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Hadley presents paper at Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association conference

Erik Hadley, a lecturer in history and University Foundations, presented his paper “Imagining the Conquest: Renaissance Festivals and Incan Fantasies in the Refashioning of the Carnival of Binche in 19th-Century Belgium” at the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association virtual conference.

The paper explores the 19th century reinvention of Carnival traditions in the Belgian city of Binche, as Belgian newspapers and promoters of Carnival celebrations constructed a historical commemoration stretching back to the most famous Renaissance-era festivities, including the imagined presence of captive Incan warriors. The mythical Renaissance-Incan origins of the Gille (the ‘king of Carnival’ in Binche) was widely accepted by the early 20th century and remains a continued point of debate even today. The 19th century commemoration of the Gille connected the Carnival of Binche to the wider Atlantic World of Spanish conquest of indigenous peoples, even to the point of commemorating the Incan conquest by imagining themselves as Incan warriors.