Faculty Profile

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Mr. Benil Biswas

  • Affiliation Assistant Professor
    School of Culture and Creative Expressions
  • Email benil@aud.ac.in

Qualification

  • He is a Performer, Scholar and Cultural commentator.
  • Doctoral Fellow, Theatre and Performance Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. The working title of his thesis is Towards an Alternative Aesthetics in the Performative Traditions of the Namasudra Advisor: Prof Rustom Bharucha and Prof. Partho Datta.
  • Fellow, Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA. 2016.
  • “Theaters: Sacred and Profane”. Seminar Advisor: Prof. Martin Puchner.
  • M.Phil. Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS), School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, 2010.
  • Dissertation title: Rabha Theatre and Performance: Towards An Alternative Aesthetics in Post 90’s People’s Theatre of the North East Advisor: Prof. H. S. Shivaprakash and Dr. Urmimala Sarkar Munsi.
  • M.A. English, Centre for English Studies (CES), School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies (SLL and CS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, 2008.
  • B.A. English (Honours), Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira College (University of Calcutta) 2006.
  • NCC Best Cadet in College (2005), B & C certificate in National Cadet Corps (NCC) AIRWINGS, 2006.
  • Awarded ‘A’ Grade in Basic Mountaineering Course, at NIM, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, India, 2005.
  • Shilpa-Visharad in Fine Arts conferred by Sarba Bharatiya Sangeet -O- Kala Parishad, Calcutta, 2001.

Past Experience

  • Teaching Experience of more than Eight years ranging from undergraduate to research levels as under:
  • Assistant Professor (AD-HOC), Department of English, Lady Shri Ram College For Women, University of Delhi (2011-2012).
  • Guest Faculty, Department of English, Dyal Singh College (EVE), University of Delhi (2010-11).
  • Guest Faculty, Department of English, Ramanujan College (Erstwhile Deshbandhu College (EVE), University of Delhi, (2009-2010).
  • Academic Counsellor, Department of English, IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) session (DBC centre, Delhi), 2009-2010.
  • Projector Evaluator and Observer for Under the Sal Trees project and Theatre in Assam. India Foundation for the Arts, Bengaluru, (2012).
  • Observer with IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts) in the project – Ramkatha: Ankan, Baachan aur Manchan, Observed the performances: Wrote a synopsis on the whole process – seminar and performances. (2008).
  • Internship with PRATHAM for a period of two months (2008. Conducted interviews of some eminent authors and linguists, Member of the Read India Content Group., Prepared cards on 1857.
  • Translator with Linguamart (2007-08). Important assignments- Covering UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s visit to India (2008) and transcribing his speech for UNIC. Transcribing and translating text of the woman auto rickshaw driver activist and her proposal for rights.

My Zone / Area of Expertise

Keywords that define his research and scholarly interests: Aesthetics and Theatre of the Oppressed, Aurality, Corporeality and Visuality in Performance, Critical Theory and Cultural Studies, Comparative Performance Studies, Cultural Policy, Performance Theory, Political Theology, Theatre Historiography, Traditional and Popular South Asian Performance.

At present, he is working on his doctoral thesis that broadly concern the convergences and divergences between theatre historiography, aesthetics of the oppressed, performativity, displaced population, idea of community, citizenship and identity, with special reference to Independence movement in India, Partition of Bengal and Caste question. In this project, he proposes to examine the idea of Performance as Kinesis, and the possibilities of writing histories from corporealities of the minoritarian perspectives, where mostly the absence of written sources facilitates one to approach history from the embodied lived experiences of performance.

