M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics

Jawaharlal Nehru University
In New Delhi

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Important information

Typology Master
Location New delhi
  • Master
  • New delhi


Where and when

Starts Location
On request
New Delhi
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi , 110067, Delhi, India
See map
Starts On request
New Delhi
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi , 110067, Delhi, India
See map

Course programme

M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics

The School of Arts and Aesthetics is one of the few places in India that offers post-graduate degree courses in the theoretical and critical study of the cinematic, visual and performing arts. Moreover, it is the only place in India where these disciplines are offered in one integrated programme that allows students to understand the individual arts in a broader context of history, sociology, politics, semiotics, gender and cultural studies apart from being able to integrate the study of one art form with the other arts. The three streams of study offered at the school are Visual Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies and Cinema Studies.

The pedagogic approach of the SAA recognises that it no longer suffices to study a work of art as an 'object' in isolation, apart from the social forces that shape and give it meaning. The teaching here adopts a multidisciplinary approach drawing on insights from the fields of anthropology, history, media and cultural studies. Students are introduced to a range of research methods that combine archival, ethnographic, theoretical and cultural approaches.

The School focuses on taught degree programmes. The faculty encourages students - and other interested persons - to take advantage of Delhi's cultural riches by visiting exhibitions, theatre, film and music festivals. The School organises field trips to monuments and museums and to observe traditional theatre, music and dance practices across India. The School also has a busy schedule of lectures and seminars by visiting scholars and artists from across the world and occasionally hosts performances as well.

Visual Studies faculty offer courses on ancient Indian Art and Architecture, Aesthetic theories, Mughal and Rajput painting, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Popular Culture. These are taught together with courses that familiarise the students with the materials and methods of producing the visual arts and the history of the institutions that house, showcase and promote them.

At present, visiting faculty give further instruction on the architecture of the Sultanates, and in the coming year the School plans to develop further its courses on the Indian painting.

Theatre and Performance Studies comprise theatre, dance, music as well as other non-aesthetic performances like ritual, healing and forms of public spectacles. In India countless forms of theatre, semi-theatre, and classical, folk and tribal dance and ritual are still alive and immensely popular. Their nature is not based on any strict antagonism between 'classical' and 'folk'. Further, India's shastric traditions also seem to percolate across regions and through levels of high and low culture. The current faculty in this area cover courses in the field of ancient, medieval and contemporary Indian theatre, while visiting faculty instruct in the fields of the history of dance and music.

Cinema Studies is one of the most significant academic disciplines to have emerged internationally in the last few decades. This is not surprising since the birth of the cinema transformed our sense of the world, and film has evolved both as a social institution and as the most powerful art form of the 20th century. As a discipline Cinema Studies is extremely interdisciplinary and it draws on the content and methods of literature, history, sociology, political science, anthropology, and economics among others.

India has been for half a century the world's largest film producing country with an output in several different languages. Responding to local traditions of performance and representation, the Indian film industry has evolved a distinctive form and aesthetic. Today, Indian cinema is widely circulated outside the country to foreign audiences in Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and the Indian diasporas. Indian cinema is the screen through which many parts of the world 'see' India. The introduction of Film Studies is a major academic addition to the programmes of the School.

The History of Indian Art and Architecture from Protohistory to the eighteenth century: (compulsory):
World Theatre: Theory and Practice (compulsory)
Indian Cinema: Past & Present (Compulsory for Ist Year and Optional for IInd Yr. Students)
Survey of Indian Art IV Colonial and Post-colonial (compulsory)
Introduction to Indian Aesthetics (compulsory)
Methods, Materials and Meanings (compulsory)
Introduction to Film Studies (compulsory)
Art Theory I: Towards Comparative Aesthetics

Visual Culture and Representation of Difference (With reference to 19th and 20th century Indian popular culture)
The Comic Traditions in Performance: Dr. Bishnupriya Dutt (Optional course for semester II and IV)
Modernism and Critical Revisions
Cultural Studies and Performance: Poetics, Aesthetic Thought and the concept of performance
Arts of the Rajput Courts
Space and Ritual Dynamics
The Development of Indian Temple Architecture and Sculpture AD 350 - 1350
Text, Adaptation and the Production Process
Indian Dance: Theory and Practice

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