The Archive and the Festival
Keywords:archive, repertoire, early modern festivals, royal entry, Philip III, Lisbon, colonial Latin America, Potosí, Minas Gerais, agency, black brotherhoods, digital humanities
This article offers a brief overview and assessment of the opportunities and challenges that written, visual, and digital records hold for the study of early modern festivals, using Diana Taylor’s terminology of the “archive” and the “repertoire” and examples from colonial Latin American and early modern Iberian festivals as points of departure. While archival records are far from transparent records of the events, they can help to illuminate the multiple, sometimes conflicting agendas behind both the festivals and their pictorial or textual representation. Digital archives promise to make early modern festivals more broadly accessible for comprehensive and comparative study, but they carry their own risks by disconnecting both researchers and records from the embodied presence of contemporary festive repertoires.