#DancingIsNotACrime: Dance as Digital Resistance in the Transnational 21st Century
Keywords:dance, hijab, resistance, women, Iran
AbstractIn a live video posted to YouTube Sept 2 2014, a young woman, dressed in black and standing on a stationary car, dances, unwinds her hijab and fluffs her long hair. The upload, since disappeared, registered over 1 million views, and precipitated a spate of responses depicting young women dancing in public places, eventually spawning the hashtag #DancingIsNotACrime. In many cultures across many eras, dancing in public has been a tool for resistance. Those employing movement as resistance often do so precisely because street dance is portable, mutable, and infinitely viral: capable of transmission by person-to-person contact. Multiple subaltern revolutionary movements have begun in search of safe spaces for dancing, and the repression of public dance has been a locus for authoritarian crackdowns. Drawing upon methodologies from semiotics, musicology, kinesics, and political science, this essay explores #DancingIsNotACrime as a potent, present, and immediate vehicle seeking justice and social revolution.
Afary, J. 2009. Sexual Politics in Modern Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ah T (2014) Happy We are from Tehran [Online video]. Available from https://youtu.be/0QtqOl-3Tmg. Accessed: 29 July 2021.
Al Jazeera (2021). The Arab Spring Retweeted,” Available from https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje 2021/the-arab-spring-retweeted-10-years/index.html. Accessed: July 28 2021
Alinejad, M. 2018. The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran. New York: Little, Brown.
Associated Press. 2014. Six Iranians videotaped dancing to ‘Happy’ sentenced to lashes. Available from https://nypost.com/2014/09/19/six-iranians-videotaped-dancing-to-happy-sentenced-to-lashes/ . Accessed: 29 July 2021.
Alinejad, Masih (2021). Available from https://www.facebook.com/StealthyFreedom Accessed: 30 July 2021.
Bavandpoori, E. 2019. Warum die iranische Regierun Instagrammer* innen verfolgt. Available from https://www.jetzt.de/politik/iran-geht-gegen-instagrammer-innen-vor Accessed: 29 July 2021.
Bayat, A. 2021. Plebeians of the Arab Spring. Current Anthropology 56, no. S11 (2015): S33-43. Accessed 30 July 2021. doi:10.1086/681523.
Bayat, A. 2003. The ‘Street’ and the Politics of Dissent in the Arab World. Middle East Report Spring 2003, #226 (Spring, 2003), 10-17.
Bayat, A. 1997. Street Politics: Poor People’s Movements in Iran. New York: Columbia University Press.
Berkowitz, B. 2011. From a single hashtag, a protest circled the world. Available from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wallstreet-protests-social/from-a-single-hashtag-a-protest-circled-the-world-idUSTRE79G6E420111018 Accessed: 28 July 2021.
Burki, S. 2013. The Politics of State Intervention. Gender Politics in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.
D’Avolio, M. 2004. Child Labor and Cultural Relativism: From 19th Century America to 21st Century Nepal. 16 Pace International Law Review 109 (2004), 109-45.
DAM (uncredited). c2017. About DAM http://www.damrap.com/about.html. Accessed: 28 July 2021.
Effendi, R. 2010-11. Young in Tehran. World Policy Journal 27/4 (Winter 2010-11), 74-85.
Faruqui, M. D. 1998. Iran: Renegotiating a ‘Revolutionary’ Identity. Economic and Political Weekly 33/31 (Aug. 1-7, 1998), 2071-77.
Fassihi, F. 2020. When singing solo is an act of defiance. Available from https://twitter.com/farnazfassihi/status/1304921646529220608/ Accessed: 28 July 2021.
Foucault, M. 1980. “The Eye of Power.” In, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon Books.
GOODxOLDxTIME (2011) islamic Hijab Dance! [Online video]. Available from https://youtu.be/0QtqOl-3Tmg Accessed 21 July 2021.
Italiano, L. Iran continues to arrest young women for dancing videos. Available from https://nypost.com/2019/11/01/iran-continues-to-arrest-women-for-posting-videos-of-themselves-dancing/ Accessed: 30 July 2021.