Awards

  • As resource person, invited to a panel discussion on “Facets of Indian Art & Culture: Books by Publications Division” with Smt. Kapila Vatsayan, scholar, author and critic Smt. Leela Venkataraman, scholar, author and critic; Shri Irfan Zuberi, Chairperson, Steering Committee on Arts Management, Ministry of Culture and Project Manager, National Cultural Audiovisual Archives, IGNCA; Chair: Shri B.P. Singh, former Governor, Sikkim on the occasion of the release of four books by Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 2 December, 2015. http://www.iicdelhi.nic.in/writereaddata/Publications/635936662257232293_ANNUAL%20REPORT%202016%2015%20March%20final.pdf
  • As resource person, was invited to be part of the panel discussion II: Academic-Activist Dialogue and presented paper “Performing Fragmented Identity: Namasudra, Dalit, Indian, Bengali?” at “Identities, Mobility and Well-Being”: National workshop cum Orientation programme for Researchers and Faculty Members from SC/ST and other Marginalised Groups, A joint initiative of ICSSR-ERC and Dept. of Sociology, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, 26-27, September, 2015.
  • Invitation as resource person, Chair of presentation session and a Plenary Paper “Rastra-o- Rajyer anginaye Sambhu Mitra-r Baktityo ebong Natya-chinta”, at UGC sponsored National Seminar Satabarsey Sambhu Mitra, at PCM College, Kolkata, West Bengal, April, 10-11, 2015. It included a travel, boarding and lodging grant by the organiser.
  • Ambedkar University Travel Grant to join the Documenting Asian Art and Performance: Embodied Knowledge, Virtuality & the Archive conference, University of the Arts, Helsinki., Finland, December 3-5, 2014.
  • Minerva Natyasanskriti Charchakendra Fooding, Lodging and Travel Grant to attend the National Theatre Seminar, July 2014.
  • Ambedkar University Travel Grant to join International Exposition of Kanhailal’s Theatre at Manipur, March 2014 and Theatre Residency at Ninasam, May 2013.
  • Travel Grant to present a paper at 18th International Congress of Aesthetics at Peking University, Beijing, China (August 9th - 13th, 2010) from JNU. (2010)
  • Travel Grant to present a paper at the 15th Annual International Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. (May 18th- 24th, 2009) from ICSSR.(2009)

 

Administrative Positions Held/Participation in the Corporate Life of Educational Institutions

  • Co-Convenor, Theatre Society, Co-Curricular Activities Committee, AUD, Since July 2019-
  • Programme Coordinator, Performance Studies, SCCE, AUD, Since January, 2019-
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Observer, CTET Exam 2016 held on 21.02.2016.
  • CBSE Observer, CTET Exam 2015 held on 20.09.2015.
  • CBSE Observer, UGC-NET Exam 2015 held on 28.06.2015.
  • CBSE Observer, JEE Main 2015 held on 5.04.2015.
  • Convenor, Co-Curricular Activities Committee, AUD, 2015- 2016.
  • Member of the AUD Website Task Force, 2014 – December, 2015
  • Member, SUS Foundation Courses revamp Committee, 2014 – 2015
  • Member, SUS, Academic Coordination Committee, 2014 – 2016.
  • Member, SLS, Academic Coordination Committee, 2014- 2016.
  • Joint Coordinator of BA English Honours Program, SUS, 2014 – 2016.
  • Member of the AUD Anti-Ragging Committee and Anti-Ragging Squad, 2014 – 2015.
  • Coordinator of the ICCE (Introduction to Culture and Creative Expressions), Course for the Undergraduates, 2014-December, 2015 and CPCE (Critical Perspectives on Creative Explorations) 2015-2016.
  • Convenor of the Theatre Society at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), 2013- 2015.
  • External member to the School of Undergraduate Studies (SUS) Admission Committee, 2013 – 2016.
  • Member of the ECA admission screening committee, 2012 – December, 2015.
  • Member of the Admission Committee and Scholarship Commitee of School of Culture and Creative Expressions (SCCE), 2012-2015.
  • Member of IT User Committee at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), (2012-2016).
  • ERP facilitator for School of Culture and Creative Expressions (SCCE), since 2012-
  • Member of School of Undergraduate Studies (SUS) Scholarship Committee, 2012-2013.
  • Convenor of the Theatre Society at Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. (2011-2012).
  • Member of International Association of Aesthetics (IAA), since 2010 -
  • Treasurer of Bahroop Arts Group, since 2008- 2015
  • Member of Indian Society for Theatre Research (ISTR), since 2008-

