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Neglected Archives






Project title: Anthropological research of minority religions in historical archives in Croatia

Supported by: Unity through Knowledge Fund – UKF

Funding period: 22. 5. - 3. 12. 2019.

Total financial support: 48.700,00 HRK

Project leader and beneficiary: Lana Peternel, Ph.D. – Institute for Social Research in Zagreb

Project co-leader and host organization: James Alexander Kapalo, Ph.D. – University College Cork, Ireland

Institution involved in the project: Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb University of Applied Sciences

Collaborators: Prof. Ankica Marinović, Ph.D. (Institute for Social Research in Zagreb), Prof. Jana Žiljak Gršić, Ph.D. (Zagreb University of Applied Sciences), Filip Škiljan, Ph.D. (Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies)

Project administrator: Tana Morić, univ. spec. philol. angl.


Exploring a deeper study of religions allows us to understand the cultural communities we live in. This project proposes exploring the historical archival documents of minority religious communities in order to bring new insights from an anthropological perspective on the past realities that influenced cultural heritage. Theoretically, this project draws on cultural anthropological, historical and religious studies perspectives whilst employing innovative digital design and technology. We will analyse for the first time the historical archives and material culture of a range of minority religious communities by using innovative INFRARED design technology in the process of digitalizing documents and exhibiting religious art.

In the process of shaping our innovative approach to studying religious minorities and cultural heritage, which is inspired by anthropological readings of historical archival documents, we hypothesize that the lack of understanding of cultural processes like acculturation and institutional support given to groups during their efforts to achieve rights and cultural recognition influenced their sustainability. However, these circumstances also influence the perception of multicultural heritage of Croatian society.

We will gather and digitize historical documents from the local and precarious archives of marginal religious communities in Croatia in order to analyse them critically from the perspective of cultural production and agency. This will be done in collaboration with the Principal Investigator of the ERC project Hidden Galleries, Dr James Kapalo. Dr Kapalo is based in the Study of Religions Department, University College Cork, and is a specialist in the field of ethno-religious minorities and minority religions in Central and Eastern Europe. He has substantial professional experience in both archival and ethnographic research and will be able to provide his expertise that will be invaluable for the development of the field of anthropology of religion, which is less developed in Croatia, despite its relevance for contemporary society and scientific approaches. We will contribute to a wider inter-institutional sustainable cooperation and the promotion of cultural patrimony.