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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing From The Archive

Gender, Genre, and Power in South Asian Expressive Traditions

Book: Gender, Genre, and Power in South Asian Expressive Traditions
Edited by: Arjun Appadurai, Frank J. Korom, and Margaret A. Mills
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991

‘Gender, Genre, and Power in South Asian Expressive Traditions’ is an enquiry into the multiple debates and discussion regarding connotations and construction of key folklorist terminology like ‘performance’, ‘text’, ‘genre’ and ‘tradition’, exploring a series of crucial intra-civilizational debates: about the past and its uses, about the invocation or subversion of multiple canons by the performers, about the varieties of “magic realism” in South Asia, and about the politics involved in the resilience of oral forms in a society where literacy is highly valued. The authors employ rich and context-sensitive case studies to explore these topics and take the reader through the dense and heteroglossic world of South Asian aesthetic expressions.

“From the materials in this volume, we are reminded that resistance can be silent or subtextual; that sorrow can be the occasion for entertainment; that some stories cannot exist if their tellers have not lived certain kinds of lives; that some tales and songs can subvert the common sense of their audiences and their performers; that history and illusion can be linked in many ironic ways; that mechanical reproduction changes but does not erase the politics of voice and genre; that life stories need not be about the self. These may not all be startling observations, and this volume contains many others. But they are a reminder that long-standing traditions of singing and storytelling outside the West constitute another world of textuality, in which the complicities of text, performer, occasion, and audience can be as subtle as they are diverse, and can be deeply different from our own.” (Page 24)

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