AFR 215
Ways of Knowing: Music, Movement, Memory Fall 2017 Division II; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as THEA202 / WGSS215 / DANC215 / AFR215
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This interdisciplinary seminar proceeds from the premise that the body knows. Ongoing colonial modernity is rooted in a racialized hierarchy: the “civilized” life of the mind vs. the “primitive” instincts of the flesh. According to this binary, the body is marked as irrational, sinful, outside of the archive. The body cannot know because the happenings of the body are ephemeral: unlike documents, they don’t last. In this course, we will subject this logic to close scrutiny. As performance scholar Diana Taylor asks, “Whose memories, traditions, and claims to history disappear if performance practices lack the staying power to transmit vital knowledge?” In this course, we look to music, movement, and other repertoires as ways of knowing, remembering, and world-making. How does embodied knowledge travel across time and space? How have performance practices served as modes of what Ashinaabe cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor calls “survivance” (survival + resistance) for indigenous, nomadic, queer, and colored communities. Case studies include: the Middle Passage and the syncretic birth of the Blues in the Americas; nomadism, the nation-state, and the migration of Romani music; and the evolution of queer ball culture. Students will engage with a variety of texts (verbal, sonic, visual, kinesthetic) and respond to them critically not only through writing and discussion, but also through their own performance practices.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1527
Requirements/Evaluation: in-class participation, creative/critical responses to texts, final paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: if overenrolled, theater majors will get preference
Distributions: Division II; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under THEA or DANC ; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR or WGSS

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