New Flamencologías: "Tracing Duende: On Digging Our Embodied History" with K. Meira Goldberg

Wed May 31st 2023, 4:30 - 5:30pm
Event Sponsor
Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
Building 260, Pigott Hall
450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 260, Stanford, CA 94305
German Library, room 252

New Flamencologías Research Group and Flamenco Cardenal welcome you to two events featuring K. Meira Goldberg.

On Tuesday May 30, Flamenco Cardenal will host Dr. Goldberg's dance workshop "Bulerías Improv" at 5:30pm in Roble Gym.

On Wednesday May 31, New Flamencologías will host Dr. Goldberg's lecture at 4:30pm in Pigott Hall (Main Quad, Bldg. 260), Rm 252.


Tracing Duende: On Digging Our Embodied History

How does embodied memory, the essence of dance learning and practice, teach us about our transtemporal, translocational, and (if you will) intertextual selves—as Fred Moten says, how to consent not to be a single being?(1) And what in turn does this teach us about how practice-based dance knowledge fits and can be integrated into our study of history?

Medieval Iberian lyrics are strikingly similar to flamenco verses in incorporating a melodic and rhyming signal into their structure which prompts the audience to join in—today in saying ¡Ole¡—before, in singing the estribillo, or refrain, after each verse. Because the audience sang the estribillo over and over, it was memorized and thus readily transmitted as a portable fragment from song to song and from generation to generation; indeed, the estribillo is central to flamenco today. These deep structural correspondences are the basis upon which I argue that practice-based knowledge of flamenco’s ancestral standards and codes can and should inform our reading of this historical record. The medieval Iberian songbook records the cosmopolitan matrix of the multilingual, multicultural, and multiconfessional Afro-Islamicate society in which it germinated. In postulating flamenco’s embodiment of the structures of the medieval Iberian lyric, then, I am attempting to trace a capillary system that nourishes the Western canon, but whose unique nature and constituent elements are often blanketed by the politics of Whiteness. These questions are urgently pressing right now, not only in light of our present reckoning with the harsh realities of racial violence, but also considering the de-historicizing, unmooring, and disembodying effects of living ever more intensely in the global mediasphere.

    (1) Fred Moten, Black and Blur: Consent not to be a Single Being (Durham, Duke University Press, 2017).


K. MEIRA GOLDBERG is a flamenco performer, choreographer, teacher, and scholar. In the past decade, she has instigated and collaborated on a number of exhibits, international conferences, and edited anthologies. Her monograph, Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (Oxford University Press, 2019 and, translated by Kiko Mora, Libargo, 2022), won the Barnard Hewitt Award for best 2019 book in theatre history or cognate disciplines, and Honorable Mention, Sally Banes Publication Award, both from the American Society for Theatre Research.

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Questions? Contact taniaf [at] (taniaf[at]stanford[dot]edu)