Peer-reviewed articles

Peer-reviewed articles have all been through a peer-review process. We practice double-blind peer-review. All material is reviewed by two independent specialists at least at post-doc level. A prerequisite for publishing scientific articles in Baltic Worlds is that the article has not already been published in English elsewhere. If an article is simultaneously being considered by another publication, this should be indicated when submitting.

Radical reformers or not quite? From vegetarianism to communist nutrition in Bulgaria: contrasts and continuities (1925–1960)

This article investigates the ideas of correct and modern nutrition during the early communist period in Bulgaria and outlines their relationship to previously existing ideas and practices. The research reveals the multiple influences of pre-communist food ideologies, particularly those of the vegetarian movement that flourished in the country in the 1920s and 1930s. It questions the propaganda claim that the communist regime introduced a radically new understanding of and approach to nutrition. It also suggests that there were significant differences between the attitudes towards meatless diets in Eastern European communist countries. The hostility towards vegetarianism was not equally strong and consistent across the bloc, and despite the evident influence of Soviet teachings focused on meat-based, protein-rich diets, nutritionists introducedmeatless diet “through the back door”.

By Albena Shkodrova June 22, 2022

VEGETARIAN FOOD AS MODERN FOOD ATTEMPTS TO EDUCATE THE NATION OF ESTONIA FROM THE 1900s TO THE 1930s

This article considers the spread of ideas on vegetarianism in Estonia from the turn of the 19th century until 1940. The study builds on analyzing archival sources, media texts and educational work conducted by nutrition experts, schools and organizations. Propaganda about the consumption of vegetarian food was associated with the general modernization of domestic culture and the discourse on healthy food as the basis for the nation’s vitality. The article highlights the leading role of women’s movement in home economics, including attempts to implement food culture informed by nutritional science, especially teaching the people to eat more fruits and vegetables. The spread of vegetarian ideas in Estonia also illustrates how the previously dominating German cultural influences were gradually replaced by an orientation towards the Nordic countries, and demonstrates how these ideas were adapted to an Estonian context.

By Ester Bardone and Anu Kannike June 22, 2022

“There is no salvation outside our church” The all-Russian vegetarian congress and the making of the vegetarian movement in the early 20th century Russian Empire

In this article, I tackle and reflect on the vegetarian movement of the Russian empire in its making, branding, and imagining by examining the All-Russian Vegetarian Congress in Moscow in 1913. By scrutinizing its organization, agenda and resolutions, the study brings to the surface and explores the ideological imaginaries and the dynamics of vegetarian collective action. I discuss the organization and convening of the congress, analyze the discursive activity around it, as well as hint at its implications for the fledgling vegetarian activism. I also contextualize the event within a broad reform-oriented social movement space, as well as spotlight the diversity of understandings of vegetarianism. The case study hints at the manifestations of movement making and branding, as well as unfolds the ideological foundations that were given preferences and why this was so. The congress apparently favored the ethical strand of vegetarianism and aimed at life reform in a broader sense. However, it did not really succeed in bringing about the long-awaited consolidation and unification of the vegetarians in the country.

By Julia Malitska June 22, 2022

But we refused to be scared to silence Swedish designers’ Cold War visit to ICSID ‘75 Moscow

This text gives a glimpse of a hitherto unknown design discourse during the Cold War – from both sides of the Iron Curtain – by exploring the 1975 Congress of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), held in Moscow. Sweden sent a big delegation to Russia. More than forty of the small country’s top designers and influencers participated, which was more than twice as many as usual to these international design congresses. Thanks to reactions published about the events in journals on design in Sweden and in the Soviet Union, archival material, and the author’s own interviews with the delegates from Sweden who participated in Moscow, as well as one-off exclusive backstage witnesses from the local staff of the host organization during the ongoing congress, Moscow 1975 is experienced through the eyes of contemporary witnesses. The essay gives new insights into the world congress in design and illustrates the international atmosphere during the Cold War.

