dancin', prancin', etc. [DEBATE, SILLY]

John H. Stevens, Jr. (jhs14@CORNELL.EDU)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 23:14:44 -0500

Thanks first to everyone, Lynn and Brian especially, for interesting posts.

Second, no one has guessed the answer to the trivia question: it is not
David Bowie and it is not Wang Chung, but the latter is close. C'mon,
folks, weren't any of you listening to inane post-disco/pre-rave in the mid
'80s? I obviously was!!!

Third, I'd just like to riff on Lynn's discussion of performance ethnology
and Brian's attempt to complicate the lovely duality of dance/drill with
march (altho I like parade better, since march to me is close to drill.
Boy, that was a weird sounding sentence!!). With Lynn, we are crossing
over from a sort of subjective participation (like what Mike S. in
particular has been passing on to us) to questions of method in studying
phenomena like dance. Lynn's witty observation that many anthros basically
eschew deep analysis of dance is salient, although not universal. But of
course, Lynn's method is one that is intimately linked to the phenomenon
being studied, one which indeed problematizes the emic/etic distinction,
esp. I think in regard to the "sphere" of performance. Lynn, what's yer
hermeneutic??? Seriously, is performance ethnology your own creation or is
this a particular subdiscipline I haven't heard of?? And what does it tell
us that either subjective participation like Mike's or that ole devil etic
gaze can't?

As for march, my only observation is, what is this stuff called in other
cultures??? For example, did, say, Zulu warriors have drills??? How do
other cultures categorize (or do they???) practices like the ones we've
been discussing, and what are the cultural meanings that folks attach to
these practices?? Obviously, my curiosity outstrips my knowledge on this

And you all force me to say THE WORD again: RITUAL!!! Think about it!

Best regards,

John H. Stevens, Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Cornell University

Student Area Coordinator, Amnesty International (Central NY)
Co-Chair, Urgent Action Coordinator, and Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator,
Cornell Student Chapter

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