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Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion by Anna Morcom (review)

Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion by Anna Morcom (review) Reviews 689 an examination of “the mimetic formation of the nonidentical ‘other’” in the “performative constitution of religious and national identity” around the his- tory of partition (p. 188). K. Frances Lieder University of Wisconsin–Madison ILLICIT WORLDS OF INDIAN DANCE: CULTURES OF EXCLUSION. By Anna Morcom. London: Hurst and Company, 2013. 286 pp. Paper, $30. In her ambitious new monograph, Anna Morcom examines the mechanisms of cultural exclusion in colonial and postcolonial India that have eroded the livelihood, identity, and status of erotic dancers. While the South Asian reader may be familiar with the nineteenth-century anti-nautch campaigns against female hereditary performers (A. Srinivasan 1985; D. Srinavasan 2006; Soneji 2012), Morcom opens new territory in exploring how similar marginalzations continue to be played out in contemporary India. With a focus on present- day Mumbai bar dance girls and transgender female (kothi) performers, she brings ethnographic and archival research to trace out these communities’ artistic and hereditary lineages and current struggles against stigma, decline of traditional patronage, and direct bans. Like the historical tawa’if and devadasi courtesan dancers, these individuals are often branded as prostitutes, prob- lems, or at best victims, and isolated from their performer identities. Pitched as external to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion by Anna Morcom (review)

Asian Theatre Journal , Volume 32 (2) – Sep 14, 2015

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-2109

Abstract

Reviews 689 an examination of “the mimetic formation of the nonidentical ‘other’” in the “performative constitution of religious and national identity” around the his- tory of partition (p. 188). K. Frances Lieder University of Wisconsin–Madison ILLICIT WORLDS OF INDIAN DANCE: CULTURES OF EXCLUSION. By Anna Morcom. London: Hurst and Company, 2013. 286 pp. Paper, $30. In her ambitious new monograph, Anna Morcom examines the mechanisms of cultural exclusion in colonial and postcolonial India that have eroded the livelihood, identity, and status of erotic dancers. While the South Asian reader may be familiar with the nineteenth-century anti-nautch campaigns against female hereditary performers (A. Srinivasan 1985; D. Srinavasan 2006; Soneji 2012), Morcom opens new territory in exploring how similar marginalzations continue to be played out in contemporary India. With a focus on present- day Mumbai bar dance girls and transgender female (kothi) performers, she brings ethnographic and archival research to trace out these communities’ artistic and hereditary lineages and current struggles against stigma, decline of traditional patronage, and direct bans. Like the historical tawa’if and devadasi courtesan dancers, these individuals are often branded as prostitutes, prob- lems, or at best victims, and isolated from their performer identities. Pitched as external to

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 14, 2015

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