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Title page for ETD etd-07252010-195524

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Haynes, Justin
URN etd-07252010-195524
Title Carnival: Transformation, Performance and Play in Caribbean Festivals
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Vera M. Kutzinski Committee Chair
Cecelia Tichi Committee Member
Houston Baker Committee Member
Jane Landers Committee Member
William Luis Committee Member
  • postcolonial studies
  • carnival
  • Caribbean studies
Date of Defense 2010-05-20
Availability unrestricted
In this dissertation I examine the origins, influences and features of Caribbean carnivals as cultural festivals that developed and expanded in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly during moments of emancipation. Tracing the historical path of these festivals as they transformed from divisive nationalistic acts to inclusive performative events, I argue that the ontology of carnival—its resistance first to slavery, then to colonialism, combined with its creativity, exists in the interstices of masqueraders’ performances. I analyze carnival as a festival that remains amorphous while privileging trans-Caribbean features, notably unstructured play. Because of this indeterminacy, representations of carnival in literature and film tend to include multiple viewpoints. I analyze these possibilities in various texts such as in Paule Marshall’s The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969), Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s La Última Cena (1976), Earl Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance (1979), Wilson Harris’ Carnival (1985), Pauline Melville’s The Ventriloquist’s Tale (1997) and Robert Antoni’s Carnival (2005).
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