Book / Social History of Indian Circus

Nisha P.R. Jumbos and Jumping Devils: A Social History of Indian Circus. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020.
ISBN 9780199496709 / Hardback / 320 pages / Rs 1,195
About the book (publisher’s description): Jumbos and Jumping Devils is a pioneering exploration of the social history of circus in India over the last 150 years. It presents a wide variety of amazing tales ranging from the blooming and evolution of circus acrobatics in early 20th-century Malabar to the sensational legal battles following the ban of wild animals and children from the circus ring in the 21st century.

Alongside extensive fieldwork and interviews, the author has used memorabilia including photographs, notices, posters, letters, diaries, unpublished autobiographies, private papers, and recollections of the circus community to chronicle the hitherto untold story of the Indian circus.

The book paves the way for a new sociocultural analysis of performance genres and popular culture in the subcontinent against several overlapping contexts. These include the remaking of caste and gender identities, transformation of physical cultures and bodies, interventions of the colonial and postcolonial states, and emergence of new transregional and transnational spaces.

Table of Contents
Images / Acknowledgements

  1. Performing Bodies and Physical Cultures
  2. Animals, Circus, and the State
  3. Tenting the Circus
  4. Circus Workers and Trade Unions

Bibliography / Index / About the Author

About the author: Nisha P. R. received her doctorate from the University of Delhi. Her research was on the social history of circus and circus performances in 20th-century south India. Her writings have appeared, amongst others, in Indian Economic and Social History Review, Economic and Political Weekly, Conservation and Society, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, and Social Science Probings.

Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup


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