Rebekah J. Kowal, Dancing the World Smaller
Please join us to celebrate Dancing the World Smaller: Staging Globalism in Mid-Century America with author Rebekah J. Kowal in conversation with Mark Franko, Anthea Kraut, Christopher-Rasheem McMillan, and Emily Wilcox
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Jean-Christophe Agnew, Professor of American Studies and History, Yale University, says of the book: "Dancing the World Smaller offers a fascinating, richly layered account of the literal and figurative choreography by which a transnational assembly of dancers, critics, and impresarios helped mid-century New York lay claim to the status of a global city and helped the U.S. model itself as home to a new globalist imaginary ... Rebekah Kowal masterfully tracks the cultural factions and frictions that energized this lost chapter of dance history, and the result is a remarkable story that speaks just as meaningfully to our own fraught moment in global social and cultural politics." Anthea Kraut, Professor of Dance at the University of California, Riverside, wrote of the book: “Based on extensive archival research, the book not only makes a compelling case for considering ‘ethnic dance’ alongside the dominant forms of modern dance but also shows how performances of cultural ‘otherness’ registered the tensions and ambivalence of US foreign policy. In the process, Kowal deftly historicizes the theorizes one of our most fundamental assumptions about dance – its ability to bridge difference.” The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory wrote, “Throughout this work, Kowal’s nuanced analysis uncovers the paradoxes of ethnic dance, which catalyzed new forms of cultural inclusion even as it enacted ideas of white supremacy.”
Rebekah Kowal teaches dance history and theory and serves as the DEO of the Department of Dance. Her research investigates how moving bodies are compelling agents of social, cultural, and political change. A dancer and scholar, Kowal seeks to forge interdisciplinary connections between dance theory and practice. She is the author of How to Do Things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America and co-editor with Randy Martin and Gerald Siegmund of The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics. Kowal has won awards for her scholarly research including: honorable mention for the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize given by the American Society for Theatre Research; the Congress on Research in Dance Outstanding Publication Award; the Society of Dance History Scholars Gertrude Lippincott Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Award in 2012. In 2020, she received the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Collegiate Scholar Award, recognizing “exceptional achievement” at that time of promotion to Professor. Active in the professional field, Kowal serves as Executive Co-editor of Dance Research Journal.
Mark Franko is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Dance at Temple University where he heads the Institute for Dance Scholarship. His latest book is The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge Lifar: French Interwar Ballet and the German Occupation. He is editor of the Oxford Studies in Dance Theory book series.
Anthea Kraut is Professor in the Department of Dance at UC Riverside, where she teaches courses in critical dance studies. Her publications include Choreographing the Folk: The Dance Stagings of Zora Neale Hurston (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Christopher-Rasheem McMillan is an assistant professor of Gender Studies and Dance at the University of Iowa and a fellow and visiting assistant professor at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music.
Emily Wilcox is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at William & Mary and an Affiliate of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. Wilcox is a leading scholar of Chinese dance and performance, with broader interests in twentieth-century global history, transnationalism, and social movements.