Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

7/1/2011 - 8/31/2011

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Spectacular Wealth: Power and Participation in the Festivals of Colonial Potosi, Peru and Minas Gerais, Brazil

FAIN: FT-58579-11

Lisa Beth Voigt
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1349)

This book project focuses on public festivals in the colonial mining boom towns of South America: Potosi in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, and the various municipalities of Minas Gerais, Brazil. These towns enjoyed, for a time, both spectacular wealth and a wealth of spectacles. As a result of the mineral riches, both areas developed an elaborate festive culture that involved the participation of those who profited from the mines as well as those forced to work in them (principally Amerindians in Potosi and blacks in Minas Gerais). This project examines the performance of different cultural identities and strategies of self-promotion in the festivals as well as in the writing and publication of festival texts. The book will offer, for the first time, a comparative study of the principal mining towns of the Spanish and Portuguese empires, through an analysis of the competing agendas and performances of their diverse constituent communities in festivals and festival accounts.

Associated Products

Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns (Book)
Title: Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns
Author: Lisa Voigt
Abstract: Bridging print culture and performance, Spectacular Wealth draws on eighteenth-century festival accounts to explore how colonial residents of the silver-mining town of Potosí, in the viceroyalty of Peru, and the gold-mining region of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, created rich festive cultures that refuted European allegations of barbarism and greed. In her examination of the festive participation of the towns’ diverse inhabitants, including those whose forced or slave labor produced the colonies’ mineral wealth, Lisa Voigt shows how Amerindians, Afro-descendants, Europeans, and creoles displayed their social capital and cultural practices in spectacular performances. Tracing the multiple meanings and messages of civic festivals and religious feast days alike, Spectacular Wealth highlights the conflicting agendas at work in the organization, performance, and publication of festivals. Celebrants and writers in mining boomtowns presented themselves as far more than tributaries yielding mineral wealth to the Spanish and Portuguese empires, using festivals to redefine their reputations and to celebrate their cultural, spiritual, and intellectual wealth.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781477310977
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes