Edward Ross Dickinson, "Dancing in the Blood" (Cambridge UP, 2017)


In his new book, Dancing in the Blood: Modern Dance and European Culture on the Eve of the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Edward Ross Dickinson charts the development of modern dance in the turbulent decades of the early twentieth century. Arguing that modern dance provided the aesthetic tools to address the central features of modernity, Dickinson illustrates its impact on Euro-American cultural life, as well as on ideas about gender, nation, race, science, spirituality, and selfhood. Furthermore, he ties the development of modern dance to the emergence of mass culture and the work of marketing modernity. As becomes evident in his analysis, these ideas were fraught with contradictions as modern dance was seen to be both chaste and sexual, scientific and spiritual, universal yet grounded in racial difference. Dancing in the Blood thus provides fascinating insight into the development of modern dance, not only as an artistic genre but as part of the larger project of modernity. Edward Ross Dickinson is Professor in History at UC, Davis. He received his PhD from UC, Berkeley, and has taught at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. His research interests include the history of social policy, especially in the German child welfare system, and welfare policy in New Zealand; the history of sexuality in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Central Europe; and debates about sexuality, sexual morality and sexual radicalism in Europe and the US. He is completing a book-length interpretive essay on the history of the world in the long twentieth century, which will appear in 2018.

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