Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft

Christmas in the Multicultural City.

Public and Private Rituals between Culture, Religion and Consumption

A workshop of the Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies Project

10. - 11.12.2015
Tübingen, Neue Aula, Kleiner Senat und Raum 236

 

Chair Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer, University of Tübingen, Ludwig Uhland Institute for Historical and Cultural Anthropology; Prof. Dr. Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto; supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Christmas is a not a holiday just for Christians anymore, if it ever was. Embedded in calendars around the world and long a lucrative merchandising opportunity, the festive season of Christmas enters multicultural, multi-religious public spaces through decorative displays, ritual activities and collective gatherings. The presence of Christmas in the public sphere also affects what goes on in private homes: many non-Christians get caught up in the celebration of Christmas, adapting and transforming it, adding new layers of meaning to it. In the process, Christmas becomes a contested political object, particularly when various social players begin to articulate their claims to Christmas: Is it a religious holiday, as the churches would have it – and should it therefore be ‘secularized’ in the public sphere, as the secularist view would have it? Or is it ‘cultural’ – as many different groups argue – and what does this claim entail? This workshop takes a comparative historical and ethnographic perspective on the affective and political significance of Christmas in the multicultural city. Based on a workshop model with pre-circulated papers, the two-day gathering will include scholars working on diverse regions who have considered the ways that Christmas has served as a catalyst of conflict and compromise in the “secular” yet religiously diverse city.

Schedule

Christmas is a not a holiday just for Christians anymore, if it ever was. Embedded in calendars around the world and long a lucrative merchandising opportunity, the festive season of Christmas enters multicultural, multi-religious public spaces through decorative displays, ritual activities and collective gatherings. The presence of Christmas in the public sphere also affects what goes on in private homes: many non-Christians get caught up in the celebration of Christmas, adapting and transforming it, adding new layers of meaning to it. In the process, Christmas becomes a contested political object, particularly when various social players begin to articulate their claims to Christmas: Is it a religious holiday, as the churches would have it – and should it therefore be ‘secularized’ in the public sphere, as the secularist view would have it? Or is it ‘cultural’ – as many different groups argue – and what does this claim entail? This workshop takes a comparative historical and ethnographic perspective on the affective and political significance of Christmas in the multicultural city. Based on a workshop model with pre-circulated papers, the two-day gathering will include scholars working on diverse regions who have considered the ways that Christmas has served as a catalyst of conflict and compromise in the “secular” yet religiously diverse city.
 

Thursday, 10 December
  ARRIVAL AND REGISTRATION
14:00 – 14:15 Official welcome (Pamela Klassen, Monique Scheer)
14:15 – 15:15 Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto // Monique Scheer, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen:
Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies
15:15 – 16:00 Isaac Weiner, Ohio State University:
"And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!": Listening to Christmas in the Multicultural City
  COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)
16:30 – 17:15 Juliane Brauer, Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung Berlin:
Christmas Songs and Christmas Feelings – Music, Emotion and Remembrance
17:15 – 18:00 Andreas Bandak, University of Copenhagen:
The Nativity Crib and the Scenery of Good Tidings; or on Celebrating Christmas Damascus' Style
  DINNER
Friday, 11 December
9:00 – 9:45 Yaniv Feller, Jüdisches Museum Berlin:
"O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum": The Role of a Christmas Tree in a Jewish Museum
9:45 – 10:30 Helen Mo, University of Toronto:
The Christmas Crisis: Lessons from a Canadian Public School's Seasonal Skirmish
  COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)
11:00 – 11:45 Christian Marchetti, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen:
German Volkskunde, Christmas and Southeastern Europe
11:45 – 12:30 Pamela Klassen, University of Toronto:
"The First White Christmas": Settler Odes and Nisga’a Hospitality on the Nass River
  LUNCH BREAK (1h 30 minutes)
14:00 – 14:45 Amy Fisher, University of Toronto:
Sleeping Rough and Feeling Stuffed: A "Homeless" Christmas in Toronto
14:45 – 15:30 Sophie Reimers, Viadrina University, Frankfurt/Oder:
"What Exactly Do You Celebrate on Christmas?": Different Perceptions of Christmas Among German-Turkish Families in Berlin
  COFFEE BREAK (30 minutes)
16:00 – 16:45 Simon Coleman, University of Toronto:
The Walsingham Cathedral
16:45 – 17:30 Katja Rakow, Utrecht University:
Christmas on Orchard Road in Singapore: Celebrating the Gift of Jesus Christ among Gucci and Tiffany’s stores
17:30 – 18:00 FINAL DISCUSSION
  WEIHNACHTSMARKT TÜBINGEN & DINNER