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Festive Devils of the Americas

The devil is a defiant, nefarious figure, the emblem of evil, and harbinger of the damned. However, the festive devil—the devil that dances—turns the most hideous acts into playful transgressions. Festive Devils of the Americas is the first volume to present a transnational and performance-centered approach to this fascinating, feared, and revered character of fiestas, street festivals, and carnivals in North, Central, and South America. As produced and performed in both rural and urban communities and among neighborhood groups and councils, festive devils challenge the principles of colonialism and nation-states reliant on the straight and narrow opposition between good and evil, black and white, and us and them.

Each section of this volume opens with regional maps ranging from the Andes, Afro-Atlantic, and Caribbean, to Central and North America. However, festive devils defy geographical as well as moral boundaries. From Brazil’s Candomblé to New Mexico’s dance halls, festive devils and their stories sustain and transform ancestral memory, recast historical narratives, and present political, social, and cultural alternatives in many guises. Within economic, political, and religious cross-currents, these paradoxical figures affirm the spirit of community within the framework of subversion and inversion found at the heart of the festival world.

384 pages | 36 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2015  


Culture Studies

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Table of Contents


Diana Taylor

Part I: Introduction

The Work of the (Festive) Devil
Angela Marino

Part 2: Essays

Andean and Pacific Coast Devils

Via Crucis and the Passion of a Diabla: Public Space, Historical Memory and Cultural Rights in the Carnival of Riosucio
Paolo Vignolo

The Virgin of Candelaria and Her Dancing Devils, Puno, Peru
Miguel Rubio Zapata

Masks: A Photographic Essay
Amiel Cayo

The Devil, Temptation and Penitence in Oruro’s Carnival Pageant
Thomas Abecrombie 

The Diablada of Oruro: A Photographic Essay
Miguel Gandert

Resignified Devils: Performing Imaginations of Peruvian Blackness
Monica Rojas

Caribbean and Afro-Atlantic Devils

Diabolic Suffering, Whips and the Burning of Judas: Holy Week in Cabral, Dominican Republic 
Max Harris

Our Everyday Devil: The Brazilian Embodiment of European Catholic Tradition
Zeca Ligiéro

‘The Vejigante is Painted / Green, Yellow and Red…’
Lowell Fiet

Pay the Devil, Jab Jab: Festive Devils in Trinidad Carnival
Milla Cozart Riggio and Rawle Gibbons, with Raviji

The Devil in Cumaná: A Photographic Essay
David M. Guss, with Photographs by Rafael Salvatore

Venezuela’s Corpus Christi Dancing Devils: An Intangible Cultural Heritage—A Photographic Essay
Benito Irady, with Photographs by Rafael Salvatore

The Devil’s Turn
Angela Marino

Northern Devils

Pancho and Minga: Devilish Renegades of Mexico
Anita Gonzalez 

From Kiva to Fandango to Casino: Demonic Admonitions for Changing Times
Enrique R. Lamadrid

The Inferno: Burning Man and the Tipping Points
Rachel Bowditch 

Part 3: Crossings/Encrucijades

Matters of the Sprite: Rendering Festive Devils unto Various Gods
Milla Cozart Riggio

Who Owns the Devil?
Paolo Vignolo 

Works Cited
Notes on Contributors

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