In this spotlight, PhD student Chang He explains how her research engages with the anthropology of dance through a particular style that originated in Los Angeles in 1970.
Change He is a second-year PhD student in the Anthropology department at Brown and recently completed her MA thesis titled, "Transformation without Words: The Politics of Chinese Youth’s Embodied Experience with Black Street Dance – Locking."
Based primarily in a metropolis in China, He's research engages with the anthropology of dance through a particular style that originated in Los Angeles in 1970 in a young Black community and migrated globally while being transformed by and transforming the lives of dancers and audiences. As a passionate dancer, He's research is driven by her interest to make sense of everything around her through an anthropological lens. He believes that Anthropology has provided her with a new lens through which to understand the world, which started to look different ever since she took anthropology classes in college and continued to transform.
He combines her anthropological training with practical training in various types of arts and performances. At Brown, the PhD student hopes to grow as a scholar but also as a practitioner who believes that the power of dance extends beyond verbal descriptions and can express and inspire in many creative forms. As an anthropologist who learns a lot from the artist community, He believes it is her responsibility to translate her scholarly findings into a form acceptable and useful for them. He strives to apply what she learns from her research and theoretical discussions to artistic endeavors, including but not limited to creating dance and theater performances and leading workshops that engage communities.