Women, musics, bodies, and texts: The gesture of women’s music

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This essay grew out of my exploration of gesture as a conceptual rethinking of linguistic constructions of the body. There is, of course, the literal sense of gesture-physical action that communicates cognitive and tactile knowledge. But there is also the gesture of subjectivity-a forceful, pleasurable, and excessive experience-in-creation. This experience-in-creation is dramatically realized in the making of women’s music. I use Julia Kristeva’s theory of signifying to argue that women’s music is gesture in examining the work of women’s music artist Peggy Seeger, along with my attempts to write her music in my own artistic practice. For Seeger, performing is the gesture of bodies in a state of music, a gesture that challenges and transforms gendered subjects through song.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalText and Performance Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Ethnography
  • Gesture
  • Peggy Seeger
  • Women’s music

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