General information

Module title South Slavic Rituals And Customs: On The Crosspatchof Social Memory, Religion, Superstition, Magic And Contemporariness
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Joanna Rękas
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-SSR


Monday, 11:30-13:00, room 285, Collegium Maius, ul. Fredry 10. First class: 07.03.2022

Module aim (aims)

The fundamental goal of this course is to describe and teach the Students how to understand and analyze the main rituals and customs of the South Slavic nations. During the classes, the crucial emphasis will be placed on the rituals and customs of the individual’s calendar and life cycles, as well as on activities that are fulfilling a magical function. The source material will be presented in order to previous given theoretical background based on Gennep’s, Malinowski’s, Obrębski’s, Halbwachs’, Assman’s and Connerton’s studies. Both, oral and ritual sources, are treated as equally important and shown through the perspective of the above mentioned scientific base. Every group of ceremonial behaviors, i.e. the rituals and customs complexes of birth, wedding and death, as well as Unbaptized days, The Baptism of Jesus Christ, Ceremonial processions, Saint Tryphon’s Day, Easter, Saint patron's day (Slava) are treated as a part of social common memory of religious groups and dependent on the current needs of the group.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

his course is open for everyone interested in South Slavs and ritual issues.


Week 1: Introductory classes part 1: Basic terms of South Slavic studies.
Week 2: Introductory classes part 2: Basic terms of collective memory studies.
Week 3: Introductory classes part 3: Basic terms of rituals and customs studies.
Week 4:Introductory classes part 4: Basic terms of religious and magic studies.
Week 5: Individual's life cycle part 1: The Birth.
Week 6-7: Individual's life cycle part 2: The Wedding.
Week 8: Individual's life cycle part 3: The Death.
Week 9: Calendar cycle of rituals part 1: Christmas.
Week 10: Calendar cycle of rituals part 2: Unbaptized days.
Week 11: Calendar cycle of rituals part 3: The Baptism of Jesus Christ (Vodici).
Week 12: Calendar cycle of rituals part 4: Ceremonial processions (Mečkari, Vasiličari etc.).
Week 13: Calendar cycle of rituals part 5: Saint Tryphon’s Day.
Week 14: Calendar cycle of rituals part 6: Easter.
Week 15: Calendar cycle of rituals part 7: Saint Patron’s Day (Slava).

Reading list

Assmann, Jan. (2011). Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bourdieu, Paul. (2001). Language and Symbolic Power. Translated by G. Raymond, M. Adamson. J.B. Thompson (Ed.). Oxford: Polity Press.
Cohen, Anthony. (2001). The Symbolic Construction of Community. London-New York: Routledge. Taylor & Francis.
Connerton, Paul. (1989). How societies remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gennep, Arnold. (1960). The Rites of Passage. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Halbwachs, Maurice. (1992). On collective memory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Malinowski, Bronisław. (2015). Magic, Science and Religion. Eastford: Martino Publishing.
Obrębski, Józef. (2020). The Giaours of Maedonia. Selected Wtirings. Oficyna Naukowa.