Political Performance

Professor Diana Taylor

Performance Studies

Spring, 2004


Class 1, Jan 21 
Read selections from Aristotles and Plato.
- Aristotles’ Poetics.


Class 2-3, Jan 28/Feb 4 
- Major, R. H., ed. 1978. First Letter from Columbus. in Christopher Columbus: Four Voyages to the New World: Letters and Selected Documents, Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith
- Fanon, Franz. 1966. "Concerning Violence" The Wretched of the Earth, translated by Constance Farrington, 26-74. New York: Grove Press (1961). (In course packet)
- Ngugi wa Thiong'o. 1998. "Enactments of Power: The Politics of Performance Space." In Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: Towards a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Enrique Buenaventura; "Theater and Culture." TDR, winter 1970, 151-156.


Class 4, Feb 11
- Berghaus, Gunter, ed. 1996. Fascism and Theatre (selections, in packet)
- Griffin, Roger, ed. 1995. Fascism (selections, in packet) 
- Map showing the distribution of the swastika. (image on line)
see images
Class 5, Feb 18
Film: Triumph of the Will (in class)
(Select one example of contemporary fascism). Write up and post online a short (2 page) analysis and images of political practices that make use of the fascist paradigm/spectacle).
Class 6, Feb 25
- Brecht, Bertold. "A Short Organum for the Theatre." In Brecht on Theater, edited and translated by John Willet, 179-205. New York: Hill and Wang. (in packet)
- Theodor Adorno on Brecht, "Commitment." In Aesthetics and Politics. (in packet)
Class 7: Mar 3
- Althusser, Louis. 1969. "The 'Piccolo Teatro' Bertolazzi and Brecht." In For Marx, Penguin Press (1965). Also at
- Althusser, Louis. 1971. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, 127-184. New York and London: NLB. Also at
- Benjamin, Walter. 1968. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In Illuminations, New York: Harcourt (1937). Also at
- Arendt, Hannah. 1998. "Action" in The Human Condition, 175-247. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (1958). (in course packet)

Neoliberalism and Dictatorship

Class 8: Mar 10
School of the Americas
Plan Condor, Argentina (Taylor, Disappearing Acts, in NYU bookstore)
Madres, Teatro Abierto, H.I.J.O.S., Grupo de Arte Callejero
- Taussig, Michael. 1993. "Maleficium: State Fetishism." in Fetishism as Cultural Discourse, edited by Emily Apter and William Piez, 217-247. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. (in packet)

Spring Break, Mar 15-19: Hand in project proposal
Class 9: Mar 24
- Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed (in NYU bookstore)
- Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (in NYU bookstore)
- Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (in NYU bookstore)
Class 10: Mar 31
Activisms: anti-war, A.I.D.S.
Baz Kershaw, "The Radical in Performance: Between Brecht and Baudrillard" (in packet)
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir


Class 11: Apr 7
- Hardt & Negri. Empire, (in NYU bookstore)
- Lombardi, Mark. 2003. Image from Global Networks. New York: Independent Curators International.
Anti-globalization activism
Bush Administration
Class 12: Apr 14 

"Terror" and the "War on Terror" in a Global Age
Class 13: Apr 21 
Class 14, Apr 28 

Hand in Final Projects



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