2003/4 Summaries


Prof. dr. K.C. Peeters

Summary: Prof. dr. K.C. Peeters
In this article, A. Roeck explains how he became K.C. Peeters’ first student to write, under his guidance, the dissertation that led to his Master’s Degree. The subject was the collection and study of oral legends. Peeters insisted on using new working-methods. After his graduation K.C. Peeters asked Roeck twice to present his results on the ‘Vlaamse Filologencongressen’ of 1953 and 1955. Again under K.C. Peeters’ guidance Roeck  wrote his doctor’s thesis. For all the guidance and help (spiritual and concrete) he was given, Roeck thanks posthumously K.C. Peeters.



K.C. Peeters in Het Bureau. De persoonlijke achtergronden van een conflict

Summary: K.C. Peeters in “Het Bureau” – The personal backgrounds of a conflict
K.C. Peeters belonged to the most influential folklorists of his generation. He had great many connections abroad, also in The Netherlands. In the late nineties of the 20th century a cycle of novels (several volumes) was published by the Dutch novelist and folklorist J.J. Voskuil, in which he puts the cooperation of Flanders and The Netherlands in the journal “Volkskunde” in a different light. This cooperation would end in a violent conflict. The work “Het Bureau” (The Office) is a specimen of ethnographic fiction, a thick description of social reality with ample attention for the in scientific publications often neglected factors such as diversity of characters, idiosyncrasies and much more such things. But the  background of the conflict was more complex. There was also a generation gap which occurred against the background of the nineteen sixties when – broadly speaking –  the patronizing behaviour of  the “fathers” was questioned.
Anyhow so it was experienced by the heirs of 1960. Voskuil was an exponent of the nineteen sixties, part of a baby boom generation that in a loud voice called to account the preceding generation. A black and white contra-distinction was created in which the older generation was literally put in the wrong camp. Fault in the war, fault after it.



‘Een organisator en strateeg’ Jozef Van Haver over Karel C. Peeters en de volkskunde in Vlaanderen
Summary: An organizer and a strategist, Jozef Van Haver, about K.C. Peeters and the Folklore (study of popular culture) in Flanders
In July 2003, Jozef Van Haver, éminence grise of the folklore (study of popular culture) in Flanders and for many years member of the editorial staff of this review, was interviewed about K.C. Peeters. In this heart-to-heart interview, Van Haver relates in full about K.C. Peeters and his role in the field of folklore after 1945. At the same time, Van Haver involves himself in the analysis so that the interview can be read as the scientific testament of the professor emeritus. Van Haver goes more deeply into the Leuven tradition in the field of popular culture, K.C. Peeters’ role and position, the review ‘Volkskunde’, the rift with the Netherlands in 1975, the Koninklijke Belgische Commissie voor Volkskunde (the Royal Belgian Commission for Folklore) and a lot more.



Mens tussen stad en wetenschap: de voordrachten, lezingen en toespraken van Dr. K.C. Peeters
Summary: The lectures and papers of K.C. Peeters
In the archives of K.C. Peeters a few dozen manuscripts and typescripts of lectures were found along with 15 portfolios of correspondence in connection with these lectures. Some of the texts have never been published, others exist also or exclusively in printed form. From all these sources it has been possible to draft a chronological list of almost 200 titles. Reading this part of his archives completes our picture of how significant K.C. Peeters has been for the cultural life of Flanders, especially with regard to ethnology. He was invites to address various cultural organizations, local folklore associations and local historical societies, mostly in the province of  Antwerp, but he also spoke at international congresses. Naturally, the subjects that he covered related to the various functions he held. Peeters was a teacher, a journalist, a professor, a curator of Antwerp museums, and the town clerk of the city of Antwerp. As a professor of ethnology for the greatest part of his life, he was first and foremost the man who personified ethnology in Flanders and who put Flemish ethnology on the international map. Roughly 60%  of the papers dealt with distinctly ethnological subjects but even in the other lectures, when he typically spoke about museums, onomastics, heraldry, local and church history, he seldom withheld references to the themes and theories of his beloved discipline.
He was the official speaker at exhibitions, commemorations, inaugurations, retirements and funerals, and was a favourite after-dinner speaker in lots of societies. He was renowned for his sense of humour, his improvisational talent and for the quality of his story-telling which was gripping and richly anecdotic. Yet, at international symposia and conferences he spoke with scientific earnestness.
The study of his papers and speeches yields a survey of his views on the essence, the methods and the aim of modern ethnology as a science. K.C. Peeters contributed to the scientific prestige of Flemish ethnology not only by the hundreds of articles he wrote but also by the papers he presented and the interventions he made at meetings and congresses at home and abroad. His many appearances before the general public as an “ambassador of ethnology” have substantially widened the interest, knowledge, and the appreciation of folk culture in Flanders.



K.C. Peeters: een levensschets
Summary: A biographical sketch
In these biographical sketches the author particularly discusses K.C. Peeters’ activities outside folklore. K.C. Peeters lived in several worlds. Between 1923-1933 he was a primary school teacher in his native village of Wuustwezel. Until the Second World War he was active  as a journalist, and from 1933 also as editor in chief of the “Morgenpost” in Antwerp, then of “De Standaard” in Brussels.
During the war he was secretary of the Antwerp mayor Leo Delwaide; he also got an appointment as curator of the municipal historical Antwerp museums in 1943. At that time he started his best known work “Eigen Aard” (Our True Character). In 1947 he became deputy chief clerk and in 1950 chief clerk of the city of Antwerp. In this contribution we especially focus on his life as a journalist before in the Second World War, as well as on the eventful period between 1940-1950 in the city of Antwerp. In particular, less known aspects and historical evidence of his life are mentioned. The data on the basis of this contribution originate from letters, texts and notes  (some 13,000 documents) which K.C. Peeters privately kept. After drawing up an inventory and classifying, they now constitute the “K.C. Peeters Archives), a rich source usable for research work and publications.



(J. Gessler) naar “Volkskunde” (K.C. Peeters):  Een “onverkwikkelijke geschiedenis” aan de Leuvense Alma Mater (1937-1959)

Summary: From “folklore” (J. Gessler) to “ethnology” (K.C Peeters): an unpleasant affair at the Leuven (Louvain) Alma Mater (1937-1959)
In 1937 Mgr. P. Ladeuze, magnificus rector (vice-chancellor) of Leuven (Louvain) university, put in charge prof. dr. Jan Gessler of giving “Voordrachten over Vlaamse Folklore” (Lectures on Flemish Folklore) for the licentiate students in the Philosophy and Literature faculty. Another illustrious folklorist, Maurits De Meyer, received support from prof. dr. H.J. van de Wijer, chairman of the department Germanic Philology. Thus a painful problem originated concerning competence.
It was even discussed on rectorship level. With the appointment of dr. K.C. Peeters as an unpaid assistant substitute of prof. dr.  J. Gessler in 1946, the state of tension quite gradually changed. In a relatively short time dr. K.C. Peeters succeeded in making the course “Folklore” into an  optional subject of full value with as a result that quite a lot of students took his classes and finished with a licentiate’s thesis on folklore.