You be the judge. . .

Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism

by Julie Charlotte Van Camp (Ph.D. Dissertation, 1981)

Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance

by Francis Sparshott (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988)

A Measured Pace: Toward a Philosophical Understanding of the Arts of Dance

by Francis Sparshott (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995)

October 1979: Julie Van Camp read a paper "Anti-Geneticism and the Evaluation of Dance Performances" at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics in Tucson. The paper consisted of excerpts from Chapter V of her dissertation (Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism). A slightly revised version of the paper was published in Dance Research Journal in Fall 1980 (see below). Francis Sparshott was present at the meeting (he read a paper the evening before Van Camp's), as was Sanford Thatcher, then an Assistant Editor at Princeton University Press, who participated in a workshop the afternoon before Van Camp's paper.

March 1980: Thatcher wrote to Van Camp to express interest in seeing her dissertation, Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism. His letter said, "It may be that we could take a serious interest in publishing a book based on your dissertation and I would welcome learning more about it." He asked if he could see an abstract or table of contents and asked when she expected to have a complete manuscript.

April 5, 1980: Sparshott read a paper at the Pacific meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics on dance (title and topic unknown). (Source: unnumbered note, p. 23, "On the Question: 'Why Do Philosophers Neglect the Dance?'" in DRJ 15/1, Fall 1982)

June 1980: Van Camp sent Thatcher a draft of the then-current version of her dissertation. Receipt on June 19, 1980, was acknowledged by Princeton.

September 1980: Thatcher wrote Van Camp a long and very encouraging letter. E.g., "I think it does have the makings of a worthwhile book, indeed without very much revision needed." He suggested she rework the draft to bring the material in the notes into the text.

1980: Van Camp published "Anti-Geneticism and Critical Practice in Dance" in Dance Research Journal 13/1 (Fall 1980), pp. 29-35. It consisted of a revised version of Chapter V of her dissertation.

May 1981: Van Camp submitted a revised manuscript to Princeton, retitled "A Philosophical Inquiry Into Dance," at Thatcher's suggestion.

1981: Sparshott publishes his first writing on dance ("The Solitary Dancer: A Problem in Aesthetics," Philosophic Exchange 3, 69-80). The article address issues mostly unrelated to issues addressed in Van Camp's dissertation.

December 1981: The oral defense of Van Camp's dissertation is conducted. The manuscript is submitted to UMI dissertation microfilm records, dated 1981.

January 1982: Van Camp's Ph.D. is awarded, dated 1982.

1982: Princeton University Press publishes The Theory of the Arts by Francis Sparshott.

March 1982: Thatcher wrote to Van Camp to say he has consulted with "an expert about your manuscript and he answered recently to say that he didn't think your manuscript really constituted a book yet. The primary shortcoming, he felt, is the lack in it of any sustained continuous philosophical argument that could give coherence and a sense of direction to the material on a variety of topics that you have compiled." (Van Camp has never been able to identify the "expert," nor has she ever received any review written by this expert. Note that the expert is referred to as "he" three times in this quotation.)

Fall 1982: Sparshott publishes his second writing on dance, "On the Question: Why Do Philosophers Neglect the Aesthetics of the Dance?" Dance Research Journal 15 (Fall 1982), pp. 5-30. (This same issue includes a summary of Van Camp's dissertation under "Research Materials", pp. 55-56.) (Note: The first section of Van Camp's dissertation is called: "Philosophical Work on Dance: Why so Little Has Been Done.")

December 1982: Van Camp read a paper, "Copyright Infringement Principles and the Identity of Works of Art in Dance," Eastern Division Meetings, American Philosophical Association, December 28, 1982, including much of the material of Chapter IV of her dissertation.

February 1983: Van Camp read a paper "Some Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism: The Multiple Media of Dance," at the Annual Meeting of the Dance History Scholars, Columbus, Ohio, February 20, 1983. The paper is published in the Proceedings distributed to all conference participants. The paper included material from Chapter III of her dissertation. Sparshott was the keynote speaker at the conference, reading a paper called "The Missing Art of Dance," which he published in Dance Chronicle (1983).

1984: Sparshott publishes "The Dancing Body: Divisions on a Sartrian Ground" in Sheets-Johnstone, Illuminating Dance: Philosophical Explorations. (The paper is an original paper for this volume and was not read at the 1979 conference upon which the collection is otherwise based.)

1984-85: Sparshott prepared a book called Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance while on a Connaught Senior Fellowship in the Humanities. (Source: Off the Ground, p. xiii)

1988: Princeton University Press publishes Sparshott's Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance. Van Camp's dissertation is listed in the "Reference List" (p. 414) as "Ph.D. diss., Temple University." The date is correctly listed as 1981. It is cited only once, as the source of a description by Deborah Jowitt of a work by Paul Taylor (p. 246). The references do not include her 1980 article in DRJ, "Anti-Geneticism and Critical Practice in Dance" nor do they include her 1983 paper in the Proceedings of the Dance History Scholars, "Some Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism: The Multiple Media of Dance."

1994: Van Camp published a lengthy article, "Copyright of Choreographic Works" which included much of the material from Chapter IV of her dissertation on infringement of copyrighted choreography and identity of works of art in dance. 1994-95 Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook (New York: Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994), pp. 59-92.

1995: University of Toronto Press publishes Sparshott's A Measured Pace: Toward a Philosophical Understanding of the Arts of Dance. Van Camp's dissertation is listed in the References (p. 559) as "PhD dissertation, Temple University. Ann Arbor, Mich: University Microfilms International." The date is incorrectly listed as 1982. Her other publications on dance are omitted from the References. Her work is cited only twice in the book:

(1) In note 15 (p. 520), Van Camp is cited for remarks made at an unnamed and undated "symposium on dance criticism." [Based on the comments cited, it appears that this was the 1979 ASA meeting, above.] No citation is made anywhere to the 1980 DRJ article nor to the dissertation, both of which extensively discussed the precise issues raised in this section of Sparshott's book.

(2) Van Camp is cited in a brief note #23 (p. 534), "Extensive material is collected and discussed by Van Camp (1982)." The materials referred to in the text are the briefs prepared by experts concerning recommended revisions in the copyright Act: "Recent revisions of copyright legislation in the United States were supported by numerous briefs solicited from experts in the productive arts, which had previously been inadequately if at all protected by legislation." (Sparshott, p. 411) In Sparshott's discussion of copyright and identity, absolutely no other citation or reference is made to any of Van Camp's extensive writing on this topic, including Chapter IV of her dissertation.

"Philosophy of Dance" (Essay-Review)

Philosophical Problems of Dance Criticism (Dissertation)

Comparison of Publications on Philosophy and Dance: Coincidence?

This page maintained by Julie Van Camp.

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Last updated: August 17, 1997