The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan, and the Memory of Partition

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/7/2013
  • Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr
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Imagine the patriotic camaraderie of national day parades. How does performance generate patriotic loyalty? How crucial is performance for the sustenance of the nation? The Performance of Nationalism offers a new analysis of nationalism from the perspective of performance, focusing on the manifold valences of 'mimesis': as aesthetic representation, as the constitution of a community of witnesses and as the mimetic relationality that underlies the encounter between India and Pakistan. The particular performances considered here range from Wagah border ceremonies, to the partition theatre of Asghar Wajahat, Kirti Jain, M. K. Raina and the cinema of Ritwick Ghatak and M. S. Sathyu. By pointing to the tropes of twins, doubles and doppelgangers that suffuse these performances, this study unpicks the idea of two insular, autonomous nation-states of India and Pakistan. In the process, Jisha Menon recovers mimetic modes of thinking that unsettle the reified categories of identity politics.

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