Immersion in the Muddy Waters: A Collaboration Between a Social Scientist and a Dance Choreographer

By Genevieve Durham DeCesaro and Elizabeth Sharp.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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The purpose of the present manuscript is to reveal the often hidden and muddy components of trandisciplinary collaboration. We focus on collaboration between a dance choreographer and a social scientist working on a feminist project. At the time of this writing, we are in the process of re-analyzing social science qualitative data for an evening-length dance performance. As we reflect on our process of collaboration, we expose our pauses, confusion, questions, and emerging insights. We argue that sharing struggles of our collaboration as we encounter them is a provocative and fresh way to capture and illuminate critical questions in the growing enterprise of transdisciplinary research. We suspect that the way we structured our collaboration and our discoveries from this specific project have broader implications and promise to advance the on-going dialogue of the risk, danger, and exceptional reward possible in transdisciplinary research.

Keywords: Transdisciplinary, Collaboration, Arts, Social Sciences, Dance, Choreography, Women, Ideologies of Marriage, Ideologies of Singlehood, Ideologies of Motherhood, Methodologies

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.57-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 300.618KB).

Prof. Genevieve Durham DeCesaro

Head of Dance, Associate Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Genevieve Durham DeCesaro is the Head of Dance and Associate Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Her choreography has been commissioned by Old Dominion University in Virginia, Spelman College in Atlanta, Dallas’ Repertory Dance Theatre of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, South Carolina’s Litchfield Dance Academy, Atlanta’s Zoetics Dance Company, Stephen F. Austin State University, Oklahoma City’s Perpetual Motion, and Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Professor Durham DeCesaro has presented at numerous conferences and her choreography has been seen nationally, including a presentation at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Among her recognitions at Texas Tech University are receipt of the Alumni Association’s New Faculty Award, the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, recognition by the national honor society Mortar Board as an Outstanding Professor, and election to the University’s highly selective Teaching Academy. She is currently serving a second elected term on the Board of Directors of the American College Dance Festival.

Dr. Elizabeth Sharp

Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University, USA

Elizabeth Sharp is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and an affiliate faculty member of Women’s Studies at Texas Tech University. She is the elected chair of the Feminism and Family Studies section of the National Council on Family Relations. Dr. Sharp’s training in qualitative methods includes mentoring from an expert in descriptive phenomenology and a Scholar-in-Residence at the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology in Alberta, Canada. She has taught graduate seminars on Qualitative Methodology and has published qualitative research in the Journal of Marriage and Family, Family Relations, Journal of Marital Therapy, and Sex Roles and her work has been cited in several media outlets, including the New York Times, the Toronto Star, and Women Forbes. She is a co-editor of a special issue on Qualitative Methodology, Research and Theory in Family Studies in the Journal of Family Theory and Review and has been the Principal Investigator on several Texas Tech University grants and a National foundation grant for qualitative research projects.