Laboratorium 3/2018

In this issue of Laboratorium we feature an Estonian theme. We are delighted to present two fascinating articles taking an analytical look at 20th century history of Estonian Folkloristics from the point of view of the Traditions archives and ethnographic collection.

Estonian folklorists became masters in “reading and writing between the lines”, Liina Saarlo (Estonian Literary Museum) notes in her comprehensive study of Estonian fieldwork diaries in the mid-20th century. In her article, “Evaded Politics. Self-Censorship in Estonian Folkloristic Fieldwork Diaries in the 1950s”, she uses the method of close reading in order to discern how self-censorship was employed by folklore collectors. The writing of fieldwork diaries often required good navigation skills in order to avoid later repercussions. Nevertheless, as Saarlo demonstrates, through sensitive close reading much information can still be derived from this complex archive material.

In the article “The Public Debate around the Humanities and the Estonian Literary Museum in 1967—1968”, the researcher and archivist Ave Goršič deals with a highly topical theme, namely Information Technology, in a perhaps surprisingly early time frame. Through studying an intense debate in two daily papers – Sirp ja Vasar and Edasi – in the late 1960’s, Goršič unveils ideological standpoints as well as concerns and challenges in introducing computers and information technology in archival work. With insights from the historical study, she draws a parallel to the present day situation at the tradition archives. There is a need for open-minded and constant co-operation between IT and the Humanities, as well as for the archives to co-operate with other institutions, she concludes.

To continue the Estonian theme, ethnologist Hanna Strandberg gives a short introduction (in Swedish) to the Swedish-speaking Estonian material housed in the Archive of the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland. These collections have recently been digitalized and are available online at Finna.

Additionally in this issue, we present Bo Lönnqvist’s article “Tyskarna, finnarna och skogen” (in Swedish). In a wide-ranging analysis, Lönnqvist adresses and deciphers current hot topics such as environmental concerns and the debate on the perceived dangers and proliferation of wolves. What does forest protection entail in countries, such as Germany and Finland, where nature and trees have a strong symbolic value? Moreover, what are the ramifications and expressions of this in the history of ideas as well as in popular culture?

Angenäm läsning! Pleasant reading!

wishes the Editorial Team of Laboratorium