With funding from the Student Funding Initiative and the Arts and Humanities Small Grants, I am excited to announce that I’ll be presenting my paper, “Not All Diasporas Are Created Equal: The Lebanese Diaspora’s Confinement to Oriental Dance” at the Dance Studies Association conference in Valletta, Malta in July!
In this paper, I illuminate a critical dissimilarity between the diasporic experiences of José Limón, Anna Sokolow, and Lebanese Americans during the modern era. Both Limón and Sokolow could simultaneously perform their ethnic identities and whiteness, but archived newspaper articles and scholarly texts paint a different picture of the Lebanese American body. Although Lebanese Americans legally became white and assimilated relatively smoothly into American culture, “Oriental” descriptions plague the few records of Lebanese dancers on the concert stage. I argue that the Lebanese diaspora’s disassociation with the political left restricted their opportunity to represent their dancing bodies as American.