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Reunions, Anniversaries, Birthdays, and Weddings from a Transcultural Perspective

Guide for submitters: We have a total of six 45-minute lectures planned.

Lecture proposals should be submitted in the form of a short report to Dr. Matthias Jung at 25jahre@iik-duesseldorf.de by 30.09.2014.

The articles will be published in the series ‘IIK Evening Academy’ in the Düsseldorf University Press.

Travel and accommodation costs for the speakers will be fully covered.


From the blowing out of candles to the catching of a bridal bouquet to all sorts of gift-giving traditions and special ceremonies, every culture is marked by a variety of recurring traditional rites, habits, and customs. The most distinct traditions are surely those pertaining to weddings. This is undoubtedly why they gained early interest from ethnologists and remain fascinating to those working in cultural studies.

In the western world, weddings continue to have a romantic image, which is ubiquitously driven by the media. This romantic view can notably be characterised by the Christian wedding ceremony, even though secular church ceremonies no longer hold any legally binding rights, and the bride and groom are no longer required to be members of the church. Phrases such as “till death do us part” remain inseparable to weddings in the collective consciousness, though they aren’t used in the common registry office ceremony today.

In the wake of globalisation, it is becoming more and more familiar for distinctly different marriage symbolism to become superimposed. This is not only owing to the ever increasing number of multicultural couples and families coming together as one, but mostly thanks to the European-Hollywood pressure that local, unique, and often centuries old, traditions are faced with from the worldwide representation of the romantic wedding that the movie and TV industry produce. The resulting hybridization leaves us with a fully-fledged transcultural form of wedding rituals. This can be seen in the intercultural couples in Germany through to the marriage ceremonies in places without any form of Christian upbringing such as in Muslim countries or in Asia. An entire industry is profiting from the residual scenarios, which are constantly getting more and more time-consuming and lavish.

On the occasion of IIK’s 25th Anniversary, the colloquium will focus on this intercultural hybridization of weddings, analyse this phenomenon, ask after new forms of transculturalism, and examine the mutual cultural influences. Studies and articles about intercultural marriage, in this context, are welcome from cultural studies, ethnology, social sciences, media studies, and historical sciences.

» Information about the colloquium

» Program of the colloquium

» Lecturers: short profiles