To bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences

Programme

Wed 4 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 5 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30
    19.00 - 20.15
    20.30 - 22.00

Fri 6 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 7 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 4 April 2018 11.00 - 13.00
I-2 - CUL02 : Carnival, Class and Gender in the Mediterranean, 18th-20th Centuries
MST/OG/009 Main Site Tower
Network: Culture Chair: Steven Thompson
Organizer: Nikos PotamianosDiscussant: Steven Thompson
Stelios Georgiades : Class and Gender in the Limassol Carnival, 1898-2000
In my intervention at the panel I will focus on the aspects regarding class and gender as they emerge from my research for the historical transformation of the Limassol Carnival.
Regarding class issues, the Limassol Carnival is a good example to observe how the Cypriot upper class managed to lead and ... (Show more)
In my intervention at the panel I will focus on the aspects regarding class and gender as they emerge from my research for the historical transformation of the Limassol Carnival.
Regarding class issues, the Limassol Carnival is a good example to observe how the Cypriot upper class managed to lead and sometimes patronize the lower classes of the society in moral, aesthetic and political issues. More specifically I will refer to the efforts of this newly established social class (in the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century) to transform the Carnival according to its own moral, political andaesthetic standards. A process which was officially inaugurated in 1898 with the formation of the first Carnivalcommitteewhich announcedeconomic rewards for the best costumes and satires. At the same time, in the local press, different columnists–pertainingto the upper class- will criticize for years the grotesque costumes and masks which had no aesthetics or specific political scope.
By 1931 a great transformation of the Carnival will be concluded depriving it from its prior traditional/rural characteristics adopting a more urban/politicalstyle which was imported from Europe, mainly throughAthens and Alexandria which were the main urban centres with which the Greek Cypriots had stronger links.
The battle between the classes within the Carnival will continue for many years through periodical clashes between social groups, representing different approaches regarding the costumes (grotesque and satirical against artistic and luxurious) and the music (western against local/oriental). On the contrary, the anonymity of the masks, as well as the organization of the big carnival balls, especiallyduring the decades 30’s-50’s,will givean opportunity to people of different classes to mix in many ways, a phenomenon thatcontinues till nowadays.
At the same time gender issues are also interesting to observe. The history of the Limassol Carnival shows us exactly the moment that the women of Limassolstarted to play a more visible role in public life in general. It is also important to acknowledge the opportunities that the Limassol Carnival gave to women -through the anonymity of the mask- to challenge and reverse their traditional role in entertainment, flirting, love and dressing up. Limassol was anyway the first town in Cyprus where women were emancipated.
Finally we should also note the opportunity that the Limassol Carnival gave to men and women (especially gay and lesbian) to “play” with their identity and reverse their gender. This rare opportunity was even used by theTurkish Cypriots of Limassol. Nevertheless, the steady liberation of the morals of the Cypriot society, the increasing mixing of classes and the gradual lessening of the boundaries between genders (due to the change of the laws for LGBT rights and thementality of the Cypriots), will cause major changes to the Limassol Carnival. As a result we observe a weakening of the social and anti-establishment forces within the Carnival, which will thus turn it, at a certain extent, into an opportunity for entertainment and artistic expression rather into an opportunity for challenging gender, class and other social boundaries. (Show less)

Panayota Noti Klagka : 18th Century Representations of Carnival in Italian Art
Carnival was a popular feast in Italy since the 13th century. It was the feast of the people and was celebrated in the squares of Italian cities and villages with parades, theatrical performances, dances, juggling, acrobatics and all sorts of festive activities. Celebrated the last days before Lent, Carnival represented ... (Show more)
Carnival was a popular feast in Italy since the 13th century. It was the feast of the people and was celebrated in the squares of Italian cities and villages with parades, theatrical performances, dances, juggling, acrobatics and all sorts of festive activities. Celebrated the last days before Lent, Carnival represented the feast of the senses before the reign of Lent which signified austerity and the battle of the spirit against the body. People indulged in food and drink and sexual innuendos and connotations were a major part of the activities whose leader was considered the devil! Devil orchestrated the indulgence of the senses and carnival’s social anarchy: the temporary supremacy of the lower classes, through Carnival’s main metaphor : “the world upside down”.
Although one of the most popular events in the calendar, carnival was never represented in Italian art until the beginning of the 17th century and even then, it was represented in the work of the “Bamboccianti”, painters of Dutch or Flemish origin whose work was much criticised by the 17th century art critics as worthless and deprived of artistic value. The main reason behind this accusation was the Carnival’s popular character. It was considered a low class subject, unworthy of noble art.
Carnival appeared in the work of established painters only in the 18th century, when the political aspects of its manifestations were diminished or lost and its popular origin was neglected. Italian carnival is brilliantly represented in the works of Francesco Guardi, Pietro Longhi or the masterpieces of the two Tiepolo’s, but its magic now rested in the exotic and alluring costumes of the participants, the mysterious and comic masques, or the beauty of the Venetian ladies depicted. The aristocracy had taken over a popular feast and had transformed it to a great spectacle deprived of its social and political connotations.
This paper will examine the 18th century representations of Carnival in Italian art as indicative of a change which transformed Carnival’s celebration in Italy and diminished its social aspects (Show less)

