Ted Shawn and the Invention of American Dance


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress during academic year 2014-2015


Ted Shawn (1891–1972), "The Father of American Dance," was a pioneer of twentieth-century American performance. Based on extensive archival research, the project examines Shawn's work in relation to emerging modern ideas about gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, especially as they converged in the discourses of eugenics, social evolution, and sexology. By illuminating Shawn's relationships to artists and scientists who were leading a radical movement to depathologize homosexuality (such as Havelock Ellis and Alfred Kinsey), the study exposes the critical and material intersections between the histories of dance and gay culture in the United States.