Series: Ethnomusicology Research Semiars 2009/10
‘Culture’ tends to be seen as a ‘context’ for issues of development, or a medium for their propagation, for example through song, theatre etc. However, with performers often heralding from specific social groups, ‘cultural’ and socio-economic or development issues may be two sides of the same coin. This is, I argue, the case in India, where a large proportion of female and male sex workers derive from traditional performing communities – hereditary courtesan-type female performers, and transgender men. This paper discusses processes of exclusion that have shaped and are shaping ‘Indian culture’, from the anti-nautch campaign that openly excluded courtesans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to the banning of an estimated 75,000 bar dancers in Bombay in 2005, to more diffuse processes that see the transgender male dancers, in parallel to hereditary female erotic dancers, existing more and more as sex workers as opposed to as dancers.
Share this event
When & where
12.00am - 12.00amThursday 15th October 2009