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PHSE437 Dance Ethnography

Exploration of dance as an artistic, social and religious activity within another culture and country; and analysis of the role of dance within that community via guided ethnographic fieldwork.

This paper is conducted as field research or ethnographic reconnaissance in dance, culture and community. Students and lecturer travel together to another country to practise participant observation and interview methodologies in a different cultural context.

During this course of study students will:

  • Develop an awareness of one's own and other's meanings of 'community dance' and 'dance in community', building on previous theories and frameworks for community dance
  • Apply theoretical concepts of dance through practical transcultural experiences
  • Understand the role of community arts/dance in developing social and national identity
  • Develop an appreciation of the functions of dance in a particular cultural community and its links with health, religion and medical practice
  • Learn the basics of dance ethnography through observer/participant research experience; informal interview data collection; and field-note-taking towards the construction of individual and shared ethnographic research
Anticipated additional costs: Students will be expected to cover their own return overseas air travel, plus other basic costs (approximately NZ$3,000) This is extra to normal Summer School fees. All master classes and lectures taught off-shore will be covered by course fees.

Paper title Dance Ethnography
Paper code PHSE437
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2018
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2018 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PHSE 325 or PHSE 435
PHSE 559
An approved 300-level paper may be substituted for the PHSE 325 or 435 prerequisite.
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Ali East
Guest master teachers and informants within the country studied
Paper Structure
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Doing field work, writing field notes
  • Collecting, analysing data
  • Writing research essay
Teaching Arrangements
The teaching will comprise:
  • One week of preliminary lectures at Otago campus
  • Three weeks of field work abroad
  • Three weeks of self-directed writing of field research at Otago campus
A reader will be provided, plus additional articles specific to your project as sourced.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Cultural understanding, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper the student should be able to:
  • Understand and apply ethnographic methodologies
  • Identify a research topic within their particular area of interest
  • Collect data in the field and write comprehensive field notes
  • Articulate specific aspects of dance and community within the area studied and appreciate how dances serve different functions in the community through the writing of a research report
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of the educational value of transcultural dance participation

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Not offered in 2018

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system