Our faculty pilot new courses in preparation for adding them into the permanent curriculum. We also hire guest professionals to teach courses from their areas of expertise. Recent new and topics courses (as of Fall 2018) include:
Gender and Race Theory in Performance (Fall 2018, Maija Brown)
This course introduces students to debates, methods, and conceptual frameworks in race and gender, as represented in performance. It engages students in an interdisciplinary exploration of key terms–such as corporeality, embodiment, intersectionality, and performativity–that remain central to the fields of gender and sexuality, critical race theory, and performance. Through drafts and revisions of written work, critical dialogues and oral presentations in small groups, peer feedback, and analytical reading, students will engage in questions around identity formation, structural inequality, and the politics of citizenship.
Performance and Social Change (Fall 2018, Sarah Bellamy)
Join Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre, to explore how the performing arts can promote positive social change. This course will investigate how artists (playwrights, performing artists, and theater collectives) are uniquely situated to advocate for social justice and human rights. Students will read plays designed to raise awareness about various social justice issues and explore theater techniques designed to deepen comprehension and stimulate civic engagement. Students will also devise artistic intervention projects using skills learned in the course, test them on campus, and then evaluate the impact and efficacy of their projects using rubrics designed collectively in class. Classes are three hours and meet off-campus at Penumbra Theatre. Each class will be split between seminar style discussion and praxis, so students can expect to discuss texts each week and to explore embodied art for social change practices.
Oral Histories (Spring 2019, Beth Cleary)
“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” The last words of Hamilton challenge us all to ensure our stories are told, and told right, despite the noise and “official” stories of the powerful. Oral history-based performance is a contemporary practice that moves peoples’ stories onto stages, airwaves, streets and screens. It is a form pioneered by solo artists Anna Deavere Smith, Roger Guenveur Smith and Danny Hoch, and in plays like The Laramie Project, The Exonerated, and many others. In “OHiP,” we will study the contours, rules and reaches of oral history-based performance, while also learning the ethical practices that ensure the “site of the interview” is also a consensual, open, and interviewee-affirming project. Students will conduct interviews and co-create a new oral history-based play which will have a staged reading in Spring, 2019. Students will finish the course carrying oral history skills that allow them to design their own projects.