Living Quixote
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The 400th anniversaries of Don Quixote in 2005 and 2015 sparked worldwide celebrations that brought to the fore its ongoing cultural and ideological relevance. Living Quixote examines contemporary appropriations of Miguel de Cervantes's masterpiece in political and social justice movements in the Americas, particularly in Brazil.

In this book, Cervantes scholar Rogelio Miñana examines long-term, Quixote-inspired activist efforts at the ground level. Through what the author terms performative activism, Quixote-inspired theater companies and nongovernmental organizations deploy a model for rewriting and enacting new social roles for underprivileged youth. Unique in its transatlantic, cross-historical, and community-based approach, Living Quixote offers both a new reading of Don Quixote and an applied model for cultural activism—a model based, in ways reminiscent of Paulo Freire, on the transformative potential of performance, literature, and art.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 février 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826522702
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Performing Latin American and Caribbean Identities
This series is a forum for scholarship that recognizes the critical role of performance in social, cultural, and political life. Geographically focused on the Caribbean and Latin America (including Latinidad in the United States) but wide-ranging in thematic scope, the series highlights how understandings of desire, gender, sexuality, race, the postcolonial, human rights, and citizenship, among other issues, have been explored and continue to evolve. Books in the series will examine performances by a variety of actors with under-represented and marginalized peoples getting particular (though not exclusive) focus. Studies of spectators or audiences are equally welcome as those of actors—whether literally performers or others whose behaviors can be interpreted that way. In order to create a rich dialogue, the series will include a variety of disciplinary approaches and methods as well as studies of diverse media, genres, and time periods.
Performing Latin American and Caribbean Identities is designed to appeal to scholars and students of these geographic regions who recognize that through the lens of performance (or what may alternatively be described as spectacle, ceremony, or collective ritual, among other descriptors) we can better understand pressing societal issues.
Performative Activism in Contemporary Brazil and the Americas
Nashville, Tennessee
© 2020 by Vanderbilt University Press
Nashville, Tennessee 37235
All rights reserved
First printing 2020
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
This study was funded in part by the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University
Names: Miñana, Rogelio, 1972– author.
Title: Living Quixote : performative activism in contemporary Brazil and the Americas / Rogelio Miñana.
Other titles: Performing Latin American and Caribbean identities.
Description: Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, 2020. | Series: Performing Latin American and Caribbean identities; Book 2 | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Summary: “Examines contemporary appropriations of Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece in political and social justice movements in the Americas, particularly in Brazil. The author examines long-term, Quixote-inspired activist efforts at the ground level, offering an applied model for cultural activism or, as he calls it, performative activism”–Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019026478 (print) | LCCN 2019026479 (ebook) | ISBN 9780826522689 (Hardcover : acid-free paper) | ISBN 9780826522696 (Paperback) | ISBN 9780826522702 (eBook)
Subjects: LCSH: Theater and society—America. | Social problems—America. | Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547–1616. Don Quixote—Adaptations.
Classification: LCC PN2219.3 .M56 2020 (print) | LCC PN2219.3 (ebook) | DDC 791.0981—dc23
LC record available at
LC ebook record available at
INTRODUCTION: Living Quixote in the Americas
PART I: Transatlantic Quixotes: Brazilian Transculturations of Don Quixote
1. “Transforming People through Art”: Transculturating Don Quixote in Brazil
2. American Quixotes: The Afterlife of Don Quixote in the Americas
PART II: Don Quixote of the Streets: The Performative Approach to Don Quixote in Brazil
3. Don Quixote of the Streets: Marginality and Metatheater in Brazilian Don Quixote Stage Adaptations
4. The Performative Approach: The Brazilian Third Way of Reading Don Quixote
PART III: Urban Quixotes: Performative Activism and Citizenship in Contemporary Brazil
5. “A Place of Hope”: Performing Citizenship in Contemporary Brazil
6. “Quixotinhos Urbanos”: Performative Activism and Urban Transformation in São Paulo
CONCLUSION: Don Quixote Lives On: Performative Activism in the Americas
This book, which represents a significant methodological and cultural departure from my previous scholarship on seventeenth-century Spanish prose, is the product of a collective effort. First and foremost, María Elena Cepeda was and continues to be my greatest support and my main source of professional inspiration. She encouraged me to pursue this project from the beginning, despite my methodological and linguistic limitations. A phenomenal writer and editor herself, she patiently took my written English to a place of relative stylistic solvency. As an interdisciplinary scholar of contemporary Latinx Studies, she guided me as I acquired the methodological tools that I needed to undertake the study of twenty-first-century Quixote-inspired cultural activism. In every way, the professional re-invention that this project required of me would have never happened without María Elena, and for that reason this book is hers as much as it is mine.
