Fall 2008


Listed in: English, as ENGL-95


Jennifer A. Cayer (Section 05)


Theater and anthropology have been linked, from debates on the ritual origins of theater to those accounts of the performative dimensions of rendering the fieldwork experience in writing. “Performance” is a key term for both disciplines. We will begin with the links forged between theater and anthropology, and the debates and discussions that contributed to the development of performance studies as a discipline. We will then look closely at the relationship between performance art practices and the enterprise of fieldwork-based ethnography. What does it mean to stage theatrically an “other” or the idea of otherness? How have artists used the body in performance to imagine and enact culture, nation, otherness, selfhood, and the complex relations among them? Our comparison of artistic and social practices will be grounded in the following topics: ritual, play, gender, documentation, primitivism, exoticism, the participant-observer process as it relates to self-other dynamics, and practices of spectatorship and the gaze. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Cayer.