KATHERINE DUNHAM: influential women of all time – Early Life and Reign, social and political life, major works and death

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Just2know : There is no knowledge that is not power
Just2know : There is no knowledge that is not power

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(1949; The Need for Roots), an essay upon the obligations of the individual and the state; Attente de Dieu (1950; Waiting for God), a spiritual autobiography; Oppression et Liberté (1955; Oppression and Liberty), a collection of political and philo- sophical essays on war, factory work, language, and other topics; and three volumes of Cahiers (1951–56; Notebooks). Though born of Jewish parents, Weil eventually adopted a mystical theology that came very close to Roman Cathol- icism. A moral idealist committed to a vision of social justice, Weil in her writings explored her own religious life while also analyzing the individual’s relation with the state and God, the spiritual shortcomings of modern industrial society, and the horrors of totalitarianism.

KATHERINE DUNHAM

(b. June 22, 1909, Glen Ellyn, Ill., U.S.—d. May 21, 2006, New York, N.Y.)

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he American dancer, choreographer, and anthropolo- gist Katherine Dunham was noted for her innovative

interpretations of ritual and ethnic dances.

Dunham early became interested in dance. While a student at the University of Chicago, she formed a dance group that performed in concert at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934 and with the Chicago Civic Opera company in 1935–36. On graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthro- pology she undertook field studies in the Caribbean and in Brazil. By the time she received an M.A. from the University of Chicago, she had acquired a vast knowledge of the dances and rituals of the black peoples of tropical America. (She later took a Ph.D. in anthropology.) In 1938 she joined the Federal Theatre Project in Chicago and composed a ballet, L’Ag’Ya, based on Caribbean dance.Two years later she formed an all-black company, which began touring extensively by 1943. Tropics (choreographed 1937) and Le Jazz Hot (1938) were among the earliest of many works based on her research.

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