October 23, 2006

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Kathryn Hansen will give the lecture, "A Hindu 'Mythological' in the Parsi Theatre: Betab's Mahabharat," Thursday,  Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The lecture, which is open to the public without charge, is the second in the 2006-07 International Focus Year series, "Meditating Myths: Indian Gods in Modern Times."

According to Karline McLain, assistant professor of religion at Bucknell and series coordinator, Indian cinema often uses themes and narrative strategies that often appear to depict ancient traditions of epic storytelling rather than Western-style "linear" plots.

Early cinema

Hansen will analyze the textual and performance history of an influential Parsi stage version of the Mahabharat, first performed in 1913. She will examine Betab's play as a significant moment in the evolution of the 'mythological' gene, linking the mythic visuals of the painter Raja Ravi Varma to developments in the early cinema.

Professor of South Asian studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Hansen teaches courses on modern South Asian literary and cultural studies. Her research interests include the history of theatrical practices in South Asia, and modern Hindi and Urdu literature. Her major publications include Grounds for Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India; The Parsi Theatre: Its Origin and Development (translator and editor); The Third Vow and Other Stories (translator); and A Wilderness of Possibilities: Urdu Studies in Transnational Perspective (co-editor with David Lelyveld.)

"The four speakers in this series are among the leading scholars of media, religion and culture in South Asian," said McLain. "Together they will explore the relationship between media and myth in modern India."

Other speakers in this series are: Paula Richman, "Dilemmas of Womanhood: Recent South Indian Short Stories Based on the Ramayana," Nov. 13; and Rachel Dwyer, Screen Goddesses: Shakti, Sati, Naginas and Other Female Deities in Indian Cinema," April 10, 2007.

For more information about the series, see www.bucknell.edu/Mediating_Myths/.html

Posted Oct. 23, 2006

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