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Figure 1: Habsburg Galicia (the dotted line to the right of Przemysl
is the contemporary border between Poland and Ukraine)
In 1997, when still a teacher of social anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, I contracted to write a volume for Hodder and Stoughton's well-known Teach Yourself series. I did not anticipate much difficulty in finishing the job during my sabbatical year at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 1997-8. Unfortunately events conspired to make the process more protracted. My recruitment by the Max Planck Society led to my spending a second year in Berlin and eventually to taking up a research appointment in Halle. When I returned to the Teach Yourself project in 1999 I was dissatisfied with earlier drafts and unable to proceed according to the text-book schema.
Instead, prompted by a series of fieldtrips to Poland in 1997-8, I decided to cast the book as a series of lectures at a fictional anthropological summer school in Cracow. The choice was deliberate: I wanted to show that, a century after Bronislaw Malinowski had studied at Cracow's Jagiellonian University, the discipline he did so much to shape could and should be taken 'home'. The Polish teachers demonstrate in their lectures to the foreign students that the social anthropology of a contemporary post-socialist society can be just as fascinating as investigations into the customs of Trobriand Islanders and similarly 'exotic' peoples with whom the discipline has traditionally been associated.
I tried to capture the reader's attention by adding a narrative framework, focusing on two summer school participants. I also gave the lecturers themselves fictitious identities: Professor Edward Tadeusz Dylag (ETD) is a slightly pompous and conservative figure, very attached to the British tradition of social anthropology in which he was trained, though also interested in questions of long-term social evolution. He is above all an intellectual and he emphasises objectivity and scholarly detachment. His wife Dr. Danuta Dylagowa (DD) is more committed to an activist political stance on issues of minority rights and social inequality, to which she brings energies and skills honed during her days in the anti-communist opposition in Poland before 1989. She is sympathetic to American cultural anthropological traditions, to postmodernism, to 'anthropology at home', to applied anthropology, and to introducing anthropology into the school curriculum, all of which her husband tends to disparage. They had a running dialogue with each other throughout the MS, sometimes within one and the same lecture. At the end of the day, as in most successful marriages, they managed to find common ground and muddle through. Throughout the course they encouraged their students to debate key ideas and to develop their newly acquired anthropological interests in local settings. The purpose of these illustrations was not to provide a comprehensive picture of one postcommunist society, but to convey a sense of the range of social anthropology and the sort of knowledge it generates.
Unfortunately (from my point of view) Hodder did not approve of this framework, which they judged to be out of kilter with their series. Perhaps it was indeed too contrived and rather twee. I have no illusions about a missed vocation as a creator of fictional characters. Anyway, I was given no choice but to accept the copy-editor's deletion not only of the narrative details but also of all the practical exercises, even though to my mind this left a much impoverished text. I was almost beyond consolation when Michael D. Fischer came up with the idea of making some of the deleted material available electronically at the site that he has created at the Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing of the University of Kent at Canterbury.
What follows are the substantially unaltered 'frills' that originally formed part of the volume published by Hodder in June 2000. They have been supplemented by further materials gathered during a visit to Poland in July-August 2000, and by a variety of illustrations. Although the characters and the narrative events are fictional, I have tried to describe the context accurately and authentically. The Lemko Festival reported in 25.1 actually took place a little earlier, the potatoes would normally be dug up somewhat later, and the Przemysl procession illustrations show Corpus Christi day, not the Assumption. Nevertheless, the degree of historical and ethnographic verisimilitude in this chapter is high.
It has not been possible to include all the expunged material, much of which was embedded in the lectures themselves and would be unintelligible outside that context. However, the basic narrative (distinguished through italics) and the practical assignments are reproduced in their entirety. This electronic text is divided into seven parts, corresponding to the seven weeks of the summer school. Each part is subdivided into files, which follow the chapter divisions of the book, except in the case of Part Six, which describes a week-long fieldtrip in the Galician countryside. This formed a single chapter of the original MS.
Using this medium alone will enable readers to follow the plot and obtain some insight into the terrain of Galicia, past and present. For more insight into the terrain of anthropology, however, these materials should be read in conjunction with the book.
Chris Hann, Halle, August 2000
Figure 2: A billboard proclaims Cracow's status as one of nine 'cities of culture' in Europe in the year 2000.
He broke the ice next morning, as soon as he recognised her in the queue for breakfast in the noisy canteen of the Jagiellonian University's dormitory for foreign students. By the time they had made their way by tram to the city centre for the opening ceremonies of the University's summer school, each felt confident they would become friends.
All students had to take a course on Polish history and culture, followed by a language class. The third element in the programme could be selected from a list of options. Ania explained that she had chosen social anthropology 'because I thought it would be something different.' Tom suggested that it was a natural choice for someone coming from an ethnic minority, from a family which had struggled to maintain Polish identity in Britain. Ania was not sure about this, or about how much her Polish descent meant to her. Debates about 'multiculturalism' had figured in her A-level sociology course some years before. She had continued with that subject at university in England and was on course to graduate in another year. She felt attracted to anthropology because of the attention it paid to 'non-Western societies: you know what I mean, the Third World, or whatever we're supposed to call it nowadays, long after the Second World, the old socialist bloc, has disappeared. We never learned much in school about this 'non-Western' world, except now and again in religious instruction.' Tom agreed.'We learned a bit about poverty in the Third World in our geography classes. I was always keen to do more on the First Nations. You know, the native Americans, the Indians whose cultures were just about destroyed by the European immigrants.'
Tom was studying for a Bachelors Degree in biology in the States but that, he said, was no reason for sticking to his science preselection at the summer school. The school officials hesitated, but eventually they agreed to his request for a change. Ania and Tom went to their first social anthropology lecture that same afternoon.
Figure 3: Cracow: the market square
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