TCS Talk | In Search of a Female Mythological Figure | October 4th 2019

2.54, 50 George Square, Edinburgh |  16:30-19:00 (roughly)
Friday 4th October

The Traditional Cosmology Society inaugurates its 2019-20 season of talks by presenting a lecture by Jelka Vince Pallua, formerly from the University of Zagreb, and currently affiliated with the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb.

Professor Vince Pallua is a ethnologist and scholar of mythology whose interests have long encompassed the position of women in traditional cultures (see, e.g. her recent book The Enigma of Sworn Virgins, 2014), as well as issues of Croatian and Slavic ethnography; Mediterranean studies and traditional cultures of the Adriatic; Morovlachs and the phenomenon of morlachism; Croats in Italy and Italians in Croatia.

In her lecture, Professor Vince Pallua will draw upon a number of recent studies from the Croation context, to illustrate how an increasing number of areas in Croatia have been scientifically identified as sites where pre-Christian Croats left vestiges of their most sacred mythical events. In particular, her lecture will focus on the Proto-Slavic divine trilogy (the gods Perun, Veles and the goddess Mokosh), and present instances in which Mokosh appear to have been substituted by the mythical character Baba (the word ‘baba’ in some Slavic languages indicates a hag, ugly old woman).

Prof Vince Pallua will discuss two figurative representations of Baba, the only ones in figurative form known to-date, which she herself discovered in Istria, the southwestern part of Croatia. In Vince Pallua’s view, 15th century Croats in Istria kept alive the memory of the supreme Proto-Slavic goddess Mokosh, herself a female deity of fertility and the patron of female chores and craft (especially spinning and weaving), eventually incorporating Mokosh’s mythological legacy into Marian veneration.

Vince Pallua 2019 Poster


— additional biographical information

Jelka Vince Pallua, Full Professor and Research Advisor – Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia (1986 – 2006) and Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb (2007 until today). Her areas of scientific interest include Croatian and Slavic ethnography; History of Croatian ethnology in the European context; Mythology, legends and traditions; Position of women in traditional cultures, Mediterranean studies and traditional cultures of the Adriatic; Morovlachs and the phenomenon of morlachism; Croats in Italy and Italians in Croatia.

She spent the whole academic year 2001/2002 as a teacher fellow at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies. From 2002 to 2004 she taught an introductory course in Cultural Anthropology as part of the UniAdrion program at the University of Bologna.

She has published more than fifty scientific papers in international and Croatian peer-reviewed journals and publications, and presented papers at thirty-one international and fourteen Croatian scientific conferences. For fifteen years, from 1999 to 2012, she was a Coordinator for International Relations in the nongovernmental Croatian Association of University Women within International Federation of University Women.

From 2015 she has been serving as the co-chair of the SIEF’s (Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore) working group Space-lore and Place-lore and from 2018 has been a member of the Board of Officers for Appointments into Scientific, Artistic and Teaching Grades within the Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education.



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