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Dwaipayan Chowdhury

Dwaipayan Chowdhury

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Doctoral Candidate 2015/16

Dwaipayan Chowdhury completed his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at St. Xavier’s College, University of Calcutta, Kolkata. He went on to complete his Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Simultaneously, he was involved with the non-institutional amateur theatre movement in Kolkata from 2005 to 2011, which led him to pursue a Research Masters in Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He joined the school as a PhD candidate and worked as a teaching assistant for the World Theatre course. He obtained the UGC Research Fellowship and qualified the National Eligibility Test for lectureship. He was also awarded the Erasmus Mundus India to Europe Scholarship for Doctoral Research in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Amsterdam for the 2014-15 academic year.     

Research Project

From Methods to Embodiments: Creating critiques to Ideology, Aesthetics, and Brechtian Practices

The concern for this thesis arises through the historiographical and methodological concerns inherent in the contradictions of ideology of aesthetic representations that is possible, and hence ensues, through the transpositions of theatre traditions qua performance practices. In trying to deal with this manifold problematic, my research focuses on the discourses and politics of performance  and transferences/pathways of the ‘Brechtian’ repertoire in India during the last half of the twentieth century. The Brechtian Method here connotes a specific set of aesthetic and theoretical practices which were formed during the first half of the twentieth century in Weimar Germany, through Brecht’s exile during the National Socialist period and the Cold War years with the formation of the GDR, surrounding the work and thoughts of German playwright and director Bertolt Brecht. The focus will be to trace the trajectories of the ideological negotiations of the Brechtian “Method” within the ‘East Bloc’ and the cultural conversions along with the ensuing assimilations of a Western thought/practice corpus in the sociocultural rubric of “Indian” theatre. This study will foreground and attempt to analyse the impulses which construe conjectural strands of Brecht in “Indian” theatrical practices. Consequently, the translation of the (GDR) Brechtian Method/practices is at stake here. Method here delineates the aesthetic and theoretical schematizations in Brecht’s work. With regard to the canonisation of Brecht, such Methods are considered to be models. My research will try to dislocate the notion of Brecht as an ideological trope of an objective “Method” and try to locate the strands of the national cultural identity and its subversive counterparts that was possible through the ‘locally’ embodied Brechts in particular instances of “Indian” theatrical practices. Furthermore, this project also examines the methodological premise of the historian dealing with the “aesthetic experiences” inscribed in the document of historiography.

Book Recommendations

Ranciere, J., The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. London; New York: Continuum, 2006.

Horkheimer, M., Adorno, T., Dialectic of Enlightenment. California: Stanford University Press, 2002.

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung