359:220 Introduction to Performance Theory

01   MW4   CAC   14108  JONES   MU-204


How does one describe the phenomenon—and controversy—that is Rachel Dolezol? Why did Boston colonists dress up like Native Americans for their “tea party”? What does it mean that gender is performed? To answer these questions, among others, this interdisciplinary course introduces students to key concepts of performance and performativity. We will explore performance as both an aesthetic practice (e.g., theatre, dance, music, and ritual) and as a category of identity (e.g., gender, race, sexuality, and class) by reading and watching works from a variety of critical perspectives, including those of literary studies, critical theory, philosophy, theatre history, and anthropology.

By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss performance as an object of analysis in and of itself as well as deploy “performance” as a critical lens with which to read both mundane acts and extra-theatrical events.