Category Archives: 2013

Nummer 1/2013


Schriftelijke transcommunicatie: over hemelbrieven en tekstamuletten

Summary: Transcommunication in writing: the heavenly letter
In revealed religions transcendental communication by means of a heavenly letter used to be a marginal modus operandi. A letter from heaven is quite distinct from the (well-known) votum scriptum which the faithful commonly send to heaven.
An apocryphal Sunday Epistle fell from heaven in Ibiza, urging the faithful to abstain from work and to pray on Sundays, to pay the tithes, to fast, etc. (584). A similar moral-eschatological letter aiming at a religious revival is believed to have fallen on the grave of the Prophet (Mekka Letter, ca. 1880).
Although of doubtful authenticity, some people have claimed that copies of the Abgar Letter (1st century), the Charlemagne Prayer (ca. 800) and the Coloman Letter (11th century) have a heavenly origin.
For centuries and in several continents all these letters have been circulating in handwriting, in print as well as electronically. They have become powerful text amulets. Some zealous people keep reinventing them.



Dansen voor de regio.

Summary: Dancing for the region.
Community organisation in the rural area of Noord-Groningen during the 1960s and 1970s
Economic development and moder-nisation characterized the Nether­lands in the years after the Second World War. To stimulate socio-cultural development as well the national government implemented a sociolog­ical tool – community organization. Hereby, the local community was involved to develop their own region. In the area of Noord-Groningen, in the northern part of the Netherlands, this inspired the start of a folkloric dance festival, named Op Roakeldais. The goal of this festival was to develop the area of Noord-Groningen, both in an economic and socio-cultural way. The initiators from the local elite regarded folklore as a way to connect the different social groups in the Noord-Groningen society. As a consequence, the festival could contribute to the formation of the regional identity of Noord- Groningen.
Based on Anssi Paasi’s model of regional identity formation, it can be concluded that the festival only partly succeeded in their goal. The local people did not identify with the regional symbols, traditional farmers dances and customs, which were propagated by the festival. In addition, the focus of the festival was limited to a part of the Noord- Groningen area. However, the festival was successful in using its regional perspective to become subsidized by the provincial government. In conclusion, Op Roakeldais was set up as a festival with the ambition to form and develop the region of Noord- Groningen, but which turned out to contribute mainly to the regional social-cultural entertainment. That function justifies its current day existence.



“Müzik ruhun gidasi | Muziek is voedsel voor de ziel” Etnografisch onderzoek naar het gebruik en de functies van Turkse volksmuziek in Gent

Summary: “Müzik ruhun gidasi / Music is food for the soul”
An ethnographic study of the use and functions of Turkish folk music in Ghent
This ethnographic report deals with the use, the value and the function of eighteen Turkish folk music events in the city of Ghent (Belgium). It is the result of structured observation – with the frameworks provided by A.P. Merriam, B. Nettl and H. van Maanen – and semi-structured interviews with the musicians, the audience and the organizers.
There are two levels of analysis. The first is based on the classification of the relevant properties of the programme, the audience, the musicians and the organization. The other one relies upon the interviews in which special attention is paid to social, cultural, spiritual and ritual interaction.
The functions of Turkish folk music in Ghent are quite comprehensive: personal, (inter)cultural, social, economic and ethical / mystical /religious. Socio-cultural rituals are consolidated and political controversy is not shunned.



Category: 2013

Nummer 2/2013


A.M. VAN DER WAL Een pijnlijk verleden, een onzekere toekomst – Levend erfgoed van het slavernijverleden in postapartheid Zuid-Afrika Summary: A painful past, an uncertain future Living heritage of slavery in post­apartheid South Africa The year 2013 marks not only the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but also the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. This paper discusses the intangible, living heritage of the slave past of South Africa, once a Dutch colony, and the official policy of the South African government towards safeguarding this heritage. Descendants of the enslaved, the so­called Cape Coloureds, commemorate their past through an annual carnival and street parade. Despite the carnival’s disadvantaged position in the past and its present ambitions to create more awareness of this painful part of South Africa’s history, political interest and financial support is lacking. .

G. KOZIJN Van volkscultuur naar immaterieel erfgoed – Een geschiedenis van de begrippen in de periode 1987 tot 2007 in Nederland Summary: From folk culture to intangible heritage in the Netherlands (1987 and 2007) The article explores the change of thinking within three important institutions: the NCV (Nederlands Centrum voor Volk scultuur), the academic Meertens Instituut and the NOM (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum / Dutch Open Air Museum). After Voskuil, the dominant head of the Meertens Instituut, had left the institution in 1987 contemporary folk culture and the cri tical evaluation of folklore was brought into focus. In Dutch folk culture there used to be a dichotomy between the po pular and academic discourse (and the respective responsibilities and tasks). During the nineties this dichotomy was partially bridged because of globali zation, indivi dualization and other related major social processes which en gendered a renewed interest in folk culture. This new orientation within the Meertens Instituut lead to an academic interest in the culture of everyday life (con temporary folk culture, folklorism and invented traditions), while the NOM implemented the new academic view on folk culture in its museum presentation. The NCV adopted the American ‘public folklore’ as the leading concept and adapted it, i.e. the academics propagated folk culture as a means of enhancing social cohesion. A view shared by the Dutch government. But the Meertens Instituut took a reserved stand regarding the cultural-political function of folk culture, which explains its skeptical attitude towards the safeguarding of ‘intangible heritage’. These new theoretical views have in the last two decades led to an increased interest in heritage and have resulted not only in the boom of folk culture tourism but also have had positive effects on social cohesion and the govern ment’s interest in folk culture. .

