Cultures in Motion

Within the wide-ranging and leading edge essays of Cultures in movement, a dozen amazing historians supply new conceptual vocabularies for realizing how cultures have trespassed throughout geography and social area. From the ameliorations of the meanings and practices of charity in the course of overdue antiquity and the transit of clinical wisdom among early sleek China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance types in early nineteenth-century ny, those essays keep on with a big selection of cultural practices throughout the lens of movement, translation, itinerancy, and alternate, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history.

Cultures in movement demanding situations the idea of fastened, strong cultural platforms by way of displaying that cultural practices have consistently been relocating, crossing borders and destinations with frequently superb impact. The essays supply amazing examples from early to trendy occasions of intrusion, translation, resistance, and edition. those are histories the place nothing--dance rhythms, alchemical formulation, musical practices, feminist aspirations, stitching machines, streamlined metals, or exertions networks--remains desk bound.

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He therefore provoked strong performer-­audience identification wherever he danced. ”68 The first dancing match promoted and covered in the popular press took place at New York’s Chatham Theatre on February 13, 1840, between Master Diamond and R. W. Pelham, recently attached to Broadway Circus. ) came off between the rival negro dancers, Diamond and Pelham. The house was so crowded at 10 o’clock, that a friend of ours could not obtain sight of the stage. ”69 From these details—­ the overflowing crowd, pugilistic language, and long list of blackface tunes—­knowledgeable readers could imagine the speed and character of the dancing.

One dancer entered the ring, danced for a few minutes, and was challenged by another who took over. Such spirited displays singled out the best dancers among the young men, who often became leaders of their peers in other social and political contexts. They also gave each dancer a chance to show off for the young women. 30 While competitive dancing was a social recreation, exceptional dancers were sometimes rewarded for their expertise. Sketches of Ireland writ- The Challenge Dance • 33 ten between 1682 and 1850 describe adjudicated jigging contests called “cake dances,” which were held in some rural regions until the late nineteenth century.

Expert dancers identified their status through body adornment, drawing from their environment whatever finery it offered them—­animal skins, feathers, shells, pigments—­with which they costumed and colored their bodies. 25 In Ireland, the dancing master, although itinerant, represented the district in which he taught and respected the territory of others. Irish brag dancers polished their shoes and converged on patterns (patron saint’s day fairs) in the shabby vests, wide cravats, or other raiment identified with their local gang or faction.

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