Leah Lowthorp

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Oregon, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10178

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Lowthorp, Leah (Oregon, U. of) "Deep Cosmopolitanism: Kutiyattam, Dynamic Tradition, and Globalizing Heritage in Kerala, India"

LEAH K. LOWTHROP, Universtiy of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2021 to aid research and writing on “Deep Cosmopolitanism: Kutiyattam, Dynamic Tradition, and Globalizing Heritage in Kerala, India”. Deep Cosmopolitanism is an ethnographic study of the world’s oldest continuously performed theater—Kutiyattam Sanskrit theater of Kerala, India—that offers a unique perspective on cosmopolitanism, heritage, and tradition over the longue durée. It explores how the many roles Kutiyattam has played in various cosmopolitan formations over its rich history, from Sanskrit cosmopolis to UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, challenge Eurocentric cosmopolitan genealogies and assumptions about cosmopolitanism, tradition, and modernity, and prompt new ideas about what these might mean today. In the process, through a combination of postcolonial and decolonial approaches, the book fundamentally rethinks the notion of cosmopolitanism from a non-Western perspective with pre-modern roots and offers a critique of the colonialist undertones of how international heritage regimes conceptualize peoples and traditions around the world today. Through an ethnographic exploration of unprecedented temporal depth—considering Kutiyattam Sanskrit theater’s multiple cosmopolitanisms over a period of one thousand years—Deep Cosmopolitanism offers a model for decolonizing modernity and invites a reconsideration about what it means to be cosmopolitan, traditional, and modern in the world today.