(P005)

The transformation of South Asian performing arts in the age of globalization: an anthropological analysis

Location 301 A
Date and Start Time 18 May, 2014 at 08:30

Convenor

Kyoko Matsukawa (Konan University) email
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Short Abstract

This panel examines the changing position of the performing arts in South Asia, in the context of globalization and political, economic and social changes of the region. The presentations try to illustrate how the performers in South Asia have responded to the effects of globalization.

Long Abstract

This panel examines the changing position of the performing arts in South Asia, in the context of globalization and political, economic and social changes of the region.

In order to illustrate how the performers in South Asia (mostly in India) have responded to the effects of globalization, i.e. the radical increase in the circulation of people, things, money and information in the world, the presentations of this panel focus on the following points: (1) how the performers of the arts come to participate in networks that transcend their traditional relationships through transnational movement, and begin to rethink and expand the boundaries of South Asian performing arts; (2) how the performers develop new aesthetic sensibilities and the modes of performance by becoming aware of the need of the management and marketing of their arts; (3) how the performers engage with various media which can transform the appearance of the performance.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Culture that mediates: popularization of tamāśā

Author: Reiko Iida (Kyoto University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper aims to understand the current phenomenon of Western Indian urban culture in relation to the expansion of urban sphere and diversification of media. In particular, I would like to focus on tamāśā and which is developing as a popular urban culture representing Western Indian life.

Long Abstract

This paper aims to understand the current phenomenon of Western Indian urban culture in relation to the expansion of urban sphere and diversification of media. In particular, I would like to focus on tamāśā which is developing as a popular urban culture representing Western Indian life. The word tamāśā came to refer to a popular Maharashtrian folk theatre, a tradition that remains strong and popular in rural areas, although it has often been regarded as vulgar by the 'sophisticated' urban dwellers. Originally, tamāśā performances commonly involved dramatic comic sketches and profane satires. Recently, however, tamāśā has been re-evaluated. The performances have changed, with the dancing forms and staging configurations becoming more elegant. With these changes, the new middle class, which emerged after the economic liberalization in 1991, started to view tamāśā from a different angle. The drama form now represents the rising class of people who have connection with both urban and rural as well as elite and non-elite. Through the mediating role of the middle class, the urban sphere is expanding both horizontally towards the rural and vertically towards the non-elite. The dynamism of culture in this expanding urban sphere is supported by the diversifying media. In the case of tamāśā, VCDs, DVDs and photographs are currently sold in music stores, bookshops and online stores. Tamāśā is becoming a 'trendy' and 'elegant' performance with popular erotic touch which attracts a diverse population in this expanding urban sphere.

The Kalbeliya dance as an articulated form of community memory

Author: Ayako Iwatani (Hiroshima University)  email

Short Abstract

Behind the Kalbeliya folk dance in India, there is a discourse that Kalbeliya women began dancing in place of snakes after their snake charming was banned. This presentation examines the discourse, transmission of community memory through art form, and creation of"traditional"art in global era.

Long Abstract

The Kalbeliya, the nomadic community in Rajasthan, India, have been known for the art of snake charming. Being called as"Jogis", who are allowed to deal with both sacred and dangerous animal, the snake, they have moved from door to door, villages to villages, asking for alms. However, under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972, snake charming was banned and the Kalbeliya could not keep snakes any longer in public. Around the same time, the Kalbeliya women came to appear on stage, dancing like snakes swirling to pungi (flute made of gourd) music. Rapidly their dance gained popularity as the State of Rajasthan promoted tourism industry and international media featured their dance as Indian"Gypsy"dance. In 2010, the Kalibelia dance was designated as the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. One of the criteria for the inscription is that the Kalbelia dance shows their creative adaptation to environmental change. This presentation examines the validity and the role of the discourse that Kalbeliya women came to dance in place of snakes as Indian "Gypsies". Then it answers further questions as how community memory has been transmitted through art form, and how various actors have involved in creating a"traditional"art in global era.

Who stole the song ?: politics of interpretation and the consumption of 'locality' in Indian marginalized space

Author: Kodai Konishi  email

Short Abstract

The paper attempts to examine Manganiyar's (the Muslim Musician Caste) ways of negotiation with modernity, namely the ways of representing their 'traditional culture', institutionalizing the cultural contents, appropriating the discourses of 'western' exoticism.

