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Engendering Performance: Indian Women Performers in Search of an Identity Hardcover – September 8, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-8132104568 ISBN-10: 8132104560

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Editorial Reviews


This is a book for academicians engaged in performing arts and for dancers and women performers in theatre especially.


The book is a comprehensive critical history of women artistes in Indian theatre and dance of colonial and post-colonial periods. Its underlying premise is that one cannot evaluate such performances in the Indian context without looking at dance and theatre together, unlike the course taken by traditional scholarship. The author weaves together issues of sexuality and colonialism, and culture and society to provide a holistic account of women performers in India. Archival photographs—some of which have never been published before—make it a collector’s item.

(The Pioneer)

About the Author

Bishnupriya Dutt, daughter of legendary theatre personalities Utpal Dutt and Sova Sen, is currently Associate Professor in Theatre Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She was awarded a Ph.D. for her work on ‘Contributions of Theatre Magazines in the Growth and Genesis of Theatre Aesthetics’ from the University of Calcutta. Her recent publications include: ‘Actress Stories: Binodini and Amal Allana’, in Sue Ellen Case and Elaine Aston (eds), Staging International Feminisms (2007).

She received a DAAD fellowship in Germany to study alternate aesthetic models for the theatre in post-colonial India. Dr Dutt has been an active member of the Feminist Working Group of the International Federation of Theatre Research, and has worked with the People’s Little Theatre, the largest repertoire in Calcutta. In 2006, she produced a play based on autobiographies of five actresses, titled Nati. This innovative play had its performance text created through a collaborative effort by the participant actresses.

Urmimala Sarkar Munsi is a Visiting Faculty at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she teaches Dance Studies and Visual Ethnography. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology on socio-cultural context of tribal and folk dance from Calcutta University. She has continued her post-doctoral work on issues of dance, gender and politics of performance. In March 2005, she was invited as the Artist-in-Residence by the Centre for World Performance Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has travelled widely for her research and has extensively documented traditional communities of professional women performers (Maibi, Nautanki, Nachni, Jogti) in India as a part of her research project.

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