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Commission on Slavic Folklore

The International Committee of Slavists has been the organizer of sixteen congresses of Slavists. At the 4th Congress, the first after the Second World War, the members of the Committee decided to create commissions within the Slavic countries to work on narrow specializations during the time between congresses. In 1958, eight such commissions were organized in Moscow. At the 5th Congress in 1963, two more commissions were established, including the Commission on Slavic Folklore. The Commission was initiated by famous folklorists and slavists, among whom were the Bulgarian reseracher Peter Dinekov, the Polish researcher Julian Krzyżanowski, the Czech researcher Karel Horálek and the Russian researcher Viktor Gusev. The first chairman of the Commission was the folklorist and philologist Karel Horálek (1908-1992), who headed the Commission for four five-year terms (1963-1983).

At the 9th Congress of Slavists, held in Kiev in 1983, the Russian and Soviet folklorist Viktor Gusev (1918-2002) was elected as chairman. At the same time the Commission was expanded to 30 members, including Western folklorists such as Carl Stief (1914-1998) from Denmark, William E. Harkins (1921-2014) from the USA, and Elizabeth A. Warner from the UK (still a member). Gusev headed the Commission for 15 years (1983-1998). During this period, several national sections were formed – East Slavic, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, Polish and Czech-Slovak; the results of their research were published in local academic journals and collections. At two congresses in the 90s, the number of members of the Commission also increased. In 1993, the book "Vostochnoslavyanskii folklor: slovar’ nauchnoi i narodnoi terminologii" (East Slavic folklore: dictionary of scientific and folk terminology) was published. After the 12th Congress of Slavists in Krakow (1998), the Commission was led for five years by the Polish folklorist and philologist Krzysztof Wrocławski (b.1937) and the Slovak folklorist Viera Gašparíková (b. 1928). At the 13th Congress of Slavists in Ljubljana, the Serbian philologist and folklorist Lubinko Radenkovich (b.1951) was elected as a Chairman; he held this position for two five-year terms (2003-2013). The materials of two conferences held during this period were published in the collections "Slovenski folklor i folkloristika na razmedju dva milenijuma" (2008) (Slavic folklore and folklore studies between two millennia), "Zajedenichko u slovenskom folkloru: zbornik radova" (2012) (Common Elements in Slavic Folklore: collected papers). Zuzana Profantová, a folklore reseracher from Bratislava, organized two thematic blocks resulting in publishing of two collected papers: "Slavistická folkloristika na rázcestí" (2003) (Slavic folklore at the crossroads), "Folklór a folkloristika vo svete postmoderny" (2013) (Folklore and folklore studies in the world of postmodernism). At the 15th Congress of Slavists in Minsk, Russian folklorist Andrey Moroz (b. 1965) became the Chairman of the Commission and headed it for five years (2013-2018). At the 16th Congress of Slavists, held in 2018 in Belgrade, the Serbian philologist and folklorist Dejan Ajdačić (b.1959) was elected as Chairman of the Commission.

On the site one can find the composition of the Commission on Folklore, a chronological list of stages in the formation of commissions of the International Committee of Slavists, pages related to the history of the Commission, short biographies of researchers of Slavic folklore, books, articles, and bibliographies. The bibliography of folklore papers presented at the congresses held from 1929 to 2013 contains information about articles published by American authors in collections submitted by the American delegation (Roman Jakobson, Svatava Pírková-Jakobson, William E. Harkins, Jan Louis Perkowski, James Bailey, G. Koolemans Beynen, Maurice Friedberg, Ewa Thompson, Robert Rothstein, Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby) and researchers from Western European countries. The site also contains information about projects initiated by the Commission on folklore research – the cycle "Folklore and folkloric names of genres of Slavic oral narration" (fall of 2020). Web directories with links to institutions, departments, and journals allow to search for important information about Slavic folklore and Slavists specializing in folklore studies.

Guidelines for the Groups of the Commission of Slavic folklore at the International Committee of Slavists

1. The Groups of the Commission for Folklore at the International Committee of Slavists are voluntary and non-profit gatherings of scholars and other experts.

2. A Group stimulates research in the following ways: making of an expert network around the Group; organizing lectures and personal presentations of the Members; informing about individual and collective scientific results and works; promoting the Group and its fields of research to professional and general public; compiling the essential lists of recommended sources and literature; etc.

3. Slavic languages and English are the preferred languages of the correspondence.

4. Members of a Group retain the copyrights on their own works.

5. Based on a Group activities, Members may associate in a more formal scientific or cultural projects, in institutions of their choice.

6. A member of a Group is expected to contribute to the activities, albeit in a small way — for instance, to provide his/her bio-bibliography related to the Group’s main topic; to suggest the essential list of recommended sources or literature in their field or their national culture; to promote the Group in wider audience; to recommend new members to the Group, etc.

7. If it is not feasible to directly contribute, any expert may have the role of a Guest-Observer.

8. A Member participates according to his/her abilities.

9. If a Member has to cancel a scheduled event (a lecture or a representation), it is desirable suggest a new date as soon as it is personally convenient.