The article considers the possibility and limits of reconstructing the memorial landscape of the Ural town-factory based on the materials of student folklore practical studies in the late Soviet era. The author reveals the stable motifs of the legends connected with the history of the founding of the industrial settlement of Kaslee, as well as with the specifics of the ethnic interaction between Russian settlers and the local population. The article also defines the “places of memory” in folklore materials. The study shows how the scientific and methodological attitudes of folklorists and the methods of interaction between collectors and informants are reflected in the collection of field archival materials from a particular area.
The memorial landscape reconstructed according to folklore data tells both about the past of Kaslee and the present, as the perspective of such a description of the past is determined by the present. Archival folklore materials are an example of a combination of practices of communicative and cultural memories. In this aspect, the place of “songs about the city” is also determined in the article. The authors believe that “empty cells” – lacunae of archival memory, about which the informants did not tell and/or the collectors did not ask, are significant elements of this memorative landscape. The stories related to the accident at the Mayak chemical plant in 1957 and the environmental agenda in general become such subjects of silence.
The article will be useful to folklorists and anyone interested in the problems of memory in folklore materials, as an attempt to apply the methods of folklore and anthropology to the practice of memory studies.
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