Accepted Paper:

Of rhythms and refrains in contemporary Damascus: natality and naitivity  


Andreas Bandak (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses questions concerning the lived experience of Christian Arabs in Damascus. Focusing on practices surrounding Christmas where tableaux of the naitivity crib is integrated in the homes of Christian families themes of past and present is being reflected.

Paper long abstract:

For the Christian Arabs of Damascus Christmas is a time for celebration. By focusing on the practices of Arab Christian families revolving around tableaux of the naitivity crib different kind of lived memories is reflected. The naitivity crib connotes both the time for perpetual birth and new beginnings. And at the same time it is filled with memories and practices from a past. Taking the cue from Hannah Arendt's idea on natality and Giorgio Agamben's reflections on the naitivity crib the paper attempts to investigate the zone opened by the tableau, the place where past and present fuses, and a dual perspective is put forward, a perspective which focuses on both rhythms and refrains of life. Hereby a conjecture is proposed of the thinking of Henri Lefebvre found in his attempt at an Rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean Cities and the thinking of Gilles Deleuze and FĂ©lix Guattari, namely in their concept of refrains as recurring themes in a social landscape. By this a discussion is opened on how Christian Arabs refashions old and new in daily life.

Panel W024
Mutuality and memory: encounters in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cities