Vision for Performance Studies
We understand performance as both an object of inquiry and as a lens through which to view the world. We are committed to a notion of process, both in understanding performance activity, and identities, cultures, and representation. We understand practice not only as an important counterweight to theory, but as a mode of inquiry in its own right. We focus on a broadly inclusive definition of historical and contemporary performance forms, including consciously staged performances in theater, dance, film, new media, ritual, political activism, public demonstrations, music and everyday performances in virtual and real life. We understand that studying performance is studying a way of doing, and that bridging the theoretical and the practical within disciplinary and transdisciplinary formations is a powerful means of enhancing both theory and practice.
Composed of three clusters of interest – Interactive Medias, Cultures/ Ecologies, and Embodiments – the graduate group engages students in ways of thinking about performance that are historically, politically, culturally, and rhetorically informed, using tools from theater studies, dance studies, anthropology, sociology, film studies, visual culture, linguistics, literary studies, ethnography, ethnomusicology, computer science, technocultural studies, religion, race and ethnic studies, critical theory, cultural studies as well as the emerging canon of performance theory. Students are accepted into the program to pursue their inquiry either through traditional scholarly methodologies (archival research, ethnographic practice, theoretical and historical inquiry) or through practice as research, in which students are engaged simultaneously in the process of creation and analysis.