Judith Butler and a Pedagogy of Dancing Resilience

Journal of Aesthetic Education 54 (3):1-16 (2020)
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This essay is part of a larger project in which I construct a new, historically-informed, social justice-centered philosophy of dance, centered on four central phenomenological constructs, or “Moves.” This essay in particular is about the fourth Move, “resilience.” More specifically, I explore how Judith Butler engages with the etymological aspects of this word, suggesting that resilience involves a productive form of madness and a healthy form of compulsion, respectively. I then conclude by showing how “resilience” can be used in the analysis of various Wittgensteinian “families” of dance, which in turn could facilitate positive educational changes in philosophy, dance and society, with particular efficacy on the axis of gender. In brief, by teaching a conception of strength as vulnerability (instead of machismo’s view of strength as apathetic “toughness”), a pedagogy of dancing resilience provides additional support for feminists (including Anzaldúa, Haraway, Butler and Concepción) who advocate a cautious openness toward seemingly-unlikely resources and allies (including analytic methodologies, Machiavellian politics, and the discourses of the natural sciences).

Author's Profile

Joshua M. Hall
University of Alabama, Birmingham


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