BRANCHING INTO HERITAGE THE GENESIS OF THE ANNE FRANK TREE AND ITS MULTIPLICATIONS
by Prof. IRENE STENGS
Date & Time
02.05.2022, 3:30 PM (CEST)
Trainee centre 2.40, Tř. Svobody 686/26, Olomouc & ONLINE via ZOOM: https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/94045486991
This presentation will address the genesis and multiplication of the so-called ‘Anne Frank Tree’, the horse chestnut tree behind the Secret Annex that Anne Frank wrote about in her diary. Fungus-infected, the tree fell in 2010. The Anne Frank Tree testifies of both the terrible fate of the European Jews and the shelter offered to some. Therefore, its eventual safeguarding, whether by conservation or multiplication, became a topic of concern worldwide. Following the roots and routes of the Anne Frank Tree legacy (stump, seedlings, grafts, wood and chestnuts) I examine the processes of sacralisation that have stirred the material’s vivid proliferation and, importantly, the burden which the accumulating material subsequently imposes on the people in charge of it. Building on David Chidester’s (2018) insights that anything can be sacralised and that scarce resources can develop into sacred surplus, my work on the Anne Frank Tree foregrounds the relation between the sacred, processes of sacralisation and the production of excess. Approaching the processes of sacralisation and proliferation through Ian Hodder’s (2014) notions of ‘entanglement’, ‘entrapment’ and ‘sticky entrapment’, I propose an analytical framework that opens a perspective on people’s dealing with sacred matter that equally brings into view sacred matter’s dealing with people.
Irene Stengs is Professor by special appointment ‘Anthropology of Ritual and Popular Culture’ at the Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam) and Senior Researcher at the Meertens Institute (Amsterdam). Her research in the Netherlands and Thailand focuses on popular religiosity, material culture, the dynamics of contemporary commemorative ritual and the relation between processes of heritage formation and identity politics. Stengs is the author of Worshipping the Great Moderniser. King Chulalongkorn, Patron Saint of the Thai Middle Class (2009, NUS Press, Singapore/Washington UP), co-editor of The Secular Sacred. Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion (2020, Palgrave, with Markus Balkenhol and Ernst van den Hemel) and co-editor of Managing Sacralities. Competing and Converging Claims of Religious Heritage (2022, Berghahn, with Ernst van den Hemel and Oscar Salemink).