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Sociology and Theatre, A Too Short Beginning. Pavel Câmpeanu’s Studies

Abstract

In Romania, sociological investigations on theatre are mere illusions that drift further and further away into the sky. In the last 30 years, a few theatres commissioned surveys to measure, as best as they could, the structure and the preferences of their own audience, over shorter (in the case of the 2003 first survey draft at Odeon Theatre, the research lasted no more than one weekend) or longer spans of time (in 2015, at Nottara Theatre, IMAS conducted a survey during a month; the survey applied at the Bucharest National Theatre in 2013 remained a legend, or a rumour rather, as the management treated it with mysterious silence). This paper tries to follow the intentions and the destiny of the researches and surveys dedicated to the theatre sociology by Pavel Câmpeanu and his small team between 1968-1974.

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An Alternative Periodization of Romanian History. A Research Agenda

Abstract

In this paper, I suggest an alternative form of periodization of Romanian history. My aim is not to move around historical posts; rather I propose a different way of understanding Romanian history as such. This is the research agenda. I seek to write a world history from the perspective of a peripheral place like Romania has been. Therefore, this is not simply an attempt to insert a local, neglected, silenced or distorted history into a wider, European, global story (that is, to discover the history of “people without history”), just as it is not another attempt to “provincialize Europe” in favour of a view from its repressed margins. Instead, following Coronil (2004), I believe it is indispensable to globalize the periphery, to understand its worldwide formation. My investigation draws upon the conceptual toolkit of world-system theory and its underlining philosophy of history (Wallerstein, 2011). In the same vein, the guiding principles of my periodization elaborate on Andre Gunder Frank’s insight that the exchange (or rather direct transfer) of surplus between societies is what links regions and societies as whole (Frank, 1978). The focus then shifts from a given society/state and its internal relations to the wider world-system, or world-economy, in which it is embedded. The unit of analysis is not a geographical location, but relations and networks and their historical development.

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Sociology in Communist Romania: An Institutional and Biographical Overview

Abstract

Suppressed on ideological grounds, banned as academic discipline, and dismantled as scientific infrastructure in the first postwar years, sociology was re-institutionalized in communist Romania during the 1960s, largely on political grounds. Subsequently, the discipline developed and augmented within an impressive scientific infrastructure - several university departments were established, research centres and facilities initiated, and specialized periodicals issued. Still, the prosperous period of Romanian sociology concluded after just one decade, through another political decision, which confined the study of sociology to post-graduate specialization and restricted research. My paper explores sociology’s institutional infrastructure, as it was established after the discipline’s renewal, focusing on the institutions created, but also on the biographical analysis of those involved within these processes. My paper will address the matter from a historical perspective, discussing the developments and the evolutions in the field by circumscribing to the political, cultural, and socio-economic contexts.

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”The History of Human Stupidity”: Vojtěch Frič and his Program of a Comparative Study of Religions

Abstract

The present article represents a partial outcome of a larger project that focuses on the history of the beginnings of anthropology as an organized science at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, in the broader socio-political context of Central Europe. Attention is focused especially on the nationalist and social competitions that had an important impact upon intellectual developments, but in turn were influenced by the activities of scholars and their public activities. The case study of Vojtěch (Alberto) Frič, traveler and amateur anthropologist, who in the first two decades of the twentieth century presented to European scientific circles and the general public in the Czech Lands his magnanimous vision of the comparative study of religions, serves as a starting point for considerations concerning the general debates on the purpose, methods, and ethical dimensions of ethnology as these were resonating in Central European academia of the period under study.

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Young People’s Joint Leisure Activities in Traditional Karelian Culture: Norms and Social Practice

Abstract

The paper* considers common youth leisure activities in traditional Karelian culture, from the point of view both of the culturally prescribed norms and the actual behaviour. Special attention is paid to official and social adolescent development frameworks and to reflection of these age-related stages in folk vocabulary. The paper uses a large number of recently published and unpublished ethnographic and folkloristic sources. The authors come to the conclusion that in Karelian culture there is a specific age-group framework for adolescence, as well as gender-related differences between male and female behavioural patterns. The paper shows that girls had to undertake more varied tasks than boys as, on the one hand, they were to play socially prescribed roles and follow moral obligations, remaining modest and, on the other hand, had to be active in order to get married and give birth to children.

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Sixteenth-century Mexican Monasteries and Art. An Anthropological Perspective

Abstract

This paper deals with sixteenth-century Mexican monastic architecture and art. Mexican monasteries were constructed all over the territory of New Spain (1635-1821) in relation to the need to evangelize the native American populations. The article discusses the place of this architecture and art in the historiography of the history of art taking into consideration the changes of paradigms and putting particular emphasis on anthropology and its approaches. In terms of method, it is interdisciplinary and combines synchronic and diachronic perspectives.

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To the Origins of American Archaeology in the Czech Lands: The Case of Julius Nestler

Abstract

The basis for the present article is the case study of Julius Nestler, amateur archaeologist from Prague, who at the beginning of the twentieth century pursued excavations in the ruins of Tiahuanaco and brought to Prague a unique collection of about 3,600 pieces, deposited now in the Náprstek Museum in Prague. His activities are put into the broader context of the origins of Americanist archaeology and anthropology in Central Europe, against a background of nationalist competition and economic entrepreneurship. The life story of Nestler also brings to the fore the problem of ethics in anthropological and archaeological work.

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A New Middle Class on Old Academic Grounds: Law Students of the Cluj University in the 1930s

Abstract

One of the main tasks of universities of Central and Eastern Europe is that of forming loyal and reliable citizens ready to fill in the ranks of public service. Educational credentials make for social elevation into the ranks of this peculiarly state-dependent middle class. Law students make the relative majority of those engaged in higher learning in the region all through the first half of the 20th century. Where and when there is an acute need for a new middle class under a new state sovereignty, it is law studies that are notoriously perceived as meant to producing the bulk of it. The University of Cluj in the inter-war period is a case in point. The paper shall put forward a selection of data (from an ample statistical survey of elite formation via upper-level education in Central Europe) on this segment of the student population in the 1930s, setting it against a dramatically changed background (the general one and the local one, as traced in secondary sources): how do Romanians cope with the task of producing this new middle class on old grounds, and what are the unwanted side-effects of such state-related social emancipation mechanisms? And how non-Romanians behave in the new situation?

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Tibetan Objects in the Náprstek Museum

Abstract

The Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures acquired two hundred items from Tibet in the 1950s: bronze sculptures, paintings and ritual implements. These items came from private collections confiscated after the Second War World according to the presidential decrees dealing with the post-war state reconstruction. Although the administration of the confiscated properties was meticulous, the transfer of items to the Náprstek Museum interrupted the history of ownership and meant the loss of the historical knowledge of its origin. As the result, the Tibet collection in the Náprstek Museum reveals more about the political and social history of post-war Czechoslovakia than about the perception of Tibetan culture in Czechoslovakia during the first half of the 20th century.

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