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Within the wide-ranging and cutting edge essays of Cultures in movement, a dozen distinct historians provide new conceptual vocabularies for knowing how cultures have trespassed throughout geography and social house. From the adjustments of the meanings and practices of charity in the course of past due antiquity and the transit of scientific wisdom among early glossy China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance varieties in early nineteenth-century big apple, those essays stick to a big selection of cultural practices in the course of the lens of movement, translation, itinerancy, and trade, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history.

Cultures in movement demanding situations the idea of fastened, strong cultural platforms via displaying that cultural practices have regularly been relocating, crossing borders and destinations with frequently magnificent impression. The essays supply awesome examples from early to fashionable instances of intrusion, translation, resistance, and variation. those are histories the place nothing--dance rhythms, alchemical formulation, musical practices, feminist aspirations, stitching machines, streamlined metals, or hard work networks--remains desk bound.

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4). In a “set dance” four couples faced off and performed the same steps for three changes of music or figures. Each “step” lasted eight bars of music or sixteen if doubled, that is, repeated on the other foot. 4: Men and women dancing a “set” or “juba” at Pete Williams’s tavern dance house. B. Frost illustration from Charles Dickens, American Notes [London: Chapman & Hall, 1871]. The Challenge Dance • 35 The dances were jigs, reels, and hornpipes. Jigs were considered Irish and danced to tunes in 6/8 time; reels Scottish, danced to 2/2 or 4/4 time; and hornpipes English, danced to 2/4 or reel time.

This essay recovers the transnational origins of a distinctly American tradition of brag dancing—­the challenge dance. Part theater, part sport, challenge dances were jigging contests got up among and between white and black men, and sometimes women. Emerging in the antebellum era alongside boxing, scores of elaborate and impromptu jig-­dance competitions enlivened riverfront and port cities from New Orleans to Toronto. They took place on streets, docksides, and plantations, in market squares, taverns, and town halls, and in theaters and circus rings as part of white and blackface shows.

Irish brag dancers polished their shoes and converged on patterns (patron saint’s day fairs) in the shabby vests, wide cravats, or other raiment identified with their local gang or faction. The dancing master advertised his station with a “castor or Caroline hat” above and “pumps and stockings” below. 3: Banjo player Joel Walker Sweeny is depicted standing on a dancer’s shingle ballast inside a circus ring. That shingle and his heeled boots suggest that he accompanied his playing with percussive dance steps.

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