BELARUSSIAN RESEARCH ON POLESIE BEFORE JOZEF OBREBSKI
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The article focuses on knowledge of ethnography of Polesie which the Belarussian scholars managed to gather before Obrebski. Among them one should mention historians, journalists, and folklorists such as Adam Kirkor, Pawel Szejn, Pawel Szpilewski, Pawel Bobrowski, Iwan Zielenski and others, who collected broad material on housing, food, dress, family, custom, habits, and beliefs of the Polesians. In fact, they were amateurs, forerunners of academic ethnographers. In the 1890s, important work by Mitrofan Downar-Zapolski originated, while in the early 20th century a classics work by Jefim Karski on the Belarussians was published. Among most prominent Belarussian students of Polesie one should also name Aleksander Sierzputowski and Izaak Sierbow who organized and conducted ethnographic expeditions to Polesie in the 1920s and early 1930s. Predecessors of Jozef Obrebski paid special attention to ethnographic and language specifics of Polesie, a region often viewed in terms of archaic and exotic features, as well as its uniqueness and isolation. Obrebski - the first professional ethnologist and sociologist working in Belarussian and Ukrainian Polesie - utilized work of his predecessors of Polish, Russian, Belarussian, and Ukrainian origin.
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