Urban Celebration

This Thesis looks at the transformative nature of Carnival in Trinidad on the city of Port-of-Spain. Carnival in Trinidad embodies a unique cultural confluence that is born from the conjoined European, African, Indian and modern West Indian narratives that shape the Caribbean consciousness. The transformation that occurs during Carnival is of a civic, personal and perhaps even spiritual nature. This thesis will explore in depth the urban artifices of Carnival, looking at the anatomy of the festival itself, that is, the history, characters, places and moving parts that comprise its celebration in the city. Through this exploration of masquerade and urbanism, I hope to create a realistic understanding of the syncretic nature of this festival and its emancipating role in West Indian society.

Carnival in Trinidad evolved as a vehicle of emancipation for the ex-slaves of the society. Its celebration is a centrifugal force within the society; drawing on the many parallel histories of the island and bursting onto the streets in the ecstatic celebration of a unified myth and reality. The problems of identity, spatial ownership and belonging that are inherent to the post colonial mind, on the days of Carnival are temporarily non-existent. This thesis therefore aims to create the beginning of an new urban understanding of Trinidad that is rooted in Caribbean history and Caribbean behaviour, rather than in borrowed attitudes and fractured codes.

Link to site: http://urbancelebration.blogspot.com/

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