The Locution of Location
New York Schools: The Locution of Location, 1945-1970
This digital humanities collaborative research-teaching project on the postwar Manhattan poets, visual artists, musicians, and dancers who have come to be known as the New York School begins its life as the American Studies senior seminar in Spring 2013. In its broadest construction, the Locution of Location is a mapping project: the central story of the course is the story of how a “scene” unfolds at a particular place during a particular time. One aspect of the course, then, will directly involve mapmaking: over the course of the semester, students will create digital maps showing the locations of the various studios, galleries, cafes, bars, theaters, movie houses, and loft performance spaces that played a role in the development of the postwar avant garde in New York, comparing the patterns of cultural development and flows revealed in these maps with similarly “mappable” patterns of population distribution (income brackets, age, race, etc.) and residential and commercial development.
A second key aspect of the course will involve the use of "learning capsules": digital compendia of video, music, poetry, and visual art from the period, organized in searchable compendia that allow for a “virtual” re-creation of the kind of inter-arts cross-fertilization that typified the period. An important partner in this aspect of the course will be the Merce Cunningham Trust, which is in the midst of creating “digital capsules” of Cunningham dances intended to serve as a set of directions for companies wishing to mount the work; the trust has expressed interest in setting up a licensing agreement that would permit classroom use of these capsules.
Archivist, Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Catherine Gunther Kodat, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Catherine Gunther Kodat came to Hamilton College in 1995 with a joint appointment in the English and Creative Writing Department and the American Studies program. Kodat began her undergraduate studies as a piano performance major at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; metro desk reporter and dance critic for The Baltimore Sun during the 1980s, she received her PhD in English literature from Boston University in 1994. Her research and teaching interests in 20th century U.S. literature and culture include African American literature, music, film, and dance. Her current work in postwar U.S. culture centers on the importance of dance, particularly the path-breaking choreography of Merce Cunningham, in the development of the New York School aesthetic of the 1950s and early 1960s. A Fulbright lecturer in American Studies at Eötvös Loránd Tudományegytem (ELTE, or Loránd Eötvös University) in Budapest, Kodat has been a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford and was an inaugural recipient of a Millicent C. McIntosh Flexible Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.