Long Abstract

The Manganiyars, the Muslim musical group scattering around Thar Desert of North-West India, have been experiencing unprecedented transformation of their life-style, social order and the environment of their life world over these three decades. Though they are Muslims, they had been embedded in caste dominated society as kamin or kisbi which implies the social group engaging in ritual services for their patrons, such as Hindu dominant castes. With the waves of modernization and the flourishing of tourism in nearby town areas, the Manganiyrs came to be viewed as exotic 'folk musicians' of 'folk artists', and they themselves began to reject their 'traditional' roles, and accept tourists or musical directors as new patrons.

Taking the above situation into consideration, this presentation attempts to examine Manganiyars' ways of negotiation with modernity, namely the ways of representing their 'traditional culture', institutionalizing the cultural contents, appropriating the discourses of 'western' exoticism, and so on. To shed lights on these negotiative spheres, I will concentrate on the transitional processes of the lyrics of specific songs, which suggest the important diverging points of the musical group's tactics to survive in the world where market principles are at work. In addition, the diversity of ways that the people interpret the contexts of the songs will be shown. By doing so, I will try to reveal the 'reflexive mode of locality', which can be created in the arena of continuous assertion of multiple subjects over the question, 'what is Manganiyar ?'.

Under the open sky: a case study of performing cultural arts for tourists in rural Nepal

Author: Sujan Bahadur Adhikari (Osaka University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper examines how the locals represent themselves in the context of commoditization of traditional culture and, how the globalization and global cultural aspects interlace traditional local aspects within the socio-cultural context and economy of village tourism.

Long Abstract

The development of international tourism has been made a high priority in Nepal and is being explored as one of the tools for local development, employment opportunities, investment potential, poverty alleviation, infrastructure improvement and as a way to increase foreign currency income. Starting with Himalayan tourism and spreading other types of tourism such as pilgrimage tourism, eco-tourism, Nepal has recently been experiencing many sorts of tourism. Village tourism, a relatively new phenomenon in Nepal, is a new form of commoditization of people's life where the hosts are involved in guests activities directly.

The government of Nepal on its 9th five year plan implemented a village tourism program in Sirubari village of Syngja district for the first time in 1997. The village mainly dominant by an ethnic group, the Gurungs, and is solely showcases of the village tourism 'product,' e.g. Gurung cultural shows. However, Damai, an occupational caste, is involving in tourist activities such as playing musical instruments during welcome and farewell processions, and portering. Gurungs and non-Gurungs people gathered basically in Gompa, a local Buddhist monastery, under the open sky stage and perform local music and dances. Dancers wear Gurung costume and considered authentic. Through the tourism development, the village is closely linked to the global flows of people, goods and ideas that have created space for cultural exchange. As tourism is seen an agent of change, this paper shows how the local cultures have been influencing by tourism and becoming hybrid in their way in Sirubari.

Indian contemporary performance practices at the cusp: aesthetics of interdisciplinarity and transformation

Author: Shrinkhla Sahai (Jawaharlal Nehru University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper would explore the overarching convergence in various genres of performance that is leading to the emergence of a unique Indian aesthetic in the world of contemporary performance practices.

Long Abstract

In contemporary performance practices there is a collateral move towards 'post-studio' art and 'post-dramatic' theatre. Performance art is a form where the artist invents his/her conventions or grammar of performance, in the sense that it does not have to follow a textual history or ritualistic history as might be in the case of many performing arts.

In the context of India, a crucial question arises—is the form and content of performance art in India anchored in Western canons or is the avant-garde in this case influenced/in dialogue with other genres or practices? How have the genealogy and aesthetics of the genre evolved in India?

This can be juxtaposed with a similar radical explorative trajectory in contemporary performing arts that are anchored in body work, for instance dance and physical theatre. Within contemporary dance-theatre practices, there has been a movement towards re-formulating the body in performance towards new 'gestures' of articulation i.e. new vocabularies that move away from, question, challenge or critique codified classical structures or text-based theatre. While on one hand there has been a shift towards the theatricality of the body in performance art, on the other hand dance-theatre has been gravitating towards a 'post-dramatic' possibility. This search for a new language provides ground for a detailed exploration of the performance aesthetic of the body.

