Cockroaches: From Belief Narratives to the Contemporary Commercial Practice, or How Cockroaches Have Survived on Earth for More Than 320 Million Years

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Suzana Marjanić

Abstract

The first segment of the zooethical article about cockroaches, insects of the order Blattodea, who have lived on Earth for more than 300 million years (cf. Grush, 2016) and will survive the apocalypse of climate change, is based on research by Russian folklorist Aleksandr V. Gura (Гура, 2005), who gives examples of beliefs about cockroaches from the Russian ethnotradition, which I then compare with examples from the Croatian ethnotradition.In the second part of the article, I problematize the contemporary attitude towards cockroaches, starting from the literary reality of the novel Kiklop (Cyclops, 1965) by Ranko Marinković – from “Maar-commercial” (“Maar-tonfilmska reklama”), Melkior’s critique of the ad-centric worldview that begins with his exit from the public toilet in the central town square. The ways in which insecticides are used against cockroaches (and other insects considered by modern civilization as pests) demonstrates that in the past at least some cultures – as Russian ethnotradition demonstrates – were far more considerate of cockroaches, as we suggested in the first part of this dichotomously structured article.

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How to Cite
Marjanić , S. (2021). Cockroaches: From Belief Narratives to the Contemporary Commercial Practice, or How Cockroaches Have Survived on Earth for More Than 320 Million Years. Poznańskie Studia Slawistyczne, (20), 259-271. https://doi.org/10.14746/pss.2021.20.14
Section
Studia animalia: the image of animals in culture
Author Biography

Suzana Marjanić , Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research

Staff member at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb, where she realises her interests in the theories of ritual and myth, critical animal studies, and the performance studies. She published three books: Glasovi Davnih dana: transgresije svjetova u Krežinim zapisima 1914–1921/22 (Voices of Bygone Days: Transgressions of Worlds in Krleža’s Notes 1914–1921/22), 2005; Kronotop hrvatskoga performansa: od Travelera do danas (Chronotope of Croatian Performance Art: From Traveleri until Today), 2014; and Topoi umjetnosti performansa: lokalna vizura (The Topoi of Performance Art: A Local Perspective), 2017. She co-edited the collection Kulturni bestijarij (Cultural Bestiary), 2007, and its sequel Književna životinja. Kulturni bestijarij 2 (Literary Animal: Cultural Bestiary 2), 2012 with Antonija Zaradija Kiš; Folkloristička čitanka (The Folklore Studies Reader), 2010 with Marijana Hameršak; Mitski zbornik (Mythical Anthology), 2010 with Ines Prica; the collection Krležin EU/ropski furiosum (Krležaʼs EU/rope furiosum), 2016 with Bojan Koštić and the collection Ekofeminizam: između ženskih i zelenih studija (Ecofeminism: between Women’s and Green Studies), 2020 with Goran Đurđević. The book Kronotop hrvatskoga performansa: od Travelera do danas received annual award for the Croatian Selection of AICA and the National Award for Science. 

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