Spring 2017

Introduction to Performance Theory

Listed in: English, as ENGL-230


Christopher A. Grobe (Section 01)


The term “performance” can refer to any of the stylized doings that define our world.  This, of course, includes the traditional performing arts, but it also encompasses religious rituals, public ceremonies, political protests, sports events, social media use, etc.  “Performance” can even describe the regimented behaviors that structure our everyday lives, whether we’re aware of them or not.

In this course, you will explore this full range of performance through readings, screenings, and attendance at live performances.  We will be guided in our approach by critical and theoretical texts in the interdisciplinary field of “performance studies.”  Guiding questions will include:  How is a performance different from a text?  How do we enact a shared reality?  How have the major forces shaping our world (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, nationality) been created and sustained through acts of performance?

Students in this course will be required to complete regular, short exercises and writing assignments.  A final exam, inviting creative approaches to critical topics, will assess mastery of the ideas in this course.

Spring semester.  Professor Grobe.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018