This paper explores whether the overarching convergence in various genres of performance is leading to the emergence of a unique Indian aesthetic in the world of contemporary performance practices.

Struggle to be popular: a case study of Tibetan pop singers in exile

Author: Tatsuya Yamamoto (Kyoto University/ NIHU)  email

Short Abstract

This paper shows how Tibetan musicians in India and Nepal create music and lyrics and how globalization affects their musical activities in multi-layered ways. I especially focus on the genre of modern Tibetan music and show the musical situation by analyzing some key actors of its production.

Long Abstract

This presentation shows how Tibetan musicians in India and Nepal create music and lyrics in South Asia and how globalization affects their musical activities in multi-layered ways. I especially focus on the genre of modern Tibetan music and show the musical situation by analyzing some key actors of its production.

The prototype of modern Tibetan music emerged in the 1970s and this musical genre had been gradually accepted by Tibetans in India and Nepal. They have recognized the popularity of that genre since the mid 1990s

The situation surrounding the society and music of the Tibetan diaspora has changed drastically since the 2000s, and includes the emergence of CDs and the diversification of choice for music. And, although the number of musicians has increased, only a few have succeeded. I contextualize this situation in terms of globalization and insist that the globalization experienced by them is multi-layered because it not only synchronizes with the socio-economic situation in India and Nepal but also correlates with the network of diasporic Tibetans around the world.

This presentation shows that the development of technology and the clever usage of technology are important factors in explaining the success of musicians in the society of the Tibetan diaspora. This case study shows the correlation between performing arts and globalization in South Asia, and elucidates how the multi-layered nature of globalization affects their creative activities and chances for success.

"Performance as mediation": an impeccant dancer between the belief and the community

Author: Ammamuthu Rajaram (Jawaharlal Nehru University)  email

Short Abstract

Muthukannu 74, a Sadir dancer narrates her life in her young days when the Devadasi system prevailed and was on the verge of obliteration.This particular dance form has its own cultural background explaining about the once lauded dance form surviving in another name and a nation's dance identity.

Long Abstract

The paper deals about the narration of dance training from a banned Devadasi or sadir dancer in Tamil Nadu. Muthukannamal 74, a Sadir dancer discusses about her life during her young age where the Devadasi system prevailed and was on the verge of obliteration. When India after Independence, it was trying to revive and reform the nation after the colonial clutch, looked at this whole Devadasi tradition as a spoiled and an un-necessary evil in India and had to be stopped. The revivalists thought to cleanse the nation by banning this tradition but a performative practice form this tradition later became the identity of the nation, the Bharatha Natyam.

Muthukannammal, the sadir dancer shares her experience of the dance training from her family and also the other dance forms during the festivity and techniques involved. The narration of this particular dance form has its own cultural background, where it explains about the once lauded dance form became extinct but still survives in another name and cleansed form. From MuthuKannu's explanation, as a researcher it was interesting to analyze the structural practice of the dance form from her narration which she lived all her life. Also the connection of a dance form which is a practice of her status of being a Devadasi (an ever married to god), the service and the enslavement to the holy god through the sadir and by ways of performing it.

The transformation of the classical dance in the multi-cultural society: the Indian dance in Malaysia

Author: Mayuri Koga (Rissho University)  email

Short Abstract

The Indian "classical" dance is deeply related with Hinduism. But in the Islam dominant and multi-cultural society, the Indian dance becomes more secular and emphasizes aesthetic phase rather than religious mind and transforms its style according to the situation.

