Richard Schechner’s Introduction to Performance Studies

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Overview

Performance Studies: An Introduction explores the wide world of performance--from theatre, dance, and music to ritual, play, political campaigns, social media, and the performances of everyday life. Performance studies also ranges across cultures--Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, the Americas. And it spans historical periods from the art of the paleolithic caves to YouTube and the avantgarde. This course is devised by Richard Schechner, one of the pioneers of performance studies, in dialogue with more than a dozen expert scholars and artists. Performance Studies: An Introduction puts students in dialogue with the most important ideas, approaches, theories, and questions of this dynamic, new academic field.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

Articulate and analyze the major concepts of performance studies
Identify and analyze performances within the “broad spectrum of performance”--from everyday life and social media to performance art and global spectacles such as the Olympics
Comprehend key terms of performance studies, including is/as performance, restored behavior, ritual, play, make-belief/make-believe, performance in everyday life, the performative, and intercultural performance
Produce collaborative work that demonstrates teamwork in applying ideas learned in the course
Compare, analyze, and interpret performances of their own and other cultures
Articulate how the major concepts of the course relate to their own experiences and worldviews
Analyze and criticize in a constructive way the work of classmates

The lessons present Schechner’s concept of performance studies along with online assignments. In the assignments, students apply what they are learning by composing short responses to materials, writing in their NYU Classes Forums, and by reviewing other students’ forum posts each week.

Students choose either to work in groups of 3 to 5 on a term-long project maintaining a project portfolio in NYU Classes or to write a research paper. During the term, each group will lead an in-class 25-minute discussion of their project-in-progress. During the last face-to-face class, each group will present their project.

The weekly content is:

What is Performance?
What is Performance Studies?
Performance Processes
From Not Performing to Performing
Ritual
Play
Performing in the Paleolithic
Ramlila of Ramnagar
The Performing Brain
Performativity
Constructing Social Roles
Social Media
Intercultural, Transcultural, Global
Group Projects & Wrap Up
Course Requirements

Each student is required to complete the week’s online lesson prior to the class session, attend and participate in the class sessions, complete the weekly assignments, participate and present the group project or submit a final paper.

Required Readings

See weekly online lessons.

Required Viewings (Videos)

See weekly online lessons.

Written work

Each student will either participate in a group project or write a research paper due at the end of the term, submitted electronically. Your professor will confer online and/or face-to-face during office hours to help students develop their writing and their projects. If you do a group project your professor may ask you to do some writing in relationship to your project.

Academic Integrity

The policy on plagiarism and academic honesty is posted on Classes. Read this document carefully, and be guided by it.

Copyright

Keep in mind the material you find in the online lessons is subject to copyright. You may not reproduce, reuse, or distribute it without permission outside of your work in this course. For more information on copyright and how it applies to course materials, see the Copyright Basics research guide.

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