Fall 2018 Courses

Undergraduate Course Bulletin

All courses are held at 721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Department of Performance Studies, unless otherwise noted.

Introduction to Performance Studies


A. Vazquez
PERF-UT 101.001 (15726) non-majors only
PERF-UT 101.002 (15873) majors only
Tuesdays, 11:00am to 12:30pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 612

Recitation Sections
PERF-UT 101.003 (15970) – Thursdays, 10:00am – 11:30am, 613, C. Delgado Huitron
PERF-UT 101.004 (15971) – Thursdays, 2:00pm – 3:30pm, 611, J. McMaster

This course is an introduction to the field of performance studies.  Students are introduced to the concept of “performance” broadly construed to include not just “staged” performances for theater, film, television, dance, and musical performance, but also performance as a practice of self-presentation; in social rituals and daily interactions; in bodily and speech acts; and in linguistic, visual, and other modes of communication.  By studying a wide range of examples that illustrate the varied constructions of the verb “to perform” students are encouraged to consider the social significance of performance, and how it structures our perceptions and social lives. The course is geared toward lower-division undergraduates interested in (though not necessarily familiar with, or specializing in) the study and/or practice of performance.

Performance Theory


N. Bazzano
PERF-UT 102.001 (15840) – Wednesdays, 3:30pm to 6:00pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 612

This course examines the diverse issues and methodological questions raised by different kinds of performance.  Where “Introduction to Performance Studies” asks, “What is performance?  What counts as performance, and what is its cultural significance?” this course asks, “How can we interpret and analyze performance?  What is ‘theory’ in this context, and how do theory and practice inform each other?”  Readings introduce students to key concepts in the field such as “ritual,” “performativity,” “liveness,” and “affect.”  Material for the course (readings, videos, and other media) exemplify the interdisciplinary nature of performance studies by drawing from work in aesthetics, anthropology, architecture studies, ethnic/area studies, queer studies, religious studies, legal studies, literary studies, etc.

Performance of the City: New York


F. Moten
PERF-UT 103.001(19146) – Tuesdays, 10:00am to 12:30pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 613

This course is designed to give undergraduate students a foundational understanding of New York City as an object of history and as a site that has fostered the remarkable development of what became known as performance art.  Here, we won’t approach performance, and performance art, monolithically, but will develop a broad historical understanding of what these expansive terms might look and feel like in and outside of the space of the museum or venue.  We will be attentive to theories, methods, and practices of contemporary performance, while engaging with a wide scope of major (and minor) works. Seeing work will be central to our curriculum.  For our class, we will use all of the resources at our disposal in New York and at NYU: museums, venues, the Fales Library & Special Collections, the New York Public Library, and the New York-based performing artists, curators, and programmers who populate this vibrant, expanding artistic discipline. 

Performative Writing Workshop


M. Gaines
PERF-UT 204.001 (19154) – Tuesdays, 3:30pm-6:00pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 612

Students in this workshop will study theories of linguistic performativity -- how words/writing perform functions in shaping the world (i.e., in law, science, fiction, etc.) -- and then explore that functionality in their own writing.  How can the performative effects of writing be deployed purposefully, strategically, artistically, etc.?  What do particular rhetorical/textual choices do?  What is the relationship between the performativity of writing, on the one hand, and performance on the other?  Students will be encouraged to experiment with their writing (both in terms of style and subject matter), and then to analyze the results of these experiments in order to hone their abilities to both observe, describe, and enact performance strategies in writing.

Theories of Movement


A. Lepecki
PERF-UT 303.001 (19153) – Wednesdays, 10:00am to 12:30pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 613

This course will explore the rich history of experimental dance and movement-based performance, and the possibility of a movement-based analysis of performativity.  While dominant theories of “performativity” (the doing that performance does) emerge from linguistic theories and/or text-based accounts (ethnographic descriptions of ritual, etc.), the direct impact of movement has garnered less scholarly attention (with the exception of dance studies).  How does movement (not only in dance, but in performance more generally) enact social/aesthetic theory, and how might movement itself theorize social relations?

Critical Approaches to Race & Ethnicity in Performance


O. Gagnon
PERF-UT 306.001 (15964) – Mondays, 3:30pm to 6:00pm
4 pts – 721 Broadway, Room 613

In this course students will consider both the ways race and ethnicity have been deployed historically in performances (theatrical and otherwise), as well as how “race” or “ethnicity” might be understood as a performative identity in itself. This course takes race and ethnicity as its lens through which to consider performance, and vice-versa, asking: what might race and ethnicity do to our study of performance and what might performance (studies) do to our understanding of race and ethnicity? How have race and ethnicity historically been deployed in and as performance? How might they be understood as both performed and performative? Using an intersectional feminist, queer, and anti-racist theoretical lens, this course mines theater, performance art, dance, performances of everyday life, visual art, fiction, music, film, video, and performative/experimental writing for the many ways in which race and ethnicity are enacted, sensed, felt, embodied, sounded, choreographed, listened to/for, and danced.

Capstone: Final Projects


M. Gaines
PERF-UT 400.001 (15876)
2 - 4 pts

Majors & minors only. Contact Laura Fortes (lf65@nyu.edu) to confirm eligibility to register.