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Virtual Event: The 40th Dickens Universe: A Christmas Carol 07/26/21-07/30/21

The Dickens Universe is an annual gathering of scholars, teachers, and members of the general public who share a love of Dickens's writings and his era. In 2021, the Universe will feature A Christmas Carol. Because of public health concerns and to ensure the safety of its participants, the 2021 Universe will take place online.

Perhaps the best known and most widely beloved of Dickens’s works, A Christmas Carol is the story of one man’s conversion from miserly misanthropy to a belief in the goodness of mankind and an acceptance of his place in the larger human community. Set against a background of social and economic distress during the “hungry ‘forties” in England, the Carol is at once an indictment of economic individualism and a powerful exploration of dreams, memory, and the importance of self-reflection. An early experiment in time-travel, the Carol has undergone countless adaptations and rewritings, many of which will be addressed during the week-long program of events.

Through panel discussions by distinguished scholars, seminars, small group discussions, and film screenings, the Universe will focus on A Christmas Carol, its many adaptations and reinterpretations, and its continuing relevance today.

The schedule for the week includes panel discussions on Christmas Carol pedagogies,

disabilities, Black adaptations, death and Christianity, Mary Seacole and communities of

care, and adapting the story for the Royal Shakespeare Company and for the opera. An avid

Dickens fan, actress Miriam Margolyes will be delivering a reading on the final day of the


Panel discussions:

"Ghosts of Christmas Present: Adapting A Christmas Carol Today" with Nora Gilbert (University of North Texas), Marty Gould (University of South Florida), and Sharon Aronofsky Weltman (Louisiana State University). Moderated by Carolyn Williams (Rutgers University).

"'The lessons they teach': Christmas Carol Pedagogies" with Teague Tubach (The Charter School of Morgan Hill), Nirshan Perera (Pacific Collegiate School, Santa Cruz), and Melisa Klimaszewski (Drake University). Moderated by Tricia Lootens (University of Georgia).

"Who is Disabled in A Christmas Carol?" with Talia Schaffer (Queens College, CUNY), Essaka Joshua (University of Notre Dame), Martha Stoddard Holmes (CSU San Marcos), and Ryan Sweet (Swansea University). Moderated by Talia Schaffer.

Black Adaptations of A Christmas Carol with Kyra Hicks (Author, Artist, and Quilter) and Francine Haskins (Mixed Media Artist and Author). Moderated by Melisa Klimaszewski (Drake University).

"'Marley was dead; to begin with': Dickens, Death, and Christmas" with Robert Patten (Rice University), John Jordan (UC Santa Cruz), and Catherine Waters (University of Kent). Moderated by John Jordan.

"Christmas in the Crimea: Mary Seacole and Communities of Care" with Lara Kriegel (Indiana University), Indu Ohri (University of Virginia), and Aeron Hunt (Boston College). Moderated by Lara Kriegel.

"A Carol for the RSC: Staging A Christmas Carol for the Royal Shakespeare Company" with David Edgar (Playwright) and John Bowen (University of York). Moderated by Daniel Pollack-Pelzner.

"The Passion of Scrooge. A Christmas Carol and Opera" with H. Paul Moon (Director), Jon Deak (Composer), and Christopher Kendall (Conductor). Moderated by Jason Rudy (University of Maryland).

Miriam Margolyes reads from A Christmas Carol, with an introduction by Sharon Aronofsky Weltman (Louisiana State University).

Looking Ahead: Dear Iola, Love South L.A. NAI Film Festival. Moderated by Jill Galvan (Ohio State University).

All are welcome!

Conference Schedule: https://dickens.ucsc.edu/universe/2021-schedule.html

Participating Faculty and Guest Lecturers: https://dickens.ucsc.edu/universe/faculty.html

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