We have two pieces of news this week.
First, we're thrilled that the first full-length essay from Dunham's Data is now out in Theatre Survey! "Katherine Dunham's Global Method and the Embodied Politics of Dance's Everyday" is available here. We are in the process of setting up open access, but in the meantime if you would like to read the essay but do not have institutional access, please get in touch.
Katherine Dunham travelled the world for decades as a choreographer, dancer, teacher, scholar, writer, and activist. This essay develops the ‘everyday’ as an intersectional analytic through which to understand the global method tying Dunham’s transnational mobility to her practices of making-do as an African American female artist in the mid-twentieth century, and the ways the ongoing pursuit of solvency propelled her, her performers, and her work into the world. Our critical mixed methods approach scales up from a manually curated itinerary of Dunham’s daily locations over four years (1950-53), to the politics of the everyday they cumulatively reveal. Analyzing transnational travel patterns of stays and returns can rebalance the geography of Dunham scholarship, including revealing the centrality of nightclub and other non-concert performances to sustaining the company over time. Looking further into the archives, we turn to a paradigm of friction and flexibility in order to elaborate the many factors that shaped Dunham’s touring pathways, as well as the ways that Dunham’s bodily wellbeing haunts her relentless momentum. Focusing on the bodies in the data from a perspective that combines dance studies with digital humanities points to the ways digital methods can evidence and elaborate bodily experience on- and offstage.
Second, this essay is connected to some fantastic news about the release of our first dataset, the "Everyday Itinerary, 1950-53." This and all of our future datasets have been acquired by the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture, and thanks to this NEA-funded data repository, all of our datasets will be cared for in perpetuity. This first dataset is available along with supplemental materials here. You can also sign up at the NADAC repository to receive updates as we release further updates, including the 1947-60 itinerary that is in progress.