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Carnival: Culture in Action -- The Trinidad Experience by Milla Cozart Riggio

By Milla Cozart Riggio

This superbly illustrated quantity beneficial properties paintings by means of major writers and specialists on carnival from worldwide, and contains beautiful photograph essays by way of acclaimed photographers Pablo Delano and Jeffrey Chock. Editor Milla Cozart Riggio offers a physique of labor that takes the reader on a desirable trip exploring some of the elements of carnival - its traditions, its historical past, its track, its politics - and prefaces each one part with an illuminating essay. conventional carnival thought, dependent typically at the paintings of Mikhail Bakhtin and Victor Turner, has lengthy outlined carnival as inversive or subversive. The essays during this groundbreaking anthology jointly opposite that development, providing a re-definition of 'carnival' that focuses now not at the hierarchy it quickly displaces or negates, yet a person who is rooted within the genuine pageant occasion. Carnival info its new idea by way of a carnival that's instantly consultant and certain: The Carnival of Trinidad - the main copied but least studied significant carnival on the earth.

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The history of diasporic carnivals may challenge this rather simplistic opposition (see Part IV of this volume). Conflicts between various ethnic groups, as for example the Hasidic community and the West Indians in Brooklyn, are played out partly in the festive arenas of the city. And, in contrast, there are those in Trinidad who resist the ethos of carnival, from either religious persuasion or the opposite extreme, a commitment to the ethos of the workaday world. 29 • MILLA COZART RIGGIO 9 30 The concept of family in this festive setting is extended to include an informal, non-biological family.

It releases the spirit of intoxication inherent in aesthetic creativity and communion with fellow revelers as much as in its free-flowing alcoholic libations. Though contemporary carnivals are sometimes celebrated in seasons other than spring (particularly in northern climates in mid or late summer), the festival retains its link with fertility, licensing otherwise forbidden sexual freedom, even as its feasts affirm and reinforce communal sharing. Part of the carnival paradox – and one of its main boundary crossings – is its positioning between pre-industrial, traditional cultural norms and highly industrialized contemporary settings.

Santiago de Cuba, celebrated each July, was used as a cover for an unsuccessful Castro rebellion in 1953, and, when Castro came to power in 1959 under the cover of a raucous New Year’s Day celebration, carnival was officially canceled (though subversively celebrated) for nearly forty years. Though it revels in excess and may be subversive, carnival is not Saturnalian. Its celebration is typically governed by a process of restraint – order within license – amidst the excesses of consumption and revelry.

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