Review of Black Hawk Hancock (2005), ‘Steppin’ out of Whiteness’.
Black ain’t Black – Review of Black HawkHancock’s (2005) ‘Steppin’ out of Whiteness’,
KeywordsBourdieu; dance; performance; Theory of Practice; racialstudies.Abstract The text reviewed discusses an experiment of extendingBourdieu’s Theory of Practice to racial studies, based on twoyears of socio-anthropological fieldwork in the African-American dance clubs dedicated to Chicago
.Creating a confusion between their white skin and their clearcompetence in a black dance form, Hancock and his dancepartner Siragusa were able to separate race as a moreessentialising category of
from race as a moreperformative category of
. I question whether theiracceptance into the scene as competent dancers was onlythat – an acceptance of dancers – or a true destabilisation of concepts of race.
Right from the title, Hancock’s text is engaging, albeitinstantly recognisable as a sociological text that couldprofit from reducing its word count. The ‘Steppin’ of thetitle refers to the all-black offshoot of Lindy-Hop thatdeveloped on the South Side of Chicago. ‘Steppin’ out of Whiteness’ concerns Hancock’s and his dance partner’ssocial experiment of their total immersion in clubs whereblacks were engaged in this form of dancing, leading, ashe sees it, to their full acceptance in this scene, as