Decolonizing the Body: An International Perspective of Dance Pedagogy from Uganda to the United States

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193853
Title:
Decolonizing the Body: An International Perspective of Dance Pedagogy from Uganda to the United States
Author:
Banks, Ojeya
Issue Date:
2007
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examined how identity was negotiated through dance and how African dance pedagogies challenged colonial legacy and decolonized the body from cultural and political oppression. To explore this topic, I examine two distinct dance contexts, one in Kampala, Uganda (East Africa) and the other in Tucson, Arizona (United States). The Kampala Study focused on the dance practices of a young man named Mugisha Johnson. Johnson was a member and dance teacher for Umbanno, a Rwandese cultural organization that formed as a consequence of the 1990s genocide; they taught Rwandese youth their cultural dances, songs, music, and language in Uganda. The Tucson Study took place in Tucson, Arizona and highlighted the work of the Dambe Project, a nonprofit organization that specialized in African performing arts education. More specifically, it examined the dance program at a local high school and focused on the experiences of the dance students.Four common threads ran through each of the research studies. First, both studies dance pedagogies derived from community-based organizations doing dance education. Second, both organizations served youth populations. Third, the organization both promoted dance expressions that had been historically oppressed. Lastly, my research positionality as a dance student in the Kampala Study and as a dance teacher in the Tucson Study provided a holistic ethnographic picture of an overarching autobiographical narrative about African dance of the diaspora.This research adds to the professional literature an examination of a bodily discourse as emphasized by Desmond (1994); it considers the way dance helps people shed the negative cultural and psychological effects of colonialism.The methodology used was dance ethnography, which looks at the body experiences and "treats dance as a kind of cultural knowledge and body movement as a link to the mental and emotional world of human beings" (Thomas, 2003, p.83). Data was collected through participant- observation, interviews, personal dance study and performance, video recordings, and photography. The research found in two separate ethnographies, dance pedagogies stimulating identity work that challenged colonial power by affirming an indigenous body practice and knowledge.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
dance anthropology; urban education; postcolonialism; culture; identity
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Language, Reading & Culture; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Gilmore, Perry

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleDecolonizing the Body: An International Perspective of Dance Pedagogy from Uganda to the United Statesen_US
dc.creatorBanks, Ojeyaen_US
dc.contributor.authorBanks, Ojeyaen_US
dc.date.issued2007en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examined how identity was negotiated through dance and how African dance pedagogies challenged colonial legacy and decolonized the body from cultural and political oppression. To explore this topic, I examine two distinct dance contexts, one in Kampala, Uganda (East Africa) and the other in Tucson, Arizona (United States). The Kampala Study focused on the dance practices of a young man named Mugisha Johnson. Johnson was a member and dance teacher for Umbanno, a Rwandese cultural organization that formed as a consequence of the 1990s genocide; they taught Rwandese youth their cultural dances, songs, music, and language in Uganda. The Tucson Study took place in Tucson, Arizona and highlighted the work of the Dambe Project, a nonprofit organization that specialized in African performing arts education. More specifically, it examined the dance program at a local high school and focused on the experiences of the dance students.Four common threads ran through each of the research studies. First, both studies dance pedagogies derived from community-based organizations doing dance education. Second, both organizations served youth populations. Third, the organization both promoted dance expressions that had been historically oppressed. Lastly, my research positionality as a dance student in the Kampala Study and as a dance teacher in the Tucson Study provided a holistic ethnographic picture of an overarching autobiographical narrative about African dance of the diaspora.This research adds to the professional literature an examination of a bodily discourse as emphasized by Desmond (1994); it considers the way dance helps people shed the negative cultural and psychological effects of colonialism.The methodology used was dance ethnography, which looks at the body experiences and "treats dance as a kind of cultural knowledge and body movement as a link to the mental and emotional world of human beings" (Thomas, 2003, p.83). Data was collected through participant- observation, interviews, personal dance study and performance, video recordings, and photography. The research found in two separate ethnographies, dance pedagogies stimulating identity work that challenged colonial power by affirming an indigenous body practice and knowledge.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectdance anthropologyen_US
dc.subjecturban educationen_US
dc.subjectpostcolonialismen_US
dc.subjectcultureen_US
dc.subjectidentityen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairGilmore, Perryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGilmore, Perryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRuiz, Richarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCammarota, Julioen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2430en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659748344en_US
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