This thesis examines the representation of the lives and performances of tawa'if and rudali in South Asian cinema to understand their marginalization as performers, and their significance in the collective consciousness of the producers and consumers of Indian cultural artifacts. The critical textual analysis of six South Asian films reveals these women as caste-amorphous within the system of social stratification in India, and therefore captivating in the potential they present to achieve a complex and multi-faceted definition of culture. Qualitative interviews with 4 Indian classical dance instructors in Portland, Oregon and performative observations of dance events indicate the importance of these performers in perpetuating and developing Indian cultural artifacts, and illustrate the value of a multi-layered, performative methodological approach. These findings suggest that marginality in performance is a useful and dynamic site from which to investigate the processes of cultural communication, producing findings that augment sole textual analysis.
|Commitee:||Schell, Charlotte, Wilkinson-Weber, Clare|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Communication, Performing Arts|
|Keywords:||Bollywood film, Caste, Critical/cultural studies, Postcolonial theory|
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