Jacqueline Shea Murphy is professor in the dance department at UC Riverside, where she teaches courses in critical dance studies and in Iyengar yoga. She is author of “The People Have Never Stopped Dancing”: Native American Modern Dance Histories (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), awarded the 2008 de la Torre Bueno Prize® for outstanding book of the year in Dance Studies by the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS). Her most recent book, Dancing Indigenous Worlds: Choreographies of Relation (University of Minnesota Press, 2022) emerged out of relationships developed over two decades while Shea Murphy engaged with Native American and Indigenous dance in the U.S., Canada, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), traveling to witness Indigenous dance events, visiting with Indigenous dance artists, inviting Indigenous dance artists to visit at UCR, and in various other ways supporting ways this dance work articulates alternatives beyond the ongoing coloniality that constitutes what are today called the U.S., Canada and New Zealand, and that has long constituted Euro-American modernity. She has helped bring Indigenous dance studies into visibility to dance scholars and to the public through this and other writing (including a special issue of Dance Research Journal she guest edited in 2016 on “Indigenous Dance Today”), in her lectures and teaching, and by organizing and producing numerous showcases, panels, and symposia on Indigenous choreography at dance studies conferences, and at regular “Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside” gatherings.

Professor Shea Murphy is a 3rd to 10th generation settler to this continent, born in Brooklyn (Lenapehoking), raised in rural New England (Mohegan and Abenaki territories), with ancestors from Ireland, French Canada, Wales, England, and what is now Germany. In 2009, when beginning research for her latest book, she held a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to Aotearoa (New Zealand). In winter and spring, 2024, she will hold a second Fulbright Scholar Award, this time to Belfast, UK, on the island of Ireland—the “Fulbright-Queen’s University Belfast Scholar Award (Creative Writing).” Hosted by the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Shea Murphy will undertake two separate but overlapping writing projects. One is revision of a speculative fiction historical novel for young adults, set in 1846 Ireland. The other is a study of what Irish contemporary dance shows about negotiating space with each other, and what possible futures live on in its grounded, diasporic, migratory, pleasurable enactments. In both projects, Shea Murphy engages with questions around bodies in physical relation, bodies in ancestral relation, and centuries of bodies emigrating and immigrating from a geographic location–here, the island of Ireland. 

Shea Murphy has a Master’s degree in fiction writing and a Ph.D. in English, as well as a background in modern dance. Her interest in dance studies developed alongside her background in writing and literature. She first brought these disciplines into dialogue when she was a graduate student and co-edited the collection Bodies of the Text: Dance as Theory, Literature as Dance (Rutgers University Press, 1995). 

Professor Shea Murphy is now a longtime practitioner and certified instructor of Iyengar yoga, and has spoken about and facilitated discussions around yoga and racism. At UCR, she regularly teaches courses such as: “Choreographies of Writing,” ”Dance: Cultures and Contexts” (online); “Yoga for Dancers”; ”Introduction to Dance Studies;” “Dance, Gender, Sexualities;” “Dance, Space, Time,” “Political Approaches to Dance Studies,” “Cultural Approaches to Dance Studies,” and “Rhetorical Approaches to Dance Studies.”

In addition to her Fulbrights, Professor Shea Murphy has been a recipient of a UC President’s Fellowship in the Humanities (2002-3) and of a research fellowship at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” at the Freie Universität Berlin (2015-16). Together with UCR Ethnic Studies professor Gerald Clarke, she was a co-recipient of the Teresa and Byron Pollitt Endowed Term Chair for Interdisciplinary Research and Learning in the Humanities & Social Sciences. As a Pollitt chair, she helped lead a project to “IndigenizeUCR” in which UCR students and Native community members created a walking tour through with which campus visitors can walk the campus and register its vibrant ongoing Native presence. 

From 2018 to 2022, Professor Shea Murphy served as Vice President for Conferences for the Dance Studies Association (DSA), the the most prominent professional organization in dance studies. During COVID, she helped create a “Digital DSA” series of online panels and events and led the organization of a hybrid DSA conference focused on building anti-racist praxis and radical care in dance studies.

Professor Shea Murphy holds a Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley, a Master’s in fiction writing from The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars Program, and a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. She has previously taught at UC Berkeley (English), San Francisco State University (American Indian Studies), Mills College (English), and as Professeur Invitée, section danse, at the Université de Nice in France. 

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Books and Edited Volumes

Dancing Indigenous Worlds: Choreographies of Relation, University of Minnesota Press, 2022. 

Dancing Indigenous Worlds: Choreographies of Relation, Manifold Online Edition (free, including additional materials), University of Minnesota Press, 2022.

