"Visceral Data for Dance Histories" wins DSA's Gertrude Lippincott Award

We're honored to announce that our article "Visceral Data for Dance Histories: Katherine Dunham's People, Places, and Pieces" has been awarded the 2022 Gertrude Lippincott Award from the Dance Studies Association, which is given to the best English-language article in dance studies.

The full award citation:

Harmony Bench and Kate Elswit’s groundbreaking work demonstrates how critical digital methods, data analysis, and visualization can reinvigorate and reshape dance history. Manually curating datasets from Katherine Dunham’s archives, the authors trace Dunham’s company, travels, and repertory pieces between 1947 and 1960. Bench and Elswit adeptly put a data-rich history to paper, inviting the reader into what could be a daunting and overwhelming quantity of information with refreshing clarity and straightforwardness. Their mixed methods approach disrupts discrete twentieth century dance history taxonomies of the “company,” the “tour,” and the “work”, exhibiting instead the dynamic and complex relations between these components. As such, the article is not only formative within the field of dance studies, but further exemplifies how data-rich research methods can contribute to larger histories of the Black Diaspora. The essay offers multiscalar analyses that reframe inquiries into Dunham’s work and company, and the relationship between data and embodiment. The committee believes that this essay will provide a valuable interface for future researchers who wish to work with the digital archive of Dunham’s Data as collected by the authors and their team. This article offers an exciting methodological intervention that the committee believes will have a significant impact on the intersections of dance history and the digital humanities.

Many thanks to the award committee for their service and for this recognition. This research would not have been possible without the contributions of Antonio Jimenez-Mavillard and Tia-Monique Uzor. We are also grateful to the advisors and expert users who gave feedback on this essay: Halifu Osumare, Susan Manning, Melissa Blanco-Borelli, and Jonathan Bollen, as well as anonymous peer reviewers, and TDR's Richard Schechner, Mariellen Sanford, and Sara Brady.