Long Abstract

The Indian temple and courtesan dance was revived as the "classical" dance, Bhratanatyam after 1930's. Bharatanatyam is deeply related with Hinduisim and the main theme of pieces is love to the god. Bharatanatyam became so popular that it was to be considered as one of the representative of Indian culture. As the Indian diaspora increase, Bhratanatyam also immigrated into other countries. In the case of Malaysia, the Indian dance was introduced through the film and oriental dancers in 1950's. Because of the multi-ethnic country, multi-cultural dance was more appreciated rather than pure Indian dance. The two couple dances joined and Temple Fine Arts was founded in 1981 under one saint. The dancers who made the Indian dance more popular were two Muslim dancers. However, most of Indian dance companies were not supported by Malaysian government. Since the late 1990's, Malaysian government started the "Malaysia Truly Asia" campaign to promote the tourism. Performance of Malay, Chinese and Indian dance became the symbol of "unity of diversity". But in the dance performed on the stage related to tourism, tradition and religious expression are taken off and dance is more casual. In 2005, National Academy of the Arts and Culture and Heritage included Bharatanatyam into the subject of Dance Department. Majority of the students are Malay, so teachers have to abstain from enforcing religious phase. Thus the Indian dance tends to be secular spectacle as a part of "one Malaysia" to survive in the multi-cultural country.

Creating the local: the case of Goan theatre, tiatr

Author: Kyoko Matsukawa (Konan University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper tries to examine how local identity is created through theatre performance and networking of performers, by taking the case of Goan tiatr. By analyzing the history and the present situation of Goan Catholic migration, this paper tries to show how tiatr connects Goans with home.

Long Abstract

This paper attempts to examine how local identity is created through the theatre performance and networking of performers, by taking the case of Goan tiatr.

The Portuguese ruled Goa between 1510 and 1961. One of the remaining legacies of the history is the strong presence of the Catholic community. In the 19th century, a number of Goan Catholics migrated to other Portuguese colonies (mainly Mozambique and Angola) as well as places under British rule (Bombay, Karachi, Kenya, and Tanzania etc.) to seek employment. Unlike Hindus, their adoption of western dress and food habits enabled them to work outside India. The history of Goan migration is reflected in the development of tiatr. Tiatr was first performed by a group of Catholic Goans in Bombay in 1892. It was an adaptation of Italian opera and performed in Konkani, Goan local language. Tiatr later evolved into a musical theatre with Konkani songs (kantars). Common themes of tiatr stories and kantars are Goan social problems. The centre of tiatr activities was Bombay and shifted to Goa later. Tiatrs are usually performed on the village feast days. Besides, many troupes stage their productions in city halls.

Tiatrs are performed outside India, too. Bombay troupes used to visit Goan communities in East Africa. Today, Goan troupes travel mostly to the Gulf countries and London. Goan diasporas themselves perform tiatr, too. This paper analyzes how tiatr connects Goan migrants with home, based on the data which was collected in Goa, Mumbai, Dubai and Kuwait.

Transmission of local ritual performance in the Kerala diaspora and its impact on the life-world of the practitioners.

Author: Yoshiaki Takemura (National Museum of Ethnology)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will examine the flourishing of local Hindu ritual in the Kerala diaspora in overseas, especially Dubai and Singapore. It will also question how this ritual is adapted and consumed by the Kerala diaspora and how those phenomenon influence the practitioner's life-world in local context.

Long Abstract

In an era of globalization, Performing Arts is not only increasingly drawn from intercultural creativity and located in the multicultural and transnational sphere, but also plays a significant part in the complex construction of identity and place-making within the diasporas. The previous studies point out that Performing Arts among the diasporas are often produced and consumed in the multi/ethnic-cultural arenas wherein a variety of aesthetic values and political interests interact and compete with each other. However, not much attention has been paid to how those performing arts adapted to the tastes of a new audience in this modern cultural, social and global sphere.

In the northern part of Kerala, South India, a local divine worship, called Muthappan ritual, used to be held only at local Hindu shrines once or a few times a year. However, the increasing inflow of Gulf money and India's economic growth changed the ritual. It has been conducted often in multiple places over the last two decades. More importantly, this ritual is now expanding to outside the local setting. They are now carried out in Mumbai, Delhi, Gulf countries and South East Asia as well as major cities in Kerala.

This paper will examine the flourishing of Muthappan ritual in the Kerala diaspora setting overseas, especially Dubai and Singapore. It will also question how this ritual is adapted and consumed by the Kerala diaspora and how those phenomena influence the practitioner's life-world in local context.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.