ETBB114 The Historical Anthropology of Carnival

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2019
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
PhDr. Roman Doušek, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
doc. PhDr. Daniel Drápala, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
prof. PhDr. Alena Křížová, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
doc. PhDr. Martina Pavlicová, CSc. (seminar tutor)
doc. PhDr. Miroslav Válka, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
Mgr. et Mgr. Eva Chovancová (lecturer)
Dr. Alessandro Testa (lecturer), doc. PhDr. Daniel Drápala, Ph.D. (deputy)
Alessandro Testa, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Daniel Drápala, Ph.D.
Department of European Ethnology - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Martina Maradová
Supplier department: Department of European Ethnology - Faculty of Arts
Thu 19. 9. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 3. 10. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 10. 10. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 17. 10. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 14. 11. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 21. 11. 14:00–17:40 J31, Thu 5. 12. 14:00–17:40 J31
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
there are 6 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
This course offers an historical-anthropological overview of the most famous, widespread, and persistent European festival: Carnival, and its national, regional, and local variations (such as Masopust, for example). The chosen epistemological angle will be a composite one, merging ethnographic, anthropological, and historical theories and methods. In fact, the interpretive tools presented, explained, and used during the course will be borrowed from a variety of disciplines, such as anthropology, ethnology, folkloristics, social and cultural history, and cultural studies. The course will focus on a defined set of main themes and topics, which will be explored relying substantially on historical and ethnographic case studies, among which are the lecturer’s own investigations as well as numerous other example taken from secondary sources. Among such themes and topics: the history of Carnival; the “Carnivalesque” genre and imaginary; Carnival and the body; Carnival and religion; the politics of Carnival; Carnival and gender/sexual issues. Upon completion of the course, the learner will be able to identify, interpret, and explain the historical development as well as the present significance of these important socio-cultural manifestations. Moreover, the learner shall be able to use the acquired critical skills not only to understand these specific ritual and festive forms, but also the contexts in which they occur, hence improving his/her understanding of the history and cultural life of European societies more in general.
Learning outcomes
When finishing the course, the student should be well versed in selected thematic probes from the study of tangible and intangible culture, and European space; he/she should be able to distinguish historical and social classification of selected cultural phenomena, to determine the methods in order to identify and research them, to analyse and interpret the collected socio-cultural material.
  • Definition of the topic studied.
  • Historiography of scientific interest.
  • Characteristics of field research and its results.
  • Analysis of collected materials.
  • Interpretation of reached results.
    recommended literature
  • DRÁPALA, Daniel, Roman DOUŠEK, Alena KŘÍŽOVÁ, Martina PAVLICOVÁ and Miroslav VÁLKA. Časové a prostorové souvislosti tradiční lidové kultury na Moravě (Traditional Folk Culture in Moravia: Time and Space). Vydání první. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2015. 223 pp. ISBN 978-80-210-8085-0. info
  • DOUŠEK, Roman. Úvod do etnologického výzkumu. Vyd. 1. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2014. 342 s. ISBN 9788021068834. info
Teaching methods
The teaching methods will alternate between frontal instruction, active and participative learning, and student-centered exercises. While most of the teaching will be delivered directly by the teacher, the students will be asked to actively participate in the teaching and learning processes. They will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute during the lessons and will also be given the opportunity to express their opinions voluntarily about the readings that will be handed out and read in itinere. Single students or small groups of students (2 to 3 people) will also be asked to present and discuss an chosen from the course literature or engage in other types of activities, which will be chosen/formulated and administered by the teacher after the beginning of the course, on the base of the composition, background, interests/preferences, capacities, and motivation of the class. Nevertheless, the main learning methods will be attendance and participation in classes and individual study.
Assessment methods
The assessment will be based on a 100-points evaluation scheme, so subdivided: Attendance: 10 points (max) Participation in the classroom and in the individual or group activities: 20 points (max). Final oral exam: 70 points (max). The final exam will be undertaken through an oral exchange with the teacher. The exam will be held by means of questions/answers and a discussion about the course and literature contents. Its purpose will be to ascertain the students’ command and level of assimilation of the literature and course contents, the capacity of exposing the arguments in an appropriate manner, the ability of elaborating personal opinions and showing critical thinking about the course topics, and the formal quality of the expositions.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
Information on the extent and intensity of the course: Kombinované studium 10 hodin přímé výuky v semestru.
Teacher's information