Publications

  • Architectonics of an Archive: Preparation to Performance and Beyond in Kalakshetra Manipur’s Samnadraba Mami (Disjointed Images) (Forthcoming 2019)
  • Phenomenology of A Radical Aesthetics: Embodied Memories and Enmeshed ‘Shabd-O-Sangeet’ in Kobi-gaan from the Matua/Namasudra Performance Repertoire in Shabd aur Sangeet: Unravelling Song-Text in India. (Edited by Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan and Kunal Ray). Delhi: Three Essays Collective/Flame University Pune, 2019. pp. 287-310.
  • “Platform: Historicizing Badungduppa’s Work”, In Sukracharjya Rabha: Jatrã Aru Matrã. A book based on Sukracharjya Rabha’s theatrical philosophy, experiments, journey and dimension. By Nilutpal Baruah. Goalpara, Assam: Badungduppa Publication, 2018. pp. 134-138. (in Assamese)
  • “Mastakabhishek: A Rehearsal by H.S. Shivaprakash”, (Translation in Bengali) in Sudrak Journal, Vol.28, Autumn 2018: Kolkata, 2018. pp.79-100.
  • “From Page to Stage and Back: Rumination on Various Aspects of Theatrical Production” in Essays on Text and Performance. Brati Biswas and Geeta Budhraja (eds.). Book Age Publications: Delhi, 2017. pp.129-155.
  • “Aurality, Orality and Embodied Memories: Historicizing Caste in Bengal through Namasudra Performance”. In Syeda Ayesha Ali & Tayana Chatterjee (Eds.). Interpretation of Memories: Literary, Psychological and Historical Aspects. Kolkata: Rohini Nandan, 2017. pp.173-188.
  • “Archaeology of Nation and the Be-longing-ness Performed: Kavigaan from Namasudra Performance Repertoire as Palimpsest”. In Colonial and Post- Colonial Performing Arts: An Asian Perspective (Ed. By Rituparna Ray Chowdhury). Kolkata: Maha Bodhi Book Agency, 2017. pp. 65-84.
  • [Review of the books Bengali theatre: 200 Years by U. K. Banerjee & Badal Sircar: Towards a theatre of conscience by A. Katyal]. Intach Journal of Heritage Studies, 2 (1), 66–68. (2016)
  • “Module 08: Rise of Bhasha: Great Traditions and Little Traditions; Western Impact and Indian Response; Cultural Politics and Hybridity.” In Paper 09: Comparative Literature: Drama in India. Retrieved from https://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/S000013EN/P001451/M014802/ET/1487325711Paper9,Module08,EText.pdf (2016)
  • “Module 09: Theatre Architecture, Apparatus, Acting; Censorship and Spectatorship; Translations and Adaptations.” in Paper 09: Comparative Literature: Drama in India. Retrieved from https://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/pdfjs/web/viewer.html?file=https://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/S000013EN/P001426/M019409/ET/1487327769Paper9,Module09,EText.pdf (2016)
  • “Manipuri Theatre on the Crossroads of Time.” The Hindu Business Line, February 5, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/cover/manipuri-theatre-on-the-crossroads-of-time/article8197594.ece (20 January 2018)
  • “Reverberations of Badungduppa: Between Identity, Ecology and Theatre.” NEzine, February 27, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.nezine.com. https://www.nezine.com/info/Reverberations%20of%20Badungduppa:%20Between%20Identity,%20Ecology%20and%20Theatre
  • “Rabha Theatre: Dukh Ki Bhasa” Janmat: December 2009, Allahabad.

