Literature Review

Order Description

The articles that you need to review will be uploaded on the attachment.

Please identify an appropriate primary corpus, and critically analyze how your sample texts have changed when placed in dialogue with other cultures. You may wish to consider what is culturally specific about these texts, and what has local and global significance.

Questions that should be answered for the review:
· What are the major issues and debates about the topic?
· What are the key theories, concepts and ideas which are used?
· What are the main questions and problems that have been addressed?
· How is knowledge on the topic structured and organised?
· What kinds of methodology are used? Is it an empirical report, a theoretical study, a
sociological or political account, a historical overview, etc.? All or some of these?
· What kinds of data does it use to back up its argument?
· Does it follow a particular school of thought?
· What are the political standpoints of the authors of each study?
· What conclusions does it come to?
Compare and Contrast the Two Review Items
· Compare and contrast how different authors view the issue.
· Group authors who draw similar conclusions.
· Note areas in which authors are in disagreement.
· Criticize aspects of methodology.
· Identify exemplary studies.
· Identify patterns or trends in the literature.
· Comment on questions left unanswered.

Organization of the Review
•The review will have an introduction, a central argument, and a conclusion.
•It will develop a logical argument, presented in well-formed paragraphs.
•The introduction should set out the nature of the topic under discussion, its parameters (what it includes and excludes), and what your chosen items contribute to discussion of the topic. The introduction should include a question you will explore or a statement of the conclusions you have reached about the articles to be examined.
•The conclusion should include a summary of major agreements and disagreements amongst your texts, and a summary of general conclusions that can be drawn from them.

Answer

Title: Asian Studies

Literature Review

Khandelwal, Meena & Akkoor, Chitra (2014), ‘Dance on!: Inter-collegiate Indian dance competitions as a new cultural form’, Cultural Dynamics, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 277–298.

Warren, Vincent (2006), ‘Yearning for the Spiritual Ideal: The Influence of India on Western Dance 1626–2003’, Dance Research Journal, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 97-114.

 

Both articles – “Dance on!: Inter-collegiate Indian Dance Competitions As a New Cultural Form” by Meena Khandelwal and Chitra Akkoor and “Yearning for the Spiritual Ideal: The Influence of India on Western Dance 1626–2003” by Vincent Warren provide a discussion of various aspects of Indian dance practices.

In the article “Dance on!: Inter-collegiate Indian Dance Competitions As a New Cultural Form”, Khandelwal and Akkoor investigate a cultural trend in the University of Iowa, whereby a new form of Indian dance known Nachte Raho has emerged. They contend that the dance enables the “minoritized” students to engage in community building while at the same time producing a professionalized show that is intended for peers.

Khandelwal and Akkoor explain how Indian dance competitions in the University of Iowa constitute an emerging cultural form of the twenty-first century because it gives participants an opportunity to confront and embody the contradictions that continue to shape their day-to-day lives in the form of racialization of immigrants’ children in a predominantly White university. A number of reasons for this phenomenon are given, including rising multiculturalism, geopolitics, demographic changes, and Bollywood popularity.

A major question that the article sets out to answer is whether these competitions, known as Nachte Raho, constitute a pure representation of the Indian culture or whether they are a hybrid of Indian and American culture. Based on the author’s analysis, it emerges that Nachte Raho in essence disrupts notions of cultural purity by introducing diasporic identities.

Similarly, in the article “Yearning for the Spiritual Ideal: The Influence of India on Western Dance 1626–2003”, Warren explains how efforts have been made in the past to reinvent the Indian dance. Warren contends that the Indian dance possesses a vibrant tradition that has been recognized worldwide, and whose meaning remains the same despite being subjected to the test of geography and time.

In the two articles under analysis, Khandelwal and Akkoor as well as Warren highlight certain contradictions that have been existing in the Indian dance culture. To begin with, Khandelwal and Akkoor provide a detailed explanation is provided on how Indians at the University of Iowa must “play cool” to win approval from non-Indians while at the same time sticking to their Indian culture. To resolve this contradiction, they resort to the adoption of a hybrid/diasporic identity in the form of Nachte Raho. These contradictions may also be viewed through the gender perspective, whereby both male and female Indians are expected to adhere to certain cultural norms. For example, women who create the image of fun and promiscuity by dressing suggestively during Nachte Raho risk facing criticism from conservative Indians. Similarly, men who wear bright colors such as shocking pink are normally frowned upon for displaying feministic characteristics.

