2021/3 Summaries

Marc Jacobs & Sophie Elpers

Historian. Old-school researcher and cultural broker
The legacy of dr. Albert van der Zeijden (1957-2021)
At the sad occasion of the passing away of Albert van der Zeijden (member of the editorial board of Volkskunde), the life’s work of this scholar is presented and characterized. On the one hand, he presented himself as an academically trained historian. He was specialized in the study of catholicism and historical awareness in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, in the history of death and mourning, and in the work of Philippe Ariès. On the other hand, he worked about popular culture, folklore and, in the last decade, in the new field of
safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. He explored the potential of the relations between that paradigm of the 2003 UNESCO Convention and phenomena in contemporary society like tourism, listing, superdiversity, international NGOs, controversies, and cultural brokerage.

Key words: historian, death, living heritage, UNESCO, popular culture in the Netherlands, cultural history, intangible heritage

Elena Vanden Abeele & Wendy Wiertz

Lace Education in 20th Century Flanders: Between Modernization and Tradition

During the 19th century, the renowned Belgian lace industry declined sharply. In order for the lace industry to survive, the already meagre wages of the lacemakers were reduced even further.
That way, the women had to produce more pieces for the same small salary, which had a negative impact on the quality of their pieces and on their living and working conditions. The wretched state of the lace industry and its workers caused concern. From the second half of the 19th century onwards, studies, statistics and novels indicated causes and offered solutions. Most stressed the importance of reforming the lace education, which would lead to a revival of the Belgian lace industry and to an improvement of the lacemakers’ living and
working conditions. Local and national philanthropic associations implemented
the proposed solutions to reverse the downward spiral. In the long run, their actions did not save the Belgian lace industry, which disappeared for good in the 20th century. Nevertheless, several lace schools, all located in Flanders, remained open until the early 1970s, but there has been hardly any research into the regional lace education during the 20th century.
This article examines the introduction of the proposed improvements in lace education and their long-term effects in the 20th century. The lace school of the Sisters Paulinen in Poperinge serves as a case study.
As a Catholic institution in a smaller production centre, the school is representative for most other lace schools in Flanders, while its period of existence between 1913 and 1961 corresponds to the definitive decline of the national lace industry. Moreover, the many newly uncovered archival sources and the preserved lace pieces allow an in- depth analysis of the institution, the results of which will be relevant to folklore, social history, gender studies and the history of education.

Key words: folklore, social history, history of education, history of textile, gender

Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova

Sociaal toerisme en museummobilteiten

Deze bijdrage introduceert diverse soorten van “museummobiliteiten” en onderzoekt hoe dat concept toelaat transformaties van het concept “museum” te duiden. Deze etnografische studie gaat daarbij in diverse intrigerende gevallen van zogenaamde gemeenschapsmusea op diverse plekken in de wereld, die meer doen dan de historische representatie maar functies vervullen van het vormen van levende, langdurige sociale banden, en het genereren van sociaal kapitaal. Dit artikel onderzoekt ook de dynamiek van een evoluerende nieuw type van alternatief cultureel toerisme dat we als een soort “sociaal toerisme” zouden kunnen definiëren. Het focust in het bijzonder op het “Brood voor Verandering Museum” en een Cultureel Gemeenschapscentrum in Gabrovo, Bulgarije. Die zijn
verbonden via een Broodroute die verschillende broodhuizen in Bulgarije linkt, in een traject om tot een Europese of Globale Culturele Route van Brood (voor Sociale Verandering) te komen.

Trefwoorden: Museummobiliteiten, broodroutes, brood, sociaal toerisme, gemeenschapscentra, gemeenschaps- musea

Douwe Zeldenrust

The Volkskundecommissie and the Volkskundebureau (1945-1947) From reconstruction to “rising interest”

On the 4th of September 1944, the day before ‘Mad Tuesday’ (‘Dolle Dinsdag’), Jan de Vries, folklorist and chairman of the Folklore Committee of the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, fled to Germany. Piet Meertens, who at that time was secretary of the Folklore Committee and manager of the Folklore Bureau, was also concerned about his future. De Vries would be dismissed as professor in 1946 and later on he was also convicted of ‘intellectual collaboration’. Things turned out completely different for Meertens, the Folklore Committee and the Folklore Bureau. Within three years after the war, they were in a better position than ever before, with more subsidies, a renewed base of informants and an expansion of the work for Meertens. This article addresses these immediate post-war years. So far, this period of reconstruction has only been described to a limited extent. Historical sources, such as the annual reports of the Folklore Committee and the archive of the Meertens Institute, give a broad perspective on these years. The focus of this article is on providing insight into these sources so they can be used for further research.

