Chahut: The mediation of rationalism and the unruly body in the cancan

Parfitt, Clare (2007) Chahut: The mediation of rationalism and the unruly body in the cancan. In: Re-thinking Practice and Theory, Congress on Research in Dance/Society for Dance History Scholars Conference, 21-24 June 2007, Le Centre Nationale de la Danse, Paris, France. (Submitted)

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the cancan as a primary site for the nineteenth-century struggle between Enlightenment rationalism and its ‘other’, the supposedly irrational and elusive body. Rationalism strove to separate the lower orders of the body from the higher orders of the mind. This position was given scientific justification by social evolutionary theory, which posited biological differences between those dominated by the lower orders, the working class, the culturally other, and the female, and those dominated by the higher orders, the upper class, white Europeans, and the male. In the 1830s, the cancan emerged in Paris as a dance practice which both reinforced and subverted social evolutionary theory. In doing so, it not only questioned the relationship between artistic practice and scientific theory, but challenged the separation of rationality and irrationality on which the notion of theory was, and continues to be, based.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > DC France, Andorra, and Monaco
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Departments > Dance
Event Title: Re-thinking Practice and Theory, Congress on Research in Dance/Society for Dance History Scholars Conference
Event Location: Le Centre Nationale de la Danse, Paris, France
Event Dates: 21-24 June 2007
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Clare Parfitt
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2013 15:12
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 09:43
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1045

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