Northwestern Events Calendar


LACS Graduate Workshop | Maricas Folklóricas: La Familia Galán’s Drag and Activism in the Bolivian Fiesta (Enzo Vasquez Toral)

When: Thursday, October 10, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, Room 3-535, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Linda Remaker   (847) 491-7980

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic


The patron-saint fiesta is an iconic cultural expression that encompasses what we traditionally understand as folklore in the Andes. Bringing together the ritual aspects of danzas (dance-dramas) and Catholic devotion in the form of masses and processions, fiestas are also performative reminders of the colonial past of this region. Although danzas carry a legacy of and potential for insubordination, fiestas are usually grounded in local prestige, patriarchal ruling, and heteronormativity. Despite consequent restrictions in the name of order, Catholic devotion, and the respect of tradition, over the past decades gay men and trans women have sought to carve a space for themselves. In this presentation I highlight the interventions of local gay and trans artists in La Fiesta del Gran Poder in Bolivia through performance ethnography and oral history methods. Particularly, I focus on the work of Bolivian dragtivist (drag-activist) collective La Familia Galán since the early 2000s. I argue that cuir-ness (“queerness”) becomes a daring activist presence and invitation to rethink the Andean fiesta—and folklore at large—if we consider the aesthetic and affective experiences that these artists bring and embody as fiesta contributors. In this respect, La Familia Galán and other LGBTQ dancers in the fiesta are proud maricas folklóricas that flirt with, appropriate, revert, and challenge nationalistic narratives embedded in Andean folklore that oftentimes relies in a political economy of difference, while largely overlooking and silencing cuir contributions. 

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