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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55424
Doc. No:TL25378
Call number:‭3238477‬
Main Entry:Elena M. Villa
Title & Author:Eloquent flesh: Cross -cultural figurations of the dancer in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatureElena M. Villa
College:University of Oregon
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:332
Abstract:Dance is a vital part of critical inquiry in the humanities and provides an ideal template for analyzing social power relations and the exclusion of women and the body from western epistemology. This dissertation conducts a comparative feminist analysis of representations of dancers in nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts and argues for an understanding of the dancer as a figure of knowledge, resistance, and memory. It forges a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary path through written and performed texts from Europe, North Africa, the Caribbean, and North America, exploring how dance and the dancer challenge Enlightenment notions of the universal, autonomous subject. Specifically, it shows how dance deconstructs the separation between mind and body at the heart of western understandings of knowledge and identity through the affective relationship between performer and audience. Exotic nineteenth-century representations of Arabic and Spanish dancers in French and British travel narratives---such as those by Gustave Flaubert, Théophile Gautier, Guy de Maupassant, and George Borrow---have left a powerful mark in the ambivalent relationship between performer and spectator, self and other, that continues to inform western relationships with embodied artistic practices from other cultures. Yet, live performance also provides a space where self-other relationships can be redefined as mutual, rather than based on objectification and domination. Using Julia Kristeva's work on the revolutionary aspects of the text, as well as relational theories from flamenco culture, and from Arabic music and dance, I engage the dynamics of the performer-audience connection to show how dancers function as learned women, and thus as figures of embodied knowledge, identification, memory, and cultural identity. I elaborate this claim through analyses of two live performances by contemporary Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer, Eva la Yerbabuena, and written texts by Fatima Mernissi, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Edward Said. Likewise, dance scenes in novels and poetry by contemporary postcolonial and minority women writers, Assia Djebar, Ana Castillo, Maryse Condé, Simone Schwarz-Bart, and Nicole Brossard, demonstrate that the dancer is not an exotic fantasy but a figure of empowerment that can foster an awareness of the centrality of the body in how we conceptualize knowledge.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Cross-cultural; Dancer; Feminism; Flamenco; Nineteenth century; Orientalism; Twentieth century; Women writers; Comparative literature; Dance; Womens studies; British and Irish literature; Romance literature; Middle Eastern literature; American literature; Caribbean literature; African literature; 0593:British and Irish literature; 0453:Womens studies; 0591:American literature; 0295:Comparative literature; 0316:African literature; 0360:Caribbean literature; 0315:Middle Eastern literature; 0378:Dance; 0313:Romance literature
Added Entry:E. Gould
Added Entry:University of Oregon