Key words: Meertens Instituut, Volkskundecommissie, Volkskunde- bureau, Second World War, post- war reconstruction, collaboration, questionnaires

Sophie Elpers, Julia van Duijvenvoorde

Smell in intangible heritage. Odeuropa research project Sophie Elpers, Julia van Duijvenvoorde,

Many heritage organisations are aware of the extent to which our sense of smell is intertwined with emotion and memory. However, many lack the terminology, methodology and tools to be able to identify, consolidate and promote the olfactory in the realm of heritage. Despite a large part of the Odeuropa project being based on smell from a historic standpoint, a small, yet no less crucial, part of the research is deeply rooted in the present day. Seeking to analyse and emphasise the (conscious and unconscious) role of smell in the safeguarding, transmission, and experience of intangible cultural heritage, this part of the project has, up until now, focused on two main case studies. Combined, the study of the French law on the protection of rural sensory heritage and the analysis of the practices and experiences surrounding milling in Poland bring us a step closer to putting the pieces of this sensory puzzle together.

Key words: smell, intangible cultural heritage, rural heritage, safeguarding, Odeuropa

Wendy Wauters

The Stirring of the Religious Space. Late medieval perception and experience in the Antwerp Church of Our Lady (c. 1450-1566)

The lost pre-Tridentine décor of Antwerp’s Church of Our Lady (c. 1450-1566)
provides the dynamic backdrop for the sensory perceptions of clergy and townspeople. By mirroring the observations against the widely disseminated knowledge of the sensorium, an attempt is made to bring the perceived impact of the experiences into a larger, understandable frame. This research does not aim to provide an exhaustive and objective inventory of the social interactions and ritual acts in the late medieval parish church. It does, however, use quasi-anecdotal data and subjective testimonies to find out more about the physical
and spiritual experience of the so-called religious middle groups. This paradigm is then dissected in view of its translations to the user context, typology and iconography of the liturgical objects that circulated in the building. In this way, ornamenta sacra function as unexplored trails to the documentary value of late medieval imagery and the complex of religious beliefs among churchgoers.
This research is part of the BRAIN-be project Ornamentasacra, a collaboration between UCL (Ralph Dekoninck), KU Leuven (Barbara Baert) and KIK-IRPA (Marie-Christine Claes).

Key words: late medieval period, Antwerp, Church of Our Lady, sensorium, cultural history, ritual

Nele Wynants

Science as main factor in 19th century fairs

SciFair aims to conduct pioneering research on the role itinerant showpeople
played in the transmission and popularisation of science and technology at Western European fairgrounds between 1850 and 1914. At a time when modern communication media were not yet in place and only a minority of the population could read, large groups of people were actually dependent on travelling performances and displays for information: in so-called anatomical cabinets, zoological and anthropological museums and scientific theatres,
showpeople demonstrated ‘wonders of nature’ and spectacular scientific developments. The project advances the hypothesis that the fair in this period was not merely a local folk tradition, but a hub for international exchange in which itinerant entertainment played a pivotal and modernising role in the circulation and popularisation of science amongst people across the social spectrum, relying on efficient international networks. To test this hypothesis, the project will bring together a multilingual and multidisciplinary team of
researchers that will combine methodologies from theatre and performance studies with perspectives from history of science, media studies and digital humanities to analyse practices of science performance across national boundaries and map transnational networks of Western European fairground theatres. SciFair will not only study explicit didactic discourses but also analyse how implicit knowledge and social values of health, gender, nation, class or race were challenged or reinforced. By analysing the fair as a performative event, the project will advance a conceptual shift in media historiography to a historiography of media performance and thus contribute to our understanding of the social and cultural role of the fair in knowledge circulation. SciFair will thus make a major contribution to media and performance history, as well as to the history of science and knowledge transfer.

Key words: fairground, science popularization, itinerant wax museums, itinerant
popular theatre, art and science