Compulsory readings

(All students will have to study the following texts) - Burke P. 2009 (3rd edition): Chapter “The World of Carnival”, in Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, Temple Smith, London

- Burke P. 1996: “Carnival in the two worlds”, in Revista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares, n. 51, pp. 7-18

- Testa, A. (2017a), ‘ʻFertilityʼ and the Carnival 1: Symbolic Effectiveness, Emic Beliefs, and the Re-enchantment of Europeʼ, Folklore 128(1), 16-36.

- Testa, A. (2017a), ‘ʻFertilityʼ and the Carnival 2: Popular Frazerism and the Reconfiguration of Tradition in Europe Todayʼ, Folklore 128(2), 111-132.

Additional readings

(every student will have to choose and study at home, or present in the class, two of the following texts in addition to the compulsory ones)

- (One chapter from) Baroja J. C. 1989 (2nd edition): El Carnaval, analisis historico-cultural, Taurus, Madrid 1965

- (One chapter from) Ciappelli G. 1997: Carnevale e Quaresima.

Comportamenti sociali e cultura a Firenze nel Rinascimento, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Roma

- (One chapter from) Eisenbichler K., Hüsken W. (ed.) 1999: Carnival and the Carnivalesque. The Fool, the Reformer, the Wildman and Others in Early Modern Theatre, Rodopi, Amsterdam-Atlanta

- Fabre D. 1979: “Le monde du Carnaval”, in Annales E.S.C., n. 2, pp. 389-406

- (One chapter from) Fabre D. 1992: Carnaval, ou la fête à l’envers, Gallimard, Paris

- Jackson P. 1988: “Street life: the politics of Carnival”, in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, n. 6, pp. 213-227

- (One chapter from) Humphrey C. 2001: The Politics of Carnival: Festive Misrule in Medieval England, Manchester University Press, Manchester

- (One chapter from) Mänd A., Urban Carnival. Festive Culture in the Hanseatic Cities of the Eastern Baltic, 1350-1550, Brepols, Turnhout, pp. XXI-XXV

- Poppi C. 1992: “Building Difference: the political economy of tradition in the Ladin Carnival of the Val di Fassa”, in Boissevain J. (a cura di), Revitalizing European Rituals, Routledge, London-New York, pp. 113-136

- (One chapter from) Picard, D., M. Robinson eds (2006), Festivals, Tourism and Social Change. Remaking Worlds (Clevedon-Buffalo-Toronto: Channel View Publications).

- Tauschek, M. (2010), ‘Cultural property as a strategy: The Carnival of Binche, the creation of cultural heritage and cultural property’, Ethnologia Europaea. 39(2), 67-80

- Testa, A. 2017: “Ritual zoomorphism in medieval and modern European folklore: some skeptical remarks on a possible connection with shamanism”, in Religio: Revue pro religionistiku, n. 25 (1), 2017, pp. 3-24

- Testa, A. (2016a), ‘From folklore to intangible cultural heritage. Observations about a problematic filiationʼ, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 119(3-4), 183-204.

- Testa, A. (2014a), ‘Rethinking the Festival: Power and Politicsʼ, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 26 (1), 44-73

- (One chapter from) Testa, A. (2014b), Il carnevale dell’uomo-animale. Le dimensioni storiche e socio-culturali di una festa appenninica (Napoli: Loffredo).

- Testa, A. (2014c), ‘L’homme-cerf, l’ethnologue et le maire. Les politiques du folklore dans un contexte rural italienʼ, in: S. Fiszer, D. Francfort, A. Nivière, J.-S. Noël (eds), Folklores et politique. Approches comparées et réflexions critiques (Europe – Amériques) (Paris: Le Manuscrit).

- Testa, A. 2013: “Mascheramenti zoomorfi: Comparazioni e interpretazioni a partire da fonti tardo-antiche e alto-medievali”, Studi Medievali 54/1, 2013, 63-130.

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