The University of Wisconsin Press

Dance / Autobiography / African American Studies / Anthropology

Writings by and about Katherine Dunham
Edited by VèVè A. Clark and Sara E. Johnson

Studies in Dance History
Published under the auspices of the Society of Dance History Scholars

"The revision of Kaiso!, a unique compendium devoted to the work of Katherine Dunham, fills a significant lacuna in dance scholarship by providing a multifaceted portrait of a major figure in American and world dance."
—Richard A. Long, author of The Black Tradition in American Dance

"Kaiso," a term of praise that is the calypso equivalent of "bravo," is a fitting title for this definitive and celebratory collection of writings by and about Katherine Dunham, the legendary African American dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and social activist. Originally produced in the 1970s, this is a newly revised and much expanded edition that includes recent scholarly articles, Dunham's essays on dance and anthropology, press reviews, interviews, and chapters from Dunham's unpublished volume of memoirs, "Minefields." With nearly a hundred selections by dozens of authors, Kaiso! provides invaluable insight into the life and work of this pioneering anthropologist and performer and is certain to become an essential resource for scholars and general readers interested in social anthropology, dance history, African American studies, or Katherine Dunham herself.

VèVè A. Clark (1944–2007) was associate professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Sara E. Johnson is assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Katherine Dunham (1909–2006) studied dance and anthropology at the University of Chicago in the 1930s where she became interested in researching the origins of the cake-walk, Lindy hop, and the black bottom. When doing graduate work in 1935-1936, she was awarded travel fellowships to conduct ethnographic studies of the dance forms in the Caribbean. She earned her Bachelor's degree in social anthropology when she returned to Chicago in 1936. Her academic research led to her title of 'dancing anthropologist.' She also founded the field of dance anthropology because of her study of African-influenced dance in the western hemisphere.

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Cover of Kaiso! is based on an old photo of the young Dunham leaning against a pillar, probably in Mexico City.

March 2006
LC: 2005008258 GV
718 pp. 6 x 9
26 b/w photos

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Paper $29.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-21274-2
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"Kaiso! will stand alone as a document of Dunham's achievements over many years."—Thomas F. DeFrantz, editor of Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance

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