ENGL 125
Theater and Politics
Last Offered Fall 2019
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed THEA 125
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

When Plato designed his ideal republic, he excluded theater from it, arguing that indulging in the charms of theatrical representation would make men poor governors of themselves and thus threaten the integrity of fledgling Greek democracies. In the twentieth-century, however, the work of younger artists and playwrights as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud provocatively suggested that theater itself could remedy the ills that Plato thought it aggravated by restoring to the people the productive power that the passively on-looking masses had ceded to the charisma of dictators. Today, as rapid changes in media daily transform the way in which we experience the world and understand our place within it, artists, critics, and philosophers continue to draw on the terms of historical debates about theater in attempts to understand the political significance of technologically enhanced forms of global spectatorship, asking what becomes of the traditional roles of viewers and directors on the new world-stage, in an age when revolutions are triggered by cell phone images, but advertising campaigns are also customized to consumers based on automated scans of private information like email. In this seminar, students take a historical approach to these urgent contemporary questions, analyzing the politics of theater in literature, criticism, film, and philosophy from antiquity to the present.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1694
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three papers of increasing length and complexity, one of which you will revise, totaling 20 pages of finished writing, and a portfolio of interpretive questions
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 125 Division I THEA 125 Division I
WS Notes: The seminar includes extensive discussion of writing strategies throughout, frequent writing assignments, substantive feedback on writing assignments, and revision in response to that feedback.

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