Each year UVic faculty, staff, students, alumni, and retirees produce an incredible amount of intellectual content reflecting their breadth and diversity of research, teaching, personal, and professional interests. A list of these works is available here.

Dancing the Feminine: Gender and Identity Performances by Indonesian Migrant Women is a recent title by UVic Anthropology post-doctoral research fellow Monika Winarnita.

About the Book

Dancing the Feminine is a compelling vision of expressions of gender and identity at the heart of the Asian migrant women’s experience as expressed through the performance of cultural dance. Winarnita explores the particular experiences of Indonesian migrant women in Australia and provides an analysis of these cultural performances as ‘rituals of belonging’.

For the Indonesian female migrants, performing ‘femininity’ is frequently negotiated in a cross-cultural context. The performances that Winarnita analyses are dramas of human interaction brought up through fissures and resolutions between the performers and their various audiences. The book provides analysis of these cultural performances as rituals of belonging, which demonstrate that in the diaspora meanings of the ritual are always open to being contested.

A particular appeal of this book is the way in which cultural dance performance offers profound insight into migrants’ life experience as well as into how human beings tell their stories and interact with one another. Based on her experience of performing dance with Indonesian migrant women in Australia, Winarnita provides a unique and novel set of research data that contributes to a diverse body of scholarly work in migration, performance, gender, sexuality and cultural studies, anthropology, and Asian studies.

About the Author

Monika Swasti Winarnita is a Postdoctoral Fellow of Anthropology at the University of Victoria, with affiliation to La Trobe University, Australia. She has a PhD from the Australian National University (2014). Monika was a Project Research Officer for the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University ) and  assisted in research projects for various departments at the Australian National University and the University of Indonesia, as well as being the Media Officer for the Indonesia Update Series. Her published work covers Indonesian, Malay and Australian studies, migration, transnational families, diaspora politics, identity, gender, sexuality and cultural performance.

Praise for the Book

“Monika Winarnita’s work provides an intellectually rigorous, insightful, original and engaging examination of the pursuit of ‘traditional, authentic’ Indonesian dance performances by Indonesian immigrant women in Perth, Western Australia. The author is to be congratulated for extracting layers of nuance from a topic that for many may not even have drawn a second look. She reminds us all that all human interactions are fraught with deep, shifting meanings.” – Professor Henry Spiller (Ethnomusicology) and Chair, Department of Music, UC Davis

“This book is a very enjoyable read and makes a very good contribution to knowledge in the field of anthropology of migration in which it sits. The book invigorates key debates in the anthropology of migration – with important insights drawn from Indonesian studies, anthropology and studies of performance.” – Deirdre McKay, Social Geography and Environmental Politics, Keele University