The Dramaturgy of Contemporary Politics: Lula’s Presidential Inauguration and the Storming of the Esplanade

Gastvortrag mit Prof. Dr. Luciana Villas Bôas (University of Rio de Janeiro | Universidade de São Paulo)
© Ana Pessoa / Mídia NINJA | GSPoL

Most recently,  the Brazilian modernist capital became the stage of events that changed the way we relate to the foundations and the future of democracy.  Lula’s presidential inauguration (January 1st, 2023) and the storming of the esplanade (January 8th, 2023) yielded powerful images that have redefined the political intelligibility of our present. The two events revolve around the country’s - and democracy’s - political institutions. As I wish to argue, by revealing democracy’s fictitious institutional design they have directed our attention to symbolic and theatrical means that make the political order intelligible. Taking inspiration from both Shakespeare’s and Hobbes’ views of the intrinsic theatricality of power, I will show how the January events challenge us to rethink the work of institutions for the enactment of representative democracy. Based upon the analysis of so-called Schlagbilder, images that carry the power to synthesize and intervene in a given historical moment, I discuss to what extent democracy’s institutional enclosure of power allows not only for stability, but also for change.

Wann? 20. Juni, 16 Uhr
Wo? Englisches Seminar, Raum 24 (Johannisstr. 12-20)

Luciana Villas Bôas is a Professor in the Department of Anglo-Germanic Languages at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and at the Graduate Program of Germanic Languages at the Universidade de São Paulo. She is the author of Wilde Beschriftungen. Brasiliens historische Semantik in der Frühen Neuzeit (2017),  A República de chinelos. Bolsonaro e o desmonte da representação [The Republic in slippers. Bolsonaro and the dismantling of representation]  (2022), and several articles on the first literature and iconography of the New World, Utopian fiction and the political imaginary, and the history of the concept of the public sphere. She is currently working on a monograph titled Writing Dissent. Hans Staden’s Book and Early Colonialism and a collection of essays on political iconography and the theory of representation. She has also translated into Portuguese works by Reinhart Koselleck, Jürgen Habermas and Hannah Arendt.