THEA 301
Performing Archives: Global Theatre Histories From Antiquity to 1900 Spring 2024
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

This course introduces students to methods of historical research and creative adaptation in the global archives of performance and theatre, stemming from antiquity to roughly 1900. What is an archive? What is a repertoire? How does embodied knowledge get acquired, stored, and transferred over time? Who owns, or curates, the artistic remnants and shared traditions of the past? Practicing the skills of a theatre historian, students will engage with the archives and repertoires of global theatre and performance, learning how to access, research, interpret, and gain deeper understandings of the artistic past. Examining how contemporary artists have engaged with (adapted, appropriated, recycled, or re-appropriated) historical sources and materials, students will themselves work towards the creation, development, and, if they like, live performance of their own artistic approaches to and interpretations of selected archival works. While attending to theatre’s formal aspects, we will at the same time focus on the relationship of performance to politics and society, as well as to the enduring legacies of empire, state power, colonialism, and private capital in which it is historically embedded and by which it has been shaped. If and when possible, we will encounter archival sources housed in College Archives and WCMA. This course is required for Theatre majors and is a prerequisite for THEA 401.
The Class: Format: seminar; This class is a combined studio/seminar and will involve both critical study and creative work. Students will be required to present and share their responses to the material studied in the course with one another.
Limit: 12
Expected: 8
Class#: 3608
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class discussion; a 5-7 page midterm paper on a topic of choice; a 15-minute oral presentation on a selected historical resource; a final 8-10 page paper, 30-page creative adaptation script, or 10-minute live performance
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Theatre majors, as well as students interested in the arts
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course works to dismantle the ongoing bias in theatre studies that positions textual and literary forms of theatre in the globalized north as the primary sites of knowledge transfer, status, and value in the field. Instead, theatre and performance are approached as global and diverse forms of repertoire and embodied knowledge that must be analyzed in relation to the structures of social inequity and power in which they historically arise.

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