Dancing the Feminine

Gender & Identity Performances by Indonesian Migrant Women

By Monika Swasti Winarnita

Migration makes a profound impression on identity (gender and sexuality, culture, class, status), its expressions, and performance. Research in this field has demonstrated that migrant communities often cast women as bearers of cultural reproduction. This is especially the case when women choose to become representatives of their community through cultural dance performances. Such performances are also a means to express the migrant life of movement and a way to maintain their sense of well-being. Dancing the Feminine is a compelling vision of expressions of gender and identity at the heart of the Asian women's experience. For the Indonesian female migrants, performing 'femininity' is frequently negotiated in a cross-cultural context. The performances that author Monika Winarnita analyses are dramas of human interaction brought up through fissures and resolutions between the performers and their various audiences. The book provides analysis of these cultural performances as rituals of belonging, which demonstrate that in the diaspora meanings of the ritual are always open to being contested. A particular appeal of this book is the way in which cultural dance performance offers profound insight into migrants' life experience as well as into how human beings tell their stories and interact with one another. Based on her experience of performing dance with Indonesian migrant women in Australia, the author provides a unique and novel set of research data that contributes to a diverse body of scholarly work in migration, performance, gender, sexuality and cultural studies, anthropology, and Asian studies.


Publication Date: 5/3/2016
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781845196936

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