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Migrations of Gesture

2008

Carrie Noland and Sally Ann Ness, editors

Migrations of Gesture

The cultural significance of gesture as a human expression

Derived from the Latin verb “gerere”—to carry, act, or do—“gesture” has accrued critical currency but has remained undertheorized. Migrations of Gesture addresses this absence and provides a complex theory on the value of gesture for understanding human sign production.


Contributors: Mark Franko, Ketu H. Katrak, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Susan A. Phillips, Deidre Sklar, Lesley Stern, Blake Stimson.

Migrations of Gesture is an influential enterprise, one that goes beyond previous contributions to dance studies and will appeal to anyone interested in the philosophy of communication, semiotics, and questions of embodiment.

Randy Martin, Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Derived from the Latin verb “gerere”—to carry, act, or do—“gesture” has accrued critical currency but has remained undertheorized. Migrations of Gesture addresses this absence and provides a complex theory on the value of gesture for understanding human sign production.

Gestures migrate from body to body, from one medium to another, and between cultural contexts. Juxtaposing distinct approaches to gesture in order to explore the ways in which they at once shape and are influenced by culture, the contributors examine the works of writers Henri Michaux and Stéphane Mallarmé, photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, and filmmakers Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Martin Arnold, along with cultural practices such as gang walking, ballet, and classical Indian dance. The authors move deftly between an organic, phenomenal appreciation of human expression and a historicist, semiotic understanding of how the “human” is itself created through gestural routines.

Contributors: Mark Franko, U of California, Santa Cruz; Ketu H. Katrak,
U of California, Irvine; Akira Mizuta Lippit, U of Southern California; Susan A. Phillips, Pitzer College; Deidre Sklar; Lesley Stern, U of California, San Diego; Blake Stimson, U of California, Davis.

Migrations of Gesture

Carrie Noland is author of Poetry at Stake: Lyric Aesthetics and the Challenge of Technology, as well as numerous essays on poetic experimentation with sound, graphics, and the Internet. She is coediting a collection of essays with Barrett Watten, Diasporic Avant-Gardes: Experimental Poetics and Cultural Displacement, and completing a manuscript that juxtaposes theories of gesture drawn from performance studies and new media theory. She teaches French literature and critical theory at the University of California, Irvine.

Sally Ann Ness is professor of anthropology at University of California, Riverside, and a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She is author of Body, Movement, and Culture: Kinesthetic and Visual Symbolism in a Philippine Community and Where Asia Smiles: An Ethnography of Philippine Tourism. Her current research, funded in part by a Guggenheim Fellowship, focuses on touristic practice in Yosemite Valley, illuminating connections between place, embodiment, and authenticity.

Migrations of Gesture

Migrations of Gesture is an influential enterprise, one that goes beyond previous contributions to dance studies and will appeal to anyone interested in the philosophy of communication, semiotics, and questions of embodiment.

Randy Martin, Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University