Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Juliet Mcmains
DANCE 350
Seattle Campus

Dance/Performance Ethnography

Explores theoretical and practical experience in dance and performance ethnography, ethnology, and oral history. Introduces theories and methods of ethnographic fieldwork, ethnographic writing, and ethnologic analysis. Focuses primarily on dance. Also discusses methods and theories applicable to other physical practices such as music, theatre, sports, and performance arts. Offered: jointly with ANTH 349.

Class description

This course offers students theoretical and practical experience in dance ethnography, ethnology, and oral history. While the primary focus will be on dance, methods and theories discussed will also be applicable to other physical practices such as music, theatre, sports, and performance art. Students will be introduced to theories and methods of ethnographic fieldwork, ethnographic writing, and ethnologic analysis. We will contextualize our work within the history of dance anthropology and dance cultural studies, engaging with current debates and problems in both fields. We will also touch upon issues of performance ethnography as conceptualized by scholars in performance studies.

Student learning goals

Student will gain practical experience in methods of ethnographic research, writing, and performance.

Students will examine and question their own position in the history of ethnographic study

Students will critically examine the ways in which a specific community engaged in a dance practice makes social, cultural, political meaning.

Students will improve their reading, writing,and speaking skills in general.

Students will develop observational, descriptive, and analytical skills as they pertain specifically to dance.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, reading, writing.

Recommended preparation

Previous experience in dance and/or anthropology helpful, but not necessary.

Class assignments and grading

All students will be expected to complete three short ethnographic studies. In addition to writing fieldnotes for each ethnographic assignment, students will present the results of one of their research studies to the class in an oral presentation/performance. Students will also complete a final paper or performance based on more in-depth ethnographic research in one community.

Grades will be based on: class participation, written reading responses, oral presentation, written fieldnotes, and written paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Juliet Mcmains
Date: 11/18/2008