CIRR-HTIR colloquium - ADHEMAR MERCADO: "From Ritualized Systems of Colonial Power to Sites of Disobedience and Revolt: Theorizing Colonialism and Resistance through the Patron Saint Festivals in the Colonial Andes"
|Th 16-12-2021 16:00 - 18:00
Research colloquium of the chair group History and Theory of International Relations.
From Ritualized Systems of Colonial Power to Sites of Disobedience and Revolt: Theorizing Colonialism and Resistance through the Patron Saint Festivals in the Colonial Andes
Fiestas Patronales (Patron Saint Festivals) today are omnipresent in Bolivia. With their parades and the multitudes of spectators they attract each year, these festivals have become important religious, social, economic, and political events across Bolivia. Despite their importance, these festivities are often overlooked, reduced to questions of faith or cultural politics by the postcolonial and decolonial literature of the Andean region. While these festivals’ evangelizing and civilizing tendencies are evident, they are also seen by social movements and activists as sites of disobedience and even decolonization.
As this paper shows, despite its obvious colonial origins Patron Saint Festivals do not fit into simple narratives of colonisation and anti-colonial struggles; neither are they explained through romantic imaginaries that see in them practices of integration and community formation. Instead, these religious manifestations are sites of competition, contradictions, fractions, but also of relationality. They exceed dialectic narratives of colonized/colonizer relations and related questions of resistance.
The paper, thus, proposes a more nuanced depiction of colonial relations, resistance, and decolonization. By following the history of Patron Saint Festivals in the Andes, the paper shows the limitations of the growing postcolonial and decolonial debates within international relations, problematizing the implicit and explicit assumptions about the colonial period in discussions on resistance and decolonization.