My Dissertation is Now Available!

You can now access my dissertation, Social Texts, Social Audiences, Social Worlds: The Circulation of Popular Dance on YouTube in full online!


Since its premiere, YouTube has rapidly emerged as the most important venue shaping popular dance practitioners and consumers, introducing paradigm shifts in the ways dances are learned, practiced, and shared. YouTube is a technological platform, an economic system, and a means of social affiliation and expression. In this dissertation, I contribute to ongoing debates on the social, political, and economic effects of technological change by focusing on the bodily and emotional labor performed and archived on the site in videos, comments sections, and advertisements. In particular I look at comments and fan video as social paratexts which shape dance reception and production through policing genre, citationality, and legitimacy; position studio dance class videos as an Internet screendance genre which entextualizes the pedagogical context through creative documentation; and analyze the use of dance in online advertisements to promote identity-based consumption. Taken together, these inquiries show that YouTube perpetuates and reshapes established modes and genres of production, distribution, and consumption. These phenomena require an analysis that accounts for their multivalence and the ways the texts circulating on YouTube subvert existing categories, binaries, and hierarchies. A cyclical exchange—between perpetuation and innovation, subculture and pop culture, amateur and professional, the subversive and the neoliberal—is what defines YouTube and the investigation I undertake in this dissertation.