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  • © 2021

The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage

The Making of the Theatre of Empire (1853-1893)

Palgrave Macmillan
  • The first comprehensive study of the Parsi theatre

  • Studies not only Parsi theatre, but also a meta-theatre of imperialism and nationalism

  • Presents an interdisciplinary approach which will be of interest to scholars of cultural history, gender studies, Victorian studies, colonialism, and theatre

Part of the book series: Transnational Theatre Histories (TTH)

Buying options

eBook USD 64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-65836-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    • Rashna Darius Nicholson
    Pages 1-18
  3. Correction to: The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage

    • Rashna Darius Nicholson
    Pages C1-C1
  4. Discipline

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 19-22
    2. Parsi Compradors and the Public Sphere

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 23-41
    3. Corporeal Discipline

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 89-123
  5. Re-Enchantment

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 125-128
    2. The Expansion of the Parsi Theatre

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 175-214
  6. Revolution

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 215-219
    2. The Reformers in Need of Reforming

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 221-258
    3. Race-Thinking and the Parsi Social Drama

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 259-288
    4. Conclusion

      • Rashna Darius Nicholson
      Pages 289-304
  7. Back Matter

    Pages 305-328

About this book

“Working against the grain of the pan-Indian generalities and unproblematized pluralism of the Parsi theatre, Rashna Nicholson focuses on fiery debates in the public sphere around Parsi theatre – debates relating to Aryanism, Darwinism, communal violence, masculinity, and pure and impure blood, pan-Zoroastrianism, and conflicting positions on the critical question, ‘Are Parsis Indian?’ With historiographical rigor and an unsentimental reading of community, Nicholson has written a book that could be regarded as an eye-opener for both performance and social historians.” 

– Rustom Bharucha, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

“This window into colonial history combines archival detail with theoretical sophistication. The Parsis emerge from Nicholson’s account as entrepreneurs but also myth-makers, helping create a non-Western public sphere packed with enchantment, battling conflicting forms of nationalism, and English hypocrisy.”

– David Wiles, University of Exeter

The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage is the first comprehensive study of the Parsi theatre, colonial South and Southeast Asia’s most influential cultural phenomenon and the precursor of the Indian cinema industry. By providing extensive, unpublished information on its first actors, audiences, production methods, and plays, this book traces how the theatre—which was one of the first in the Indian subcontinent to adopt European stagecraft—transformed into a pan-Asian entertainment industry in the second half of the nineteenth century. Nicholson sheds light on the motivations that led to the development of the popular, commercial theatre movement in Asia through three areas of investigation: the vernacular public sphere, the emergence of competing visions of nationhood, and the narratological function that women served within a continually shifting socio-political order. The book will be of interest to scholars across several disciplines, including cultural history, gender studies, Victorian studies, the sociology of religion, colonialism, and theatre.

Rashna Darius Nicholson is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She has published works on colonial and postcolonial South Asian performance, theatre historiography, and cultural development.


Keywords

  • Parsi theatre
  • South Asian drama
  • Colonialism
  • Parsis
  • Indian nationalism
  • Public sphere
  • Empire
  • Nationhood

Reviews

“Working against the grain of the pan-Indian generalities and unproblematized pluralism of the Parsi theatre, Rashna Nicholson focuses on fiery debates in the public sphere around Parsi theatre – debates relating to Aryanism, Darwinism, communal violence, masculinity, and pure and impure blood, pan-Zoroastrianism, and conflicting positions on the critical question, ‘Are Parsis Indian?’ With historiographical rigor and an unsentimental reading of community, Nicholson has written a book that could be regarded as an eye-opener for both performance and social historians.” (– Rustom Bharucha, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi).

“This window into colonial history combines archival detail with theoretical sophistication. The Parsis emerge from Nicholson’s account as entrepreneurs but also myth-makers, helping create a non-Western public sphere packed with enchantment, battling conflicting forms of nationalism, and English hypocrisy.” (– David Wiles, University of Exeter).

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China

    Rashna Darius Nicholson

About the author

Rashna Darius Nicholson is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She has published works on colonial and postcolonial South Asian performance, theatre historiography, and cultural development.   

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-65836-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)