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Pallavi Sriram

Assistant Professor

Pallavi Sriram joined the Department of Theater and Dance in 2018 as Assistant Professor of Dance Studies. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and dancer-maker working across transnational contexts. She received her Ph.D. (2017) in Culture and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds an M.A. from UCLA (2010) and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Dance (2010) from Northwestern University.

Her research addresses the intersection of dance, socio-politics and global histories from the vantage point of South Asia and the Afro-Asian world. Her current project examines new paradigms of dance making emerging across multiple urban contexts in a rapidly shifting eighteenth century Southern Coromandel coast (southeast India) on the verge of British colonialism. Attending to translocal and transtemporal spheres of debate and imaginaries around dance and music across and beyond the coast, she develops the framework and methodology of ‘performative geographies’. Moving forward, her focus expands into the broader dynamic world of the Indian Ocean connecting Afro-Asia. Sriram’s work argues for an understanding of dance as relational dynamic – connecting shifting worlds of self and urban space/place – to destabilize the siloing and fixing of cultural pasts by colonial and postcolonial legacies. Her research and teaching interests include connected histories/imaginaries; popular culture; politics of color, community, class; early modernity; and philosophies of the body and performance coming out of South Asian and Afro-Asian worlds.

Sriram’s work as a dancer and dance-maker dovetails with her critical scholarly investments. She has spent a lifetime with South Indian classical idioms of dance and music, presenting and producing work across the US and India for the past decade with a deep investment in improvisational possibilities, musical collaboration and creative story-telling. Her recent work grapples with the kinds of alternative genealogies for performance she writes about, moving through popular culture (dance in film), concert dance and experimental choreography.