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Research Methodology: Movements and Concepts in Performance

Research Methodology: Movements and Concepts in Performance

- Dr Soumyabrata Choudhury / Samik Bandopadhyay

This course will have two orientations. First, it will trace the path of theatre history and theatre studies as they developed as part of Europeanist and eventually Eurocentric intellectual history (history of ideas specifically). This tracing will culminate in a critical historical consciousness (of which postcolonial thinking is one reflection) which produces a contemporary domain of conceptual and practical problematization. This will be the domain of ‘performance’ as a primary problem of social, cultural and political aesthetic practices, rather than being a functional subset of the intellectual history of theatre, understood as the privileged site of ‘representation’. The second orientation of the course will follow the first one. It will examine the performative and epistemological functions of theatre in various strategic situations of the history of performance. While most of these situations and problems will be taken from the twentieth century some of them will involve studying the transformation of concepts across longer durations over heterogeneous movements. This will be a course studying the place of theatre in the overall place milieu of significant movements in the history of ideas, viz. romanticism, realism, materialism, surrealism, absurd and the grotesque, structuralism and feminism as a movement between knowledge and performance practices.

Pre reading:

• Elizabeth Burns, Theatricality, New York, Harper and Row, 1972

• Roger Caillois, Man, Play and Games, New York, The Free Press, 1961

• Carlson, Marvin, Theories of Theatre, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984

• Patrice Pavis, Languages of the Stage, New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982

• Richard Schechner, Between Theatre and Anthropology, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1967


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.