Projects

Acting/Performance in Plays/Theatre

PlaysDirectorDate/YearPlaceEvent/RecognitionCharacters Played
Aadmi Aur TantraRajesh Singh29-Sep-18Kathak Kendra,  ChanakyapuriSankriti Arts Festival, Sangeet Natak AkademiMr. Davis
Aadmi Aur TantraRajesh Singh19-Jul-18 NSD, DelhiBV Karanth Festival 2018Mr. Davis
Aadmi NamaRajesh Singh09-Jul-18 Ghalib InstituteUrdu Drama Festival 2018Mr. Davis
Aadmi Aur TantraRajesh Singh09-Aug-18Bharat Bhavan, BhopalDinamaan Festival, Bharat Bhavan Bhopal Foundation.Mr. Davis
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (English)Deepan Sivaraman2017Trisshur, Kerala 9th International Theatre Festival of Kerala, TrisshurPoliceman, Doctor
Hamare Samay MeinK.S.Rajendran2017 Jabalpur, MP22nd National Theatre Festival, Vivechana Theatre groupMukul
AadminamaRajesh Singh2017SRC, DelhiOne of the best play of the year 2016-17 by Sahitya Kala ParishadSaxena
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (English)Deepan Sivaraman2016AUD, New DelhiMahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, 2016Policeman, Doctor
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (English)Deepan Sivaraman2015AUD, New DelhiDegree Showcase 2015, 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, 2016Policeman, Doctor
Project Nostalgia (Eng)Deepan Sivaraman2014AUDTerm End DisplayThe Poet
 It’s Cold in Here (English)Deepan Sivaraman2014AUD & Instituto CervantesDegree Showcase 2015, performed at Instituto Cervantes, New DelhiMusic, Rapper
Sawaal Apna ApnaK.S. Rajendran2012Convention Centre, JNURang-Bayaar JNU Theatre FestivalSubhash
PS: D URBANDr. Urmimala2009SAA        Lawn, JNUPerformed at ISTR conferenceAnonymous
All My SonsK.S. Rajendran2009PSR, JNUConcluding performance of Winter semester 2009George
Sundardas(English)Dr. H.S. Shiva Prakash2008IGNCA, New DelhiAward of Appreciation by Orissa Cultural OrganizationSundardas
 The Life  of GalileoDr. H.S. Shiva Prakash2008Rangayana, MysoreBahuroopi-08th   National  Theatre Festival, MysoreGalileo
Hamare      Samay MeinK.S. Rajendran2008SRC, New DelhiUrdu Academy Festival’08Mukul
Hamlet Machine (English)Self  &  Sudipto Mukhopadhya2008SSS1 Auditorium,JNUTerm paper in the course ‘Modern European Drama’O’phelia,Gertrude, Polonius
Jangal Ke DaawedaarDr. Devandra Raj Ankur2008SAA FoyerOpening Show of the semesterSugana, Dhani, & anon. Character
Lotus PathDr. Urmimala Sarkar200810     cities     in Japan & IndiaCertificate of Appreciation by Osaka in the World CommitteeBuddha      figure, and various roles
Men          Without ShadowsDr. Faiyaz Ahmed2007JNU, New DelhiTheatre Monsoon FestivalCanoris
B-ThreeSuman Kumar2007LTG,          New DelhiOne of the best play of the year 2006-07 by Sahitya Kala ParishadDelegate/ Principal
RURDr. Faiyaz Ahmed2007SRC, New DelhiUrdu Academy Festival’07Busman
SpartacusAjay Manchanda2006Gwalior, M.P.National Theatre FestivalDraba/ Slave
Kak-Charitra(Bengali)Abhisek Sarkar2005Sabhagriha, BelurSamakalanKak
They aren’t Bad(English)Priyatosh Pandit2003Jalpaiguri, WBBiennial Cultural FestivalOthello/ Mr. Sen

Performance Experience

  • Toured Japan for one month representing the Jawaharlal Nehru University as a part of the performing team “Lotus Path” and performed over ten cities, and promoted Indian Culture in October 2008.
  • Associated with Bahroop Arts Group in various capacities, New Delhi since 2006.
  • Conceived and co-directed Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine (2008) and Bhasa’s Karnabharam (2010)
  • Been part of the Production team at SCCE, AUD since 2012, where Little Prince (2013), Project Nostalgia (2014), It’s Cold in Here (2014), Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2015) were successfully produced.