Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Performing Marginal Identities: Understanding the Cultural Significance of Tawa'if and Rudali Through the Language of the Body in South Asian Cinema
by Hurlstone, Lise Danielle, M.S., Portland State University, 2011, 167; 1506793
Abstract (Summary)

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.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kapoor, Priya
Commitee: Schell, Charlotte, Wilkinson-Weber, Clare
School: Portland State University
Department: Communication
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
Publication Number: 1506793
ISBN: 978-1-267-20120-1
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