ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The Body as the Locus of the Conflict: Decolonizing of/through Kathak Dance and Dancing Body in South Asia and Diasporic Spaces


Dolinina Kristina - Vilnius University, Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius, Lithuania


30- Creative and social engagement with conflict: a perspective from the South Asian Diaspora


 Unvoluntary following the models of colonial knowledge constructions, neoclassical performing traditions in India, revived in the turn of 19th and 20th centuries and loaded with the notions of authenticity, unbroken tradition, purity etc., became the symbols of new nation and were instrumental or paralleled with the State creation processes. Ashish Nandy calls these processes “the second colonization of India”. Till now these traditions are entangled in between oppositions and hybrid, ambivalent spaces (Homi Bhabha), solving the issues of individual experiences, artistic representations, and identity. The ongoing inquire is further problematized by constant episodes of violence and conflict in the region. This presentation is thus concerned with ongoing processes of decolonization in the field of North Indian dance Kathak in India and in some chosen diasporic spaces and delves into individual artistic realizations in the flux of constant social, economic and political transformations, conflicts, act of memory and reflection. The main site of action (Frantz Fanon and Michel Foucault) – knowing body – the agent of embodied practices, becomes an important tool to observe and examine decolonization tendencies of/through Kathak performing tradition and it’s performing bodies and is used to understanding the relations between tradition and transformation, conflict and individual and collective memory in the web of contemporary performscapes or bodyscapes (Arjun Appadurai).