Culture is perceived as a learned collective process of becoming that engages the traditional past with the contemporary “new,” augmented by the increasing awareness that global environmental interdependence can bind beyond cultural differences. The Cultures/Ecologies cluster within Performance Studies encourages a perspective of culture and ecology that allows critical engagement with paradigms of performance as with emerging models of ethnography and sustainability.

Approaches in relationship to performance include:

  • Ethnographic and ecological approaches to performance.
  • The influence of colonialisms and nationalisms on performance and culture.
  • Performance and culture in local, societal, and global systems of material sustainability and historical circumstance.
  • Performance in a range of built environments in relation to broader temporal/spatial social processes.

Examples from faculty and student research:

  • the interdependence of globalization and cultural performance: how hip-hop youth culture has become transnational, interfacing with many discrete cultures across the globe
  • anthropological studies of performance, both traditional and contemporary: the engagement of Victor Turner’s self-reflexive paradigm of Anthropology as Theater in studying contemporary Native American dance
  • ethnographies of specific performance art practices: a study of New York choreographers Eiko & Komo’s work in relation to traditional Japanese Buddhism
  • studies that encompass a city’s “green” efforts as a “scripted” choreography of efforts, linking theater devices to effective coordination of sustainable living in city planning
  • studies of how race, gender, and/or sexuality are performed through enactments, subversions, and re-enforcements in the US
  • historical studies of how national cultures are invented and performed, and changed through policy, politics, and rhetoric
  • theatre and religion, the performance of the divine: ritual, liturgy, spirituality, ethics, and community
  • Cuban American exile community in South Florida and their use of ritual performance to assuage forced-without-return displacement
  • Bay area performance history 1970-present
  • Rhetorical strategies for political change through storytelling in societies new to participation in liberal democracy