Abnormal Death Memorials in Ukraine: the Folkloristic Perspective

  • Author / Creator
    Kukharenko, Svitlana P.
  • 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.”

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.