ENGL 253
Feminist Theatres: A Global Perspective Spring 2021
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed THEA 250 / WGSS 250 / ENGL 253
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What makes a work of theatre feminist? How do plays, social practices, and performances engage with different models of feminism: liberal, radical, materialist, intersectional, reluctant? Why has feminism mattered to theatre makers of the past? Should it still matter to us now? If so, what forms might future feminist theatres and performance practices take? In this tutorial, students will work in pairs to examine the political relation of models of feminism to plays and performances by theatre artists, companies, and collaboratives from across the globe, from the late-twentieth century to today. Interrogating feminism’s own legacies of exclusionary and biased tactics, we will focus on the racialized and class-based aspects of feminist performance practices and the history of radical and intersectional feminism in theatre. Artists, companies, and movements to be considered may include: Spiderwoman Theatre, The WOW Café, Hélène Cixous, Adrienne Kennedy, Caryl Churchill, Sphinx Theatre Company, Wendy Wasserstein, Ntozake Shange, Griselda Gambaro, Manjula Padmanabhan, Cherríe Moraga, Karen Finley, Suzan-Lori Parks, Young Jean Lee, Lisa Kron, Tori Sampson, Arethusa Speaks, Women’s Project and Productions, Sarah DeLappe, and others. Close reading and analysis of source material will occur alongside engagement with critical essays and writings by: Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Eve K. Sedgwick, Gayatri Spivak, Jill Dolan, Sue-Ellen Case, José E. Muñoz, and Donna Haraway. This course will follow a standard tutorial format, with students alternating the presentation and reading of a series of 5-page papers.
The Class: Format: tutorial; For Spring 2021, the format for the course is to be determined. Ideally, we will meet weekly and in-person in groups of 3 (two students and professor). Should necessary social distancing measures be in place, we will conduct our tutorial meetings remotely in either Zoom or Google Meet.
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 5644
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet with instructor in pairs for an hour each week; they will write a 5-page paper every other week (five in all), and comment on their partner's papers in alternate weeks; emphasis will be placed on developing skills in reading, interpretation, critical argumentation, and critical written and oral response
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Theatre majors; WGSS majors; ART majors; COMP majors. Students from all majors are welcome and invited to contact Prof. Holzapfel about their interest in the class: [email protected]
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 250 Division I WGSS 250 Division II ENGL 253 Division I
WS Notes: As a tutorial, this course will require extensive practice in writing, editing, and revising. Emphasis be directed towards building and developing a compelling argument, providing thorough evidence for one's interpretation, and fluidly integrating theory into one's argumentation.
DPE Notes: This tutorial examines intersections between gender, race, sexuality, class, and ethnicity in relation to theatre's ongoing engagement with feminism. We will consider how articulations of difference, power, and equity arise and are, in fact, prioritized in quite different ways within the politics of feminism itself, leading to their variable expressions through art.

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