The Program Designated Emphasis in Studies in Performance and Practice
Faculty Contact: Lynette Hunter (
Performance Studies consists of a critical way of thinking about practices of communication, from film and stage performance, to sports, religion, and everyday behavior, among many other areas. As an academic discipline it has developed new ways of knowing and new knowledge about the process of these activities rather than the end products. The field of Performance Studies is inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative, and interacts closely with new media. Its roots lie in critical philosophy that emerged in the second half of the twentieth century, and which responded to increasingly disembodied ways of thinking about human behavior. By focusing on process, situated learning, embodied knowledge, and the interaction and interplay of theory and practice, performance studies has defined ways of looking at, interpreting and interacting with actual human agents and their mediation.
Critical approaches in the field of Performance Studies include methods developed in interaction with anthropology and ethnography, rhetoric and the history of language, communication and the media, philosophy and critical theory, cultural and technocultural studies, film studies, environmental studies and many other areas.
The DE in Studies in Performance and Practice offers students who want to focus on process, training in methods for approaching practice, in procedures for analyzing it from experiment, and in different ways of thinking about and articulating performance as embodied knowledge
The goals of the Designated Emphasis are:
1) to provide graduate students with a set of strategies for thinking about how performance theory and practice can interact
2) to encourage students to develop ways of recognizing and acting upon embodied knowledge
3) to train students to analyse and evaluate craft and production that is in process and may or may not produce identifiable and conventionally duplicatable ‘end products’
4) to develop the students’ capacity for interdisciplinary thinking through practical application, critical analysis and theory.
The required courses are DRA200, one of DRA265a-d, and at least two other courses given by faculty who are affiliated with the Designated Emphasis
Many students involved in courses that look at material that is ‘in process’ will produce conventionally assessable work in formats appropriate to the different disciplinary areas in which they take a course (for example: the essay). At the same time, some work will also take place in practical projects or the production of portfolio work.