HUMA 887, Section C, Performance Studies
Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., MB S2.245 and FB-620 (Active Learning Classroom)
Professor: Emer O'Toole, School of Canadian Irish Studies
Performance Studies is a radical field. Some consider it an “anti-discipline.” Arising in the ‘70s at the intersection of theatre and anthropology, it had a double impetus: first – to do battle with the dominion of the Western canon and give due scholarly consideration to the art forms and cultural practices of Othered cultures; second – to use performance as a lens through which to understand human activities outside the realm of art, including religious rituals, political events, play, language, day-to-day interactions and even things we might intuitively suppose are the opposite of performance – our genders, sexualities, ethnicities or nationalities. Performance Studies has an inherent politics – dissident, queer, anti-hegemonic – encouraging us to think beyond fixities and hierarchies. This graduate course is for any student who wants to break down barriers between academic disciplines; tug at the boundaries of what education is for; and interrogate what kinds of knowledge are valued versus what kinds are valuable. Over the semester we’ll engage with the theories of seminal thinkers including Jacques Derrida, JL Austin, Judith Butler, Diana Taylor, Rustom Bharucha, Richard Schechner, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and Shannon Jackson. We’ll also work from our own embodied knowledges and experiences, becoming attuned to how we perform our identities, and where we learned our scripts.