Advisory Faculty: Professors: DARROW, D. EDWARDS***, EPPEL, HOPPIN***, OCKMAN*, W. A. SHEPPARD*. Associate Professors: KAGAYA*, L. JOHNSON, MLADENOVIC. Assistant Professors: BURTON, JOTTAR (Coordinator). Lecturers: BROTHERS, JAFFE.
The Performance Studies Program provides an opportunity to inhabit an intellectual place where the making of artistic and cultural meaning intersects with critical reflection on those processes. The program has as its primary goal the bringing together of those students and faculty engaged in the creative arts, i.e., studio art, creative writing, dance, film and video, music, and theater with those departments that reflect in part on those activities, e.g., Anthropology and Sociology, Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, History, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion and Theatre. The central ideas which performance studies confronts-action, body, frame, representation, race, ethnicity, gender, politics, history and transcultural experience-circulate within and through the subjects and fields upon which the program draws.
Performance Studies strongly suggests that interested students take the introductory course (LATS 230) and one of several recommended upper level courses (LATS 330, LATS 375, AFR 400 or ARTH 408).
Currently, the Program's status is as a program without a concentration. However, students interested in participating in the Performance Studies Program are encouraged to do five things: 1) take the introductory course, which in 2007-08 is LATS 230, Approaching Performance Studies; 2) take an advanced course which utilizes critical theory in relation to performance, such as LATS 331, Sound and Movement in the Diaspora: Afro-Latin Identities; LATS 375, Performance and Its Traces; AFR 400, Race, Gender, Space; or ARTH 408, Contemporary Performance Art History: Space, Time, Action; 3) try different artistic media, both in the curriculum and beyond; 4) move between the doing of art and performance and thinking about that process; and 5) prepare a portfolio of their work in different media.
As a senior year project, the Performance Studies Program strongly recommends the assembling of a senior portfolio. Preparation of the portfolio should normally begin in the second semester of the junior year. It will be done under the supervision of a member of the advisory faculty and will be submitted in the spring of the senior year. What we suggest is that portfolios should draw on at least four projects or productions. They should show critical self-reflection on the creative processes, a comparison of the artistic media employed and also demonstrate performance criticism on the work of others.
AFR 400(S) Race, Gender, Space (Same as Comparative Literature 369, English 365, and Women's and Gender Studies 400)*
Physical or symbolic manipulation of space is one mode through which power operates, one manner in which power is exercised and experienced. Historically and currently, space has been divided and resources have been unevenly distributed along numerous axes. Thus, we are left with a constellation of dubiously constructed but nonetheless segregated spaces: public vs. private, male vs. female, white vs. black, native vs. immigrant, rich vs. poor, Christian vs. heathen (even Protestant vs. Catholic), and straight vs. queer sexuality. In this senior seminar, we will examine the ways in which power is enacted, experienced, and resisted through space. In particular, we will investigate the role of space in the creation of raced and gendered identities. Also, because the political and social manipulation of space is not the exclusive prerogative of the empowered, we will consider ways that resisting communities have sought to negotiate, redesign, or redefine space-or even transgress constrictive physical or social boundaries. Finally, we will inquire into the complex politics involved in attempts to establish alternative spaces of relative autonomy beyond the rules or the space of dominant culture. Likely texts will likely include but are not limited to: Henri LeFebvre's The Production of Space, David Harvey's The Condition of Postmodernity, Doreen Massey's Space, Place, and Gender, Don Mitchell's Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction, Toni Morrison's Paradise, Phanswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Wicomb's You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town.
Format: seminar. Evaluations will be based upon: attendance and class discussion, regular short writing assignments, presentations, final projects, and one seminar paper. Enrollment limit: 14 (expected: 14). This seminar is open to all seniors, but priority will be given to Africana Studies concentrators.
ARTH 408(S) (formerly 269) Contemporary Performance Art History: Space, Time, Action (W)
The artist's body was increasingly used as both the subject and object of art in the twentieth century. By focusing on visual artists engaged in performance practices, we will examine the connections between time, action, and space, and the role of documentation in ephemeral forms of art. We will consider how the body became a formal medium and its impact on the theory and practice of the visual arts from the 1970s to the present. Throughout the course, we will explore the relationships between form, content, theory, practice, site, and context as well as analyze the visual, conceptual, and political effects (and possibilities) of the work.
