DFG Research Training Group Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations,  Interventions

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Rashna Nicholson

Dr. des Rashna Nicholson


Dr. des. Rashna Darius Nicholson is a postdoctoral fellow within the ERC research project "Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945" at the LMU, Munich. She completed her PhD, "The Theatre of Empire" at the Graduiertenkolleg Globalisierung, LMU in 2017. The thesis is a critical history of the nineteenth century Parsi theatre and is currently in preparation as a book manuscript. Her interests include Asian and Middle Eastern theatre, world literature, fascism, religious reformations and the globalization of opera.

Dissertation Abstract

The Theatre of Empire

The Parsi Theatre that emerged in the second half of the 19th century was India’s first modern theatre and an answer to the bourgeois aspirations of a new Indian middle class. Although its importance has been widely acknowledged due to its association with Indian cinema and the modern Indian theatre, there exists to this date no published critical history of the texts themselves and of their relation to the community that they sprang from.
This thesis will therefore serve as a corrective measure, filling in the gap in existing research through the documentation and analysis not only of the texts of the high period of Parsi Theatre (1870–1940), but also and more importantly of the turning point in the history of both the Parsi Theatre and the Parsi community. The latter will be undertaken through an analysis of the plays Khushro Shirin ane Guldaste Iran and its "sequel" Yezdegard Sheriar or Yade Vatan, written by Sir Sorabji Pochkhanawala in the late 1920s and of their subsequent impact on the Parsi theatrical renaissance of the 1960s.



"Troubling Englishness: The Eastward Success and Westward Failure of the Parsi theatre", Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 44:1 (November 2017), https://doi.org/10.1177/1748372717735819

"The Picture, the Parable, the Performance and the Sword: Secularism’s Demographic Imperatives", Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1381342

"From India to India: The Performative Unworlding of Literature", Theatre Research International, 42:1 (March 2017), https://doi.org/10.1017/S0307883317000037

"Corporeality, Aryanism, Race: the theatre and social reform of the Parsis of Western India", South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 38.4 (December 2015), https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2015.1080211