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Interpreting Theatre and Performance: Social, Historical and Culture models

Interpreting Theatre and Performance: Social, Historical and Culture models

- Prof Bishnupriya Dutt

The course is an introduction to a historical, theoretical and conceptual understanding of approaches to study in Theatre, Popular Performances, Dance, Music, Dramatic texts and critical literature. It looks at a broad range of contemporary performances in India through innovative subject related and interdisciplinary approaches as well as more traditional research methodologies. One of the most important emphases and departures from conventional approaches will be looking practical training in research skills, e.g. methods of locating, managing and analyzing textual, visual and oral sources; literature reviews; audio-visual technologies and communication techniques; argumentation and interpretation and ways of designing experiments in performance. You will study a variety of performance genres, media, and historical periods through an exemplary range of play scripts, theories of performance, and performance styles and genres, including dance and physical theatre, popular film, tragedy, epic theatre, political and community theatre.

Module I :
• History as 'Living Traditions' or "History at work" and locating the origin of genealogies of Theatre and Drama. Mapping history, historiography and historical methods. Sites as History. Ritual and Sacrifice as Theatre.
• Canonization of drama, theatre and Acting methods. Sanskrit drama in classical and post colonial context.. Natyashastra as a contemporary actor's manual.
• Court and the Popular Living Traditions: The State and the popular carnival. The classical and the Subversive.

Module II :
• The dichotomy between tradition and 'theatre': The colonial Imperial paradigm and the marginalization and annihilation of the popular .
• The 'theatre' traditions: Parsi theatre, Bengali theatre, Marathi theatre. Staging Orientalism.
• Nationalist negotiations: within the theatre and alternative spaces Reconstructing traditions.
• Post independent discourses of theatre. Institutionalization of theatre. Inventing of traditions; uses and misuse.
• The Dance and Music components will be taught as graduate seminars.

Key Readings:

• Iravati Karve, Performing Artistes in Ancient India, Delhi 2003,

• Rachel Van Braumer and James R. Brandon, Sanskrit Drama in Performance, Delhi, 1981.

• Anupa Pande, A Historical and Cultural Study of the Natyashastra of Bharata, Jodhpur 1991 (p. 12-31).

• Susan L. Schwartz, Rasa, performing the Divine in India, New York, 2004, (p. 1-20)

• Rustom Bharucha, Rehearsals of a Revolution, the Political Theatre of Bengal, (Calcutta, Seagull 1983)

• Sumanta Banerjee, The Parlour and the Streets: Elite and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Calcutta. (Calcutta, Seagull 1998)

• Philip Zarrilli, Bruce McConachie, Gary Jay Williams, Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, Theatre Histories, An Introduction, Routledge,2006

A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.