Joanna Dee Das
Campus Box 1108
Joanna Dee Das is a dancer and scholar who has taught at Barnard College, Stanford University, and Williams College. She is passionate about teaching dance history from a global perspective and linking theory and practice in the classroom. Her research interests include dance in the African diaspora, musical theater dance, the politics of performance in the twentieth century, and urban cultural policy. Her book manuscript, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in May 2017. She has published an article on Dunham’s activism in East St. Louis for the Journal of Urban History, and has an essay on Dunham’s contributions to the decolonization movement forthcoming in Thomas DeFrantz’s edited anthology Dancing the African Diaspora (Duke). She has given invited guest lectures on Dunham across the country, including at Juilliard, Harvard, Northwestern, Marymount Manhattan College, American College Dance Association, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She also has an essay forthcoming in TDR (The Drama Review) on the revival of the musical Cabin in the Sky. She has won several fellowships and awards for her research, including a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and an Academic Quality Fund grant from the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.
Before and during graduate school, she worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in New York City, where she performed at Dance Theater Workshop (now NYLA), the Cunningham Studio, WAXWorks, and DanceNow/NYC. She is currently a Certification Candidate in Dunham Technique and enjoys teaching modern dance and jazz dance. Dr. Das is also committed to educating the broader public about the importance of dance to social justice movements. In 2015, she co-organized the public symposium “Black Lives Matter: The Relevance of Katherine Dunham for Today’s Artist-Activists” as part of the 2015 Dunham Workshop in Tampa, Florida. Her love for dance and dance history has also led to some fun side gigs, including co-curating an exhibit on the history of American Ballet Theatre for the Library of Congress and serving as a historical consultant for The Rockettes.