Disc13
Tracking the impact of ideologies, agendas, and agency in the processes of producing and representing knowledge of folklore

Convenors:
Venla Sykäri (Finnish Literature Society)
Niina Hämäläinen (Finnish Literature Society)
Janika Oras (Estonian Literary Museum)
Stream:
Disciplinary and methodological discussions:
Location:
Aula 17
Start time:
17 April, 2019 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Folklore publications that shape our understanding of the past are profoundly impacted by ethnographers' ideologies and authorship as well as the original field encounters. This panel tracks the 19th and early 20th century's ethnographers' processes of creating knowledge of folklore.

Long abstract:

The work of Elias Lönnrot, the compiler of the Finnish Kalevala, was based on ethnographic fieldwork that provided him a thorough knowledge of the singing tradition and methods of versification. Nevertheless, while preparing material for publication, he reorganized it into a logically proceeding network of narratives that never existed in that form in the field. Alike the Kalevala, folklore publications that shape our understanding of the past are often products transformed by agendas, authority, and authorship, which profoundly differ from those that guided the composition and performance in the face-to-face community. In addition to the obvious problems related to the positivistic epistemology, the field encounters and collaborations themselves could be loaded with a complex set of distinct goals, agendas and agency. This panel investigates the ways in which knowledge of oral traditions has become accessible for literary audiences and modern research, and how different layers of textualization have influenced our comprehension of folklore. We invite paper proposals that examine the 19th and early 20th century's ethnographers' work, manuscripts and publications. Our focus is particularly on transformations visible in texts, deriving from changes in audience and authorship, as well as those located in ethnographic encounters, and deriving from different agendas and agency in the interaction.