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Constructing Artifice: Impersonation and the Perils of Brahmin Masculinity-SAC

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Impersonation, or the donning of a gender guise (vesam), is ubiquitous to the South Indian dance form of Kuchipudi.  For generations, hereditary brahmin men from the Kuchipudi village in Telugu South India have been donning a stri-vesam (woman’s guise), to enact female characters in dance dramas featuring Hindu religious themes. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in South India, the talk outlines analyzes the perils of brahmin masculinity in the Kuchipudi village and in transnational Kuchipudi dance.  

For more information, please contact Emera Bridger Wilson ( 

Sponsoring Department: South Asia Center, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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