Afreen Sen Chatterji (she/her/hers) is a first year PhD student and a Regents' Fellow in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies. She completed her Bachelor’s in English (Honours) at Delhi University, India (2014-17), followed by a Master’s in Theatre and Performance Studies at King’s College London, United Kingdom (2017-18).
In her MA thesis, “The ‘Exotic’ East in Western Ballet: Examining the Disjunction between La Bayadère and India’s Bayadère(s)/Temple-Dancers”, Afreen had begun with an exploration of the gender and imperial politics of classical ballet and its interface with generic constructions. But the examination of the Orientalizing project led her to also see the limitations of this critical framework and a realization of the structures of oppressions that predated imperialism in India, particularly those of caste and gender, that still wield hegemonic power in this modern, decolonized nation despite rising Dalit and feminist assertions. She now seeks to explore further – beyond the rather static binary of colonizer and colonized – realms of cultural narratives and the play of power that sanctions norms and forms by looking at nineteenth century ballets dramatizing exoticized ‘eastern’ worlds.