Paper short abstract:
This paper will shed light on the role the performance of carnival and its associated rituals played in the colonial encounter - notably in times of crises - in colonial Guinea-Bissau, West Africa.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will shed light on the role the performance of carnival and its associated rituals played in the colonial encounter - notably in times of crises - in then Portuguese Guinea. Carnival emerged first in a handful of European trading posts where creole communities had emerged since the sixteenth century. The first case to be dealt with illustrates how creoles - serving the European colonisers as auxiliaries - lampooned colonial politics through carnival and its performances of inversion and critique in the 1880s. Basically, they were accentuating the weak position of the early, yet ground-gaining colonial state by accusing the colonisers of betraying the colony's interests to the French. The second example is based on an analysis of archive material from the late colonial period (1960s). By then, carnival - still largely restricted to the former trading posts and centres of creole culture - had turned into a platform of open and mimetic protest against ongoing colonial presence and repression by the Portuguese, confronted by rising nationalism dominated by creoles. In both cases creoles acted as if they were the actual masters of the country, highlighting their role for nation-building.
Colonial crisis and cross-cultural encounters: Reconfigurations of the social in historical perspective