"Hence the experts in the lore of histrionics should conceive in a drama the facts of life of the people passing through different stages." (Bharata Muni, (tr.) Unni, N. P., Natyasastram, Band II, ... read more
"Hence the experts in the lore of histrionics should conceive in a drama the facts of life of the people passing through different stages." (Bharata Muni, (tr.) Unni, N. P., Natyasastram, Band II, Delhi: Nag, 1998, p. 729.)
The theoretical underpinnings of the proposed course, as indicated in its title, seek to foreground the contested and synergising spaces of dramaturgical exchanges, between European "national" cultures, often perceived to be in the "giving" mode, themselves and also them and the "receiving" cultures of Asia and Africa; after the socio-cultural and politico-economic upheavals and discoveries of early-modern Europe caused a noetic leap in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European national/imperial constellations established, with different degrees of success and longevity, their hegemonic political and cultural sway in large parts of the non-Europhone world. This led to not only the spatial expansion of Europhone societal and cultural normativities, but also to the crystallisation of various "Western" approximations of "Eastern" cultures; however, it is possible to critique stereotypical notions of static cultural identities that are either "active" or "passive", "dynamic" or "stagnant", and look at the transactional relationship between Europhone and, in the case of this course, Indophone cultural entities as being more hybridised and polycentric than was previously assumed to be the case. One of the moot examples of this phenomenon of culturally-hybridised methodologies of intra- and inter-continental exchange is to be found in the domain of mid-twentieth century Euro-American explorations of classical Indic dramaturgical thought and praxis, nowhere better encapsulated than Bharata's Natyasastra, an ancient Indian Sanskrit treatise on dramatic theories and performance, envisioning theatre, dance and music as constituting a harmonious composite upon the stage, an attempt at "360-degree-theatre", and some of the commentaries on it by later theoreticians.
In this course, we will be studying, primarily, two canonical European plays and a few selections from three seminal Indian dramaturgical and poetical texts, which, between themselves, seem to re-affirm of a most significant Indic differentiation between thought and belief, through the practice of the theorisation of drama. In order to comprehend the core concerns of theatre in today's globalised world of disembodied and dislocated voices, especially in the context of a multi-dimensional way-of-life such as the Indian, one must study its deep involvement with contemporaneous socio-cultural realities. We will look at similar exchanges and trade-offs between tradition and modernity in the selected texts and contexts; in the process, key concepts of literary theory and European and Indian dramaturgy will be discussed and debated, locating the course within the domain of comparative literary theory.
Key Texts and Contexts: Marlowe, Christopher, The Jew of Malta (1589/90); Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, Nathan der Weise (1779); selections from Bharata's Natyasastra (The Science of Dramaturgy) (ca. 200 BCE-200 CE); selections from Anandavardhana's (820-90) Dhvanyaloka (The Illumination of Aesthetic Suggestion) and Abhinavagupta's (ca. 950-1020) Abhinavabharati. Students are advised not to worry if some of these texts are not readily-available: the Lecturer will provide selections from them as and when needed; it is preferable that they read or, at least, read about, one of the above-mentioned texts or authors before the commencement of the course in October.
Course Language/Unterrichtssprache: English and GermanDesirable (but NOT mandatory) language proficiency: Level B1 and above, for English, of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Evaluation: Interactive participation in class-activities, quizzes with mutually-negotiable frequency, verbal presentations, the end-of-semester essay and regular attendance; the last-named will factor as a positive incentive, in terms of grade-weightage for regularity, and not in a punitive sense.
16 Class schedule
Fri, 2013-12-06 10:00 - 12:00
K 31/102 Übungsraum (Habelschwerdter Allee 45)