ENGL 253
Feminist Theatres: A Global Perspective
Last Offered Fall 2023
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed THEA 250 / WGSS 250 / COMP 247
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

What makes a work of theatre “feminist”? How do plays and performances across global networks engage with different models of feminism: liberal, radical, materialist, and intersectional? Why has feminism mattered to theatre-makers of the past? Should it still matter now? If so, what forms might future feminist theatres take? In this tutorial course, students will work in pairs to examine the social and political relation of feminism to the art and practice of theatre. Taking a global and comparative perspective on the subject, we will focus on the intersectionalities of gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, and sexual identity in the production of feminist-driven theatrical practices. Artists, companies, and movements to be considered may include: Spiderwoman Theatre, Adrienne Kennedy, Caryl Churchill, Sphinx Theatre Company, Ntozake Shange, Griselda Gambaro, Manjula Padmanabhan, Cherríe Moraga, Lisa Kron, Arethusa Speaks, Maya Krishna Rao, Tracie Chima Utoh-Ezeajugh, Alexis Scheer, Tori Sampson, Clare Barron, and others. Close analysis of source material will be informed by critical and autobiographical writings by: Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Eve K. Sedgwick, Gayatri Spivak, Jill Dolan, José E. Muñoz, and Donna Haraway. This course will follow a standard tutorial format, with students taking turns presenting or responding to their peer every other week; for their presentations, students will write a 5-page paper or, in up to two cases if they choose, offer their argumentation through more performance-driven methods (such as an oral argument, spoken-word monologue, or activist prompt).
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1646
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet with instructor in pairs for an hour each week; every other week they will be responsible for sharing either a 5-page paper or, if they choose, in up to two cases, a more performance-driven presentation, such as: an oral argument, spoken-word monologue, or activist prompt (five presentations/papers in all). They will comment on / respond to their partner's papers/presentations in alternate weeks; emphasis will be placed on developing skills in reading, interpretation, critical argumentation, and written and oral communication.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: THEA majors; WGSS majors; ENGL majors; COMP majors. Students from all majors are welcome and invited to contact Prof. Holzapfel about their interest in the class: [email protected]
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 250 Division I WGSS 250 Division II COMP 247 Division I ENGL 253 Division I
WS Notes: This course fulfills the writing skills requirement by engaging students in the active and creative process of critical writing, based on the notion that "writing is thinking, not thinking written down." Emphasis will be given to crafting and developing an argument, clarifying prose, selecting evidence, gaining authority, and incorporating theoretical ideas into an essay. We will also focus on the performance and presentation of written arguments.
DPE Notes: This tutorial examines intersections between gender, race, sexuality, class, nationality, and ethnicity in relation to theatre's ongoing engagement with feminism. We will consider how articulations of difference, power, and equity arise and are, in fact, prioritized in quite different ways within the politics of feminism itself, leading to their variable expressions through art.

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