Laufende Projekte

The Cultural Politics of Age in Modern Christmas

Federal holidays are meeting – and negotiation – points of cultural customs, national values, religious practices, and economic interests. As such, they offer rich potential for scholarly investigation. The long nineteenth century is characterized by immense change, and over a relatively short stretch of time the incarnations of the U.S. American nation state and the modern Christmas holiday we recognize today were built. These processes were contemporaneous with the intensification of age consciousness (Corinne Field) and the rapidly evolving stratification of age throughout the “century of the child” (Ellen Kay). Despite childhood being a central component of modern Christmas and age a fundamental element of social organization, studies on the holiday have rarely privileged age as the analytical focal point.

This PhD. project examines age as category of social difference and the Christmas holiday as culturally dominant locale to understand the U.S. American national project, including the complex dynamic between age and national identity. This dissertation approaches age as necessarily intersectional and Christmas as a contested, transcultural phenomenon. The Cultural Politics of Age in Modern Christmas contributes to the history of age, the body, the family, the nation, modernity, and emotion, and examines from new angles how these are distinctly intertwined.