Women's theater and the redefinitions of public, private, and politics in North India

Richa Nagar

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27 Scopus citations


This essay explores the intersections between performance, materiality, and marginalized women's struggles by delving into the meanings of public a nd private , and the nuanced and varied meanings of gendered resistance. Focusing on three very different kinds of theatrical performances by women in North India , I analyze how each performance appropriates, complicates, or reinforces the interwoven patriarchal concepts of public and private on the one hand, a nd femininity and masculinity on the other . In so doing, I also consider how both space and kinship are strategically deployed in these performances, and the different meanings of resistance and feminist politics embedded and implied in each performance. I argue that a focus on these processes allows us to grapple with the ways in which gendered materialities - shaped by class, caste, and geographical location - become central to the articulation of politics. This framework opens up new "spaces" to examine how multiple publics are constituted and reconfigured in terms of their sociopolitical identities and provisional alliances in and through publicization/privatization struggles, without essentializing or fixing the meanings of either public or private or of the spaces in which public/private acts are enacted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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