This course explores the performing arts (in the broad sense of the term) as an important site for feminist interventions in arts, activisms, and knowledge production. In the past few decades, the performing arts have radically changed their relationship with the public. While they previously inhabited special institutions (such as theatres and plazas), they have now advanced to almost everywhere across public, private, and virtual domains – often converging with social movements, cultural practices, and everyday rituals. As such, the performing arts have participated in feminist and other critical conversations on various issues, including the power relations of gender/sexuality, race, and disability; belonging and displacement; ecological crisis; and science and technology. At the same time, the relationship between performance and research has come to the fore in academia. Judith Butler’s approach to gender as performative is one important spur among several that have stimulated a new approach to key social ideas. In this context, the performative aspects of research have also become a site of interdisciplinary discussion and experimentation among scholars and artists – challenging the conventional claim that knowledge is separable from the subject, object, and social conventions of knowing. Exploring the political and scholarly potential for engaging with performance in “the century of the performative” (Claire Colebrook), this course aims to (1) examine feminist and other critical interventions in and through performing arts and (2) experiment with new ways of learning, making, and sharing knowledge through creative interaction with the public.
This year’s theme is “How to Do Things with Cyborgs.” Inspired by use of the cyborg as a feminist figure and methodology in the works of Donna Haraway and other scholars, this theme is an invitation to engage with the subjects of science, technology, and medicine alongside performance and/as research. And, of course, you’re invited to make critical and creative interpretations of these key terms and fields.
Please note that this course is designed as a pilot case for my Teaching Development Project (with a grant from CEU), which aims to develop pedagogical methods for incorporating performing arts into academic research projects that involve interaction with the public. So, please be prepared for active involvement in the various modes of learning, including workshops, guest lectures, and pedagogical presentations, as well as a group performance-research project. Thanks to the grant, we’ll have an opportunity to work closely with project assistant Iva Dimovska, who will assist me in developing pedagogical methods and take a lead role in creating podcast reports about the course.
The course is listed as elective for the Visual Theory and Practice certificate program.