About Annette Karpp

Annette Karpp is a PhD candidate in history at the Graduate School of North American Studies (GSNAS) at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include popular culture, music and politics, the history of human rights, and grassroots and social movements. In her PhD project, she explores the tension between certain punk ethics such as anti-establishment, non-conformity, anti-capitalism, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach and the increasing advocacy of punks for human rights since the 1970s. She focuses on strategies and practices of political participation by members of London’s and New York City’s punk scenes studying how punk became increasingly politicized during this period.

Negotiating Machismo, ‘Exoticism’ and Feminism on the Dancefloor: Tango Argentino and Transcultural Encounters in the 20th and 21st Century

Federico Ribas, La Evolución del Tango …, Mundial Magazine, Nr. 28 (1913).

In the 20th century, tango argentino, Argentinean tango dancing, became a popular cultural practice in many metropolises all over the world. The image the broader public has of the traditional pair dancing style is, to a large degree, shaped by its depiction in mostly Western, but also Latin American popular culture. Movies such as Tango, no me dejes nunca [English title: Tango] (1998), Naked Tango (1998) and Scent of a Woman (1992) as well as celebrity dancing shows like Dancing with the Stars promote Argentinean tango as a highly sexualized, intimate and exotic dance oozing with stereotypical attributes of masculinity and femininity. In this sense, tango dancing can be fascinating and engaging, but may also be perceived as disreputable or discriminatory, and, thus, repelling. This tension makes for interesting and complicated characterizations of tango dancing, both when it first became a transnational phenomenon at the beginning of the 20th century and from a contemporary perspective. Continue reading