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Richard Schechner's "Performance Studies: An Introduction" to be offered Spring 2016

Thursday, Oct 15, 2015

Richard Schechner's 'Performance Studies: An Introduction' (PERF-UT 200) explores the broad spectrum of performance — from ritual, play, social media, and the performing arts to political campaigns, sport, popular entertainments, and the myriad performances of everyday life. 

The course is taught using a blended learning approach. Guided online by Richard Schechner, a founder of the field of performance studies, and in person by Professor Erin Mee (who for years worked closely with Schechner), students explore the performances in the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific islands.

Students delve back in time to ask what kind of performances took place in the caves of paleolithic Europe? How do these ancient shamanic and initiatory practices relate to Burning Man, YouTube, and today's avant garde?  How do people perform their professions, their genders, their races and nations, their identities, their social lives, and their daily rituals?  For this course, Schechner filmed interviews with more than a dozen scholars, scientists, and artists.  Embedded in the course are clips and images of many different kinds of performances.

Student engage each other directly in class and blog with each other during the week.  Students form groups to devise performance projects.  Performance Studies--An Introduction puts students in interactive dialogue with the most important events, people, theories, and questions of the dynamic, emerging field of performance studies.