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Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

Nandi Bhatia

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780198066934
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198066934.001.0001
Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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This book brings visibility to the work of women who performed on the borderlines of dominant theatrical activity and engaged in dramatic enactments that contested middle-class codes of female propriety, which became normalized in the national popular consciousness. It recovers, excavates, and remembers the contribution of the neglected as well as known figures in theatre history from north India, in languages which include Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi, and cements their place in the canon of Indian theatre. It examines the diverse modes of dramatic representation and performance — myth, folklore, ritual, and history, including everyday conversation — used by women to intervene in and challenge the agenda of social movements, which conceptualized women's emancipation but imagined their role as being primarily at the core of family life. The author argues that women's presence on stage and their involvement in theatre — as actors, playwrights, directors, organizers, and characters — made important contributions to the debates on gender and nationalism at particular moments of colonial and postcolonial history.

Keywords: women; theatrical activity; actresses; Indian theatre; dramatic performance; social movements; emancipation; gender; nationalism

Book.  232 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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Table of Contents

Constructing the Theatre Actress* in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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Argumentative Women in Domestic Spaces in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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Independence, Partition, and New Theatrical Imaginings in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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From Social Reform to Social Protest in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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Epilogue in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

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