Arts & Humanities Campus News

Book examines hierarchy, ethnonationalism, womanhood through Indian dance

Indian classical dance has created the public persona of womanhood for an international audience. Indian women embody the archetype of the dancer through a history of film and pop culture—a representation that supports an outdated caste hierarchy and Hindu enthnonationalism.

Rumya Sree Putcha, assistant professor in the Institute for Women’s Studies and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, examines that relationship in her new book, “The Dancer’s Voice: Performance and Womanhood in Transnational India.” The book develops a race and feminist approach to examining Indian performance culture through the analysis of film, immigration and marriage laws; histories of caste and race; advertising campaigns; and her own family heirlooms, photographs and memories.

By listening to the dancer’s voice, Putcha finds a new way to understand the intersection between bodies, voices, performance, castes, race, gender and nationality.