Nikos Potamianos : Gender Relations and the Transformation of the Urban Carnival Culture: Athens, 1800-1940
Urban carnivals underwent significant transformations in the late modern and contemporary period. Using the carnival of Athens as a case study, this paper aims to identify the gender aspects of these transformations and the ways they interacted with the profound changes in the gender relations that occurred during the 19th ... (Show more)
Urban carnivals underwent significant transformations in the late modern and contemporary period. Using the carnival of Athens as a case study, this paper aims to identify the gender aspects of these transformations and the ways they interacted with the profound changes in the gender relations that occurred during the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.
More specifically, I will focus on a certain set of transformations of the carnival practices in Athens: the carnival became less and less correlated to meanings that went beyond individual entertainment; festivities were gradually detached from the community, and many of them were converted into ordinary urban spectacles performed by semi-professionals; the radical potential of the popular culture and the feeling of a “world turned upside-down” was severely diminished; a new, imported from Western Europe, middle-class carnival culture dominated by the end of the 19th century; the public festivities were reformed by bourgeois committees that introduced a carnival parade in the central streets in 1887; "civilization process" (N. Elias) was accelerated in the context of this middle-class hegemonic assault, and violence was reduced; political satire and popular satirical masquerades declined; a turn towards commercialized indoor festivities in venues of public entertainment was marked in the first decades of the 20th century, and dancing replaced street festivities as the main feature of the carnival culture.
How were these developments related to gender relations? I will argue that a factor that contributed to the success of the bourgeois hegemonic assault was its positive articulation with the dominant trends in gender relations, and more specifically with the increasing degrees of freedom achieved by women. Women’s mobility in the public space seems to have been quite restricted in the 19th century. However, in the 1900s, newspaper reports give a picture of massive women’s presence in the central streets on the days of carnival. Of course this development must be placed in a broader context of transformations in gender relations –with which there was a reciprocal relationship: the creation of a “civilized environment” in the central streets of Athens, as well as the transformation of the festivities into spectacles rather than community-bound performances, possibly contributed to this increased access of women to public space.
Women's disguise, which permitted them to develop a more active attitude in the festivities instead of being mere spectators of practices performed by men, was part and parcel of the bourgeois disguising practices that focused on elegant costumes instead of comic imitations and social critique. Actually, the turn towards dancing can be interpreted, up to a point, (and indeed it was in a 1931 magazine), as a result of the strengthening of the women, who preferred a practice that was familiar to them, in which their active role had already been well-established, and thus its dominance permitted them to develop a more active role in the festivities. (Show less)

Katerina Sergidou : Seeking the Collective Memory in Cadiz Carnival. Gender Resistance in the Carnival Festivities
This paper aims to present aspects of the Cadiz carnival -with particular emphasis on the gender dimension of carnival speech and carnival performances- and at the same time to detect the origins of collective memory as it emerges through the celebration.
In the Cadiz carnival, one of the most famous ... (Show more)
This paper aims to present aspects of the Cadiz carnival -with particular emphasis on the gender dimension of carnival speech and carnival performances- and at the same time to detect the origins of collective memory as it emerges through the celebration.
In the Cadiz carnival, one of the most famous in Spain, two festivities take place in parallel, for almost a month. One, more formal, in the Falla theatre, with the so-called “Comparsas” singing “coplas”, and another, less formal event, happening in the Andalusian city streets, with the “Chirigotas”(the street groups) giving the tone. Both the festival and its preparation, which goes on for months before the event, set the tone in Cadiz throughout the year, creating the sense of a continuous "bakhtinian" celebration.

The carnival festivities are recorded in the city's archives since the 16th century. Specifically, there are recorded cases of "workers and fishermen who refuse to go to work", in order to be able to attend the carnival fiestas. At the same time, banning attempts are also witnessed, with the most significant recorded in the 18th century, when in 1716 the Crown prohibited ball masks. Despite everything, the carnival will succeed to survive through the centuries, until it was banned again under the Franco regime. The name was changed to “fiestas tipicas”. It reappears with the end of the dictatorship, and in response to public pressure, in 1977.

Continuing the tradition of medieval carnivalists, the modern carnival citizens take the streets chatting with carnivalists, commenting on current events and criticizing the city rulers. The Cadiz carnival has been recognised as the most ancient communication form among the people in Cadiz, or as "singing journalism". Since 2015, after the election of the new municipal authorities, carnival has a clearly positive attitude towards the mayor, since he was previously a member of a famous carnival group. Simultaneously, a new conflict erupts, as women demand the elimination of the sexist custom known as “ninfas y diosas”. Changes in public policies lead to the change of carnival ritual. Central role in the conflict play female carnival groups criticized by the local press for urging city women in orgiastic ceremonies and mass masturbation. In our presentation, through ethnographic methods such as participant observation during the carnival days and in-depth interviews, we will attempt a historical anthropological approach. Our goal is to highlight the gender dimension of carnival speech as found in the lyrics of female bands. We aim to present the conflict for the removal of the sexist institution of “ninfas y diosas” and its imprint on the carnival festivities, not only as a rupture with tradition but as a reconnection with the collective memory of carnival resistance. In order to do so, we will follow a comparative approach, investigating the discourse around the “ninfas y diosas” sexist custom that was developed during the Franco era and the opposing discourses of both the most eminent female group that is currently performing feminist carnival song and the local press, during 2016. (Show less)