In the second week of June, 16th congress of International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) was held in Brno, this year with the subtitle Ĺiving Uncertainty. Our project was represented at the conference twice. Since our research also deals with the visuality of post-displacement regions and landscapes, we created a poster for a dedicated session.
The hauntological framework of our research was symbolized by the dollhouse, which is the main motif of our poster. In this house we placed several objects that we encountered during field work in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia and interested people could learn their stories and the ways in which we work.
Our researcher, Karina Hoření, also gave a specific presentation at the conference entitled Ethnography of Things Left Behind: “Unsettling Memories of Post-War Displacement in Northern Bohemia”. This presentation was part of the session “Small and Uncertain: Remembering and Forgetting Uncertain Times in a Small Town”, which included other presentations of case studies from other post-socialist countries. In addition to the Czech Republic (Barbora Vacková and Nina Batrošová on Baťa company towns and their memory) and Slovakia (Monika Metyková on the memory of the Red Army on the Slovak-Hungarian border), the panel also included a presentation on the ambiguity of identity in Lithuania (Vidmantas Vyšniauskas).
Karina presented the results of her research in a district of Liberec characterized by villas built by German industrialists (you can see pictures of villas here – Liberec – villas). In their narratives, the current residents reflect on the removal of the German inhabitants as violent and unjust, but use various rhetorical strategies to exclude their families from the narrative. They may thus include formerly-German objects into their households and everyday lives.
The presentation was well received and there was a lively discussion bringing also the topic of Jewish heritage into the conversation and overall the conference was a great opportunity to introduce our project to a relevant audience.