Rashna Darius Nicholson, 2021–22

Project Title:

“Helping Hands”: U.S. Cultural Diplomacy, Soft Power and Theatre for Development

Luce East Asia Fellowship, 2021-22

Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

Rashna Darius Nicholson is a cultural historian who holds a PhD (summa cum laude) in theatre studies from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She has held fellowships at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Hughes Hall, Cambridge, and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and is a recipient of the Hong Kong RGC Early Career Award and the Hong Kong University Research Award. Her research and teaching specializations include nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century theatre history, historiography, and practice; postcolonial and world literature; and cultural development. Nicholson’s first monograph, The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage: The Making of the Theatre of Empire (1853-1893), traces the origins and early development of colonial South Asian theatre. Her current project is on the influence of the Rockefeller and Ford foundations on theatre in the Global South during and after the Cold War. She was convener of the IFTR Historiography Working Group between 2017 and 2020.

Selected Publications

The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage

  • Nicholson, Rashna Darius. The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage: The Making of the Theatre of Empire (1853-1893). Transnational Theatre Histories. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.
  • Nicholson, Rashna Darius. “On the (Im)Possibilities of a Free Theatre.” Theatre Research International 46, no. 1 (March 2021): 4-22.
  • Nicholson, Rashna Darius. “‘A Christy Minstrel, a Harlequin, or an Ancient Persian?’: Opera, Hindustani Classical Music, and the Origins of the Popular South Asian ‘Musical’.” Theatre Survey 61, no. 3 (September 2020): 331-50.
  • Nicholson, Rashna Darius. “Canonizing Impulses, Cartographic Desires and the Legibility of History: Why Speak of/for Indian Theatrical Pasts?” In The Routledge Companion to Theatre Historiography, edited by Tracy Davis, and Peter Marx, 186-205. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • Nicholson, Rashna Darius. “What’s in a Name?: The Performance of Language in the Invention of Colonial and Postcolonial South Asian Theatre History.” In The Methuen Drama Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography, edited by Claire Cochrane, and Joanna Robinson, 199-209. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.
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