Shreya Ila Anasuya
Music, magic and emotion: feminine performance narratives in early 20th century South Asia
Using historiography (including the thriving history of emotions framework as applied to South Asia), this project seeks to examine narratives by and about feminine performers between 1902 and 1952 in India. Using a wide variety of sources, all of them rooted in truth claims (i.e. non-fictional accounts), from official records to songbooks to autobiography and anecdotal information, the thesis will look at two competing narratives about feminine performers: a disciplining, external one that sought to govern performers’ bodies and separate them from arts practice, and a community-based one which drew upon hundreds of years of oral and textual storytelling, folklore and cultural history in India to tell musical stories about resilience, musical power, and the supernatural.