Shina Erlewein

Title of the Dissertation

The Role of Audio-Visual Media in the Representation of Intangible Heritage: The Case of Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre in India

Supervisor(s): Prof. Marie-Theres Albert, Prof. Christoph Wulf (FU Berlin)


This study examines the role of audio-visual media in the representation and construction/ `heritagization´of Intangible Heritage (ICH), in particular of the ancient Sanskrit Theatre Kutiyattam (ICH, 2008). It follows an interdisciplinary approach and combines insights from Social/Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Theory and Heritage Studies. A conceptual analysis traces the interrelatedness of ICH, representation and media and insights from a case-study in India highlight particular aspects of the interface of ICH and media appliances with regard to the safeguarding, promotion and archiving of a living heritage.

Short Bio

Shina Erlewein (M.A.) studied Social and Cultural Anthropology, History and Society of South Asia and Gender Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin and at Free University Berlin. She did extensive fieldwork and ethnographic film-work on performing arts in South India, had a teaching assignment at the department for Political- and Social Sciences (FU Berlin), worked as a project- and network director for a transnational EU Youth Initiative and realized various projects as a documentary filmmaker. Since 2005 she was production director for the series “Meisterwerke der Menschheit” produced in HD for ZDF and 3sat. The series was designed to feature the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” (UNESCO). In the course of producing this series Ms. Erlewein did research and film-work on the intangible heritages Samba de Roda (Brazil), Sand Drawings (Vanuatu), Kun Qu Opera (China), Morin Khuur (Mongolia), Drametse Nga Cham (Bhutan), Mudiyettu, Vedic Chanting and Kutiyattam (India).