Performance As Resistance: The Taino Show

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Jorge CAPETILLO , Sociology, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA
Julian JEFFERIES , Education, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

Performance as Resistance: The Taino Show

Jorge Capetillo, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Julian Jefferies, California State University, Fullerton

This presentation will show footage and analyze a ceremony organized to report on the results of mitochondrial DNA analysis to determine Taino (original inhabitants of Puerto Rico) ancestry on the population of Vieques, Puerto Rico in June 2012. Using a set of different techniques, the organizers, participants and the public performed the ‘Taino Show’: a game-show-like ceremony that served to resist imposed notions of identity, to re-imagine and invent traditions (Hobsbawm, 1983) and to assign a new racial hierarchy. The ‘Taino Show’ consisted of four different sections which will be analyzed and coded: (i) the selling of Taino artifacts; (ii) a lecture on Taino history; (iii) a game-show like performance, with the use of suspense, audience interaction where contestants ‘competed’ for identity for and were assigned their new identities; (iv) and a final prayer, bringing up issues of language reconstruction and the blending in of Christian tradition. Drawing from literature on the creation of performance as a political act of resistance (DeBord, 1959) and the invention of tradition (Hobsbawm, 1983), this paper will shed light on the new ways disenfranchised members of society attempt to contest and create new identities.