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Abnormal Death Memorials in Ukraine: the Folkloristic Perspective Open Access


Other title
roadside memorials
Ukrainian folk beliefs
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kukharenko, Svitlana P.
Supervisor and department
Kononenko, Natalie (MLCS)
Examining committee member and department
Gregory Forth (Anthropology)
Peter Rolland (MLCS)
Andriy Nahachewsky (MLCS)
Robert Smith (School of Education, Southern Cross University, Australia)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Abnormal death memorials are unofficial cenotaphs and burial places located in public space. They mark the sites of sudden tragic death and, therefore, include roadside memorials – an internationally spread phenomenon that is a relatively new topic in the Folkloristics scholarship. This study is the first to explicitly discuss abnormal death memorials – as both material culture objects and as objects of folk beliefs – in the context of Ukrainian culture. Based on fieldwork done in Ukraine between 2005 and 2009, this thesis identifies the meaning and significance of contemporary memorials in Ukraine through people's attitudes. The results of the study show that positive attitudes towards abnormal death memorials are influenced by Ukrainian folk beliefs about “bad death,” the afterlife, and communication with the dead. Abnormal death memorials in Ukraine appear as metaphors of Ukrainian cosmology and changing folk beliefs about the worlds of the living and dead. The practice of erecting memorials in Ukraine seem to be a modification of a century long folk tradition of marking spots of “bad death.”
License granted by Svitlana Kukharenko ( on 2010-08-27T02:12:08Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: In a volume on Ukrainian kolomyiky, Hnatiuk provides a whole chapter about kolomyiky containing overt curses
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