Principal investigator: Marta Filipová
Team: Julia Secklehner
Duration: 2024 – 2026
Provider: GAČR, Standard Grants
Folk cultures have never been just a passive observant of history and this project focuses on their agency. It considers them as active participants in and agents of political, economic social and cultural change in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1945. Folk cultures are conceived broadly to include ceramics, textiles, garments, toys, or furniture created by anonymous makers. In contrast to now canonical understandings, which have seen folk cultures as passively following high art and as relics of the premodern and preindustrial past, Beyond the Village approaches them as contributors to modernity. Examining the political, commercial and emancipatory roles of folk cultures, the project views them as an organic phenomenon capable of engaging with the challenges of modernity. The project brings innovative views of the topic:
- It interrogates the local cultures of Czechoslovakia, which include not only Czech and Slovak but also Ruthenian, German, Hungarian, or Roma folk cultures.
- It focuses on the transfer of folk cultures between geographies by looking at the roles they had for the diaspora in the USA.
- The project addresses the intensely gendered nature of folk cultures and analyses women’s role as producers, consumers and promoters of folk modernity.
By this, the project aims to provide an alternative reading to established histories of art and design of interwar Czechoslovakia.