By Margareta Tillberg June 22, 2022

Feminist translocalities. Decolonial and anti-racist feminisms in Russia and beyond

This article describes the current developments of feminist discourses and activism in Russia, as well as in the former USSR in general, towards inclusion of more intersectional perspectives: antiracist, disabled and trans*/non-binary. It reviews the contemporary feminist movement in Russia, provides some examples of intersectional projects and focuses on Feminist Translocalities – a project based jointly in the former USSR and Germany, as part of which an exhibition about intersectionality in the histories of these countries travelled across Russia. Describing this and other activities within the Feminist Translocalities project and focusing on anti-racism as a vector of the development of the feminist movement in Russia, the article shows that it is shifting towards more attention to other discriminations, thus also encouraging a similar trend in the broader society.

By Alexandra Biktimirova and Victoria Kravtsova June 22, 2022

Re-imagining the Ukrainian Ancestral Land The Vedic and Aryan influence of Ridnovir geopoetics

Ukrainian Neo-pagan groups, known as Ridnoviry, since the 1950s, sought to develop an archaic cosmic piety around nature and primordial traditions, to providing an alternative to the disillusions of Soviet materialist atheism and give meaning to an uprooted nation, Mainly influenced by an environmentalist and Hinduist imaginary, the landscape constitutes the main element of inertia structuring this belief. Indeed, the emotions embedded in the Brahmin knowledge and the aesthetic permanence of territory are the foundations of what could be called a pagan “geopoetics”. This concept, based on environmentalism and poetry, was part of the deployment of a new understanding of nature, and the claim of a Ukrainian ascendance linked with the Vedic and Aryan origins myth. Focusing on the main Neo-pagan groups Ridna Ukrayins’ka Natsional’na Víra (RUN-Vira) and Ob’iednannia Ridnoviriv Ukraïny (ORU), I propose in this article to return to the genealogy of this belief and show the role of geopoetics in the construction of Ukrainian Neo-paganism.

By Adrien Nonjon January 24, 2022

From Sofia’s Salons to the Mountain Ranges of Kozhuh Social and functional dimensions of esotericism in late socialist Bulgaria

The article observes esoteric spirituality in Bulgaria in a longue dureé frame and argues the existence of a consistent tradition since the late 19th century. Based on biographical research, contemporary sources and archive materials, the article delivers insights into the social and functional dimensions of esotericism in socialist Bulgaria and answers the question of how esoteric and New Age subculture could spread in a supposedly antireligious socialist society.

By Victoria Vitanova-Kerber January 24, 2022

Giving birth to a Baby Dolphin Esoteric representations of human-dolphin connections in the late Soviet waterbirth movement

This article describes the New Age version of the dolphinist myth and the practices of human-dolphin communication that developed in the late Soviet Union in the grassroots movement for “home waterbirth and active raising of infants.” The Aquaculture method, authored by the psychic healer and charismatic teacher Igor Charkovsky (1936–2021), included intensive training of pregnant women, giving birth in water, infant swimming, and diving from the first day of life, as well as metaphysical connections with dolphins.

By Anna Ozhiganova January 24, 2022

Occultism in the GDR? The paranormal as heterodoxy of scientific worldview

The article summarizes the main findings of a socio-historical study devoted to the question of the political and social handling of “paranormal,” “parapsychological” or “occult” knowledge, experiences, and practices in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The “scientific worldview” derived from Marxism-Leninism and propagated in the GDR was essentially a scientistic conception of reality. Against this background, all occult or paranormal topics were rigorously rejected in the public discourse of the GDR.

By Andreas Anton and Ina Schmied-Knittel January 24, 2022

Traumatic Contemporaneity Reflections on Piotr Piotrowski’s Critical Museography

This essay analyses two texts by the Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski (1952–2015) articulating theoretical stances towards art museography. Reflecting on how they deal with psychological as well as openly political issues, I interpret and assess their joint contribution to the broader interdisciplinary field of (critical) museography. The texts are “New Museums in New Europe” and “Making the National Museum Critical”. Together the texts developed Piotrowski’s concept of “the critical museum” as a way of dealing with the challenges of running an old national art museum based on masterpieces while also striving to engage with pressing contemporary issues. which is a prerequisite for critical intervention.

By Dan Karlholm October 25, 2021