This expedition aims to document the rich and varied folklore and ethnographical traditions of southwestern Russian by utilizing a variety of recording methods (field notes, audio records, video records, photographs). Smolenskaya, Kaluzhskaya and Bryanskaya provinces, which constitute the Southwestern part of Russia, have always been known for their vigorous and living ritual, song and narrative traditions. Detailed studies will be conducted on the following subjects:A spinning wheel (Kaluga province). Photo Yelena Minyonok.

a) rituals;

b) magiccraft;

c) mythology about spirits of nature and the home;

d) songs;

e) traditional women's everyday and festive clothes;

f) embroideries;

g) peasant houses and household buildings.

We hope to identify a number of regularities of shared local traditions within the study area based on the volume of data collected, thus clarifying the complex folklore and ethnographical picture of the southwestern Russia. Our goal is to broaden and popularize our Russian folklore heritage.

A Holy well (Smolensk province). Photo Kelley Bethell

Our project has three main goals:

1) complex recording of Russian folklore and ethnographical traditions (field notes, audio records, video records and photographs);

2) detailed research of findings (transcriptions; making  computer data base; compiling maps and catalogues on different phenomena of folklore culture; thematic and structural analyses of folklore materials of different genres and ethnological phenomena);

3) popularization of Russian's folklore heritage (exposure of its artistic potential and system of moral values by making educational films and documentaries, disks, photo albums and books).



of Alberta
Dr. Natalie
University of
Wisconsin Dr.
James Bailey
University of
Colorado at
Boulder Dr.
Laura Olson
University of
Dr. Rouhier-