Indigenous Dance Today, guest-edited special issue of Dance Research Journal, Volume 48, April 2016.

“The People Have Never Stopped Dancing”: Native American Modern Dance Histories. University of Minnesota Press. 2007. 

Bodies of the Text: Dance as Theory, Literature as Dance.  Edited and with an introduction by Ellen Goellner and Jacqueline Shea Murphy. Rutgers University Press, March 1995

Articles and Essays

“Ruatepupuke II: Māori Meeting House In A Museum,” with Jack Gray. Music, Dance and the   Archive, eds. Amanda Harris, Linda Barwick, Jacklin Troy. University of Sydney Press, 2022 .

“Foreword,” The Indian on the Moon, And Other Short Stories of Native American Indian Survival on the Neo Colonial Frontier, Dr. T. Weighill and Jason Eaglespeaker, 2019.

“Hashtag Mitimiti: Choreographies of Indigenized Dance,” The Movements of Interweaving, eds. Gabriele Brandstetter, Gerko Egert, Holger Hartung. Routledge. 2018.

“Have They a Right?: Nineteenth Century Indian Dance Practices and Federal Policy,” edited version of chapter from “The People Have Never Stopped Dancing,” for The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, 3rd edition, eds. Yutian Wong and Jens Richard Giersdorf. 2018

“Dancing in the Here and Now: Indigenous Presence and the Contemporary Choreography of Emily Johnson/Catalyst and DANCING EARTH,” Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics, eds. Rebekah Kowal and Gerald Siegmund. 2017.

“Actions and Iterations of An Indigenous Female-Led Future,” Stance on Dance, August 3, 2017. http://stanceondance.com/2017/08/03/actions-and-iterations-of-an-indigenous-female-led-future/

“Doing Indigenous Dance Today,” DRJ (Dance Research Journal) Introduction to special issue on “Indigenous Dance Today,” guest editor Jacqueline Shea Murphy (April 2016).

“The Art of Native American Dance,” in Jane Dini, ed., Dance: American Art, 1830-1960.  Yale University Press/Detroit Museum of Art. 2016: 64-85.

“Manaakitanga in Motion: Indigenous Choreographies of Possibility,” by Jacqueline Shea Murphy and Jack Gray, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, special issue on “Baleful Postcoloniality,” editors David Álvarez and Salah D. Hassan. 2013.

“Clearing the Path: Contemporary Dance, Indigenous Methodologies, and Michelle Olson’s “Evening in Paris,”” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, special issue on Indigenous performance, editor Helen Gilbert. 2013.

“Eredità haka” (“Haka Heritages”) in RicorDANZE. Memoria in movimento e coreografie della storia, edited by Susanne Franco and Marina Nordera, Utet Libreria, Torino, Italy, 2010.

“Gathering From Within”: Indigenous Nationalism and Tanya Lukin Linklater’s Women and Water,” Theatre Research International, 2010.

“Mobilizing (in) the Archive: Santee Smith’s Kaha:wi,” Worlding Dance, ed. Susan Leigh Foster, Palgrave/Macmillan Studies in International Performance series.  2009. Translated to Korean, 2015.

“Dancing, Regulation of,” Encyclopedia of U.S. Indian Policy and Law, CQ Press, December 2008.

“Policing Authenticity: Native American Dance and the “Western” Stage,” Discourses in Dance, Volume 1, Issue 2,  Spring 2003.

“Lessons in Dance (as) History:  Aboriginal Land Claims and Aboriginal Dance, circa 1999,” Dancing Bodies Living Histories: New Writings about Dance and Culture, ed. Anne Flynn and Lisa Doolittle, Banff Centre Press, 2000.

“Performing Locally: “The Foreigner” in Jewett,” in Re-Placing America: Intercultural Conversations and Contestations, eds. Cynthia Franklin, Ruth Hsu, Suzanne Kosanke, U of Hawaii Press, fall 1999.

“Replacing Regionalism: Abenaki Tales and ‘Jewett’s’ Coastal Maine,” American Literary History, Winter 1998 (10.4).

“Getting Jewett:  A Response to Sandra A. Zagarell’s “Troubling Regionalism: Rural Life and the Cosmopolitan Eye in Jewett’s Deephaven,American Literary History, Winter 1998 (10.4).

“Paula Gunn Allen, 1939,” with Lauren Muller, Critical bibliographic entry for American Writers Supplement ˆ√, edited by A. Walton Litz, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996, pp. 319-340.

“Unrest and Uncle Tom: Political Movement in  Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land.”  In Bodies of the Text: 81-105.

