Communication and Culture | Formations of the State
C627 | 1175 | Stoeltje

At specific moments in the history of states and empires, formations
and traditions  develop into institutions and practices that involve
performance.  As the vehicle for the expression of or negotiation with
the power of hegemony these performances present a rich resource for
the study of processes of incorporation, continuity, resistance and
rupture.  The course will take an ethnographic approach to the study
of this nexus (historical moment, political formations, performance),
as it emerges in periods marked as transition and sustains itself
through performance over time, adapting its meaning to modifications
in political discourse.  Students will choose a specific site and
performance and research the political formation and historical moment
from which it emerged.  As examples we will examine particular moments
of transition  in the history of the U.S., Scotland, and the
pre-modern Asante state.  In the U.S. we will examine the Westward
expansion and the performance of rodeo, in Scotland the moment is the
advent of agrarian, mercantile and industrial capitalism and the
performance focus will be Scottish folksong, and for the Asante the
moment is the formation of the Asante state and the performance the
legal system that was established and continues to be performed in
customary courts today.  Students will present their research in class
linking a specific political  formation with a performance form.
Papers will include a short paper on social theory, and a long paper
on a specific formation/performance.  Readings will include Raymond
Williams, Marxism and Literature, among others, and selected readings
on the three examples.