Of course, I owe this book to the activists and theater companies that have taken Don Quixote to the streets of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, to name only the countries that I study here. The intelligence, care, courage, and commitment that these literary and community activists display in their appropriations of Don Quixote never cease to amaze me. For a Cervantes scholar, this project is a dream come true, for it deals with activist applications at the local level of arguably the greatest piece of literature ever written. Don Quixote is a living entity today, and I have had the privilege to meet in person and work with people who are living and practicing it in the everyday. My heartfelt gratitude to Márcio Meirelles, Chica Carelli, Valéria di Pietro, Telma Dias, Andreia de Almeida, César Badillo, Graziela Bedoian, Auro Lescher, Stephen Haff, and their teams, not only for the access they granted me but most importantly for the Quixote-inspired work they do. The conviction that their projects had to be studied as an activist and intellectual exercise of the tallest order gave me the motivation and strength to finish this project.
I have not had the pleasure to meet in person the following individuals, although their Quixote-inspired activism is also prominently featured throughout my book: Peterson Xavier (formerly at Instituto Religare) and Silvio Galvão and Sandro Rodrigues (Cooperaacs) in São Paulo, Brazil; Bill George and Lisa Jordan (Touchstone Theater) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Arturo Morell ( Don Quijote, un grito de libertad ) in Miami and Mexico. To all of them, again, my most sincere gratitude. Laura Calejón, Maria Augusta da Costa Vieira, Javier Escudero, and Arturo Steely have accompanied me in different ways in my Brazilian travels; each one of them has been instrumental in my personal journey into Brazilian Quixote-inspired activism.
Very early and partial versions of some of the material dispersed throughout this book have been published as “Righting Wrongs: Don Quixote ’s ‘Other History’ in Brazilian Youth Theater,” in Don Quixote: Interdisciplinary Connections , edited by James A. Parr and Matthew Warshawsky, Juan de la Cuesta, 2013, pp. 203–22; “The ‘Don Quixote of the Streets’: Social Justice Theater in São Paulo, Brazil,” Cervantes vol. 31, no.1, 2011, pp. 159–70; “ Don Quixote among Brazilians: Um tal de Dom Quixote (Márcio Meirelles and Cleise Mendes, 1998),” in “Los cielos se agotaron de prodigios”: Essays in Honor of Frederick A. de Armas , edited by Christopher B. Weimer et al., Juan de la Cuesta, 2017, pp. 323–32; “Don Quixote Never Dies in Brazil: Performative Appropriations of Don Quixote II.74 in Contemporary Brazilian Theater,” in A Novel without Boundaries: Sensing Don Quixote 400 Years Later , edited by Carmen García de la Rasilla and Jorge Abril Sánchez, Juan de la Cuesta, 2016, pp. 199–216; and “Don Quijote de las Américas: Activismo, teatro y el hidalgo Quijano en el Brasil contemporáneo,” in El Quijote desde América (Segunda parte), edited by Ignacio Arellano, Duilio Ayalamacedo, and James Iffland, Idea, 2016, pp. 247–60. I thank the publishers for kindly giving me permission to reprint fragments of those early studies as part of this book.
I received early encouragement and meaningful suggestions from Robert Bayliss, Frederick de Armas, James Iffland, and many other scholars who heard presentations about different aspects of my book. Sydney Donnell told me about the Don Quixote of Bethlehem project by Touchstone Theater. My thesis advisor, Frederick A. de Armas, remains to this day my most reliable mentor, together with Edward H. Friedman. Several grants from Mount Holyoke College, Drexel University, and the American Philosophical Society helped me with travel and research expenses at various stages of this project.
My editors at Vanderbilt University Press, Zack Gresham, Beth Kressel Itkin, and Kathryn Bishop Sanchez, diligently shepherded this project toward its conclusion. In particular, Kathryn Bishop Sanchez gave me many recommendations that enabled me to fill in some gaps in my understanding of Brazilian cultural history and helped me organize my manuscript in a clearer and more succinct way. My second external reviewer anonymously offered me the most detailed and helpful report I could have ever hoped for. I am most grateful to the four of them.

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