Similarly, Warren explains how European dancers developed dance forms based on an idealized and romantic version of Indian culture is presented. This is a contradiction because on the one hand, Europeans promoted elements of ethnocentrism and on the other hand sought to reach out to Indian dance practices to enrich their own culture. From this analysis, it is evident that these European dancers did not bother to find out what Indian dance really is all about. Khandelwal and Akkoor also point to as related phenomenon whereby children of Indian immigrant living in the United States are not interested in the conservative demonstrations of the Indian culture such as Diwali ceremonies. To them, these practices are not “cool”, and are likely to be a put-off to non-Indian audiences.

Although the articles address the same theme, they exhibit some differences in the way they express their discussions. While Khandelwal and Akkoor focus on a trend that emerged in 2002, Warren discusses the use of Indian stereotypes in European and American dance traditions. One major finding to be deduced from this discussion is that different dancers went to different lengths to find out the true nature of the Indian culture and dance. In most cases, however, portrayals of India were derived from imaginations. A state of confusion seems to have reigned in the minds of opinion leaders across Europe especially in issues relating to dance, spirituality, and aesthetics. For example, in 1810, Les Bayaderes, one of the biggest-hit opera-ballets in France, was anchored on the evocation of the imaginary ideas Westerners had developed in their attempts to define India’s cultural and spiritual fabric.

Thus, in terms of methodology, Khandelwal and Akkoor may be said to have used a sociological account while Warren used a historical overview. The use of a sociological account enables Khandelwal and Akkoor to highlight issues of Indian culture in an effective manner. However, it may have been better if they placed at some of the issues the authors highlighted in a historical context, for example, an assessment of how Diwali ceremonies have been changing throughout the twentieth century. Conversely, it may have been appropriate for Warren to blend the use of historical overview with some detailed analysis of the socio-economic, political, and demographic circumstances at a specific point in history, for example, the first decade of the eighteenth century. This may give readers a better view of the standpoints, realities, and perspectives on Indian culture that prevailed then in comparison to the ones that prevail today.

This description by Warren is comparable to the one by Khandelwal and Akkoor only that in the latter case, emphasis is on recent cultural realities. For instance, Khandelwal and Akkoor explain how the Indian cultural dance is staged during Nachte Raho. The description touches on the elaborateness of arrangements as well as reference to symbols of popular culture, use of jokes and good humor, and persistent reference to both classical and modern Hindu music and films within the stage set. It also highlights the inclusion of humor that is carefully selected to avoid offending non-Indians in the audience. For example, there is repeated reference to American and Indian symbolic worlds in a manner that does not cause offense to non-Indians or Indians born to immigrants, most of whom may never have had the privilege of getting exposed to the conservative version of the Indian culture.

In both articles, the authors have done an excellent job of gathering data from different sources to demonstrate how efforts to make changes to the Indian dance traditions. On their part, Khandelwal and Akkoor provide a detailed explanation of Nachte Raho, its features, and reasons for its development. With examples, these authors explain that this new type of Indian dance is in essence a professionalized version of the traditional Indian community engagement ceremonies, the most important of which is the Diwali. Similarly, Warren provides a detailed historical overview of the various efforts that European and American dancers tried to embed Indian dance traditions into their own dance cultures.

In both articles, the authors note that these efforts were not guided by close reference to the conservative brand of Indian dance. For example, Khandelwal and Akkoor notes that the most enthusiastic planners of Nachte Raho happen to be Americans of Indian descent whose parents immigrated into the country decades ago, meaning that those students have never been exposed to the dance culture as practiced in their native homeland of India. A similar line of argument is presented by Warren regarding the adoption of Indian dance practices in Europe. A case in point is that of Caroline Brocard, who in 1821 dressed in an approximation of Indian dance costume while playing a mute role in a performance of Le Paria at the Opéra Comique Warren. This performance was particularly significant since it marked the beginning of a new tradition that continued well into the twentieth century, whereby dancers performed as mutes. This example demonstrated the enthusiasm with which many dancers in Europe sought to embrace the exotic vision of the Indian dance traditions. In most cases, this enthusiasm, coupled with a cursory understanding of Indian culture, led European dancers to gravitate towards reinventing the Indian dance.

