The Kozolec: Material Culture, Identity, and Social Practice in Slovenia

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Lydia Mihelic Pulsipher

Committee Members

John Rehder, Anita Drever


This research investigates the intersections of national identity, representation, and material culture in the Republic of Slovenia. The subject of the thesis, the kozolec, is a freestanding farm implement, usually made of wood, used to dry hay as fodder for animals and, occasionally, corn for human and animal consumption. It is found on the landscape of Slovenia, a small alpine country that was formerly part of Yugoslavia. The kozolec has been romanticized as being indicative of “where” Slovenia is. It has also been cast aside as a symbol marking the Slovene landscape for both representational and practical reasons.

This thesis makes problematic the use of the kozolec as representational of Slovenia and its ethnic landscape. It retheorizes the kozolec, and by extension, all material culture studies using philosophical framework of American pragmatism. It asserts that we should not try to know a place via its material culture, but appreciate a place by acknowledging the use of its material culture in that place.

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