Reflections from cultural history: the story of the Bohemian landscape in Romania - a sustainable past?

Název česky Kapitola kulturní historie: Příběh české krajiny v Rumunsku - udržitelná minulost?


Rok publikování 2007
Druh Článek ve sborníku
Konference Sustainable food production and ethics
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Obor Archeologie, antropologie, etnologie
Klíčová slova Carpathians; Banat; farm animals; fossil fuels; landscape; organic farming
Popis In the 1820s, during the colonisation of the wild borderland of the Austrian empire, several thousand Czechs moved to the Carpathian Mountains region near the Danube River. They built six villages, each quite distant from the other. Today these villages contain a population of about 2000. Strict ethnic endogamy helped to conserve their cultural distinction. The Czech minority still possesses its unique culture, including language, religion, traditions, crafts, farming, and food production. This paper is based on approximately 20 visits to the region from 2000-2007, during which techniques of participant observation and qualitative interviews were used. Due to the geographic distance between the villages high above the Danube in the hills of the southernmost Carpathians, and thanks to their unique cultural character, traditional agriculture and food production have been preserved in a form which in many aspects remains the system practiced at the beginning of 20th century. Proponents of the present concept of organic farming, often, with romantic nostalgia, admire such traditional agriculture as a model of nature and landscape friendly practices, closely connected to sustainability principles. But to what extent is this attitude just an uncritically accepted myth of the perfect steward a variation on the eternal theme of a disappeared golden age? Study of the continuing Czech agricultural system in Romania provides an opportunity to examine this theme. This paper demonstrates the connections between the lifestyle of the Czech inhabitants, their landscape and principles of sustainability.
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