Documenting the Holidays
Holidays are central components of culture. They can be celebratory or commemorative. They can be festive, merry, and joyous in their celebrations, or (also simultaneously) sombre, solemn, and reflective in their commemorations. They help us mark the calendar, highlight important sociocultural milestones, measure the passage of time, follow the turning of the seasons, and, in so doing, organize life and society.
The kinds of holidays are as rich and varied as their contextual diversity. They cover different kinds of seasonal, civic, cultural, and religious concerns, events, and themes. Christmas, for example, is arguably the major and most highly anticipated holiday of the year in most Western countries, combining both sacred and secular ideals and traditions. Chinese New Year (also referred to as Lunar New Year), as another example, is arguably the most significant holiday in the world’s most populous country, fusing ancient customs, myths, and folk religion. Some holidays, moreover, are co-constituted by each of the holiday kinds. Thanksgiving, for instance, is in many respects a seasonal, cultural, religious, and civic holiday. There are also holidays that are formally mandated by the government, such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter (Good Friday/Easter Monday), whilst others are conventionally recognized by society, including Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day.
Whether secular or sacred, political or holy, fun or serious, holidays are, what Michael Buckland (2012) would describe as, “document-pervaded”. Documentation – that is, documents and practices with them – play significant roles in the ways in which holidays are materialized, established, mediated, and experienced. But what exactly are the documents associated with or even constituting holidays?
The Proceedings from the Document Academy presents this Call for Papers for a refereed special issue of the journal entitled “Documenting the Holidays”. This special issue seeks multidisciplinary perspectives, as diverse as the holidays themselves, that address or analyze the documentation of the holidays in a broad sense. It provides a space for critical and experimental research on the documentation of the holidays from scholarship, traditions, and experiences in the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, and natural science, and from diverse fields including information, media, communication, culture, anthropology, feminist, technology, and science studies.
Possible holidays, with a specific focus on documentation, that could be examined include (but are not limited to) seasonal, religious, cultural, national, civic, military, carnival, ancient/contemporary, and other kinds. The following examples are in no way formal, rigid, or exhaustive; instead, they are only some possible cases for research. They include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter, as well as many other formal or informal holidays from both Western and non-Western contexts.
Possible lines of inquiry into the holidays and documentation to explore include, but are not limited to, broad questions such as:
- Documents of the holidays: what are, or can be, documents associated with or necessary for holidays? Also, how are holidays documented (with images, photographs, videos, books, etc.)?
- Documenting the holidays: why, how, when, etc. is documentation needed to establish holidays? Or how can or does documentation influence the holidays? Or, even, how do holidays influence or impact documentation?
- Formalizing the holidays: why and/or how does the state formalize, mandate, enforce, etc. holidays? Conversely, why and/or how does the state abolish, erase, delegitimize, etc. holidays?
- Experiencing the holidays: how does or can documentation create, facilitate, mediate, etc. the ways in which holidays are experienced? What are documental experiences of the holidays?
- Culturally contingent holidays: how does the documentation in culturally specific contexts affect, determine, shape, etc. holidays. Alternatively, how do culturally unique holidays influence documentation?
- Holidays through time: what are the historical aspects of holiday documentation? Or how have different eras or periods documented holidays? Or, additionally, how have historically contingent ideologies, technologies, practices, etc. of documentation affected holidays?
- Holidays as documents: are or can holidays themselves be considered kinds of documents (perhaps large-scale, multimedia, dynamic documents)? Or, from another perspective, are or can there be documents that are actually kinds of holidays themselves?
This Call for Papers is open to diverse contributions that concentrate on different aspects of or questions about documentation within holiday contexts. The journal is enthusiastic to receive both conventional and unconventional works that push the limits of format. Invited types of work therefore include:
- Original research articles
- Short stories
- Photo essays
- Artistic pieces
- Other creative works
The editors of the “Documenting the Holidays” special issue and the Proceedings from the Document Academy warmly invite all interested authors and creators to submit their works for kind consideration for publication in this special issue.
The deadline for submission of full articles/completed works is 2 April 2020. All submissions will be peer-reviewed. The tentative date for publication is summer 2020.
Please refer to the journal’s policies for submission, formatting, and other related requirements at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/policies.html
Please also see the journal's call for papers notice: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol7/iss1/
We look forward to your submissions. Happy holidays!