Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities
FALL 2012 RESIDENCY ACTIVITIES:
Teaching DANC 510 - Performance, Gender & Nationalism
Photo Credit: Mike Travis
Ahalya Satkunaratnam is a 2012-2014 Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign teaching both in the Department of Dance and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. A dancer and scholar, she received her PhD in Critical Dance Studies from the Department of Dance at University of California, Riverside in 2009. Her research interests include transnational feminist practice, currently focusing on women’s resistance to war and nationalism in Sri Lanka through dance. Her article on women’s Bharata Natyam choreographies about war in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is forthcoming in Dance Research Journal.
Intersecting her research interests with her dance training in the South Asian forms of Bharata Natyam, Bhangra and Kathak, Satkunaratnam's choreographies are self-expressive works that provoke reflection about social, political and environmental injustices, through stylized narratives. She has danced with and choreographed for San Francisco’s Duniya Dance and Drum Company and was trained in Bharata Natyam primarily by Hema Rajagopalan of Chicago-based Natya Dance Theatre. In addition to dancing and teaching, Satkunaratnam is deeply invested in creating spaces for radical, political arts work and organizes actively to produce events. She also serves on the editorial collective of SAMAR, the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection.
This course examines the intersections of performance with identity- specifically, race, gender and nationality. Studying several recent works in critical dance studies alongside scholarship in transnational feminist and critical theory, we will look for points of convergence and divergence among the texts. Students will explore the methods, theories and concerns shaping interdisciplinary scholarship on dance and performance and consider how their own research and arts practice are situated within the disciplinary fields explored. Among the issues to be examined are tradition and innovation; heterosexism and nationality; theory and practice; ephemerality and documentation; representation and identity; ethnography and history; and meaning and power.