Cultures in Motion

Within the wide-ranging and leading edge essays of Cultures in movement, a dozen uncommon historians provide new conceptual vocabularies for realizing how cultures have trespassed throughout geography and social house. From the differences of the meanings and practices of charity in the course of overdue antiquity and the transit of scientific wisdom among early glossy China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance kinds in early nineteenth-century long island, those essays stick to a wide range of cultural practices during the lens of movement, translation, itinerancy, and trade, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history.

Cultures in movement demanding situations the idea of mounted, sturdy cultural structures by way of displaying that cultural practices have continuously been relocating, crossing borders and destinations with usually fabulous impression. The essays supply extraordinary examples from early to trendy occasions of intrusion, translation, resistance, and version. those are histories the place nothing--dance rhythms, alchemical formulation, musical practices, feminist aspirations, stitching machines, streamlined metals, or exertions networks--remains desk bound.

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The dancing master advertised his station with a “castor or Caroline hat” above and “pumps and stockings” below. 3: Banjo player Joel Walker Sweeny is depicted standing on a dancer’s shingle ballast inside a circus ring. That shingle and his heeled boots suggest that he accompanied his playing with percussive dance steps. Dancers preferred musicians who knew how to dance, and musicians liked dancers who could play. From J. W. Sweeny, “Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done” [New York, 1840], Sheet Music—Negro Minstrels.

But not all New Jersey competitors danced the same way. Field-­hand-­style steps were conspicuous among public dancers too. On Sunday mornings in 1839, “troops” of Jersey slaves from the countryside danced against city blacks at Philadelphia’s Callowhill Street Market, where as many as sixty contestants assembled along with an integrated crowd of spectators. ” These steps developed into the style known in the United States as flatfoot and in Ireland as sean nós dancing. 47 Perceiving these steps like dialects, contemporaries could easily distinguish between the field hands’ flatfoot breakdowns and the house slaves’ fancy footwork.

13: View of seats, tiers, gallery, and stage at New York’s Chatham Theatre from the parquet. D. Odell, Annals of the New York Stage, 6 vols. [New York, 1928], 3:120. 50 • Chapter 1 the parquet (or wooden floor behind the seats) for blacks and lower-­class whites, sometimes divided, sometimes not. ”64 Many white performers counted on black theatergoers to round out their audiences. In 1833, when the District of Columbia placed a curfew on African Americans out after nine o’clock, an actor who had hired a popular theater complained.

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