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Post-Salvagism. Cultural interventions and cultural evolution in a traumatised community: Dance in the Central West Bank

Rowe, Nicholas (2007) Post-Salvagism. Cultural interventions and cultural evolution in a traumatised community: Dance in the Central West Bank. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86400) (KAR id:86400)


This thesis examines how 19th Century social dance practices in Palestine have been transformed into 21st Century presentations of dance as a performed art in the Central West Bank An extensive ethnographic history of the local dance culture is collated from various perspectives and (in acknowledging the ongoing collective trauma experienced by the indigenous population during this period) analysed in terms of pre-salvage, salvage and post-salvage phases. This involves an examination of the impact of dominant socio-political paradigms on local dance practices, including European Imperialism, political Zionism, Islamic Reformism, Pan Arabism and Palestinian nationalism. Whilst the experienced community of the Central West Bank is acknowledged as continuously negotiating with various manifestations of an imagined community, this analysis considers how local dance products have not necessarily been limited by such definitions of identity. As the research aims to support (what has been identified here as) post-salvage dance production in the region through cultural interventions, the aesthetic principles and evolutionary processes of post-salvagism are examined and defined here as anti-hegemonic. This examination involves reflections on the author's own approaches to local dance interventions, conducted with dance groups in Ramallah and Al-Bireh from 2000-2006. It also posits a theory of cultural evolution that contrasts with more ethnocentric notions of unilinear progress and development. This proposition includes an algorithm for the evolution of dance that suggests how the processes of learning, creating and evaluating dance can be seen as analogous to the Darwinian evolutionary processes of reproduction, adaptation and selection. In this sense, it considers how post-colonial (and particularly post-development) studies may benefit from applications of Richard Dawkins' (1976) meme theory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86400
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:57 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 06:34 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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