Synopses & Reviews
This is a field study of religious tourism and festivity in contemporary Wittenberg, Germany, the one-time home of Martin Luther. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city and surrounding region have been developing their historical and cultural resources, through the production of large-scale public festivals, museum exhibits, as well as religious and heritage tourism. The city, marketed as a European culture capital, is also Protestant sacred space, attracting Lutherans from the around the globe. In his recent study, A Secular Age, Charles Taylor notes that festivity is experiencing a renaissance, and he identifies its emergence in public culture as one of the new forms of religion in our world. Festivals and pilgrimage routes are not only ritual forms, they are cultural institutions playing central roles in a globalized world. Stephenson examines two important genres in today's globalized world: public festivals and religious, or heritage, tourism and pilgrimage. He presents the vibrant details of Wittenberg's Luther festivals and pilgrimage scene, describing rites and performances, and including the voices and narratives of people encountered in the field. Wittenberg's festival and tourism scene includes a range of genres: parades and processions, liturgies and concerts, music and dance. These cut across cultural domains (religion, politics, economics, theatre), and mobilize multiple identities (religious, secular, American, German, traditional, and postmodern). Atheists dress up as monks and nuns for Luther's Wedding. Conservative Lutherans work to uplift the secular, carnival-like festivities. Street players wander the city, while American Gospel singers and Peruvian pan flute bands entertain the crowds. Written in an accessible, jargon free-style, the book presents a lively, informed account of contemporary festival and pilgrimage culture in Wittenberg. This on-the-ground account is brought into dialogue with important methodological and theoretical issues informing the fields of ritual studies and performance studies.
"This book challenges the reader to think in a complex manner about historical places and one's own role in visiting them...but the main points of Stephenson's analysis are clear enough even for a non-specialist."--Lutheran Quarterly
The home of Martin Luther for thirty six years and seat of the German Reformation, Wittenberg, Germany is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wittenberg has long been Protestant sacred space, but since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city and surrounding region have been developing their considerable cultural capital. Today, Wittenberg is host to two large-scale annual Luther-themed festivals, and is becoming a center for pilgrimage and heritage tourism. In a recent study, Charles Taylor notes that festivity is experiencing a renaissance as "one of the new forms of religion in our world." Festivals and pilgrimage routes are an integral part of contemporary religion and spirituality, and important cultural institutions in a globalized world.
In Performing the Reformation, Stephenson offers a field-based case study of contemporary festivity and pilgrimage in the City of Luther. Welcome to Lutherland, where atheists dress up as monks and nuns for Luther's Wedding; conservative Lutherans work to sacralize the secular, carnival-like festivities; and medieval players, American Gospel singers, and Peruvian pan flute bands compete for the attention of the bustling crowds. Festivals and tourism in Wittenberg include a range of performative genres (parades and processions, liturgies and concerts, music and dance), cut across multiple cultural domains (religion, politics, economics), and effect connections and shifts among identities (religious, secular, American, German, traditional, postmodern). Incorporating visual methodologies and grounded in historical and social contexts, Stephenson provides an on-the-ground account of the annual Luther's Wedding Festival, the Reformation Day Festival, and Lutheran pilgrimage. He also brings his case study into dialogue with important methodological and theoretical issues informing the fields of ritual studies and performance studies.
About the Author
Barry Stephenson is an independent reseacher and Instructor affiliated with the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.
Table of Contents
Introdcution: APPROACHING LUTHERLAND
1. OPENING THE DOOR
2. THE WITTENBERG FESTIVALS
3. A MIGHTY FORTRESS?
4. MARTIN LUTHER, GERMAN HERO
5. SOCIABILITY, CONVIVIALITY
6. THE CARNIVALESQUE, PROCESSING CHANGE
7. PILGRIMAGE, SACRED SPACE
Legend to Portal (6:46)
Wedding Montage (3:46)
Tetzel at the Doors (4:38)
The Animators (40:32)
Images of Luther's Wedding, 2005 (PowerPoint)
Luther Protests (PowerPoint)
Reformation Day Brochure, 2005 (pdf)
Luther's Wedding Brochure, 2005(pdf)
Selected Websites (pdf)
Yale Conference Paper, Sensory Overload (pdf)
* Extras are accessible by opening the disc in a computer's DVD-ROM drive