Jenzen, O, with Itir Erhart, Hande Eslen-Ziya, Derya Güçdemir, Umut Korkut, and Aidan McGarry. 2020. “Music Videos as Protest Communication: The Gezi Park Protest on YouTube.” In, The Aesthetics of Global Protest: Visual Culture and Communication, eds. Aidan McGarry, Itir Erhart, Hande Eslen-Ziya, Olu Jenzen and Umut Korkut. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Kahf, U. 2007. Arabic Hip Hop: Claims of Authenticity and Identity of a New Genre. Journal of Popular Music Studies 19 (2007), 259-85.
Listengarten, J. 2012. Pussy Riot’s ‘Punk Prayer’ and National Controversy. Ecumenica 5/2 Faith, Politics, and Performance (Fall 2012), 67-71.
Lohlker, R. 2013. Hip Hop and Islam: An Exploration into Music, Technology, Religion, and Marginality. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 104 (2014), 115-135.
Maira, S., and Jil Oslo. 2013. Palestinian Hip Hop, Youth Culture, and the Youth Movement. Washington DC: Tadween.
Meftahi, I. 2016. Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage. London: Taylor & Francis.
Merás, L. 2018. Profesion: Documentarist: Underground Documentary Making in Iran. in Female Agency and Documentary Strategies: Subjectivities, Identity and Activism. B. Ulfsdotter and A. B. Rogers, eds. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,.
Moghadam, F. E. 2011. Women and Social Protest in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In, Gender in Contemporary Iran: Pushing the Boundaries. R. Bahramitash and E.Hooglund, Taylor & Francis Group.
Moles, A. 1968. Information Theory and Esthetic Perception, trans. Joel E. Cohen. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Mozafari, P. 2013. Dance and the Borders of Public and Private life in Post-Revolution Iran. In, A Sreberny and M. Torfeh, eds., Cultural Revolution in Iran (United Kingdom: I. B. Tauris
Muhammed, M. S. E (2018). Egypt to ban niqab-wearing women from voting. Available from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/egypt-to-ban-niqab-wearing-women-from-voting/436589/ Accessed: 30 July 2021.
Niang, A. 2010. Hip-hop, musique et Islam: le rap prédicateur au Sénégal. Chaiers de recherche sociologique 49 (2010), 63-94.
Peter, Jose (2018). Iranian women dance to protest arrested teen [Online video]. Available from https://youtu.be/sOzen4Y6pHw. Accessed: 29 July 2021.
Radio Farda. 2019. Three Young Women Arrested In, Iran For Publishing Their Dance Videos Available from https://en.radiofarda.com/a/three-young-women-arrested-in-iran-for-publishing-their-dance-videos/30207984.html Accessed: 28 July 2021.
Salih, R., and S. Richter-Devroe. 2014. Cultures of Resistance in Palestine and Beyond: On the Politics of Art, Aesthetics, and Affect. The Arab Studies Journal 22/1 SPECIAL ISSUE: CULTURES OF RESISTANCE (Spring 2014).
Schneider, C. P. 2006 Cultural Diplomacy: Hard to Define, but You’d Know It If You Saw It. The Brown Journal of World Affairs 13/1 (Fall/Winter, 2006), 191-203.
Stepanova, E. 2011. The Role of Information Communication Technologies in the ‘Arab Spring’: Implications Beyond the Region. PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 159 (May 2011), Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences.
Torab, A. 2006. Performing Islam: Gender and Ritual in Iran. Boston: Brill.
U.S. Department of State. 2021. Report to Congress: List of persons who are responsible for or complicit in certain human rights abuses in Iran. Available from https://www.state.gov/report-to-congress-list-of-persons-who-are-responsible-for-or-complicit-in-certain-human-rights-abuses-in-iran/. Accessed: 29 July 2021.
Weiser, B. 2021. Iranian Operatives Planned to Kidnap a Brooklyn Author, Prosecutors Say. The New York Times 13 July 2021.
Willis, P. 2005. Symbolic creativity. In, Popular Culture: A Reader. R. Guins & O. Z. Cruz, eds. London: Sage, 2005), 241-48.
Yazdanpanah, F. M. N. R. 2016. IRAN: Iranian Fans Take to Social Media to Demand Rapper’s Release. Radio Free Europe /. Radio Liberty August 25, 2016.
Zakaria, R. 2018. The Woman Whose Hair Frightens Iran. The New York Times Review of Books July 3 2018.
Copyright (c) 2022 IASPM Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright, while licensing their work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.