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Women and Carnival Space

Gender and Carnival in a North Aegean Island Community

Regina Zervou

This article focuses on gender relations through the performance of carnival rites in a North Aegean island rural community. Based on qualitative research, it approaches the women’s use of public space during carnival and the changes under the influence of women’s emancipation since the 1970s. The percentage of women, especially young girls, participating in carnival rites has risen dramatically over the last decade. However, not all carnival public spaces are equally open to women. The article examines the way women try to impose their presence on the strictly male universe of the carnival space and especially the marketplace, the traditional and timeless core of the carnival rites, where only men can pronounce the obscene carnival language, fruit of the kafeneion male discourse and the reactions of the male community to the novelties brought by feminism into the village.

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The Colonial State and Carnival

The Complexity and Ambiguity of Carnival in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Christoph Kohl

Carnival performances and their political implications underwent significant transformations in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. By focusing on two periods of colonization, this article examines carnival as an event that involves a multitude of meanings and forms of imitation that could imply resistance to colonialism, but were by no means limited to critique and upheaval. Colonizers, colonized, and the people mediating and situated between these overarching categories could ascribe various meanings to specific performances, thereby underlining the multi-dimensional character of carnivalesque rituals and their heterogeneous significations. In these performances, mimicking the colonizers was an active, creative, and ambiguous undertaking that repeatedly and increasingly challenged colonial representation. However, the colonial state proved to be far less controlling and totalizing than is often assumed.

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Belonging through Languagecultural Practices in the Periphery

The Politics of Carnival in the Dutch Province of Limburg

Leonie Cornips and Vincent De Rooij

In this article, we will present two case studies of language and cultural practices that are part of or strongly related to carnival, in the Dutch peripheral province of Limburg, and more precisely in the southern Limburgian city of Heerlen, which in turn is considered peripheral vis-à-vis the provincial capital Maastricht. We will consider carnival as a political force field in which opposing language and cultural practices are involved in the production of belonging as an official, public-oriented 'formal structure' of membership, and belonging as a personal, intimate feeling of being 'at home' in a place (place-belongingness) (Antonsich 2010; Yuval-Davis 2006). In the case studies presented here, we take seriously the idea that ideology, linguistic form and the situated use of language are dialectically related (Silverstein 1985). In doing so, we wish to transcend disciplinary boundaries between anthropology and (socio)linguistics in Europe.

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Annick Pellegrin

While religious celebrations during the Renaissance served to reaffirm society's hegemony, the carnival was a means of freeing oneself from social norms, hierarchy and privileges. As it questions hegemony, the carnival sometimes leads to changes. Picaresque literature emerged in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. In its early stages, the picaresque was a strongly satirical and ironic 'countergenre' to mystic literature and romance genres. Like the carnivalesque, picaresque literature questions the ruling classes.2 Tintin is mostly studied either in terms of its ideological commitment or in terms of its fidelity to stylistic features. The aim of this paper differs from such concerns: it is to consider Tintin et les Picaros as a satire of politics. This paper explores the constant pairing of politics and carnival in Tintin et les Picaros, as well as the representation of both through amalgams and imports. Using Bakhtin's theory, the picaresque and Latin American history, this paper addresses the central question: how are politics and carnival represented in Tintin et les Picaros and to what extent is the album picaresque in this respect?

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Heterotopia or Carnival Site?

Rethinking the Ethnographic Museum

Jen Walklate

This article seeks to explore the Bakhtinian carnivalesque in relation to museums generally and to ethnographic museums in particular. The Bakhtinian carnivalesque is based on antihierarchicalism, laughter, embodiment, and temporality, and it has the potential to move museums away from a problematic association with heterotopia. Instead, the carnivalesque allows ethnographic museums to be recognized as active agents in the sociopolitical worlds around them, offers a lens through which to examine and move forward some current practices, and forces museums to reconsider their position and necessity. This article also reflects on the value of transdisciplinary approaches in museum studies, positioning literary theory in particular as a valuable analytical resource.

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Sexy Health Carnival

One Small Part of Indigenous Herstory

Alexa Lesperance

Aanii! I am an Anishinaabe woman from Naotkamegwanning First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. I am a sister, cousin, bear (from the bear clan), friend, and auntie, and, as part of my many roles, I’m also a Youth Facilitator at the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN). This is a by and for Indigenous youth organization that works across issues of reproductive health, rights, and justice, which is just another way of saying that we support community and youth awesome-ness!

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San Sombrèro

A Land of Carnivals, Cocktails and Coups: Henri Bergson's Theory of Laughter and the Problems of Travel Guide Humour

Benjamin Fraser

Although fictional places have certainly been the hallmark of great literature (William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Juan Benet), a recent travel guide to the fictional land of 'San Sombrèro' shows that their manifestation in popular culture can be questionable. A Bergsonian reading (Laughter, 1900) of the guide's attempt to pair humour with contrived exoticism yields more discomfort than laughs.

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Esther

Beyond Murder

Jeremy Schonfield

The book of Esther, a popular tale of group loyalty in the face of hostility, is read on Purim, the spring-time carnival feast of revelry, fancy-dress, role reversal, charity and drinking. The purpose of this paper is to ask whether the book would be as popular if we thought carefully about its depiction of Jewish relations with host cultures. Should we discount this as an historical curiosity? Or is it essential to what the book and the feast have to offer?

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The God Who Hides

Some Jewish Responses to the Book of Esther

Jonathan Magonet

Little controversy appears to surround the canonization of the Book of Esther and it fits in comfortably as one of the Five Megillot. Read at Purim and enjoyed because of the opportunities if offers for 'carnival', nevertheless it raises both classical and modern issues. The former relate to the absence of God in the book, hence the additions in the Targumim and Septuagint to 'correct' this. Modern sensitivities are concerned at the violence it displays; however, Emil Fackenheim notes its renewed significance after the Shoah as a reflection of the realities of diasporic existence.

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Rodrigo Booth

In 1984 the successful Chilean punk rock band Los Prisioneros identified Latin America as “an exotic place to visit”. Written in a strongly anti-imperialist key, the song “Latinoamerica es un pueblo al sur de Estados Unidos” (“Latin America is a village to the south of the United States”) said about tourism in the continent: For tourists and curious people, / it is an exotic place to visit. / It is only a cheap

place, / but inappropriate to live there. / Latin America offers, / the Rio’s Carnival and the Aztec Ruins, / dirty people wandering around in the streets, / ready to sell themselves for some US dollars.