Dissertation Title: Shaking the Habitual: A History and Anthropology of Movement Research in Germany

I am a PhD Candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Chicago. I hold a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the Free University Berlin and an MA in Social Sciences (Political Theory and Anthropology) from the University of Chicago. My research is concerned with socio-cultural anthropology and historical epistemology of the human body, mind and senses. I study human somatic culture more broadly and body techniques, somatic habits and skills more specifically. I ask: What do we gain if we understand better how we move and use our bodies?

My dissertation is part historical and part anthropological. Historically, it will sketch the emergence and development of contemporary dance as movement research practice throughout the 20th century on the basis of archival research. Anthropologically, and akin to social studies of scientific practice, it investigates the experimental practice, methods and concepts of movement research dance today. The dissertation extends the anthropology of dance beyond linguistic, semiotic and performance-oriented analyses and takes into view artistic and scientific practice from a unified historical perspective (Rheinberger 2012, 3), disclosing the peculiar proximities of the two throughout the 20th century and in the present moment.