““Words Like Bones”: Narrative, Performance, and the Reinscribing of Violence in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller,” Journal of Narrative and Life History  3:2 & 3 (1993): 223-238.


2018-2023, “Indigenize UCR,” co-director with Gerald Clarke. Pollitt Grant student-focused project building an Indigenous campus walking tour and creating Indigenous language art signage on the UCR campus.

May, 2019, “Queer-y-ing Indigenous Dance,” Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering, Co-directed with María Regina Firmino-Castillo. Featuring performances by Javier Stell-Frésquez, Fabiola Torralba, Lukas Avendaño, Will Madrigal, Jr./Cahuilla Birdsingers and Dancers.

May, 2018, “Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering,” Co-directed with María Regina Firmino-Castillo. Featuring performances by Grupo Sotz’il, Louise Potiki Bryant, Sam Aros Mitchell, Rulan Tangen , Ni’Ja Whitson, Jack Gray, Lukas Avendaño, Will Madrigal, Jr./Cahuilla Birdsingers and Dancers.

Nov. 2016, “Indigenous Contemporary Dance in Concert,” Pomona College, Pomona, CA.  Featuring works by Rulan Tangen, Dancing Earth, and DAYSTAR/Rosalie Jones.

Nov. 2016, “Evening of Indigenous Choreography”, Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering Culver Center of the Arts, Riverside, CA. Featuring new works by DAYSTAR/Rosalie Jones and Rosy Simas Danse.

May, 2015, “Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering,” Culver Center of the Arts, featuring works by Emily Johnson and Tanya Lukin Linklater.

May, 2014, “Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering,” Culver Center of the Arts, featuring performances by Rosy Simas, Rulan Tangen, Daystar/Rosalie Jones, Jack Gray.

May, 2013, Contemporary Indigenous Dance Showcase, UC Riverside, featuring performances by Rosy Simas, Sarita McGowan, Kim Marcus.

May, 2012, “Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering,” Culver Center of the Arts, Riverside CA, featuring work by Jack Gray, Rulan Tangen, Tanya Lukin Linklater.

April, 2011, Dancing Earth on Campus, workshop and main stage University Theater performance of OF BODIES OF ELEMENTS.

May 2004, Red Rhythms: Co-P.I. and organizer (with Michelle Raheja), Red Rhythms: Contemporary Methodologies in American Indian Dance showcase and conference, UC Riverside. Supported by a major grant from the Ford Foundation.


Fellow, “Interweaving Performance Cultures” International Research Center, Freie Universität Berlin, 2015-2016

Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, New Zealand and Honorary Research Fellow, Māori Studies, University of Auckland, 2009

University of California President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2002-2003

W.M. Keck Foundation and Mayers Fellow, Huntington Library, 2000


UCHRI Collaborative Research Residency, “Editor’s Residency: Moving in the Midst: Critical Indigenous Dance Studies,” with María Regina Firmino-Castillo and Karyn Recollet, 2020

Co-recipient, Teresa and Byron Pollitt Endowed Term Chair for Interdisciplinary Research and Learning in the Humanities & Social Sciences, “Indigenize UCR” project. With Gerald Clarke, 2018-2022

Vice President for Conferences and Board of Directors Member, Dance Studies Association (DSA), 2018-2022

Partner Investigator, Australian Research Council Discovery Project, “Reclaiming performance under Assimilation in southeast Australia, 1935-75.” 2018-2020

Dixie Durr Award for Outstanding Service to Dance Research by the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), 2016

Co-PI, UCHRI Multi-Campus Faculty Working Group, “Indigenous Dance and the Academy,” 2016-2017

Awardee, Center for Ideas and Society HIP (Humanities Initiative Program), 2016

C.A.R.L. Residency, “Indigenous Choreography,” Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside, 2012

Chancellor’s Strategic Investment Fund Initiative Grant, UC Riverside, 2012

Professeur Invitée, Université de Nice, Section Danse, Nice, France, 2011

Committee on Research (COR) Research Fellowship, UC Riverside, 2010

De la Torre Bueno prize for Outstanding Book of the year in Dance Studies, awarded by the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS), 2007

Academic Senate Research Awards, UC Riverside 1999-2000,2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006 Regents Faculty Fellowships, UC Riverside, 1998-2019

Editorial Board member, Congress on Research in Dance, 2011-2016

Board of Directors member, Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS), 2003-2009; SDHS Academic Affairs Committee Chair, 2005-2007.

Program member, 2007 Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) annual conference “Re-thinking Practice and Theory/Repenser Pratique et Théorie,” Paris, France.

Program Chair, 2006 Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) annual conference “Grounding Moves: Landscapes for Dance,” Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta Canada.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) evaluator in music, film, and dance, 1999