General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title The Intangible Cultural Heritage Of The Slavs And The Balkans
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 15
USOS code 03-AP-TIC


Duration: 7 weeks, 1 March 2022 – 12 April 2022
 Tuesday, 08:00-09:30 CET, I: 1.03, II: 8.03, III: 15.03, IV: 22.03, V: 29.03, VI: 5.04, VII: 12.04.

Module aim (aims)

The course is devoted to the theory of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) analysed on the Slavic and Balkan examples. The special attention will be given to the relationship between tradition and contemporariness, to the process of passing ICH within a community and to the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.
The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defines ICH as the practices, representations, expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills (including instruments, objects, artifacts, cultural spaces), that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. ICH consists of nonphysical intellectual wealth, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. During this course we will focus on the modern approach to each of the listed ICH-elements and, for example, we will define the folklore as a function of shared identity within any social group (from small groups as families, inhabitants of one village, tribes and klans [Kosovo, Albania], to large regional, ethnic and national groups).
The scope of analysis will encompass selected Slavic and Balkan examples of these behaviours. In the course of this analysis, participants will be equipped with necessary tools and knowledge allowing them to recognize the intangible cultural heritage of the Slavs and the Balkans as an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. They will understand that ICH of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life, beliefs, superstitions etc.

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

Keen interest in multiculturalism, the Slavs and the Balkans


Week 1: Intangible cultural heritage: theoretical approach
Week 2: The Slavs and the Balkans: between facts and superstitions
Week 3: Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;
Week 4: Performing arts;
Week 5: Social practices, rituals and festive events;
Week 6: Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
Week 7: Traditional craftsmanship.

Reading list

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003):
Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore (1989):
Assmann, Jan (2011). “Cultural Memory and Early Civilization. Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination”. Cambridge: Cambringe University Press.
Connerton, Paul (1989). “How Societies Remember”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Couroucli, Maria & Tchavdar, Marinov, ed. (2015). “Balkan Heritages. Negotiating History and Culture”. London & New York: Routledge.
Gennep, Arnold (2019). “The Rites of Passage”. Translated by Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Caffee. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Hobsbawm, Eric & Ranger, Terence, ed. (1983). “The Invention of Tradition“. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lord, Albert B. (1960). “The Singers of Tales”. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Ong, Walter J. (2002). “Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the World”. London & New York: Routledge.
Schechner, Richard (2013). “Performance Studies: an Introduction”. London & New York: Routledge.
Todorova, Maria (2009). “Imagining the Balkans“. Oxford: University Press.