Call for Contributors for December 2017 Issue on “Holiday and Family”

William Horne's picture
Call for Papers
November 20, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Intellectual History, Religious Studies and Theology, Popular Culture Studies

The Activist History Review invites proposals that consider the relationship between holidays, family, and community for our December issue.

Holidays illuminate the systems of power that shape our lives. They reveal people, places, or objects we consider sacred. They pull the uncertain space and time of daily work into a timeless otherworldliness seasoned with exotic foods and carefree consumerism. The holidays, through community-wide language and symbols, help us ascribe meaning to our lives beyond our daily struggles and mortality. 
As expressions of boundlessness, holidays also pinpoint ways in which we are vulnerable. The annual cries of a “War on Christmas,” punctuated by Megyn Kelly’s remarkable claim that “Santa just is white,” indicate the weaknesses in our holiday self-representations. Santa is, of course, pretend. His likeness, however, is an expression of power. It lays claim to amorphous mythologies of benevolent consumerism and Western virtue that are central to Anglo and Christian representations of authority. Preferring nonwhite, non-Christian, or even non-consumerist holiday traditions threatens the timelessness and authority of holiday for many conservative Americans. It is, for them, an act of war.
It is this point at which the holiday is both essential and contingent that sparks our interest.
Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Historical perspectives on holidays
  • The relationship between religious and secular observance
  • Family and community traditions
  • Foodways
  • The commercialization of holiday
  • Holidays and the media
  • Charity
  • Observance and participation as resistance
  • Rejections of old norms or the creation of new ones

TAHR is also interested in publishing your personal holiday stories. Do you have a remarkable family or community tradition that you would be willing to share? Are there elements of holiday celebrations with which you feel uncomfortable? 
Proposals for scholarly work should be no more than 250 words for articles from 1250-2000 words, and should be emailed to William Horne at horne(dot)activisthistory(at)gmail(dot)com by Monday, November 20th at 11:59PM. Proposals for family histories or personal stories should be no more than 100 words for articles from 750-1250 words. Please also include a short bio of fewer than 100 words.