The two articles do not seem to follow any particular school of thought. However, an in-depth analysis of the views expressed by the authors seems to indicate the conventional belief in the mystical qualities of the Indian culture. For example, Warren argues that European dancers have traditionally associated the Indian culture with “the spiritual ideal”, and this explains their long-time fascination with the country, its culture, and its people. This impression is also created by Khandelwal and Akkoor in their argument that Westerners, particularly Americans have become fascinated by the Indian culture particularly its portrayal in Bollywood. However, this fascination has in some cases led to negative stereotyping, with an often-cited example being the belief among Americans that Indian males are typically non-athletic nerds (Khandelwal and Akkoor. This feminization of Indian males, which emerged during the British colonial era, is a vindication of the element of mysticism that has characterized conventional conceptualizations of India since the Early Modern Period.

The main political standpoint that is highlighted in both articles is the dominant of the West over India. At the University of Iowa, the members of the Indian Students Alliance belong to a minority group. Under such circumstances, challenges such as racial discrimination persist. It is for this reason that U.S.-born children of Indian immigrants often consider themselves “racialized” brown (Khandelwal and Akkoor. Under these circumstances, attempts by the West to reinvent the Indian culture do not come as a surprise. It is for this same reason that Indian minority groups at the University of Iowa seek to build cultural capital by establish Nachte Raho, a hybridized form of Indian culture that is appealing to both Indians and non-Indians.

The domination of the Indian population in America today as depicted by Khandelwal and Akkoor closely mirrors Warren’s portrayal of ethnocentrism that Europeans have been exciting for centuries through their efforts to reinvent and claim ownership to the Indian dance culture. After the colonization of the Asian subcontinent during the nineteenth century, the resulting swell of information about the Indian culture in Europe led to radical changes in the way this Asian culture was perceived by Europeans. This explanation underscores the importance of the political dimension in the appraisal of factors influencing efforts by Europeans and Americans to reinvent India.

The two articles reviewed in this paper provide crucial information on interactions between India and the West through dance. While Khandelwal and Akkoor address a recent phenomenon involving the establishment of the Nachte Raho dance by an association of Indian students at the University of Iowa, Warren adopts a historical perspective to explain how European dancers for centuries made numerous attempts to portray the Indian dance tradition in their own way based on imaginative thinking and inaccurate information. Although the texts are different in terms of organization and structure, they describe the same phenomenon within different historical timeframes in strikingly similar manner. Consequently, they both contribute to the elaboration of a trend whereby groups residing outside India have sought to reinvent the Indian dance.

From the arguments raised in these two articles, it is evident that the West has tended to ignore reality by reinventing the Indian culture and dance. It also emerges that many social groups residing outside the Indian subcontinent have been attempting to reinvent the Indian dance and culture since the 1600s, and one of the latest attempts is by members of the Indian Students Alliance (ISA) at University of Iowa, who came up with Nachte Raho in 2002.

In both texts, Indians are portrayed as both victims of a dominant cultural environment and a source of inspiration and admiration due to the richness of their cultural identity. The articles also explain how they have been forced to adapt their dance culture to changing socio-economic, political, and demographic circumstances. Thus, this paper concludes that attempts by members of the Indian Students Alliance (ISA) at University of Iowa, most of whom are U.S.-born children of Indian immigrants, to come up with Nachte Raho in 2002 constitutes an attempt to reinvent the Indian culture and dance. It is also evident that similar attempts have been ongoing since the early 1600.

 

References

Khandelwal, M & Akkoor, C (2014), ‘Dance on!: Inter-collegiate Indian dance competitions as a new cultural form’, Cultural Dynamics, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 277–298.

Warren, V (2006), ‘Yearning for the Spiritual Ideal: The Influence of India on Western Dance 1626–2003’, Dance Research Journal, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 97-114.

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