Anthropology | The Anthropology of Dance
E463 | 28112 | Royce
Despite the fact that dance and movement are integral parts of
virtually every society, past and present, the field of Anthropology
has not come to terms with these embodied phenomena with the same
thoroughness that it has applied to other aspects of culture. Embodied
ways of knowing, especially dance, are the focus of this course. We
will examine dance in its theatrical and cultural contexts, explore
its formal qualities through such issues as technique, artistry,
innovation, and style, look at who dances and how they are "trained"
and regarded in their societies, trace dance used as a political
expression of identity, and search out the meanings of dance across
multiple cultural domains. We will use examples from historical and
contemporary dance, theatrical and culturally embedded forms, and from
a range of cultures.
Understanding by thinking and understanding by doing are different
matters. It is impossible to "understand" dance and movement by
intellectual means alone. That is why we call it "embodied."
Anthropologists commonly learn in the field by doing. We will have
opportunities in class to share experiences of movement that may
include dance but also such embodied forms as martial arts, yoga,
sports, and ordinary movement and posture.
"Native" knowledge of a dance genre is valuable not only to
understanding that genre but also to knowing how to understand other
forms. We will tap into the expertise of class members and special
guests as well as take advantage of performances, classes, rehearsals.
Requirements will include attendance and class participation, an essay
midterm, a research paper (or film) on a topic of your choosing, and a
reflective final essay.
Requirements and readings will be different for graduate students.