Thomas F. DeFrantz
  • Thomas F. DeFrantz

  • Professor
  • African & African American Studies
  • 243 Ernestine Friedl Bldg., Rm. 243C
  • Campus Box 90252
  • Phone: (919) 668-1929
  • Research Description

    Born a Hoosier, my work focuses on theories of African diaspora aesthetics, intersections of dance and technology, and dance historiography. I write articles and essays about black dance in the United States, as they are practiced in the US and in global contexts. My research group, SLIPPAGE, is in residence at Duke, and we work to create innovate interfaces that help us tell alternative histories.
  • Recent Publications

      • T. DeFrantz.
      • (August, 2012).
      • “Unchecked Popularity: Neoliberal Circulations of Black Social Dance.
      • in Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations
      • ,
      • (pp. 128-142).
      • T. DeFrantz.
      • (2012).
      • “Performing The Breaks: African American Aesthetic Structures.
      • Theatre Journal
      • ,
      • 40
      • (1)
      • ,
      • 31-38.
      • T. DeFrantz.
      • (September, 2011).
      • Theorizing Connectivity: African American Women in Concert Dance.
      • Journal of Pan African Studies
      • ,
      • 4
      • (6)
      • ,
      • 56-74.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      This essay explores genealogies of Black women's presence in American modern dance to theorize connectivity as a methodology to appreciate their creative work. The legacies of more familiar dance artists, including Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham, are discussed in relation to achievements and interventions by less-discussed, but no less important, African American women including Joan Myers Brown, Judy Dearing, Thelma Hill, Carole Johnson, and Edisa Weeks. The essay offers evidence of a radical creative tradition within these genealogies; one that has been less widely appreciated by mainstream histories of dance, but surely influential in the creation of American concert dance.

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