Naomi Macalalad Bragin

Naomi Macalalad Bragin

Assistant Professor

B.A., Dance, Wesleyan University
M.A., Folklore/Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Ph.D., Performance Studies, UC Berkeley

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Website: naomibragin.com 
Email: bragin@uw.edu


performance theory and research
critical ethnic studies
gender and women's studies
Black aesthetics and popular culture
Streetdance/Black dance

I teach performance as an analytic tool and practical method of research. Courses use multi-perspectival, trans-methodological approaches to critical inquiry that emphasize self-reflection, collaboration, intuition and imagination. I am committed to shift hierarchical relations that place the university classroom in isolation, at an objective distance from its sites of study. My teaching asks students to bear witness to the embodied psychic-emotional patterns of their lived experience, to ethically question and actively transform knowledge.

Research and Scholarship

My current book project, Black Power of Hip-Hop Dance: On Kinethic Politics, uses ethnography and critical theory to study the generation of racialized-intersectional power structures in the aesthetics of how people move. I’m interested in Black vernacular dancing as an improvised rhythmic-sensory language of social commentary and critique, with attention to relational poetics operating in shifting local contexts through which it circulates. If hip-hop dance techniques carry performative codes of their specific cultures of emergence, what ethical implications apply to collective coding practices transmitted under force of capitalist extraction and exchange, in the rapid global circuits of information-age cultural production? How do we attend to the political afterlife of hip-hop's dance history? This project has received funding from the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Simpson Center for Humanities Society of Scholars, and National Endowment of the Humanities.

Little Brown Language is a new performance research collaboration with Seattle-based dance artists Milvia Pacheco and Angel Alviar-Langley, tracing embodied histories of Blackness, Indigeneity and Spanish colonization that continue to shape women’s relational voice in ritual and revolutionary spaces. Little Brown Language will show at On the Boards/North West New Works Festival, June 14-16, 2019.

At UW Bothell, I am a co-organizer of Critical Acts: Socially Engaged Art + Performance Research Group, founded by Professor Anida Yoeu Ali. We produce the annual Alive! Performance Festival, including the national Critical Acts Artist Residency and Imagine Showcase of outstanding student performance work.

Selected Publications

Forthcoming. “Streetdance and Black Aesthetics.” In Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies, eds. Mary Fogarty and Imani Kai Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2018       “On The Front Porch: Deborah McCoy and Fresno Streetdance.” Tropics of Meta (blog). Solicited by Fresno State Valley Public History Project.

2016       “From Oakland Turfs to Harlem’s Shake: Hood Dance on YouTube and Viral Antiblackness.” In Oxford Handbook of Screen Dance Studies, ed. Douglas Rosenberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2014       “Techniques of Black Male Re/Dress: Corporeal Drag & Kinesthetic Politics in the Rebirth of Waacking/ Punkin,’” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 24.1. Special Issue: “All Hail the Queenz: A Queer Feminist Recalibration of Hip Hop Scholarship,” eds. Jessica Pabón and Shanté Paradigm Smalls.

2014       “Shot and Captured: Turf Dance, YAK Films, and the Oakland, California, R.I.P. Project,” TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, 58.2.