Format: seminar. Requirements: two short papers, one research paper and presentation.
Prerequisites: ArtH 101-102. Enrollment limit: 15 (expected: 15). Preference given to Senior majors then Junior majors.
LATS 230(F) Approaching Performance Studies (Same as Theatre 230 and Women and Gender Studies 231)*
Theatre, music, dance, performance art, community activism, public gatherings, sports, eating, and rituals all fall under the rubric of "performance." Performance studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores these types of live, embodied activities as cultural acts and as theoretical paradigms. This course is an introduction to performance studies and to its theoretical bases in anthropology, dramatic theory, poststructuralism, psychoanalytic theory, folklore, cultural studies, philosophy, feminist theory, and queer theory. We will devote particular attention to performances that reflect the complexity and diversity of race and ethnicity in the United States. In addition to reading and discussing theory, we will study local live and recorded performances. This course combines theory and practice in order to understand performance as a critical space. On the practical level, students are expected to attend three workshops with Professor Omar Sangare to experiment with their body, voice, and the stage. These workshops will provide the foundation for students' final performance. This course also serves as the introduction course for the Performance Studies Program.
Format: discussion. Requirements: several short writing assignments, attendance at live performances and workshops, final essay and final performance.
No prerequisites. Enrollment limit: 15 (expected: 10). Preference to Latina/o Studies concentrators, and to Art and Theatre majors. Not open to first year students.
LATS 331(F) Sound and Movement in the Diaspora: Afro-Latin Identities (Same as Africana Studies 331, American Studies 331, Theatre 331, and Women and Gender Studies 331)*
This course examines various Afro-descendant cultures through music and dance. We focus on Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the United States. Through the theoretical and practical study of commercial and grassroots music and dance production, we unpack how performance may re-articulate and challenge ascribed race and gender roles. The first part of the semester establishes fundamental methodological and theoretical frameworks, such as Taylor's epistemology and ontology of performance, Ortiz's transculturation, and Bahktin's carnivalesque inversion. These theories will help us understand that while music and dance are site specific practices, they also serve historically as representational terrains that narrate the Nation and its races. Through dance workshops, New York City fieldtrips, and ethnographic experience, we will explore how music and dance contest such ideological formulations. The second part of the semester concentrates on the United States and on how these expressive practices function within the diaspora. For instance, how does rumba or salsa simultaneously reinforce and/or deconstruct U.S. Latina/o identity in relationship to class, race, gender, and a shared history of colonization and neo-colonialism? Can Hip-Hop serve as a theoretical ground to question the stability of the Nation, gender, race and sexuality?
Format: discussion. Requirements: two oral presentations, one short essay, one midterm paper, one final paper, two fieldtrips to New York City, and participation in a dance workshop. Enrollment limit: 12 (expected: 10).
LATS 375(S) Performance and Its Traces (Same as Theatre 375)*
This is an inter-disciplinary video production workshop that explores visual strategies to produce and re-produce performance practices such as: performance art, ritual, dance, music, spoken-word and media spectacles. At the theoretical level, we will study performance as a practical, aesthetic and theoretical terrain, and as a historical site that produces knowledge in its relationship to the politics and power of representation, culture and memory. We will engage with various practices of documenting performance such as visual anthropology, docu-drama, ethnographic surrealism, dance for the camera, and other experimental approaches. In addition to the discussion of assigned readings, students will attend weekly video/film screenings, produce their own videos, and critique other students' video projects. For their final projects, students will produce a video and write a final paper analyzing the production process in relationship to the theoretical readings from the course.
Format: discussion. Requirements: several short response papers, four short videos assignments, a final video project, and a final paper.
Prerequisites: Latina/o Studies 230 and/or ArtS 288 recommended. Enrollment limit: 10 (expected 10). Preference to Latina/o Studies concentrators, and to Theatre, Art, Music, and Anthropology majors. Permission of instructor required.