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Documenting Traditional and Marginalized Performance

Documenting Traditional and Marginalized Performance

Dr Urmimala Sarkar

This course aims to engage with the following themes:

• Arecognitionofartthatspringsfromcommunityexperiences and values requires an acquaintance with people’s stories, beliefs and ways of doing things;

• Anacknowledgement/appreciationoftraditionalart,which requires a grasp of the standards that communities use to evaluate their arts;

• The understanding of a community’s artistic traditions, which requires knowledge of the meanings they hold for the people who practice and use them;

• Theeyeofthe“other”-whetheraresearcher,afilmmaker,a publicity agent - is pre-educated to see performance from a certain bias;

• Theintentionalityoftheperformersandthereceptionbythe audience should be acknowledged in the documentation 87 process;

• Revealing true meaning of the term “cultural diversity”; and,

• Bridging the gap between views of culture as an “outside” institution or an “internal” thought process.

The process of documentation is to be a part of the course work, which will entail fieldwork training in the tradition of ethnographic documentation in social sciences.


Basic readings:

• TimothyAsch,JohnMarshall,andPeterSpier,“EthnographicFilm:Structure and Function”, Annual Reviews Anthropology, 1973, Vol 2, pp 179-187

• Matthew Reason, “Archive or Memory? The Detritus of Live Performance”, New Theatre Quarterly, 2003, Vol 19, No. 1, pp 82-89

• Michael Kirby, ed. The New Theatre: Performance Documentation, New York University Press, New York, 1974

• Peter Ian Crawford and David Turton, Film as Ethnography, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1992

• Victor Turner, The Anthropology of Performance, PAJ, New York,1968 • L. Annapoorna, ed., Documentation of Performing Arts, Delhi, Sundeep, 2000

• Sarah Pink, Doing Visual ethnography: Images, Media and Representation in Research, Sage Publications Ltd. London, 2001



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.