On 26 August at 12:15 Svetlana Karm will defend her doctoral thesis „Финно-угорский дискурс в эстонской этнологии (на примере исследования удмуртской культуры)“. Defend is held on russian.
Professor of Ethnology Art Leete, PhD
Ergo-Hart Västrik, PhD, Associate Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu
Valeri Šarapov,dr, Lead Research Fellow (Russian Academy of Sciences Komi Science Center)
What is Finno-Ugricism, and what place does it have in Estonia’s cultural history and ethnology? To what extent has linguistic kinship shaped Estonian nationalism and its ethnic identity? How conspicuous are the Finno-Ugric peoples at the moment, and what role do Estonians play in the overall process? In this doctoral thesis, I will examine these and other questions that are connected to the cultural and scholarly activities that were initiated by the discovery of the affinity between Finno-Ugric languages at the end of the 18th century, together with the nineteeth-century national romanticism and the mytholigization of peoples. In the Estonian language, these processes are manifest in words such as hõimlus, hõimlased, hõimuvaim, hõimutöö and hõimuharrastus. In this study, I use the concept of discourse to delineate these processes in order to refer to all relevant kinds of knowledge and practices, i.e. the ways in which these various issues are discussed, written about and reflected upon; or the way in which they are researched, represented and rendered meaningful. I will likewise consider the ways in which knowledge that is generated by discourse becomes correlated with power and how it is used to construct identities and define the way in which certain features can be understood in relation to a specific place, time and situation. My thesis focuses on ethnological research by using the backdrop of Finno-Ugric discourse. In Estonia, “Finno-Ugrian ethnology” first and foremost centres on the study of other Finno-Ugric cultures as well as Samoyed peoples. Estonian ethnography, in parallel with other disciplines that study Estonian history, language, literature and culture, has historically belonged to the national sciences, whereas the study of Finno-Ugric peoples has served as an intermediary to the study of our own as well as other peoples, i.e. the Finno-Ugric peoples have not quite been equated with Estonians, nor have they been considered to be foreign to Estonians either. Thus the Eastern Finno-Ugric areas have been characterized as being a “scholarly colony” and the symbol of cultural mission of a “small people”. Proceeding from the understanding that no national academic tradition is entirely self-contained and enclosed in its cultural sphere, but is potentially open to intellectual dialogue and reciprocal influence, I have sought to examine ways in which Estonian ethnology has been influenced by the ethnologies of other nations. I have also tried to suggest answers to the question of whether there exists, and to what extent, a national peculiarity of the Estonian Finno-Ugric ethnology which would differentiate it from that of, for instance, Russia, Hungary or Finland.