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Public Festivity and Festival Creativity - ARL500138
Anglický název: Public Festivity and Festival Creativity
Zajišťuje: Ústav filosofie a religionistiky (21-UFAR)
Fakulta: Filozofická fakulta
Platnost: od 2019
Semestr: zimní
Body: 0
E-Kredity: 5
Způsob provedení zkoušky: zimní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: zimní s.:0/2 Z [hodiny/týden]
Počet míst: neurčen / 15 (neurčen)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
Stav předmětu: vyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
při zápisu přednost, je-li ve stud. plánu
Garant: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D.
Vyučující: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D.
Třída: A – Mezioborová nabídka VP: Filosofie, náboženství
Exchange - 14.7 Anthropology
Rozvrh   Nástěnka   
Poslední úprava: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D. (03.10.2019)
The course will be focusing on the creative dimensions of religiously significant festivals in contemporary Europe. By “religiously significant” we mean festivals that (1) derive from or mobilize the resources of nameable religious traditions, or (2) are serving, in Durkheimian and Turnerian senses, social functions generally attributed to traditional religious festivals, such as expressing solidarity, providing the experiences of communitas and sociability, and serving as reflexive windows on to social-cultural dynamics.
Festivals have a unique ability to “allow people to mediate different forms of life crises. This can include anything from the readjustments required through pivotal changes in the life cycle, to the shock of migration, environmental disaster, or revolution.” We now understand that festivals are occasions to collectively and cathartically express not only joy, but the whole gamut of human emotions, from sorrow to piety. Festivals confirm and redefine social roles, enhance local identities, and foster attachment to place by creating cherished memories. They are uniquely poised to establish new ideas, values, and practices, or retrieve forgotten ones. It is a broadly shared assumption that because festivals are public and inherently reflexive, they can be used as catalysts for enacting various kinds of change – festivals are often conceived as creative social tools to be deployed in working a host of social, political and cultural challenges and problems. But we are in need of a better understanding of the general phenomenon of festival creativity and the dynamics an efficacy of festivals as agents of social transformation—festival cultures are often surrounded by big claims for their value, but these claims require theoretical grounding and assessment.

Martin Pehal (Charles University)
contributions from Barry Stephenson (Memorial University, Canada)
Dr. Stephenson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Memorial University (St. John’s, Canada). His research and teaching focus on ritual studies, religion and the arts, and religion-secularization debates. He has published three books and numerous articles, book chapters and reviews. The former co-chair of the Ritual Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, Dr. Stephenson is co-editor of the Ritual Studies Series, published by Oxford University Press. As a Research Fellow in Charles University’s Creative Lab, Dr. Stephenson is studying Creativity in Contemporary Festival Cultures.
Cíl předmětu
Poslední úprava: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D. (14.09.2019)

The course aims at providing a theoretical framework which will enable the study of various forms of public festivity (“special events”) and expose students to festival creativity and criticism through foundational readings and basic field-work.

Poslední úprava: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D. (14.09.2019)

This is an advanced and partly a performatively experimental course (you must be willing to both physically engage in exercises with other students and perform fieldwork outside the classroom). As the course will be in English, we expect you not only to be able to read (you will be assigned approx. 50–60 pages of text every week to read and—more importantly—reflect upon in depth + at least one presentation/semester based on further reading of approx. 30–50 pages) and discuss relatively complex issues in this language, but also complete writing assignments. You will also have previously been acquainted with basic theoretical and methodological approaches of anthropology (of religion) in some form. This means that the course is primarily intended for MA students—or BA students who have attended (and passed) the Anthropology of Religion course (and Seminar). Students of the Religious Studies programme will be given preference. If you have a background in another relevant field (such as theatre studies, sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc.) and would like to attend, you are welcome to contact Martin Pehal (martin.pehal@ff.cuni.cz). The course will be intensive and can therefore accommodate a maximum of 15 students.

Poslední úprava: Mgr. Martin Pehal, Ph.D. (12.11.2019)

Lesson plan

1) 4.10.
Introduction. Public festivity: a question of a genre
a)Fuzzy definition: analyze the proximity of various events to the "public festivity" category and create a "fuzzy definition". Take into consideration the various perspectives of approaching events/performances, as we have done in the classroom. Chose two examples of events with the placement of which you disagree and reflect upon your position in writing (use the photo attached).

