Since the 1980s, performance studies has emerged as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry, with origin tales in theater and anthropology, in communications and philosophy. What might theorizing “performance” as mode, analytic, and object of study have to offer scholarship in the interdisciplinary humanities? In this seminar, we will read texts formative of performance studies, paired with multimedia performance examples, where performance speaks to staged theatrics as well as the presentation of everyday life. We will ask, how are race, gender, sexuality, and nation produced as the effects of legal, political, historical, social, and cultural scripts? And–an important partner question–how do discourses and practices of race, gender, sexuality, and nation in fact produce legal, political, historical, social, and cultural effects? This seminar is an introduction to performance studies, an interdisciplinary field in conversation with theater studies, gender studies, anthropology, philosophy, literary theory, visual studies, dance studies, ethnic studies, queer theory, and postcolonial studies. Students will study and experiment with performance while reading theoretical texts to grapple with concepts including ritual, restored behavior, performativity, mimicry, liveness, the body, objecthood, archive, movement, matter, and affect.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
reflection papers, performance analysis, final paper or performance
Comparative Literature majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course tracks performance studies' engagement with feminist, queer, post-colonial, and critical ethnic studies scholarship, equipping students with tools and concepts with which to analyze power, difference, and equity.
WGSS Theory Courses