Local Production, Clothing and Language Treasure (Contribution to Historical Linguistics and Anthropology of Dress)

The main objective of the project is to analyze in a systematic way and to publish in an electronic edition an unknown and still poorly studied archival massif of documents from the end of the 19th century, preserved at the Scientific Archives of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. These documents represent in several more or less similar ways the clothes of the diverse social and ethnic groups on the majority of the territory of early modern Bulgaria. The manuscripts in the massif are 1112 pages, written by different hands. They contain descriptions by administrative clerks of the dress in the particular regions, municipalities and localities. Added to them, there are also 152 photos taken to illustrate the descriptions. The way in which the information was gathered in the massif presupposes comprehensiveness and objectivity. Thus the descriptions contain diverse data: about domestic production of garments, fabrics and decorations; about clothing as a marker of social status or ethnicity; about tradition and innovation in the way of dressing of various social strata; about the terminology, the idioms in Bulgarian language (in multiple dialects) and the terminology related to the production of clothing or to cultural borrowings from other languages​​; about the development and use of photography for documentary purposes in Bulgaria in the late 19th century; about the tasks performed by certain categories of civil administration officials for the collection of information in the massif of documents or the official names of the village and urban settings at the time being; about the names and composition of the administrative units in the period; about the emerging of administrative language style in the late 19th century, the degree of literacy and stylistic proficiency of the clerks, the standard language etiquette of the administration in the period. The analysis of the data from the documents will be enhanced by the restructuring of the content of the massif with the help of IT and will thus allow to outline one of the basic activities of everyday culture in the period studied – the traditional, mainly home production of dress. At the same time, the richness of the Bulgarian language will be outlined and new fundamental knowledge about some of the practices of the young Bulgarian state, its municipal, regional and local administration will be achieved.

The project, which is funded by the Bulgarian National Science Fund, is jointly realized by Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

For contacts and additional information: Prof. Margaret Dimitrova, PhD – coordinator of the research team (e-mail: marg@slav.uni-sofia.bg); Assistant Prof. Miglena Ivanova, PhD – coordinator for the partner institution (e-mail: miglena.ivanova@iefem.bas.bg).

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