COMP 339
Race, Gender, and Performance from Literature to Social Media Fall 2014
Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed COMP 339 / THEA 322 / WGSS 330 / LATS 335 / AMST 332
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What different conversations around the topic of “diversity” might be had if we think of race, gender, and sexuality as performative? How might the analytic of performance equip us in this course to identify marginalized modes of being and to enact anti-xenophobic strategies for everyday practice? In this course we will study multiple forms of contemporary performance (including performance art, visual art, sound art, social media, literature, politics, and performance of everyday life) by artists of diverse racial, gender, and sexual identification to think about belonging and alternative forms of world-making. We will explore these questions in a United States context through engagement with cultural texts that destabilize ideological binaries of female/male, black/white, heterosexual/homosexual, subject/object, and human/non-human, including scholarship in critical ethnic studies, queer of color critique, and affect studies. We will begin with linguistic philosopher J.L. Austin’s theory of the performative speech act, and proceed with theorists including Judith Butler and José Esteban Muñoz to consider gender and racial performativities. Artists studied will range from the conceptual (including Adrian Piper, Nao Bustamante, and Yoko Ono) to the popular (including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, R. Kelly). This course will engage foundational texts to performance studies and offer an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship in gender and sexuality studies, critical ethnic studies, and performance studies from the 1970s to the present. This course recognizes a suspicion for diversity discourses that universalize human experience and asks: how do we resist normativizing forces without reinforcing the regulating logics of those forces? This EDI course will critically engage with diversity from the heterogeneous and multiple perspectives of racial, sexual, and gender minorities, asking students not only to examine the diversity of human experience but to explore the political stakes of creative expression through interdisciplinary methods and forms.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1816
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: in-class participation, student presentation, two reading responses, performance analysis, office hours meeting, end-of-term paper
Extra Info: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or THEA; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST, LATS or WGSS
Prerequisites: none
Distributions: Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 339 Division I THEA 322 Division I WGSS 330 Division II LATS 335 Division II AMST 332 Division II
Attributes: ASAM Related Courses
WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses
WGSS Theory Courses

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