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Bishnupriya Dutt (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
May 2019

Temporal Communities: Theatrical Practice and Research in Postcolonial Transnational Networks (1950s – present)

Postcolonial Indian theatre's search for an alternative to the colonial paradigm led to an exploration of the possibilities offered by German theatre both in the GDR and the FRG. In a departure from the previous homogeneity of colonial cultural discourse, this multi-faceted process was characterised by heterogeneous dialogues. Even though the literary-dramatic text continued to serve as its point of departure, it involved complex forms of mediation (e.g. via theatre productions as part of the festival circuit, directors, playwrights, actors, critics, training and scholarship) and material exchange (e.g. Arbeitsbücher, films, documentaries, posters, photographs as a supplement to the script). Transnational temporal communities were being forged with Germany and India at their centre at a time when colonial systems of cultural knowledge were increasingly being dismantled. Bishnupriya Dutt's project at EXC 2020 examines how this deconstruction played out in complex ways through cultural practices and semantic and aesthetic interventions against the backdrop of the all-pervading violence of colonial cultural impositions.

Bishnupriya Dutt is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Having herself performed as an actress and director, her areas of research include popular culture, colonial and postcolonial histories of theatre as well as feminist readings of Indian theatre and contemporary performative practices. She is the principal investigator of the Indo-German Partnership in Higher Education with Freie Universität Berlin.