Towards an ethnography of the Iron Curtain
Jiří Woitsch (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Gábor Barna (University of Szeged)
Jiří Woitsch
Socialist and post-socialist studies
Start time:
22 June, 2015 at 10:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel is devoted to research of the Iron Curtain. This border military installation dividing Europe in 20th Century and its material and non-material remnants (narratives, collective memory) shall be treated as both the specific heritage and an extraordinary example of "fallen utopia"

Long abstract:

The whole Europe was after WW2 affected by massive migrations and shortly after divided into two antagonistic political/ideological and military spheres. On the very material level Europe was splitted by several thousand kilometers of border military installation: the Iron Curtain. In the shadow of the Iron Curtain the landscape as well as everyday life of people changed dramatically on the both sides of the border line: from polar zones of Finnish-Soviet border, through Central Europe to the Mediterranean, from Sami people to Pomaks. Many settlements were abandoned and destroyed, everyday life and land-use changed essentially and last but not least the Iron Curtain was the reason for forming of new narratives, folklore and individual and collective memory. After the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe the Iron Curtain was destroyed relatively quickly, however its material as well as non material remains are still to be seen, recorded, documented, studied and preserved as an heritage. From the 90s of the 20th century, the Iron Curtain is an important subject of research, unfortunately ethnologists and folklorists helped in this research very little. The panel should thus be an opportunity to exchange information on possible theoretical and methodological approaches to ethnological research of the Iron Curtain and the presentation of selected case studies. Within this framework and following the SIEF congress theme the Iron curtain shall be treated as both the specific heritage and an extraordinary example of "fallen utopia" - a horrible result of divided world.