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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Kirsten Ronald

Doctoral Student



M.A., The University of Texas at Austin
B.S., B.A., University of Maryland-College Park


Social dance, gentrification, space and place, technology and culture, Austin, the built environment, glocalization

AMS 311S • Dancing In America

30850 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 900am-1000am GAR 2.128
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For generations, dancing - from polka to hip hop - has helped ordinary Americans make sense of the world around them.  In this class, you will learn about social, or popular, dancing in America by learning how to do dances ranging from salsa and Lindy Hop to the lawnmower and the wobble - and you'll use these American dance forms to examine broader patterns of cultural change since World War I.  Some of the issues we'll investigate include race, technology, and dance in the segregated ballrooms of the 1930s; immigration and exile in the 1950s Latin dance craze; globalization, Urban Cowboy, and 1970s Texas chic; and the seductive female body in contemporary burlesque.  We'll also try on a variety of tools for studying dance, including visual analysis, historical research, and participant observation.  For your final project, you'll get to put these tools (and maybe even your dance skills) to work in the real world and see how people use social dancing to make sense of American culture in contemporary Austin.                      


Participation                  20%

peer review                   10%

3 unit response papers      30%

final project on social dance in Austin      40%


Possible Texts

Julie Malnig, Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake

Sherril Dodds, Dancing on the Canon

Course Reader

Flag(s): Writing

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