Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

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Shawn Newman

PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies

Shawn holds a BFA in Theatre Performance: Dance from Ryerson University and an MA in Dance from York. His PhD work, Performing Multiculturalism: Towards a Stronger Discourse through Praxis‐based Critiques (working title) seeks to re-centre cultural production in critical multiculturalism discourses by arguing that the very power with which cultural production fetishizes race and ethnicity can be mobilized to subvert these essentialized notions. This project uses concert dance as its analytic site and positions the body as the central meaning-making mechanism through which multicultural subjectivities are articulated. The impetus for this work comes from Shawn’s seventeen years as a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, and producer. Through the project option, he will attempt to navigate issues of White supremacy by asking the question: at what point does my choreography, largely shaped by ballet and modern (Eurocentric) aesthetics but which also draws on Afro-Caribbean and North American Indigenous dance forms, become multicultural as opposed to appropriative? Or is this possible? 

As well, Shawn also serves on several committees in Cultural Studies and works with various groups on and off campus in solidarity initiatives, particularly focused on Black and Indigenous communities through the Better Futures Collective. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at York University in the Department of Dance. His other research interests include: institutionalized Whiteness in post- secondary dance education, jazz dance history (particularly its Afro-Caribbean roots/routes), the dance technique of Lester Horton, and the work of Tomson Highway.