Anthropology | Performing Lives on a Global Stage
A208 | 24105 | Miller
This course challenges traditional notions of what constitutes
performance by taking a broad approach to analyzing arts and
expressive culture. This course is divided into two major sections.
The first, “Far From Broadway: finding performance off-stage”,
explores the rich world of performance in everyday life. In this
section, we will ask the following questions: “How do we differentiate
between everyday life and performances”, “How are real social issues
addressed in traditional performance genres” and “What is the role of
rehearsals and workshops in understanding performance?” The second
section, “All the World’s a Stage”, will address how genres and
performers are changed by globalization. Topics covered in this
section include changing gender roles, issues of authenticity and
performances created for tourists.
Students will be expected to complete a number of ethnographic
assignments related to performance. Basic anthropological techniques
such as participant-observation and interviewing will be covered
throughout the semester. Students will apply these skills to a
research topic of their choice. While the majority of the class will
be discussion based, there will be several opportunities for field
excursions and guest performers.
This course will be useful for anyone with an interest in developing a
deeper understanding of performance and the performing arts. It will
also be useful for anyone wishing to experience anthropological
research firsthand. Student evaluations will be based on
participation, three ethnographic assignments, midterm exam and final
paper. No prerequisites are required.