The Politics of Carnival: Transnational and Transhistorical Perspectives”

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International conference: “The Politics of Carnival: Transnational and Transhistorical Perspectives”

February 13-15, 2015

Paris Diderot University

Buffon Lecture Hall

15 rue Hélène Brion

75013 Paris



Co-conveners: Aurélie Godet,, and Maria Laura Reali, (Paris Diderot University).

This international conference on carnival will bring together historians, anthropologists, and sociologists to explore the links between carnival and politics as showcased by carnivals in Europe, North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. The purpose of the meeting will be twofold: (1) discuss the evolution of ‘carnival studies’ since the publication of Mikhaïl Bakhtin’s Rabelais and His World (1965) fifty years ago; (2) use case studies covering a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods (from the Renaissance to the 21st century) to produce a coherent synthesis of the relationship between carnival and politics.

The conference will be held on 13-14 February so as to coincide with the annual ‘promenade de Bœuf-Gras’ (Fat Cow Parade), one of the highlights of the Paris carnival. Led by the Fat Cow herself, musicians and Parisians parade through the French capital’s streets to the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), thus reviving an age-old tradition begun in 1274. For more information, see

The program includes the following Caribbean-related presentations:

Blodwenn Mauffret (Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle University): “La pratique du détour et l’esthétique grotesque au sein du carnaval de Cayenne: expression de la dérision militante créole”.

Aurélie Helmlinger (CNRS): “Steelpan Politics: Revisiting the Early History of Trinidad’s National Instrument”.

Garth Green (University of North Carolina, Charlotte): “Beyond Bakhtin: Carnival and Resistance in Trinidad and Tobago”.

Louis Regis (University of the West Indies, Trinidad): “Calypso and the Genesis of Obeah Politics in Trinidad and Tobago”.

Milla Cozart Riggio (Trinity College, Connecticut): “Playing and Praying: The Politics of Race and Religion in Trinidad Carnival”.

Olivier Esteves (Lille 3 University): “Reclaiming the Home Country: The Early Years of the Notting Hill Carnival”.

Lionel Arnaud (Toulouse 3 University): “L’action politique des groupes carnavalesques: une comparaison Guadeloupe / Martinique”.

Nicole Ferdinand (King’s College, London): “Notting Hill Carnival and the Politics of Tourism in the 21st Century”.

Sources: and


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