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Grant number: FT-230006-15

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Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson, PhD
Brandeis University (Waltham, MA 02453-2700)

West African Dance and The Politics of Diaspora

Summer research and writing on African American Studies, Cultural Anthtropology, and Dance History and Criticism.

Rhythm Nation: West African Dance and the Politics of Diaspora explores the relationship between dance, race, gender, and diasporic belonging. Rooted at the intersection of critical dance theory, black performance theory, and African diaspora theory, the project considers dance as a means through which identities are negotiated and new racial and sexual logics of diaspora are rendered. Over the past five decades, a West African arts scene in America has blossomed. Its scope includes dance classes, international workshops, clothing lines, and spiritual retreats; it spans from yoga studios to university campuses. This growing economic niche is constituted by a constellation of contact zones where diverse people, and their ideas about Africa, collide. Rhythm Nation charts the commodification of West African dance from the mid-1960s to the present. In so doing, it maps the transforming purchase--the cultural and economic power---of diaspora both as an identity category and commodity.

Project fields:
African American Studies; Cultural Anthropology; Dance History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 9/30/2015