This course explores the many ways in which artists and activists and other social actors use performance to make a social intervention. We begin the course examining several theories about performance and politics (Brecht, Boal, Foucault, Ngugi wa Thiong'o among others) and then focus on issues of agency, space, event, and audience both online and off. Special attention will be paid to the role of performance in the 2008 presidential elections. Video screenings and guest lectures will provide an additional dimension for the course. Students are encouraged to develop their own sites of investigation and present their work as a final presentation and paper.
Peru has witnessed unprecedented change in the past generation, beginning the period of brutal civil violence suffered by the country from 1980 to 2000. Together with Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, we will focus on the social divisions that have so long defined Peruvian culture, and consider the politics of healing through the careful understanding and crossing of such boundaries. We take the notion of “borders” as a frame to organize our readings, visits, and other activities: how has social and discourse in Peru understood the borders that divide its people by gender, race, or class? How has Peruvian national and state discourse rendered those divisions and/or their potential integration? We will explore these issues through a range of related activities: an intensive workshop with Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, guest lectures with leading scholars and artists, site visits to museums and other sites, and a series of readings and film screenings, all outlined in the schedule.
This course explores the many ways in which theorists and theatre practitioners have thought about the ways in which staged action (whether in film, theatre, or politics) pacifies, activates, interpolates, and manipulates viewers. We will explore concepts such as identification, voyeurism, narcissism, bearing witness, percepticide, spect-actor, and others.