Dancing World Politics: new paper by Associate Professor Felix Rösch

Was dancing just pastime at the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815)?

A drawing from c1815. Shows seven men, dressed in formal dress or military uniforms. Three are dancing, one is trying on a crown, and a fifth is jumping in the air. They are labelled, but the handwriting is unreadable. The printed caption underneath reads "Le Congrès"
Seven European heads of state, with central three doing a kind of jig. c1815. Hand-coloured etching (British Museum)

In a recent paper on Affect, practice, and change: Dancing world politics at the Congress of Vienna, published with Cooperation and Conflict, Felix Rösch, Associate Professor in International Relations, demonstrates that dancing was much more than that. During dance performances, collective emotions permeate between performers and observers that not only contribute to changes in dance practices, but in Vienna dances also helped its performers to imagine world politics differently. Focusing on the minuet and the waltz, Rösch shows that the former embodied collective sentiments of a transboundary European elite, the waltz helped to further national imaginations of world politics.

If you want to know more follow the discussion he had with Ted Svensson (Lund University), an editor of Cooperation and Conflict, Maria Mälksoo (Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent), and Linda Åhäll (University of Gothenburg) on YouTube. This work was initiated by his pedagogical interest in teaching International Relations differently through art and popular culture. In the past, he regularly organised dance workshops with C-Dare.

Read more about The Power of Dance in International Studies Perspectives.