This richly illustrated and well-read trilingual CHF serial publication is edited by Vesna Kukavica. The material for this year’s edition – connecting ten countries from four continents – covers 400 pages divided into eight thematic sections featuring thirty-four independent papers dedicated to the cultural activities of contemporary Croatian migrants.
The 2014 Croatian Emigrant Almanac is fresh off the presses – published by the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the volume features thirty-four independent papers dedicated to the cultural activities of contemporary Croatian migrants. Vesna Kukavica is the editor of this well-read trilingual CHF serial publication. The material for this year’s edition – connecting ten countries from four continents – covers 400 pages divided into eight thematic sections with numerous illustrations. The articles were penned by renowned domestic and foreign writers, including H. Sablić Tomić, D. Rosandić, A. Z. Kinda-Berlakovich, D. Gjenero, M. Knezović, B. Perić, S. Kale, V. Grubišić, V. Bailey, E. Zelić, G. Cvitan, S. Vulić, S. Švec Španjol, W. F. Lalich, I. Čizmić, G. Borić, N. Barić, R. March, E. Marin, T. Rudež, I. Buljan, Ž. Lovrenčić, O. Ljubišić and Ž. Holjevac.
The most comprehensive is a paper by two young ethnologists from the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, Marijeta Rajković Iveta and Martina Mišetić. Their research focuses, from the ethnological and cultural-anthropological aspect, on the most depopulated region in Croatia – Lika-Senj County. The paper offers readers new insights into one segment of the picture of the Croatian (ethno)cultural sphere.
Also in this thematic section is American ethnomusicologist Richard March, whose paper contemplates the recent technological and political changes that have had an impact on Croatian tamburitza music in the United States of America. Citing concrete examples, he discusses stylistic unification as the product of the decreasing isolation of the North American tamburitza tradition from its origins in Croatia and Vojvodina, and among the geographically distant American communities in which musicians of Croatian extraction have lived for over a century. He also notes the improved communication that has arisen as a result of the accessibility of Internet sites, music that can be heard on-line, along with mobile phones, satellite television and cheaper air travel.
The Croatian-Slavonic benefit and education society established by our emigrants near the gold mine in Boulder (Western Australia) exactly one hundred years ago is the first Slavic organisation to have its own premises in Australia, before World War I – writes Australian Walter F. Lalich, a professor at Sydney’s Macquarie University with roots in Croatia’s Dalmatia region. For decades this was home to the marginalised immigrants arriving during the gold rush that performed the hardest jobs of miners and lumberjacks. The building exists to this day, but – now a church – it has changed its purpose and users. This is an edifice of indubitable heritage value, bearing witness to the golden traces of our labourers working under the Southern Cross, whose blood, sweat and tears are woven in the fabric of the cultural development of Goldfields – in local, municipal, homeland and international events. This original research paper discusses the framework of the founding of the society in 1913, but also the challenges this fraternal organisation faced in the changing technological, societal and ideological circumstances.
Marija Galić offers a fascinating study in the field of human geography – she observes the specific characteristics of American and European geography, which have proven significant to the narrative structure of novels steeped in the particularities of the migrant experiences of three Croatian-American writers – Edward Ifkovic, Josip Novakovich and Mary Helen Stefaniak.
Publicist Gojko Borić, a long time associate of the CHF Almanac based in Germany, is the author of a review of the work of Croatian emigrants in the capital of Spain, the first systematic overview of its kind. Croatians arrived in Madrid after the end of World War II and the many injustices they suffered – finding peace there and the right to an education and creative work.
The Almanac offers the first comprehensive overview of the Croatian community in Poland from the pen of Slaven Kale (Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences). Some three hundred Croatians presently live in Poland. Along with the Croatian embassy and a number of honorary consulates and a Catholic mission, Warsaw is home to a Polish-Croatian Society and Croatian language instruction.
The Almanac always follows the discoveries of Croatian scientists abroad. In this edition long time CHF associate Tanja Rudež treats two brilliant natural scientists, Bojan Žagrović and Iva Tolić-Nørrelykke. Bojan Žagrović works with a research group at the University of Vienna’s Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) as a successful computational biologist, mathematician, biophysicist and chemist – in short a multidisciplinary scientist, declared one of the thirty up-and-coming stars of international science. Researcher Iva Tolić-Nørrelykke, has been a project leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden since 2005, and has impressed the planetary academic community with the famous immortal yeast. She has had a number of projects financed by the German Science Foundation, and now hopes to return to her native Zagreb. She is also collaborating with physicist Dr N. Pavin on a joint project in the frame of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport’s Unity Through Knowledge Fund.
In short, the thematic sections Signs of the Times, Croatian Philological Horizons, Bridges, A History, Heritage, Spirituality, Science and New Books offer a very diverse look at our scientific and literary stars, linguists and artists of various provenance – from elite modernists (B. Čikoš’ mythical 1903 Penelope on the cover) to contemporary performers. The volume also offers many fascinating stories detailing the challenges faced by Croatian families across distant meridians and parallels.
Text by: Marija Matković