J. DEWULF Het pinksterverhaal van de Nederlandstalige slavin Sojourner Truth (ca. 1797-1883) – Een analyse vanuit contactstudies Summary: The Pinkster Story in Sojourner Truth’s Narrative (1850) The article introduces and applies the concept of contact studies in the analysis of the classic US-American slave nar rative of the Dutch-speaking (ex)-slave Sojourner Truth (c. 1797- 1883). It suggests a new approach to the text by analysing it from the plurality of cultural perspectives corresponding to the New York contact zone. This approach allows a new theory on a crucial passage in the Narrative dealing with Pinkster and leads to a better un derstanding of this short part of the book: Truth’s Pinkster was a transatlantic phenomenon with Dutch, Central-American and Portuguese cultural elements. .


Category: 2013

Nummer 3/2013


De Belgisch-Nederlandse grens onder spanning
Summary: The 2.000-volt Belgian-Dutch frontier (1915-1918) The German Army built a three-wired entanglement in order to cut off occupied Belgium from The (free) Netherlands. The wire, as it was called, was impressive (more than 350 km long, from the Belgian coastline in Knokke up to little short of Aachen) and it was deadly (more than 900 victims). The impact of the high-voltage boundary on the locals was radical. The usual contacts between family members and friends were cut off or drastically limited. Neighbours in the Belgian-Dutch double villages (Koewacht, Overslag, Kieldrecht/ Nieuw Namen) suddenly became real foreigners because the wires passed through the middle of their village. In many places the new boundary did not coincide with the traditional frontier, which resulted in even more no man’s land with trapped inhabitants, unable to move freely into Belgium or into The Netherlands. The Germans’ intention was to eliminate any clandestine or sub-versive operation along the border. The Germans failed: the border inhabitants offered more active resistance than in the rest of occupied Belgium. Smuggling went on and boomed, especially of goods that were scarce in Belgium. Many people risked their life moving freedom fighters or temporarily providing them with shelter. Others specialized in smuggling clandestine letters for the front soldiers, for the underground or for the Allied. During the First World War the Belgian-Dutch frontier looked like a front, with limited freedom of movement, (contra)espionage, extra – deadly high-voltage wires.



Verschuivende tolerantiedrempel – De morele codes van het leven in bezet België (1914-1918)

Summary: Shifting thresholds of tolerance: the moral codes of conduct in occupied Belgium (1914-1918)
Too many historians have agreed with the elite in occupied Belgium who used to say that the war experience led to a complete moral disintegration. However, it is doubtful whether it makes sense to look at the war-stricken Belgian society through the (biased) normative lens of moral (dis)integration. It is much more productive to focus on the flexible tolerance levels of the occupied who primarily had to cope with rapidly changing situations. Moral tolerance apparently increased e.g. as regards theft, while it decreased a.o. in relation to usury. Though the appreciation of the so-called moral panic diverged according to the strata of society virtually the entire Belgian population highly esteemed their soldiers. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the different social classes in the occupied country scrutinized each other rather jealously, which illustrates the power of social tensions in occupied Belgium.



Eten in oorlogstijd. Voedselaanbevelingen en keukentips in België tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog

Summary: Was the food scarcity in war-torn Belgium solved by rationing and advising?
These last few years interest in everyday life in occupied Belgium has grown and has complemented the well-researched military and political situation in The Great War. It is a fact that food distribution and dietary have hardly been scrutinized. This void in national historiography had to be filled. In 1914 about 80 percent of all wheat was imported. It became a dramatic situation because international transport of food suddenly came to a halt. Furthermore the Germans exacted the greater part of this scarce commodity for their army. In order to avoid a revolt a few manufacturers and businessmen from Brussels (e.g. Emile Francqui) tackled this growing problem by creating the NHVC (Nationaal Hulp- en Voedingscomité, National Assistance and Food Committee) which organized – in practically every municipality and for four years – food production and distribution. The NHVC also had brochures and cookery books printed in order to enable the families to get fed in a healthy and (especially) cheap way. The Committee’s suggestions are worth studying. What type of advice was given? Was there any fine-tuning over the years? Was the advice adapted to the population group, socially or geographically? In which way did the suggestions by the NHVC, the medical profession, dietists and women’s organisations differ from each other? Ego documents give us an idea how the (well-advised) Belgian families coped with the problem of food scarcity.



Discipline in het Belgische leger tijdens de stellingoorlog (1914-1918)

Summary: Discipline and trench warfare: the Belgian Army in the Great War
How discipline was exactly maintained in the Belgian Army is difficult to reconstruct, because some historians claim that discipline was harsh, with innocent and powerless soldiers, while an other group argues that discipline was rather loose. In some way both interpretations can be reconciled. It is a fact that the Belgian High Command did everything in its power to impose a strict discipline, based on unconditional obedience. However, soldiers were not completely powerless and were able to negotiate many aspects of daily life, including discipline. The result of this never-ending process was a kind of informal discipline, with officers who tried to keep command and care in balance, i.e. corporals and sergeants had to find an intermediate position between what the High Command wanted and what soldiers were willing to accept.



Category: 2013