Course: Performing Identity: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Theory and Practice

This seminar/studio hybrid course is designed to introduce students to theories of identity and power, with a particular attention to performance as a method of analysis and inquiry. Following feminist theatre scholar Elin Diamond, we’ll ask: what aspects of culture does performance make “discussable?” How are identities constructed and deconstructed through acts of performance? How do our own identities inform our practices as artists, spectators, and cultural subjects? What stories do our own bodies tell, and what stories do our bodies desire to tell? To this end, we will examine theories of race, class, gender, ability, and sexuality as they relate to issues of performance and performativity, embodiment, memory, authenticity, cultural citizenship, and the politics of everyday life. Each class, we will place our theory into practice, translating scholarly and dramatic texts onto our own bodies. We will also look at case studies of contemporary artists working in theater, music, visual art, and performance art that engage issues of identity, oppression, and liberation. 

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Flyers for Performing Identity Series. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha,  Love Cake  (performance) and  The Revolution Starts at Home  (workshop), 2011 (left); Peggy Shaw, Lenelle Moise, and Annie Danger, Hampshire College, 2010 (above). Curated by Jaclyn I. Pryor in collaboration with students.

Flyers for Performing Identity Series. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha, Love Cake (performance) and The Revolution Starts at Home (workshop), 2011 (left); Peggy Shaw, Lenelle Moise, and Annie Danger, Hampshire College, 2010 (above). Curated by Jaclyn I. Pryor in collaboration with students.