Saskia Cornelia Kersenboom

1953 –
classical South Indian dance and music
Sanskrit, Tamil

Curriculum vitae

1953born in Utrecht on February 3
1972-1977studied Indology and theatre studies/dance history, Utrecht University
1977-1978student exchange fellowship ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) for study in Tamilnadu: music, dance praxis, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu literatures
1979MA Indology and theatre studies, Utrecht University
1980-1984PhD researchpool position, Dept. of Oriental Languages and Cultures, Utrecht University; with two grants of ZWO (now NOW) towards fieldwork in South India
1984PhD degree under the supervision of K.V. Zvelebil, Utrecht University
1984-1986research grant ZWO/ NOW, Dept. of Oriental Languages and Cultures, University of Utrecht
1986temporary teaching staff at Liberal Arts Program, University of Utrecht
1987-1990fellow of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam
1990-2005associate professor in cultural anthropology, University of Amsterdam
2001-2004associate professor in musicology, University of Amsterdam
2005-2013associate professor in theatre studies, University of Amsterdam
2013-presentindependent researcher

Special activities and positions

  • Director of Paramparai Foundation, 1994-present
  • Initiator & coordinator international Theme Group „Orality vs. Literacy” at Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS), Wassenaar, 1991-1992
  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations: Series of lectures in Chennai, Tanjavur and New Delhi, 1994
  • Consultant under United Nations Development Program (Paris) to Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, 1997
  • Co-curator of the exhibitions Shiva Nataraja: der Kosmische Tänzer (2008-09, Zürich) and Kālī: the black beauty (forthcoming 2015-16, Zürich)
  • Guest lecturer at many universities (Vienna, Heidelberg, Michigan, Leuven, Prague, Arhus, Hyderabad e.a.)


Selected publications

1981  “Virali: possible sources of the Devadasi tradition in the Tamil bardic period.” JTS 19: 19-40.
1984  Nityasumangali: towards the semiosis of the devadasi tradition of South India, s.l. – PhD thesis Utrecht University; revised ed. in 1987
“Devadasis (temple dancers) of South India: their musical and dance traditions.” Progress Reports in Ethnomusicology 1,4 (1983-84): 1-10.
“Devadasis and artistic integrity.” Progress Reports in Ethnomusicology 1,4 (1983-84): 11-19.
1987  Nityasumangali: Devadasi tradition in South India, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. – Revision of the PhD thesis 1984; reprints 1998, 2002, 2011.
1988  “Tiruttaṇi Kōyil Saṃpradāya.” Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies (Madras) 5,2: 47-57.
1989  “Ritueel als esthetische methode.” In: Suzette Haakma (ed.), Rituelen, Utrecht: Studium Generale, pp.67-91.
1990  “Nāṭya – the deśī yajña.” IT 15-16 (1989-1990) ( Proceedings of the seventh world Sanskrit conference, Leiden, August 23-29, 1987): 187-205.
1991  “The traditional repertoire of the Tiruttani temple dancers.” In: Julia Leslie (ed.), Roles and rituals for Hindu women, London: Pinter Publishers, re-edited 1992, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 131-149.
“The pulse of the art.” Ballet International 11, 90, Vol.13/13: 12-17.
1993  “The language of Indian dance.” Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, ed. Keith Brown, Aberdeen: Pergamon Press, p. 65.
1995  Word, sound image, the life of the Tamil text, with Interactive CD Bhairavi Varnam , Oxford: Berg Publishers, and Eindhoven: Philips Media, p.256; – reprints Word, Sound, Image, the Life of the Tamil Texs, 2007 onwards on request at: A and C Black Publishers Ltd, UK
CD-interactive “Bhairavi Varnam” , representation, analysis in text, music and dance of the Tamil dance composition “Mohamana” in Bhairavi raga, rupaka tala, 1995, Eindhoven: Philips Media; inserted in monograph Word, Sound Image, the Life of the Tamil Text, Oxford: Berg Publishers
1996  “Anthropology as Performance.” Etnofoor 9,2: 78-86.
1997  “Voice and difference: the ludic ground of the text.” In: Klaus Peter Köpping (ed.), The games of gods and men: essays in play and performance, New Brunswick-London: Transcation Publishers, pp.191-203.
CD-ROM interactive “Devadasi Murai – Remembering Devadasis” with Sanjay Goel at Multimedia Laboratory, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.
2000  “It takes three to epistemology.” In: Willem van Reijen and Willem G. Weststeijn (eds), Subjectivity, Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, pp. 315-330.
“Descent of the Gods.” In: James Porter et al. (eds), Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, New York: Garland Publishing, vol. 5, pp. 492-507.
2005  “Songs of love, images of memory.” In: Angela Hobart and Bruce Kapferer (eds), Aesthetics in performance, formations of symbolic construction and experience, New York-Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 64-89.
“The prose of the world.” International Institute of Asian Studies, Newsletter 39: 10.
2006  & Rokus de Groot, “Song of songs as polyphony – an intercultural experiment in music, poetry, mime and dance.” In: Maaike Bleeker (ed.), Intercultureel drama ?, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 100-106.
2007  “The faculty of the voice.” In: Heidrun Brückner, Elisabeth Schömbucher, Phillip Zarrilli (eds), The power of performance, actors, audiences and observers of cultural performances in India, New Delhi: Manohar, pp. 197-209.
2008  “Ritual differs: beyond fixity and flexibility in South Indian ritual.” In: Christiane Brosius & Ute Huesken (eds), Ritual matters, dynamic dimensions in practice, London, New York, New Delhi: Routledge, pp. 311-330.
“Dort wo Shiva tanzt.” In: Johannes Beltz (ed.), Shiva Nataraja der Kosmische Tänzer, exhibition catalogue, Zuerich: Museum Rietberg, pp. 38-80.
& Thomas Voorter, DVD-interactive “Eye to eye with goddess Kamakshi.” In: Johannes Beltz (ed.), Shiva Nataraja der Kosmische Tänzer, exhibition catalogue, Zuerich: Museum Rietberg.
DVD “Shiva Nataraja, content expert.” In: Johannes Beltz (ed.), Shiva Nataraja der Kosmische Tänzer, exhibition catalogue, Zuerich: Museum Rietberg.
“Marabu, the inherent flexibility of the Karnatak tradition: the example of Bharata Natyam.” In: Indira Viswanathan Peterson & Davesh Soneji (eds), Performing pasts, reinventing the arts in modern South India, New Delhi, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 197-225.
2010  “The traditional repertoire of the Tiruttani temple dancers.” In: Davesh Soneji (ed.), Bharata Natyam: a reader, New Delhi, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 53-69.
2011  “Ananda’s tandava: ‘The dance of Shiva’ reconsidered.” Marg 62,3: 28-44.
2012  “One is two – is many.” In: S.C.P. van Maas, Hulshof, Oldenhave (eds), Liber Plurium Vocum, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, pp. 54-62.

“Shringaranta: eros fragmented.” In: James Kippen, Frank Kouwenhoven, Wim van der Meer (eds), Music and the arts of seduction, Delft: Eburon Publishers, Ch.XXX ,p.15-30.
“Devadasis: courtesans in charge of life.” In: Jean-Louis Ruijters (ed.), Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Leiden
“Lady of great bliss: pilgrimage at Matraverebely, Northern Hungary.” In: Angela Hobart and Thierry Zarcone (eds), Pilgrimages and sanctuaries: art, music and rituals, London: Sean Kingston Publishing.