Resisting Colonization: World Dance Histories (DAN2019.01) (day/time updated as of 9/26)

Levi Gonzalez

The category of “world” dance, frequently used in the West to identify dance from various other cultural locations and traditions, begs the question: What kind of dance is not part of this world?

This course introduces students to a selection of global dance practices via scholarship and video that, while not exhaustive, will serve to expand students’ understanding of the roles dance can play in different cultural contexts. Through the lens of postcolonial studies, we will engage in a critical analysis of the Western category of “world dance” and the complex ways in which framing and classification intervene in our experience of cultural practices outside of our own. We will challenge the assumption that dance is a “universal language” and focus instead on how it speaks to specific localities, populations, political realities and cultural understandings. We will also critically examine the separation between “traditional” and “contemporary” and how these concepts operate within and beyond dominant Western understandings.

We will begin with an overview of terminologies and methodologies addressing various approaches to the observation and analysis of dances, particularly those that may be unfamiliar to the observer. Throughout the course, we will consider artistic work as well as existing scholarship in dance studies, history, cultural anthropology and ethnography to explore the cultural and aesthetic significance of a variety of global dance practices. We will also engage with guest artists to explore the embodiment of non-Western dance practices.

Students are expected to do a significant amount of reading and viewing outside of class, engage in workshops with guest artists, and create in-class presentations, written analysis papers, and a final research project in the form of their choice. 

Learning Outcomes:
Students will
learn about multiple global dance forms and the artistic and social values they carry.
gain an understanding of the complexities and political dimensions of how world dance is presented and represented within Western culture.
experience world dance forms through guest artists, and examine their context within contemporary culture and society.
develop research methodologies to discuss and produce written, performative, and verbal cross- cultural analyses of global artistic practices and their impact on the larger culture.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Dance , Day/Time Changes , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Updates
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