Dancing (trans)national memories: June 20th, Senate House, London

The symposium will include presentations from Dr. Cecilia Sosa, Prof. Theresa Buckland and Prof. Danielle Robinson as well as opportunities for dialogue in consideration of the following key questions:

  • How and why have popular dance forms become nationalised? What happens to ‘pre-national’ memories in this process, and how are new national memories constructed?
  • What are the relationships between states, individuals and communities in the construction of national memories via popular dance forms?
  • What is the relationship between popular and high art forms when constructing nationality/nationalism?
  • In performing national memories, whose memories become nationalised?
  • What are the relationships between national memory and racialized identities? How are these performed?
  • What determines the gendering of national memory/identity? How is this embodied?
  • How are national memories constructed across empire?
  • When/why are national memories constructed as embodied forms, as opposed to non-embodied representations?
  • (How) do popular dance forms carry national memories across generations?
  • What are the politics of the choice to validate, or not to validate, popular dance forms as intangible cultural heritage?
  • What is the difference between cultural memory, ‘tradition’ and ‘heritage’? What if any of the pitfalls associated with those much debated terms are hidden in the notion of embodied cultural memory?
  • How are national dances employed in relations with other countries? Is national memory deployed/transformed in these interactions? E.g. tourism, cultural diplomacy (e.g. Cold War), World Fairs/Expositions.
  • How are popular dance forms employed for mnemonic purposes in diasporic and postcolonial contexts?
  • How are cultural memories and popular dance forms transmitted across the ruptures inherent in transnational/postcolonial/diasporic situations?
  • How does popular dance act as a site of resistance for marginalised groups? How does this engage bodily memory?
  • How are popular dance practices associated with transnational/postcolonial/diasporic contexts archived? Do they fall in the gaps between national archives?