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Jeremy Swanton

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Jeremy is currently a Junior, pursuing his BA in Performance Studies. He is also working towards earning minors in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. The focus of his studies lies in the analysis of the performance of everyday life. Jeremy's work plays with the limitations of words and the formation of identity structures throughout time and language. In addition to his academic research, Jeremy is an active performer and musician of both stage and screen.

Why PS @ NYU?

I chose Performance Studies at NYU because of the incredible individualized attention that this department has to offer. From the second I expressed interest in coming to NYU, the administration and faculty were incredibly helpful and encouraging. It set the tone for the rest of my experience with everyone in this department. 

Since I have arrived, that dedication and individual attention has only grown.  I’ve been able to work with my advisor to tailor a program that encompass all of my interests that simultaneously challenges me academically. As a Performance Studies student, I have the freedom to double major or double minor in another field.  This aspect is perfect for me since I have a lot of different interests. Performance Studies allows me the flexibility to incorporate me into my degree.

Additionally, this is a small, tight-knit department. The faculty members know me on a personal level and they are truly interested in my academic and extracurricular involvement. We all play our part on this giant stage that is New York City, your world completely changes when you are here. It’s comforting to know that I have a group of people who care about my success, who are invested in my future and have my back. 

Performance Studies is everything. It is enigmatic and indefinable, yet it’s here. With the cultural magnitude of New York, you can experience performance in its true authentic form. You can walk right out of 721 Broadway after class and experience it for yourself every day. That type of immersion is unique to this department, and you will not find it anywhere else.

Areas of Concentration/Study

My interest in performance studies really evolved out of my love of theatre. I grew up on the stage and this particular aspect of my background plays a big component in my studies. I am interested in the works of Erving Goffman, particularly in role theory and its relation to the human condition. If I could say that my concentration is anything it would be the performance of everyday life and the questions that arise from that topic. What does it mean to be a body that is identified as human within this space and time? As humans what limitations are placed for us within this experience and how much of those are manmade? How do words and language filter into our perception of reality?

I am also particularly interested in Gender and Sexuality studies, as well. Gender is performative. In the words of Judith Butler, “to say that gender is performative is a little different because for something to be performative means that it produces a series of effects. We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman”. This in turn creates a lasting impression in the world, making it performative. I question what it means to exist within the gender binary and which bodies get to be seen and why? I am currently exploring all of these questions and topics through my individual performance studies course work. I seek to create change through conversation about these significant questions (and more) in my life’s work.

Other Projects and activities

My last big art project was over this past summer, where I was fortunate enough to work with NYC Director Fern Lopez on an indie documentary project on the musical portraits of composer Scott Wheeler. The project will be released this upcoming year.

Since then, in addition to taking the maximum course load here at NYU, I am heavily involved in extracurricular activities. My favorite has been serving as the Alternate Senator for the Tisch Undergraduate Student Council. In this role I have really enjoy working with the other clubs at Tisch and connecting with my fellow students. As the Alternate Senator, I am currently involved in a subcommittee of NYU’s SSC that focuses on Gender Inclusivity and Understanding vital topics here on campus. We are working towards making students more comfortable at NYU and starting important conversations that surround them. I am also currently one of the ArtsReps for the Performance Studies department. I love interacting, listening to, and encouraging prospective students at that important stage of their college decision journey. I also sing in the University Chorale here at NYU.

"Performance Studies is everything. It is enigmatic and indefinable, yet it’s here. With the cultural magnitude of New York, you can experience performance in its true authentic form." - Jeremy Swanton, BA '18