Past Event

Prof. Rumya S. Putcha (Univ. of Georgia) "The Dancer's Voice"

September 27, 2023
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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The Center for Ethnomusicology invites you to attend a talk by:

Prof. Rumya S. Putcha (University of Georgia)

Title:  The Dancer's Voice: Performance and Womanhood in Transnational India
Date: Wednesday September 27, 2023
Time: 4-6PM Location: 701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology), Morningside Campus of Columbia University, Broadway at 116th St. 

For information or to arrange disability accommodations, please contact [email protected]

ABSTRACT:  In The Dancer’s Voice Rumya Sree Putcha theorizes how the Indian classical dancer performs the complex dynamics of transnational Indian womanhood. Putcha argues that the public persona of the Indian dancer has come to represent India in the global imagination—a representation that supports caste hierarchies and Hindu ethnonationalism, as well as white supremacist model minority narratives. Generations of Indian women have been encouraged to embody the archetype of the dancer, popularized through film cultures from the 1930s to the present. Through analyses of films, immigration and marriage laws, histories of caste and race, advertising campaigns, and her own family’s heirlooms, photographs, and memories, Putcha reveals how women’s citizenship is based on separating their voices from their bodies. In listening closely to and for the dancer’s voice, she offers a new way to understand the intersections of body, voice, performance, caste, race, gender, and nation.

BIO: Rumya S. Putcha is an associate professor in the Institute for Women's Studies as well as in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Her research interests center on colonial and anti-colonial thought, particularly around constructs of citizenship, race, gender, sexuality, the body, and the law. Her first book, The Dancer’s Voice: Performance and Womanhood in Transnational India (Duke University Press, 2023), develops a transnational feminist approach to Indian performance cultures. Her second book project, Namaste Nation: Orientalism and Yoga in the 21st Century extends her work on transnational performance cultures to critical analyses of capitalist fitness industries.