Aparna Bhargava Dharwadker, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the winner of the Joe A. Callaway Prize for 2004-2005 for the best book on drama or theatre presented by New York University’s Department of English. Dharwadker wins the award for Theatres of Independence: Drama, Theory and Urban Performance in India since 1947 (University of Iowa Press, 2005). The prize is awarded biennially and carries a cash award of $9,000.
The book was selected from a large number of distinguished works on dramatic literature, performance theory, and theatre history. The three-member panel of judges, chaired by Una Chaudhuri, professor of English and drama at NYU, characterized Theatres of Independence as a potentially field-making work, praising its combination of broad and deep historical research with sophisticated postcolonial theory and nuanced literary criticism. The first book to offer a comprehensive account of the vast and varied activity in dramatic writing, theatre production, and performance theory in modern India, alongside a sustained inquiry into the institutional history of these modes of cultural production, Theatres of Independence forges a long-needed bridge between the vibrant fields of postcolonial studies and theatre history.
Two books were awarded Honorable Mentions in this year’s competition. They were: Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism: Approaching the Living Theatre, Happenings/Fluxus, and the Black Arts Movement by Mike Sell (University of Michigan Press, 2005) and Professing Performance: Theatre in the Academy from Philology to Performativity by Shannon Jackson (Cambridge University Press, 2004). The judges singled these works out for their original historicizations of discourses of theatrical scholarship.
The prize was established by Joe A. Callaway, an actor, drama lecturer, and supporter of theatrical causes.