Accumulation: A Conference on Dance History

December 08, 2023


Lehman Center for American History, Room 406, International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St

Event Type: 

Accumulation: A Conference on Dance History" takes its title from a series of choreographic works, the Accumulation dances by Trisha Brown, in which movement becomes language and acquires meaning through repetition. "Accumulation" also describes the process of doing historical research: gradually, over time, the historian acquires knowledge, sources, and convictions, building upon existing scholarship and restructuring what they already know, in order to construct a compelling explanation of change over time.

Our conference takes seriously the idea that movement has meaning and shapes social and material reality. The study and practice of dance offers an interdisciplinary framework for scholars to consider questions of embodiment in historical and social science research. Methodologically, dance can widen our understanding of research practice–movement becomes a source for interpretation alongside traditional archival materials. As an object of historical analysis, dance expands the field of cultural, social, and intellectual history by asserting performance as a site of knowledge production. Through paper presentations, roundtable discussions, and a keynote lecture, invited speakers will explore the many ways in which movement is an essential component of history and share how they incorporate dance into broader studies of the past and present. 

Participants: Lynn Garafola, Anna Waller, Carrie Streeter, Emily Hawk, Zita Allen, Cori Olinghouse, MiRi Park, Elizabeth McPherson, Colleen Hooper, Juliana DeVaan, Emily Needham, Elizabeth Schwall, Lauren Erin Brown, Laura Quinton, and Julia Foulkes. 

This conference will take place at the Lehman Center for American History (Room 406, International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St) on Columbia University's campus. Doors will open at 9, and conference proceedings will begin at 9:30. The schedule is as follows:

9:00-9:30: Coffee, tea, sign-in

9:30-9:50: Welcome remarks by Lynn Garafola

10:00-11:15: Panel 1: Dance beyond the Concert Stage (Emily Hawk, Anna Waller, Carrie Streeter)

11:30-12:45: Panel 2: Doing Dance History (Cori Olinghouse, MiRi Park, Elizabeth McPherson, Zita Allen)

12:45-1:45: Lunch

1:45-3:00: Panel 3: Teaching Dance History (Laura Quinton, Elizabeth Schwall, Lauren Erin Brown)

3:15-4:30: Panel 4: Political Economies of Dance (Juliana DeVaan, Colleen Hooper, Emily Needham)

4:45-5:30: Keynote by Julia Foulkes

5:30-6:30: Reception

Registration link here.

Photo credit: Trisha Brown in Accumulation with Talking plus Watermotor (1973). Photograph © 1979 The Estate of Nathaniel Tileston. Courtesy Trisha Brown Dance Company.


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