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THEA 284
Global Digital Performance Fall 2020
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

This course explores the ways in which digital technologies are shaping performance practices. We will consider theater, dance and performance art, as well as the use of social media in political movements and everyday life. We will begin by examining the long history of mediatization in performance. From painting, puppetry and photography to video, VR and Tik Tok, performers’ bodies have always been, in some sense, “mediated.” We will interrogate the affects and power relations at stake in questions of “liveness,” paying particular attention to how the representation of bodies is embroiled in longstanding imperialist projects of representing the “Other,” racialized and gendered modes of viewing, and global regimes of neoliberal surveillance. On the other hand, we will examine the role digital communication platforms play in political resistance. We will apply our growing understanding of the pitfalls and potential of digital technologies to examining the aesthetic strategies and political projects of artists and their audiences from various parts of the world. Throughout our work we will acknowledge how access to new technologies, as well as the meaning given to their use, vary between national, cultural, and class contexts. This includes keeping in mind the “digital divide” so that we can chip away at our common sense assumptions that the internet and digital art making are inherently democratic.
The Class: Format: seminar; For Fall 2020, this course will be conducted in a hybrid fashion, with both synchronous and asynchronous components. For the remote learning component, students will view brief lectures and online video content, engage with required readings on their own time, and complete handouts and assignments based on prompts. Weekly synchronous discussions (either in small groups or in a larger group) will be conducted either in Zoom or, if it is safe to do so, in a classroom.
Limit: 14
Expected: 10
Class#: 2740
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: reading responses, class presentations, short digital performance projects, and active discussion participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Theatre majors; Art majors; Global Studies concentrators. This course is open and welcoming to all students. Please be in touch with Prof. Pillai or Prof. Holzapfel with questions or to express interest in the course.
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course interrogates the role of artistic and social practices of digital performance in producing and sustaining power structures (state, imperial, colonial, neoliberal) and inequities (racial, gendered, class-based). Focus will include the ways that interactions between makers and users in the virtual realm replicate or contest the inequitable social, racialized, and gendered dynamics that organize daily life offline.
Attributes: GBST Borders, Exiles + Diaspora Studies Electives

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