10.00h - 10.05h Word of welcome by Dr. Ayla Joncheere (Organisator & post-doctoral researcher)
10.05h - 10.50h Keynote presentation by Dr. Richard Williams (SOAS London, UK): '"Sensory Connoisseurship: Theologies of Play in Rajput Court Culture"
10.45h - 11.00h Coffee break
11.00h - 12.00h Tom De Moor in conversation with choreographers Seeta Patel (The Rite of Spring, UK) & Mandeep Raikhy (Queen-size, India)
12.00h - 12.30h Lunch
12.30h - 01:30h Dance performance Queen-size
01.30h - 03:00h "Samwaad" (Un)scholarly conversations. Facilitated by Francis Laleman
Sensory Connoisseurship: Theologies of Play in Rajput Court Culture by Richard Williams
Richard David Williams is Senior Lecturer in Music and South Asian Studies at SOAS University of London. A cultural historian of music in South Asia, he is particularly interested in understanding how music and sound are explored in literature, and how colonialism reoriented early modern musical ideas and practices. He is currently completing his first monograph, on the circulation of musicians, genres, and musicologists between upper India and Bengal between c.1750-1900. His second book project is a cultural history of Ragamala, the art of imagining musical sound through poetry and painting. His wider work has explored the history of emotions; music in Hindu theology and ritual; the performance repertoires of courtesans; and music in Pakistani media and literature. His research languages are Hindi, Brajbhasha, Bengali, and Urdu.
In conversation with Seeta Patel & Mandeep Raikhy
Seeta Patel is an award-winning choreographer/dancer. She was born in London and her training under the guidance of Kiran Ratna in 1990. She since worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals including Mavin Khoo, Padma Shri Adyar K Lakshman, Pushkala Gopal, Darshan Singh Bhuller, and more. The constantly evolving world of South Asian Dance is developing as an integral part of the international dance landscape and Seeta Patel is a vital part of this growing business; she mentors and supports up-and-coming dancers, she produces high quality work which entertains and engages an increasing audience both in the UK and abroad.
Mandeep Raikhy is a dance practitioner with a particular interest in exploring the intersections between dance creation, performance, research, and pedagogy. He completed a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban in 2002 and then toured with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, London between 2005 and 2009. Besides creating and touring several dance works since 2008, Mandeep has worked to develop a supportive environment for contemporary dance in India through several initiatives such as Gati Dance Forum, Khuli Khirkee and the MA Performance Practice (Dance) at Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Queen-size by Mandeep Raikhy
Created in 2016 in response to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised sexual intercourse against the heteronormativity defined 'order of nature' in India for over 150 years, before it was finally scrapped by the Supreme Court of India in September 2018, Queen-size is a choreographic exploration that takes the form of a detailed study of the intimacy between two men. The duet was initially triggered by Nishit Saran’s article titled ‘Why My Bedroom Habits Are Your Business', first published in the Indian Express in January 2000. Played out on a charpoy, Queen-size makes an embodied argument for the fundamental right to love by examining the nuts and bolts of a close encounter between two male bodies. In protest against this draconian law that governed and affected millions of lives, Queen-size has been performed over 75 times in more than 30 cities across India and other parts of the world between 2016-19. Queen-size is a celebration of this historic judgement that declares that societal notions of heteronormativity cannot regulate constitutional liberties based on sexual orientation.
“Autonomy is individualistic. Under the autonomy principle, the individual has sovereignty over his/her body. He/she can surrender his/her autonomy willfully to another individual and their intimacy in privacy is a matter of their choice. Such concept of identity is not only sacred but is also in recognition of the quintessential facet of humanity in a person‘s nature. The autonomy establishes identity and the said identity, in the ultimate eventuate, becomes a part of dignity in an individual." An excerpt from the landmark Supreme Court judgment that decriminalized homosexuality in India by reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code on 6 September 2018.
Queen-size runs in a 45-minute loop played out continuously over one and a half hours. The audience can enter the performance space at specific intervals through this period, and stay for as long as they like.
This event is organized in collaboration with Ghent University - Department of Languages & Cultures (India) & Humanities Academy.