Eric Mullis

Eric Mullis
... scholarly work currently centers on the ethics and effectiveness of political concert dance, ecstatic states cultivated in Appalachian charismatic Pentecostalism, the relationship between Pragmatist philosophy, embodiment, and interdisciplinary performance research...


  • 1:30PM - Lecture
  • 3:30-5:00PM - Workshop
  • “The Invisible Hand that Grasps My Throat” – Ecstatic Embodiment in Appalachian Pentecostalism.  "In this presentation I share historical and ethnographic research on divine gifts that are experienced by Pentecostals during communal rituals which feature driving music, auto-affective techniques, and dissociative states. Such gifts include glossolalia or “speaking in tongues”, faith healing, snake-handling, and ecstatic movement. I discuss the beliefs that frame the believer’s understanding of such experiences—pneumatology, soteriology, and eschatology—and consider the cultural significance of the tradition in the American South. This presentation will be accompanied by exercises in auto-affective uses of voice and gesture that were developed while researching an interdisciplinary performance work that engages aspects of the tradition."
  • Location: The Ark, 14 Epworth Dorm Lane, Durham, NC 27708
  • All events are free and open to students and the community. Engagement Opportunity for students enrolled in Dance Program courses.

Eric Mullis is a Charlotte, N.C.-based dance artist who received an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina. His current research interests include ecstatic states in charismatic Appalachian Pentecostalism and improvisation across artistic disciplines. Eric curates an independent site-specific performance series in Charlotte and has presented at the Performance Philosophy Biennial (University of Amsterdam), the University of Malta, UrBANGUILD (Kyoto), FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival, the Midwest Alternative Performance Festival, the Richmond Dance Festival, and the North Carolina Dance Festival. He is an assistant professor of philosophy at Queens University of Charlotte and has published essays on dance in Dance Research Journal, Performance Philosophy, Dance Research, Dance Chronicle, and the Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media. His book, Pragmatist Philosophy and Dance: Interdisciplinary Dance Research in the American South will be included in Palgrave-MacMillan's Performance Philosophy series.

The Eric Mullis residency is part of the MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary PraxisGraduate Movement Research Guest Series 2019-20: On a Darkness that Cannot be Dispelled: Moving into the Anthropocene, curated by Michael Kliën, Director, MFA in Dance.