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The Art of Imperial Entanglements: Nautch Girls on the British Canvas and Stage in the Long Nineteenth Century

Barlas, Zara

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This dissertation focuses on the unique trend of nautch-girl (Indian dancing girl) artworks that emerged in Britain during her colonial clasp on India, which coincided with the increasing exploration of (and changing attitudes towards) the role of women in British society. The nautch girl was considered a controversial figure in Britain, particularly since she was associated (usually erroneously) with sexually immoral behaviour and prostitution, while also being patronised widely by members of Britain’s high society within India and Britain. The attention paid towards the body, performance and sexual character of the nautch girl, which spanned across art forms and was particularly resonant and vivid in the visual arts and musical entertainment, appeared to simultaneously promote acts of voyeurism and disparagement. Most notably, however, the process of culturally locating the nautch girl in British artworks not only bolstered (or occasionally condemned) imperialist intentions, but also demonstrated how Britain was susceptible to the processes of transculturality in the adoption of the “art” of the nautch girl within its own artistic and cultural practices.

Document type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Juneja, Prof. Dr. Monica
Date of thesis defense: 18 February 2019
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2019 07:20
Date: 2019
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Dekanat der Philosophischen Fakultät
Service facilities > Exzellenzcluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context
DDC-classification: 700 The arts
750 Painting and paintings
780 Music
790 Recreational and performing arts
940 General history of Europe
950 General history of Asia Far East
990 General history of other areas
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