Disequilibrium: Disability, Gender, and Belonging in Mahesh Dattani’s Tara and Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest
The chapter gestures toward addressing how the theories and practices of folding disability perspectives in, with, and alongside other categories of difference can provoke a generative politics of intimacy and related states of belonging. This consideration will include the development of a brief (and still provisional) genealogy of such translocal intimacies in a transnational Indian context. In order to do so, I will include: (1) a sketch of a philosophy of translocal intimacies through art (primarily but not only performance); (2) an explication of how prior scholarly work on South Asian disability and gender studies points to the need for a revalorization of the body, culture, public space, and disability rights; and (3) a consideration of India-specific performance examples—Mahesh Dattani’s Tara (1990) and Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest (1997)—plays that address social issues revolving, in part, around pressing questions about disability and gender identities in an Indian context.
We urgently need new critical and performance methods that can chart an emerging politics of intimacy along, with, and through the dramatization of “disequilibriums”: new approaches that, for this project, articulate how South Asian disability theaters can provide new understandings of, and engagement with, the translocal. These considerations have implications for emerging work in the performing arts, the interlinking of cultural and disability and deaf rights, diverse approaches to the interweaving of performance cultures, and the broader terrain of socio-cultural transformation. Translocal intimacies of disability and deaf theaters can help delineate ways of reworking the politics of intimacy and belonging.
KeywordsTranslocal Disability Gender Indian-English theater Disequilibriums Tara Harvest
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