Public Rituals Project

This project seeks to explore the role that public rituals played in the Portuguese empire, and beyond. How did they fashion and strengthen social identity and political power? Did their visual codes facilitate political communication, and legitimize territorial and social divisions? Or were they primarily sites of discord, expressing the tensions and contradictions of imperial arrangements? How do these functions compare to other empires? To explore these questions, RITUALS will concentrate on printed accounts and images of early modern festive rituals in the Atlantic, African and Asian Portuguese territories, as well as in the metropolitan world. Festival accounts provide synthetic or detailed descriptions of the events the participants and observers (Europeans and non-Europeans), the ephemera used, and the local itineraries followed.