Fellow's Talk

Un certain simulacre de la verité: Performances and Performative Readings in the Figure des Brisilians (1551)

94 George Street

Providence, RI 02906

Detail from: Figure des Brisilians. [Rouen, 1551]. Original at the John Carter Brown Library.

The Figure des Brisilians depicts a spectacle staged as part of King Henri II's ceremonial Entry into Rouen, right on the banks of the Seine. Or does it? This talk traces the visual rhetoric of the Figure as it passes through cartographic imagery and printed travelogues, exploring how its reiterated vignettes configure how spectator/readers see the ”Brazilians," and what they can be seen as. Together, we will ask what it means for a performance document to (literally) draw from maps, and vice-versa. Weaving a network of iconography, embodiment, and transcultural politics, the Figure and its co-figurations teaches us how to perform a ”probable” reading of Brazil, encouraging us to contemplate that far off land in the heart of Normandy, au Sein(e) de France.

Dan Ruppel (Brown University), J.M. Stuart Fellowship