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Decolonization and Theatre History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2023

Abstract

‘Decolonization’ has superseded ‘postcolonial’ as the most compelling catchword of the present moment. Broadly speaking, the term possesses two parallel genealogies: African decolonization and Latin American decoloniality. But where are Asian territories such as India and Hong Kong, and, more specifically, fields such as theatre history, located in the debate? This article analyzes the stakes and struggles, inner contradictions and blind spots, involved in decolonizing or decentring the curriculum. It asks whether the decolonial temporalities of our time constitute an adequate lens to theorize theatre history by firstly examining the term’s misuse by popular historians, media, and government; and, second, by interrogating a spectrum of positions on ‘Indian Theatre’ from the nineteenth century onwards. Through this double focus, the article probes the scholarly possibilities for undoing the dominant mode when the ‘decolonization trope itself becomes a tool for colonization’.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press, 2023

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