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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TH 8120 Spring 2012

TH8120 Performance Theory, Performance Studies will be taught spring 2012 by Professor Margaret Werry on Fridays from 9:05am to 12:05pm.

Course Description
This course explores the ways in which performance has been taken up as an object of study, a method of research, and a theoretical paradigm in a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts.
For nearly two decades, the terms "performance" and "performativity" have been at the centre of significant theoretical innovation in fields from art and literary criticism to cultural geography and economic anthropology. Taking the "performative turn," scholars suggest, privileges process and poeisis over structure, citation and invention over representation, and the study of human action in its experiential, embodied, and social thickness over the thinner medium of discourse. Performance theories have provided the basis for methodological advances in practice-based research and critical ethnography, and made a range of new objects of study accessible to traditionally text-based disciplines. At the same time, the disciplinary field that goes by the name of Performance Studies has established its own theoretical canon and branched out from its from early concerns (with ritual, play, oral performance, performance art) to embrace a range of new problems (cultural memory, affect, spatial practice, virtual technology and testimony, to name a few).
This course surveys some of the key literature in and influences on Performance Studies. It also tracks recent interdisciplinary conversations in which performance has become a mobilizing term. In what ways does an attention to performance change the questions that specific disciplines ask and the ways that they attempt to answer them? When scholars in various disciplines "profess performance", what exactly are they claiming, and what are the stakes of such a move? What theoretical and methodological tools are at the disposal of scholars who wish to study performance, or to study performatively?