Call for Submissions, Special Guest Edited Issue of Dance Research Journal Guest Editors: Lucia Ruprecht and Eike Wittrock

Due August 01, 2021

QUEERING DANCE MODERNISM: Sexuality and Race on Stage

Compared to the queer sexual biographies of many protagonists of dance modernism, very little scholarly attention has been given to what might be called the queer aesthetic of their performances. This aesthetic is part of a gestural revolution that restored dance’s psycho-social and political relevance, not least through the circulation of sexual energies. A queer reading of dance modernism therefore requires more than the revelation of the sexual lives of performers or the uncovering of hidden meaning in dance works as being about same sex relationships. Queering dance modernism means to chart out how moving bodies enacted, demonstrated and fabricated new intimate and social relations, and how they imagined forms of often cross-temporal gendered habitus and desire. Yet, as queer theory has underlined, sexuality is always intersectional, and many modernist performances of gender and sexuality were articulated through corporeal fantasies of race. Serving as surfaces onto which such fantasies were projected, dancers and dancing bodies became contested ground in both colonial and sexological politics.

This special issue of Dance Research Journal invites submissions to work on a timely yet still under-researched field: queer and ethnic modernism in dance. It flags the productive confluence of dance studies, queer theory, and critical race studies in re-engagements with modernist performance. How might historical queer activisms and sexological research of the early 20th century inform an aesthetic theory of modernist dance? How might the racial masquerades of so many dancers be critically reassessed from a queer perspective? How were queer subjectivities and relations performed and enacted on a variety of stages, from high art to the popular and the so called ritual? How can the question of desire be integrated into the network of global modernities, as lived desire between international actors in the field, as well as through acting out queer desires (of otherness) in dance? How did early queer aesthetics rely on Orientalist, primitivist and exoticist tropes? How was (queer) sexuality policed or stimulated in state discourses – colonial, imperial, nationalistic or other? And lastly, how can dance studies enter into a productive encounter with methods from queer and critical race studies and account for the different affects – desire, melancholy, empathy, pain – at work in historiography, as articulated by Elizabeth Freeman, Heather Love, José Esteban Muñoz, Saidiya Hartman and others? What is at stake here for us as contemporary researchers? How do we navigate between critical and reparative approaches to the archive? How do we account for archival violence against non-normative bodies at the same time as conjuring up their utopian potential?

The editors of Queering Dance Modernism: Sexuality and Race on Stage encourage submissions investigating these questions from a variety of perspectives with examples stemming from all kinds of locales.

Final deadline for submissions: June 1, 2021.

Approximate length: 6,000 words (not including notes and references)

Submissions should be uploaded to: 

Inquiries to: Lucia Ruprecht ( and Eike Wittrock (