Dr. Sharanya M

Department: Drama
Discipline: Drama

Project Summary

This thesis is an attempt to interrogate the relationship between everyday walking and the contemporary Indian city, specifically the contemporary cultural and geographical space of Delhi--—a postcolonial city that functions simultaneously as a “global” city and a “walled city” (King, Spaces). While walking as performance art is of increasing relevance in the contemporary Indian city, the scope of this project restricts itself to examining the nature of everyday walking and its ties to everyday life, heritage and urban memory. Engaging with walking as a form of performance ethnography, this thesis considers a range of walks— heritage walks, commemorative memory walks and a form of the Situationist dérive—in the contemporary city of Delhi to ask: What can walking as an activity of performance ethnography tell us about how architecture, violence and the urban imagination dictate our lives that urban form and histories alone cannot? What is the relationship between forms of urban memory, everyday life, and heritage in an Indian city—Delhi, in this case—and how do the various kinds of walks inform this relationship? What are the various kinds of walks that emerge in response to and dialogue with site, and how do New and Old Delhi serve as models for this? This thesis is primarily about everyday walking practices in urban  India, but in becoming so, it also attempts to crucially interrogate walking as ethnography as well as the practice of ethnography itself, specifically performance ethnography. It argues  that some of the productive ways to engage with these practices are by re/considering walking as a practice of performance ethnography of the city, through the selective lenses of everyday life, heritage and urban memory.   

Supervisory Team

Stephen Hodge (Head of Drama, Senior Lecturer), University of Exeter

Dr. Carol Upadhya (Professor, School of Social Sciences), National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)

Wider Research Interests

Feminism and contemporary Indian Theatre; postcolonial literature and dramaturgies; South Asian urbanisms; cultural geography; Modern Indian Poetry in English; trauma and ethnography; memory studies; Situationism and race; walking; performance and the city; urban ethnography; mapping; architecture; mobility studies; postcolonial Shakespeares; translation as praxis;

Authored Publications/Reports

(1st March 2016) "The third generation: Manohar Shetty and Melanie Silgardo", A History of Indian Poetry in English, CUP