Project information

Remembering Hus: Cultural Memory in Contemporary Festivity (Remembering Hus)

Project Identification
430-2015-00340
Project Period
6/2015 - 5/2017
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
Ostatní - foreign
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Social Studies
Cooperating Organization
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Increasingly we see cities in Europe and North America engaged in ‘festivalizing’—creating festivals out of their historic cultural resources. Such festivals are meant to be drivers of economic development, instruments of social dialogue and integration, a means to cultivate collective memory, and instruments for bringing past, present, and future into conversation. Due to the central place Christianity and its institutions have historically held in European societies, many localities possess cultural capital of a religious nature. When these historic, religious resources become raw materials in creating, developing or reviving public festivals, festivals become venues for articulating and
processing the relations between religious traditions and a largely secular society and culture. However, when culture and heritage is commoditized there is a risk that local populations will separate themselves from their past, endangering the basic need for societies to have
cohesive memories that help constitute a shared cultural identity.
The 600th Jubilee of the Council of Constance (1414-1418)—a five-year long celebration inaugurated earlier this year in Constance, Germany, and its sister city, Tábor, in the Czech Republic—provides a timely opportunity to investigate the dynamics of religiously significant festivals and their role in processes of cultural memory. ‘Festival studies’ and 'cultural memory' are two related and growing areas of interdisciplinary research. The celebrations in Constance and Tábor will no doubt be characterized by conflicting meanings and interpretations, since the organizers, participants, and visitors will incorporate into this otherwise festive occasion the trial and execution (through burning) of the Czech reformer and hero Jan Hus, who upon arriving in Constance was summarily arrested and executed. The symbolic, ritual, and memorial handling of the figure of Hus will be particularly crucial in 2015, the so-called “Year of Justice”, in which Constance (in close partnership and Tábor) will commemorate the 600th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus on July 6th. This is perfect
timing for our two-year research project, which will begin in spring of 2015.
Using visual methods (photography and video) our team and three graduate students will document and analyze the festival's events as they unfold, and interview both the audience and the orga

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