Corporeal Politics

Dancing East Asia
Katherine Mezur and Emily Wilcox, Editors
The political power of performing bodies


In Corporeal Politics, leading international scholars investigate the development of dance as a deeply meaningful and complex cultural practice across time, placing special focus on the intertwining of East Asia dance and politics and the role of dance as a medium of transcultural interaction and communication across borders. Countering common narratives of dance history that emphasize the US and Europe as centers of origin and innovation, the expansive creativity of dance artists in East Asia asserts its importance as a site of critical theorization and reflection on global artistic developments in the performing arts.

Through the lens of "corporeal politics"—the close attention to bodily acts in specific cultural contexts—each study in this book challenges existing dance and theater histories to re-investigate the performer's role in devising the politics and aesthetics of their performance, as well as the multidimensional impact of their lives and artistic works. Corporeal Politics addresses a wide range of performance styles and genres, including dances produced for the concert stage, as well as those presented in popular entertainments, private performance spaces, and street protests.
Katherine Mezur is Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Emily Wilcox is Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Praise / Awards

  • “Makes significant contributions to dance studies by adding in-depth studies of choreographers, dance forms, and dancers largely missing from the Anglophone literature. It makes significant contributions to Asian and area studies with its close attention to bodies and movement and the knowledge produced by both. Simply put, there is nothing else like this book available.”
    —Rosemary Candelario, Texas Woman’s University
  • "While all the analyzes gathered in it comprehend inner and trans-Asian logics and temporal structuring, this collective project makes a relevant contribution to deepening the field of East Asian dance research, which is to be understood as part of global dance research...In its cross-regional claim, which the book generously reproduces as a dialogue of different characters, periods and genres, it offers the reader parallels and insights into happily unexpected encounters." - rezens.tfm
  • "A deft and uncluttered collection of diverse regional views of East Asia through the deployment of scholarly writing that is clear, concise, and directive." —Dance Research Journal
  • "Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia adds great insight and stokes the growing interest in dance in this region. For those interested in dance and East Asian studies, this book is an especially welcome arrival. Captivating and theoretically useful, the chapters correct the lens through which East Asian dance artists and their choreographies have been viewed while bringing attention to current power dynamics and issues that artists today are facing." - Choreographic Practices
  • "Composed of sixteen chapters contained by an introduction and a coda, this anthology emerges from the growing field of East Asian dance research, a previously underrepresented area in Anglophone academia... Drawing both from critical area studies (East Asia) and critical dance studies, Corporeal Politics stresses the politics of East Asian dance." - Dance Chronicle
  • "Essential."

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 372pp.
  • 32 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2020
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07455-6

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  • $80.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2020
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05455-8

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  • $39.95 U.S.

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