Talks

Text/Context: The Many Readings of the Kanchana Chitra Ramayana

2024-02-29 01:46:59

Parul Singh, Prof. Philip Lutgendorf, Prof. Richard Schechner

Text/Context: The Many Readings of the Kanchana Chitra Ramayana

When

December 18, 2023    
7:30 pm - 8:45 pm

(Detail) Building a Bridge to Lanka, Lankakanda Fol. 3r, PTG.02343. 

MAP is delighted to announce an online launch of our recently released publication, the Book of Gold: The Kanchana Chitra Ramayana of Banaras edited and co-authored by the late Kavita Singh and Parul Singh. Join us for a panel discussion between leading scholars exploring the intersections between art history, literature and performative practices through their relationship to the Kanchana Chitra Ramayana.

The publication brings together for the first time over 75+ folios of the Chitra Ramayana, an ambitious illustrated manuscript made for the royal court of Banaras between 1796 and 1814. With six essays by leading scholars from various disciplines including art and architectural history, literature, religion and performance studies, the Book of Gold: The Kanchana Chitra Ramayana of Banaras provides an interdisciplinary context to our understanding of these folios, and advances scholarship on courtly painting in the 19th century. 

In this session, Parul Singh the co-editor of the book introduces the publication, highlighting its most important aspects and moderates a discussion between contributors, Prof. Philip Lutgendorf and Prof. Richard Schechner

This book has been published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition curated by the late Kavita Singh and Parul Singh, on view at MAP until March 2024.


Parul Singh

Postdoctoral Fellow, 4A Laboratory: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics of the Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut

Parul Singh is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the interdisciplinary program 4A Laboratory: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, supported by the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. She specialises in pre-modern visual and material culture with a focus on South Asian art. Her research looks at key moments of cross-cultural encounters embodied in objects and practices – through the fluidity of their function, circulation, citation, and adaptation.

Philip Lutgendorf

Chair of Board of Trustees, American Institute of Indian Studies

Philip Lutgendorf taught Hindi and Modern Indian Studies in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature for 33 years, retiring in 2018. His book on the performance of the Hindi Ramayana, The Life of a Text (1991) won the A.K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002–03 for his research on the popular Hindu deity Hanuman, which appeared as Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (2007). His interests include epic performance traditions, folklore and popular culture, and mass media. His research on the cultural history of tea drinking in India was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Senior Overseas Research Fellowship (2010–11). He translated the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas as The Epic of Ram, in seven dual-language volumes (2016–2023), for the Murty Classical Library of India/Harvard University Press . He served as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies from 2010–2018, and continues serving as Chair of its Board of Trustees.

Richard Schechner

Editor, TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies and University Professor Emeritus, NYU

Richard Schechner, editor of TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies and University Professor Emeritus at NYU, is the author of many books including Environmental Theater, Performance Theory, Between Theater and Anthropology, Performed Imaginaries, and Performance Studies: An Introduction. He has studied the Ramlila of Ramnagar since 1976, attending the entire performance several times and publishing essays about Ramlila. His archive of the Ramlila contains more than 8,000 photographs, films, and other documents. Schechner has directed performances, led workshops, taught, and lectured on every continent except Antarctica. Among his many theatre productions are Dionysus in 69 (after Euripides’ The Bacchae), Sam Shepard’s The Tooth of Crime, Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, Jean Genet’s The Balcony, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Cherry Orchard, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Imagining O. Schechner has been awarded numerous fellowships, awards, and honorary doctorates.

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