotál (1894–1976) in Latin America. Although, he is an obscure figure today, he was at the height of media fame in the 1920s on account of his walking journey from Buenos Aires to Chicago. Kotal made use of this popularity to put his compatriots off moving across the ocean. The aim of this work is therefore to present this intriguing historical figure, but, above all, conduct a critical qualitative analysis to evaluate: what motivated him to discourage his compatriots; whether his information was trustworthy; and how he influenced Czechoslovak interwar migration. The principal sources are contemporary newspaper articles and the Kotál’s own publishing activities. These are supplemented by archival materials and academic literature.