Dancer Writer Mother Philosopher

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Family Planting

A farm-fed philosophy of human relations (2011)

Moving to a farm with her partner and their children, LaMothe learns what she thought she already knew: what love is and how to live it. Through passionate accounts of family life, she unfolds a local, living philosophy—an earth-friendly vision of relationship—that honors our basic human impulse to connect with one other and the natural world, and unflinchingly celebrates the challenges of doing so.

What a Body Knows

Finding Wisdom in Desire (2009)

Examining cultural attitudes towards food, sex, and our spiritual lives, LaMothe exposes a pervasive mind over body thinking for what it is: fear of desire. Drawing on her experiences as a mother, dancer, and scholar of religion, LaMothe reveals how our desires—physical, emotional, and spiritual—are the surest guides we have to health and well being. Elaborating a unique a philosophy of bodily becoming, LaMothe demonstrates how we can find, trust, and move with the wisdom in our desires.

Nietzsche's Dancers

Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values (2006, paper 2011)

When the American modern dancers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham read Nietzsche, they were inspired by the way in which Nietzsche used images of dance to figure an alternative to Christian values. Later, they each came to describe their visions for dance in Nietzschean terms. In Part I of this book, LaMothe investigates the role that Nietzsche's dance images play in his project of "revaluaing all values." In Parts II and III, LaMothe explores how Duncan and Graham, in their philosophies, practices, and performances of dance, engage and critically advance his project. LaMothe concludes that these modern dancers found justification and guidance in Nietzsche's texts for developing dance as a medium of religious experience and expression.

Between Dancing and Writing

The Practice of Religions Studies (2004)

This book provides philosophical grounds for an emerging area of scholarship: the study of religion and dance.  In the first part, LaMothe investigates why scholars in religious studies have tended to overlook dance, or rhythmic bodily movement, in favor of textual expressions of religious life. In close readings of Descartes, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, LaMothe traces this attitude to formative moments of the field in which philosophers relied upon the practice of writing to mediate between the study of “religion,” on the one hand, and “theology,” on the other. In the second part, LaMothe revives the work of theologian, phenomenologist, and historian of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw for help in interpreting how dancing can serve as a medium of religious experience and expression. In so doing, LaMothe opens new perspectives on the role of bodily being in religious life, and on the place of theology in the study of religion.