2) 11.10.
Based on your essays and definitions, we will be trying to establish all of the possible avenues of approaching the category of public festivities, also touching upon the topic of the relation of public festivities to ritual.
a)Use the Chart for Analyzing Ritual (uploaded to SIS) to assess the events of Karel Gott's funeral. Of all the categories, chose just one (you may also come up with one not included in the chart itself), and write an analysis of the funeral from that perspective. If you cannot physically attend the events, analyse either video footage or newspaper articles (those of you, who read Czech, an essay by Radek Chlup might be of interest, includes further links) – again, focusing on a specific aspect of the discourse. As this is an improvisation, your analysis will necessarily be of very limited – reflect upon the limitations of the gathered data and make it part of your analysis. Make suggestions how these limitations might have been mitigated. Upload your essay to SIS no later than Wednesday 16.10. by midnight.
b) Start reading:
[] Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 23–41 (“Events that model the lived-in world”)
[] Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 42–58 (“Events that present the lived-in world”, “Events that re-present the lived-in world”)
[] Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 58–62 (“Qualifications”)

3) 18.10.
We will be discussing your analyses of Karel Gott's funeral, relating it to the definitional debate from previous lessons. If time be, we will start reading Handelman p. 3–21.

[Johana] Don Handelman, Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events. New York: Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 3–21 („Premises and prepossessions“)
1) What three festival events does H. describe at the beginning of his text? (p. 3–8) What do they have in common and how do they differ?; 2) Why are public events worth studying?; 3) What are the overlaps of ritual activity and public events?; 4) What types of definition of ritual does H. offer and what reservations does he have? Find at least one alternative definition of “ritual” and send it to me via e-mail (deadline 9.10.); 5) What are the basic attributes of festival events?; 6) What is H. position on the functionalist understanding of societies as homeostatic systems in relation to the ability of public festivities to “do” something?; 6) In what sense are public events symbolic structures?; 7) Why does H. consider all the characteristics as insufficient and what does he propose?; 8) How are public festivities more “grounded” than concepts such as “society” or “culture”?; 9) What is the relation of public events to social order and what does this effect?; 10) What are the two constituting aspects of public festivities/events and which one and for what reasons does he prefer? Does it prevent him from viewing PF as dynamic structures?; 11) What are the main arguments levelled against the “proponents of performance”? To what extent are these reservations relevant?; 12) How are “proto-events” relevant for this discussion?

4) 25.10.

We will finish reading Handelman from last lesson and start looking into the three types of public festivities he identifies.

[Johana] Don Handelman
Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 23–41 (“Events that model the lived-in world”)
Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 42–58 (“Events that present the lived-in world”, “Events that re-present the lived-in world”)
Handelman, Models and Mirrors, 58–62 (“Qualifications”)

Homework (in written form, upload until Wednesady 30th midgnight into SIS):
Use Handelman's typology and divide the events we attached on the wall (the photo of the events is downloadable from materials). While doing that, try and at least two examples of events that: a) do not fit any of his types at all and/or b) fit more, ideally all three types. State reasons why you chose (at least) the two examples and state your reasons.

5) 1.11.

We will go through your materials and try and get more acquanited with Handelman's typology and the criteria of PF we discussed previous lesson. In the remaining time, we shall have a look at Testa's article: Alessandro Testa, “Rethinking the Festival: Power and Politics.” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 26, no. 1 (2014): 44–73 (only pp. 58–68).

6) 8.11.

Grimes, Ronald. “Mapping the Ritual Field.” In Beginnings in Ritual Studies.
Grimes, Ronald. “Fieldworking Ritual.” Chapter 2 of The Craft of Ritual Studies. Oxford, 2014.
Stephenson, Barry. “Definitions, Types and Domains.” Chapter 5 of Ritual, A Very Short Introduction, pp. 70–85. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Darcy: 15 min presentation of the historical context of 17 November 1989.
Tereza, Petra, Johana: Mapping of the 17 November festival landscape. What specific events are going to be taking place this year? Which ones would you like to cover? Group the planned events into various categories (by type, by Handelman's categorisation... try out various possibilities). Send me material with which we will be working during Wednesday.

You may also have a look at a film "Ritualizing the Czech Velvet Revolution" by Ronald Grimes about the Velvet Carnival – an annual event taking place on November 17 since 2012.

I am also attaching two extremely interesting monographs in English contextualising the Velvet Revolution:

Holy, Ladislav. 1996. The Little Czech Man and the Great Czech Nation: National Identity and the Post-Communist Transformation of Society. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Krapfl, James. 2013. Revolution with a Human Face: Politics, Culture, and Community in Czechoslovakia, 1989-1992. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Preparation for November 17 + discussing Grimes and Stephenson.

7) 15.11.

Barry: Quick-course in ritual field-work as preparation for the November 17 events.


