Festive Devils in the Americas

Convener: Paolo Vignolo

The research group “Play, fiesta and power”

The aim of the research group “Play, fiesta and power” is to explore play, carnival and popular fiesta in the Americas from the perspective of the performance studies, privileging a historically grounded, comparative approach to the subject and encouraging the dialogue among arts, academy and political activism. In order to examine carnavalesque and festive phenomena as “performance,” it is necessary to take inquiry beyond folkloric essentialism and economic reductionism in order to grasp the importance of these practices in the construction of American and Caribbean societies. In this sense, the research group is interested in understanding how representations and practices, themes and techniques related to play and fiesta constantly reshape geographies of identity, gender and race, transform memories of diaspora and displacement, rewrite historical narrative and present political, social, ethnic unrest in a different and innovative light.

The work group “Festive devils in the Americas”

At the 2009 Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, the research group proposes a work group entitled “Festive devils in the Americas”. The work group is seeks to develop the following objectives:

  • • To evaluate the academic, artistic and political activities of the research group over the past year
  • • To provide an opportunity to share and discuss practical and theoretical proposals of each participant
  • • To articulate the subject of the festive devils with the debate on cultural rights, immaterial and material heritage, and citizenship
  • • To collectively imagine new initiatives as a group


The work group (maximum 20 people) will meet every day of the Encuentro to share and discuss the proposals, experiences and initiatives of each participant. Each session of the work group will be of two hours and will be structured in the following manner:

  • • A brief introduction of the convener (10 minutes)
  • • Presentation of 2 or 3 works (15 minutes each)
  • • Discussion of each work by a discussant (15 minutes)
  • • Questions, considerations, critiques, commentaries by participants (50-65 minutes)


Paolo Vignolo is a researcher of inverted worlds: antipodes, carnivals, revolutions, from the Middle Ages to the present. He is Professor at the Universidad Nacional of Colombia and a coordinator of the reserach group "Play, fiesta, and power."



Angela Marino Segura
Aressa Rios
Ausonia MOnteiro 
Barnaby King
Beatriz Lopez
Camila Aschner-Restrepo
Estefania González
MIlla Riggio 
Paolo Vignolo
Rachel Bowditch 
Rawle Gibbons
Sandra Argel 
Zeca Ligiéro