PhD Researcher and Graduate Teaching Assistant
Supervisor/s: Prof. Silvija Jestrovic and Prof. Jim Davies
Prodosh Bhattacharya joined the department of Theatre and Performance Studies as a PhD student on October 5, 2020, funded by the Chancellor’s International Scholarship. He undertook his BA(Hons) in English from Presidency College, Kolkata and was subsequently awarded the degree of MA and MPhil in English at the University of Calcutta in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
I am researching circus in the context of colonial India focusing on the intimate space in the interstices of performative and textual mobility that circus provides as a repository of embodied and affective meanings. Circus in conjunction with other forms of physical culture presents a distinct critical ground of research into the shared territories of Literary studies with Performance Studies. While circus’s performative visuality evades strict codes of theoretical and conceptual categories, writings on circus and its associated physical cultures gained an increased circulation since 1850s. The moving and malleable bodies thus stretched and contorted not just in the arena but also beyond it, into texts through memoirs, travel books, newspaper reports, historical accounts, biographies, narrative accounts of circus enthusiasts and fictions. The mode of circulation of physical culture not only in practices but also in the imaginative and fictional currency of these literary sources becomes a necessary engagement.
As part of my research, a survey and field work through documenting circus performance and the biography of performers, along with interviews of members of the various ‘akhras’ or centres of physical training is of prime importance. A range of newspaper and visual archives on circus also provide an interesting outlook into how data pertaining to performance is documented and my thesis would like to look for gaps in how archives and collections move between the constraints of remembering and accidental reminiscences. Drawing on a range of sources from legal documents, quasi-histories, pamphlets, fiction and travel writings, along with archival and ethnographic records, my thesis would like to argue that it is the ‘liveness’ of the circus, not as a phenomenal concept alone, but as a distinct ontology of performativity of myriad bodies in motion that both inspires and resists textualization of embodied knowledge.
Prodosh’s research is supervised by Dr. Silvija Jestrovic(Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies) and Dr. Jim Davies( Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies)
Prodosh has a cumulative full-time teaching experience of three years and five months. He taught at Bandwan Mahavidyalaya, Purulia, West Bengal for more than a year and has worked as an Assistant Professor in English at St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata from July 2018 to December 2020. He served for a year at this institution in the capacity of the departmental head, and was the convenor of the Board of Studies of the English Department on two occasions. He had also designed and coordinated a course on Indian Drama and Dramaturgy for postgraduate students of the department of English at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. His areas of teaching include Theatre of the Absurd, Critical theory, Romantic Poetry, Modernism which he offered at both undergraduate and the post-graduate level at the various institutions he taught.
Currently he is also a Graduate tutor at the department of Theatre and Performance Studies, and teaches in the courses -Ways of Seeing, Ways of Doing and Theatre and Performance in Context to undergraduate students at the department.
Guest Talks and Invited lectures
July 06, 2020: Invited Lecture on 'Performance Studies and its emerging concepts' at the department of English, Loreto College, Kolkata, India.
March 22, 2022: Invited lecture titled 'The body that moves is the body that writes: Narrative and embodiment in Indian Circus' at the department of Creative Media and Culture Industries, King's College London, UK
‘The Road to Xanadu after 200 years: A Measure of the ‘Pleasure Dome’’. Middle Flight, Volume. 5, Number. 1, 2016 a special volume on “The Wonderful Year 1816- A Bicentenary appraisal. pp 7-12. ISSN 2319-7684.
‘Rumour as performance: Reviewing Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow and the ontology of Postcolonialism.’ Middle Flight, Volume. 6, Number. 1, 2017 a special volume on “ Peripheral Identities in Literature, Film and Performance”. pp 158-167. ISSN 2319-7684.
‘ Caliban begets Caliban: Blackness as Racial Performativity in Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest.’ in Shakespeare In Focus: In Commemoration of the Quartercentenary of Shakespeare’s Death(Revised Edition), eds. Debdas Roy and Pritha Kundu, Kolkata: Rohini Nandan, 2017. pp 92-101. ISBN 978-81-934281-8-4.
‘Walking on a Tightrope: Circus and its Double in Colonial Bengal’. Ecological Entanglements: Affect, Embodiment and Ethics of Care, ed. Arka Chattopadhyay, Ambika Aiyadurai and Nishaant Choksi. Orient Blackswan.( Forthcoming in 2022)
Seminars and Conference Papers
- 02.2016: ‘Rumour as performance: Reviewing Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow and the ontology of Postcolonialism.’ -International Conference on New Directions in Postcolonial Studies organised by the Department of English, Kazi Nazrul University, Asansol, WB, India
- 03.2020: ‘Walking on a Tightrope: Circus and its Double in Colonial Bengal’ International Conference on Affect, Ecology, and Embodiment, IIT Gandhinagar, Gujrat, India
- August 8, 2020: 'Bearing Witness: From the visceral to the public dimensions of memorializing' in a panel on Theatre, Space and Practice organized by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IISER Bhopal, India
- June 20, 2022. 'The visceral aesthetics and politics of "skill" in circus practices and physical culture in Colonial Bengal' at the Popular Entertainment Working Group, IFTR 2022 conference on 'Shifting Centres' at Reykjavik, Iceland.
- September 13, 2022. 'Colonial masculinity and its' visceral slips: (Un)marking the presence of women performers in circus and its' allied physical culture in colonial Bengal. Bodies and Performance Working Group panel on Gendered traces, erasure and agency in the Archive at TaPra 2022.
Other Roles and activities
Organized a Postgraduate Research symposium at the Theatre and Performance Studies department on October 5, 2022 (alongwith Varvara Sklez and Yangzi Zhou).
Wednesday- 14:00- 16:00
(Also on Teams)