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ACLS Humanites E-Book (HEB) has recently made available a new edition of Grounds for Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India by Kathryn Hansen. This interactive XML-encoded update of the original 1992 edition has been enhanced with audio clips of interviews and performances, twenty-five additional images, and excerpts of Hindi source materials.

In Grounds for Play, Hansen draws on field research and archival holdings to investigate the social history and meanings of the Nautanki theater of northern India, a form embedded in premodern peasant society. The performances are comprised of many elements: music, dance, poetry, oral storytelling traditions, and written texts. Hansen shows how Nautanki explores important social issues such as political authority, community identity and gender differences.

Grounds for Play won the Coomaraswamy Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 1994. The book has been adopted for courses in world theater, folklore, ethnomusicology, gender studies, and South Asian history and culture.

Grounds for Play is part of HEB’s ACLS Fellows’ Publications series. Please find other titles from this series here.