Folklore in Baltic HistoryResistance and Resurgence

Folklore in Baltic HistoryResistance and Resurgence

Sadhana Naithani

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781496823564

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Folklore in Baltic History: Resistance and Resurgence is a study of how the discipline of folklore studies was treated under the totalitarian rule of the USSR in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from 1945 to 1991 and what role the study of folklore has played since independence in 1991. It is a “dramatic history” of what happened to folklorists, folklore archives and folklore departments in the universities under the Soviet rule. On the one hand was a coercive and brutal state and on the other peoples conscious of their national, cultural and linguistic identity as comprised in their folklore. On the one hand, scholars and archivists fell in line and on the other, continued to subvert the coercion by devising ingenious ways of communicating among themselves. When freedom came in 1991 they were ready to create the record of undocumented brutality by documenting life stories and oral history. Sadhana Naithani juxtaposes the work of folklore scholars in the Baltic countries between 1945 and 1991 to the life of the people in the same period to reach an evaluation of the Baltic folkloristics. She concludes that the study of folklore has been an act of resistance and has aided in the resurgence of freedom and identity in the post-Soviet Baltic countries.