Vie scientifique | Séminaires / Conférences

	The Devadasi as Scandal in Nineteenth-Century Tamil Theater

The Devadasi as Scandal in Nineteenth-Century Tamil Theater

Sascha EBELING (University of Chicago) - Professeur invité à l’EHESS 

17 novembre 2016 | 10h30 - 12h30

Salle 662, 190 avenue de France 75013 Paris



The birth of Tamil sound cinema coincided with the revival of anti-devadasi debates in South India during the 1930s. One of the earliest Tamil ‘talkies,’ Mani Lal Tandon’s Dumbachari (1935), portrayed a young man who squanders his money on women of ill repute. This lecture will examine the pre-history of this movie: two nineteenth-century stage plays which inspired it, S. Kasiviswanatha Mudaliar’s Dambachari Vilasam and P. V. Ramaswamy Raju’s Prathapachandra vilasam, and which are in turn indebted to the pre-colonial literary genre of the viralividuthuthu. A discussion of these dramas will help us historicize the various facets of (anti‑)devadasi discourse in South India during the nineteenth and early twentieth century and shed light on one of its major literary tropes: the devadasi as scandal.


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