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February 1, 2013

A Semester Long Study of Carnival

Carnival: the Social Structure of Spiritual and Cultural Celebration

This spring, as millions of people put on masks, feathers and beads for Mardi Gras or Carnival, St. Francis College students will take a deeper look at the meaning behind the "carnivalesque" in a new course taught by Sociology Professor Deinya Phenix.

Carnival: the Social Structure of Spiritual and Cultural Celebration investigates the ethnic, cultural, religious and economic issues behind Carnival as practiced around the world. Professor Phenix expands her definition of Carnival to include the traditional Caribbean Carnival, South American/Brazilian Carnaval, and American Mardi Gras as well as non-pre-Lenten cultural festivals such as those in Notting Hill, Brooklyn and Toronto.

Students will learn about the religious and secular social forces that have shaped these festivals through a series of films, guest lectures and live performances. Each of these special events, by artists from Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, and Haiti, are also open to the larger St. Francis community.

Professor Phenix says the events provide a great opportunity to, “learn about traditional songs, dance, props, instruments and costumes, as well as some of the deeper sociological issues behind the colorful celebrations.”

All events will be held on Thursday beginning at 6:00pm in the Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture & Education (Room 7402). The tentative calendar is listed below:

  • 2/14 Gringos in the hostel : Guest lecture and performance by BatalaNYC
  • 2/21 Film screening: Ebony Goddess: the Queen of Ile Aiye
  • 2/28 Roots of Brazilian Samba music and dance: Guest lecture and performance by Grupo Ribeiro
  • 3/7 Spirituality and identity in Cuban music and dance: Guest lecture and performance by Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Dance Ensemble
  • 3/21 Trini transnational identity: Playing Mas as marriage of religion and culture: Pan performance and guest lecture on Trinidad’s’ Carnival
  • 4/4 From Carnival to Rara: a Haitian Spring in dance and song: Guest lecture and performance by Julio Jean Haitian Dance and Drum Company
  • 4/11 Carnival in the first world: Guest lecture and demonstration by Brooklyn’s own Sesame Flyers

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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