Areas of inquiry

1) Ritual, Ritual Studies and Festive Genres
      Overview: What is ritual? What is a festival? How is festivity similar to and different from other genres of action? How is enacted ritual studied?
      Public Events and Culture: How are public, staged events conceptualized/theorized?
      How are public events formed and shaped by the type of society in which they occur?
      In what way is “culture” a process rather than a fixed structure and what role do “special events”—such as festivals—play in it?
•    Moore, Sally F., and Barbara G. Myerhoff. “Introduction: Secular Ritual: Forms and Meanings.” In Secular Ritual, edited by Sally F. Moore, Barbara G. Myerhoff, and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (N.Y.), 3–24. Assen; Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 1977, p. 3–24.
•    Handelman, Don. Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events. New York: Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 1–21.
•    Schechner, Richard. Performance Theory. London – New York: Routledge, 2015, p. 8–25.
•    Stephenson, Barry. “Definitions, Types and Domains.” Chapter 5 of Ritual, A Very Short Introduction, pp. 70–85. Oxford University Press, 2015.
•    Knott, Kim: “Specialness and the Sacred: Ann Taves Religious Experience Reconsidered. Religion 40 (2010): 305–307.
•    John Lowell Lewis. The Anthropology of Cultural Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, p. 4–11, 15–20, 23–31 [play], 31–35 [“play” as the basis of distinguishing between “special” and “normal” events], 65–77.
•    Turner, Victor. “Are There Universals of Performance in Myth, Ritual, and Drama?” In By Means of Performance : Intercultural Studies of Theatre and Ritual, edited by Richard Schechner and Willa Appel, 8–18. Cambridge University Press, 1990.

2) Studying Ritual, Studying Festivals

•   Grimes, Ronald. “Mapping the Ritual Field.” In Beginnings in Ritual Studies.
•   Grimes, Ronald. “Fieldworking Ritual.” Chapter 2 of The Craft if Ritual Studies. Oxford, 2014.
•   Stephenson, Barry. “The Wittenberg Festivals.” Chapter 2 of Performing the Reformation, pp. 33-52. Oxford University Press, 2010.
•   Travers, Max. “Varieties of Symbolic Interactionism: Grounded Theory and Dramaturgical Analysis.” In Qualitative Research Through Case Studies. Sage, 2001.

3) Performing the sacred: festivals as ritually borderline phenomena
     What are the relations between art, performance, play, games, theatre, ritual and religion?
     How do the “ritual” and “play” elements interact within a festivity framework?
     What happens to sacred music and liturgies when they are staged and performed for an audience, rather than a congregation?
     How does the mediation and performance of sacred rites, music and dance in public venues change a ritual tradition and its participants, if at all?
     How do festivals and performing arts variously contribute to or alleviate tensions between religion and secularism in modern Europe?
     Are festivals a contemporary space for experiences of transcendence?
•   John Lowell Lewis. The Anthropology of Cultural Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, p. 43–64
•   Jeremy Boissevain, “The Dynamic Festival: Ritual, Regulation and Play in Changing Times.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 81.4 (October 2016): 617–30.
•   Don Handelman, Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events. New York: Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 115–135 [Chap. “The palio of Siena”]
•   Abrams, Roger D. “Ordinary and Extraordinary Experience.” In The Anthropology of Experience, edited by Victor Turner and Jerome Bruner. U. Illinois, 1986.
•   Kapchan, Deborah. “The Promise of Sonic Translation: Performing the Festive Sacred in Morocco.” American Anthropologist 110.4 (2008): 467–483.

4) Festivals and social change
     Are festivals good examples of ritual efficacy?
     Do festivals help redefine personal, gender, and familial identity; enhance artistic creativity; encourage environmental responsibility; facilitate interreligious trust and interethnic conviviality?
     Or do they freeze identity definitions, inhibit creativity, reinforce habits of consumption, breed suspicion, and reinforce social divisions?
     Are public festivals/carnivals primarily a space for radical transgression/communitas or an emotional escape valve which fortifies the status quo?
    Can a public festivity achieve both at the same time?
•  Victor Turner (ed.), Celebration, Studies in Festivity and Ritual. Washington, D.C : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982.
•  Turner, Victor. “Social Dramas and Ritual Metaphors.” In Dramas, Fields and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society.
•  Abner Cohen, Masquerade Politics: Explorations in the Structure of Urban Cultural Movements. University of California Press, 1993.
•  Waterman, Stanley. 1998. “Carnivals for Elites? The Cultural Politics of Arts Festivals.” Progress in Human Geography, 22(1): 54–74.
•  Picard, David. “The Festive Frame: Festivals as Mediators for Social Change.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 81, no. 4 (October 2016): 600–616.
•  Atkinson, David, and Eric Laurier. “A Sanitised City? Social Exclusion at Bristol’s 1996 International Festival of the Sea.” Geoforum 29, no. 2 (January 1, 1998): 199–206.
•  Boissevain, Jeremy. “The Dynamic Festival: Ritual, Regulation and Play in Changing Times.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 81, no. 4 (October 2016): 617–30.
•  Arcordia, Charles and Michelle Whitford. “Festival Attendance and the Development of Social Capital.” J. of Convention and Event Tourism 8.2 (2006): 1-18.
•  Costa, Xavier. “Festivity: Traditional and Modern Forms of Sociability.” Social Compass 48.4 (2001): 541-548.

5) Festivals and public space

6) Festival creativity: creating new festivals, commoditizing




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