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Gesture, Gender, Nation

Dance and Social Change in Uzbekistan

Gesture, Gender, Nation by Mary Masayo Doi
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The national dancers of Uzbekistan are almost always female. In a society that has been Muslim for nearly seven hundred years, why and how did unveiled female dancers become a beloved national icon during the Soviet period? Also, why has their popularity continued after the Uzbek republic became independent? The author argues that dancers, as symbolic "girls" or unmarried females in the Uzbek kinship system, are effective mediators between extended kin groups, and the Uzbek nation-state. The female dancing body became a "tabula rasa" upon which the state inscribed, and reinscribed, constructions of "Uzbek" nationalism.
Greenwood Publishing Group; November 2001
162 pages; ISBN 9780313074028
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Title: Gesture, Gender, Nation
Author: Mary Masayo Doi