The rise of Dance Studies in the Italian university: a “history of histories” between disciplining practices and breakouts

Keywords: Dance Studies, Theatre Studies, Performance Historiography, History of Dance and Theatre Studies, Critical and Performance Theory


The essay aims to investigate the distinctive aspects in the generative processes of Dance Studies and History in Italy at the time of their definition as a scientific and academic discipline. These key-features are examined through the analysis of the Italian scholars who have recently tried to retrace the genealogies or to build a possible history of the field, putting them in connection to similar evidences shared at an international level. The development of the discipline in Italy is contextualised and explained in relation to the artistic, social and scientific trends characterising the specific period in which it was first established in the university, between the end of the 1980s and the 1990s; and in this particular perspective, it becomes also possible to re-read the choices and orientations underlying the “self-historicisations” considered within the paper.


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Author Biography

Roberta Ferraresi, University of Cagliari

Roberta Ferraresi is Associate Professor at the University of Cagliari - Department of Literature, Languages and Cultural Heritage, where she teaches Theatre Studies in several BA and MA courses. She is part of the editorial board of "Mimesis Journal", of the scientific board of the "Mimesis Journal Books" serie, published by Accademia University Press, and of the Ormete project. Research topics: poetic-political movements of rethinking the performing arts between the 20th century and the contemporary; the history and developments of theatre studies and criticism; performing arts' historiography, also in its intersections with the web. Besides her academic work, she has always been actively involved in the contemporary theatre, dealing with criticism in several magazines including "Doppiozero" and "La falena", serving as advisor in theatre and cultural policies and funding for private and public institutions, developing theatre educational, engagement and development projects in collaboration with several Italian theatres and festivals (Biennale di Venezia, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Santarcangelo etc.).

How to Cite
Ferraresi, R. (2023). The rise of Dance Studies in the Italian university: a “history of histories” between disciplining practices and breakouts. Mimesis Journal, 12(2), 17-41.