The Text and History cluster within the Performance Studies program focuses on the history of the production and reception of dramatic texts and performance practices. It situates performance texts in political, social and historical contexts in transcultural settings, from the ancient, to the early modern and the contemporary world. It also theorizes the issues raised around performance that took place in an historical past.

Approaches in relationship to performance include:

  • Historical study of the people who create and the audiences that take part in performance
  • Theoretical approaches and methodologies to performance and performance studies, including changes in theories of performance, and the use of performance studies’ theories to think about the construction of the historical past
  • Phenomenological analysis of the changing spatial and temporal dimensions of performance
  • Textual, literary and rhetorical exploration of theatrical and performance texts in a wide range of media.

Examples of faculty and student research areas:

  • Exploration of production history through archives of theatre and performance spaces relating to the San Francisco Mime Troupe
  • Religious ritual from the medieval to modern period as central to defining the role and position of women
  • Sixteenth and seventeenth century English drama, theater history, performance of games, masculinity, sound studies.
  • Modern Chinese drama, film, television drama, political theater, street theater, women’s theater, comparative literature, literary theory, cultural studies, and performance studies.
  • Medieval and early modern French literature, theater, and culture. Ethics and politics in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century farce; medieval romance, Molière, and the Theater of the Absurd.
  • Twentieth-century American composers and the mythology of the American West; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetics, reception history, and representations of music in literature.
  • Nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century British literature, culture, and politics; gender studies; film and visuality; print culture and media studies; late-Victorian dramatic revival and the socialist movement; Shaw, Wilde and Ibsen.
  • Early modern Spanish literature and drama: drama as textual, cultural and performative practice; theatrical spaces and playhouses; Golden Age comedia studies; history of Spanish theater; transatlantic drama
  • Ancient Mediterranean art; Greek theater; Greek and Roman cult practice; religious ritual as performance.
  • Early modern and modern Islamic Art and Architectural History, urban history, theory of architectural preservation, and architecture and gender
  • Modern European and American drama, Theory of drama and performance, History of American cinema, Family trauma in contemporary American film
  • Gender and film studies, the history and representation of violence and warfare, German literature and culture from the eighteenth century to the present
  • Medieval cartography; classical receptions; film and the classical world
  • Poetic and visual representations of dance in the late Middle Ages; their role in the modern construction of medieval