My next presentation will be in Coventry in early June. Here is the abstract for my talk:
How Dance Involves Lived, Shared, and Interconnected Experience
by Aili Bresnahan
prepared for the
“Dialogues on Dance, Philosophy, and Performance in the Contemporary Neoliberal Moment” conference at
Coventry University, June 1-2, 2017
Abstract: This presentation will address one tendency in philosophy to treat the human person as a solitary, particular, and individual agent. It is in this realm of abstract and disinterested thought, undertaken in contemplation and apart from environmentally situated experience, that analytic philosophy often works. This work is necessary and beneficial for thought and for theory. This presentation’s focus, however, will be on the benefits for philosophic inquiry of conceiving of the human person as necessarily embedded and engaged in the world, and as one whose very structure of thought, agency, and personhood exists in connection with other persons. This is a realm that Continental philosophy has engaged in various ways through phenomenological analysis. It is also a philosophic orientation that was developed in the United States by classical pragmatists C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey at the end of the 19th century, and extended into the realm of art, culture, and thought in the contemporary era by Mark Johnson, Garry Hagberg, and Joseph Margolis, among others. This presentation will show how a pragmatic methodology can help us to understand the sort creative and constructive collaboration that often takes place in the dance studio and on the stage. It will also attempt to show how dance’s engagement with lived, shared, and interconnected experience can help us to both resist the contemporary neoliberal moment’s over-focus on the “independent I” and to increase our openness to difference, to dialogue, and to a broader community of persons and cultures.