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Current Courses

Winter Quarter 2023

Undergraduate Courses

PERF_ST 103-0-20 Analysis & Performance of Text

PERF_ST 103-0-21 Analysis & Performance of Text

PERF_ST 203-0-1 Performance Culture & Communication


Undergraduate & Graduate Mix Courses

PERF_ST 330-0-24/MENA 200-0-20 Making the Modern Middle East: Culture, Politics, History

PERF_ST 330-0-25 Black Women on the Musical Stage


Graduate Courses

PERF_ST 321-0-1 Performance, Sex, and Censorship: Queer Art

PER_ST 515-0-21 Seminar: Problems in Performance Studies; Performance, Race and Media

PERF_ST 515-0-22 Seminar: Problems in Performance Studies; Listening: Methods and Issues


Fall Quarter 2022

PERF_ST 101-20, Modes of Performance, F 12-2:50pm, Marcela Fuentes, Krause/AMS Sem 

Overview: Introduction to performance as a concept, embodied practice, and as a critical methodology of understanding and intervening in the world. During the quarter, students will engage in the work of performing artists and activists as well as Performance Studies theorists. In addition to reading and discussion, students will create their own performances, write short performance reviews, and learn methods for giving and receiving thoughtful critical feedback. 

Class Attributes: Fulfills McCormick Speaking Requirement 


PERF_ST 103-0-1, Analysis & Performance of Literature, INSTRUCTOR, MW 12:30-1:50pm, Krause Studio/AMS Seminar 

Overview: This course studies literary fiction and non-fiction through performance. It explores how performance helps the performer and audience interpret a literary text, as well as express challenging political and personal themes. The diverse materials in the course examine the ways performance illuminates the written word and draws out deeper understandings of social relations through embodied praxis. Students will engage with the material through performance exercises, graded solo and group performances, critical writing, and in-class reading discussion.

Class Attributes: FulfillsLiterature & Fine Arts Distro Area, McCormick Speaking Requirement   


PERF_ST 203-20, Performance Culture and Communication, Lori Baptista, TTh 1230-1:50, Krause/AMS Sem 

Overview: What does performance communicate about the world we live in and how does performance offer world-making possibilities? This course introduces students to the concept of performance as a significant social and communicative practice. The course draws on theoretical texts as well as embodied learning to tackle foundational concepts, methods, and issues in performance studies. We will examine a wide range of performance contexts, from everyday life to major global conflicts, in relation to longstanding social inequities, including the intersectional lens of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, dis/ability, and nation. Through active participation and collaboration throughout the course, students will gain familiarity with core performance studies techniques including but not limited to oral history, fieldwork and interviews, newspaper theatre, and visual, sonic, movement, and experiential arts. 

Class Attributes: Fulfills McCormick Speaking Requirement 


PERF_ST 305-01, Performance Theory: Critical Race Theory, MW 10-11:50, Joshua Chambers-Letson, Wirtz 240 

Overview: This course explores the connected roles law, theory, and performance play in the shaping and making of race and power in the United States. It will also offer students an introduction to key writings and thinkers in the Critical Race Theory movement as well as key theoretical texts from Performance Studies. Course units will focus on major moment in the history of race, indigeneity, and law in the US, alongside analysis of the performance cultures (performance art, theatre, opera, music, and activism) that cluster around and respond to these moments. Key authors, artists, or artworks studied may include Assata Shakur, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Nao Bustamante, José Esteban Muñoz, Mari Matsuda, Nina Simone, Tommy Pico, Patricia Williams, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Adrian Piper, Mendi and Keith Obadike, Jodi Byrd, Ida B. Wells, Keijaun Thomas, Angela Davis, Tommy Pico, Neil Gotanda, Tina Takemoto, James Baldwin, Nao Bustamante, Philip Deloria, Ping Chong, as well as critical approaches to Hamilton or Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon. Major cases studied will include Dred Scott v. Sanford, Korematsu v. U.S., Cherokee Nation v the State of Georgia, Brown v. Board of Education, Allen v. Cherokee Nat’l Tribal Council, Hernandez v Texas, as well as the Department of Justice Report on the Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. 

Class Materials: All assigned readings will be available on Canvas. 

Class Attributes: Fulfills Literature Fine Arts Distro Area 


PERF_ST 308-01 (and MENA 301) Contemporary Middle Eastern Performance, Shayna Silverstein, TuTh 11-12:20pm, Krause Studio 

Overview: This seminar examines embodied cultural practices across the Middle East and North Africa, with particular attention to music, dance, theater, and popular culture. Spanning the late nineteenth century to the current post-Arab Revolution era, students will better understand a cultural history of the region, its role in shaping global modernity, and the politics of gender, sexuality, class, and ethnoreligious difference. 


PERF_ST 330-21, Topics in Performance Studies, Make Live Art!, MW1030-12, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Krause Studio 

Overview: A practice laboratory that explores modes of performance making entangled with models of theoretical analysis.  Students craft installations and time-based artworks in response to readings in queer theory, critical race theory, media studies.  Special attention to live-processing interfaces that allow creative form to arrive entangled in electrical impulse.  


PERF_ST 331-01, Field Studies: Opera and Theater Production, Field Studies: Opera and Theater Production, Mary Zimmerman, TBD 

Overview: This is a course comprised of observing and assisting on two separate processes.  The first is the pre-production process for a new opera production at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  Students would begin soon:  studying the opera, attending design meetings (remotely) and participating in communications regarding casting and other production issues.  Final designs are due mid-October.  Production is in the fall of 2023 and there is the possibility that students could continue with the production then.  The second process is the remounting of the production The Steadfast Tin Soldier which would begin rehearsals November 1st at Lookingglass Theater in Chicago.  Student would attend pre-production meetings, casting, rehearsals, previews and – once the show was opened – visit the show once a week to note and report on it.  Enrollment is by permission after conversation with the instructor and is limited to 2 to 3 students. 

Class Attributes: Departmental approval required. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. 


PERF_ST 330-20, Topics in Performance Studies, Performing Africa, T 3-5:50pm, Dotun Ayobade, Krause/AMS Seminar 

Overview: This course invites students to imagine themselves as creators and curators, rather than as passive consumers or critics, of African images. We will engage storytelling, photography, devised theater, and movement as creative strategies with which to probe the idea of Africa; and explore historical and contemporary discourses that underpin ideas about Africa in the West. We will also examine the social and imaginative worlds constructed by African artists themselves, alongside the embodied, creative work they create to capture multifaceted realities of what it means to be African today. As a community of learners, we will collectively engage the possibilities and limits of several performance strategies (i.e., reenactment, play, and revision) in approaching a diverse continent with a lively global image. Over the course of the semester, students will produce multiple performance pieces, while cultivating a critical eye for the works of African artists and engaging in generous critique of one another’s efforts.
Previous performance experience is not a requirement. 


PERF_ST 410-20, Studies in Performance, F 3-6pm, Nadine George-Graves, Krause/AMS Sem 

Overview: This course focuses on the theory and artistry of public performance. The course will prepare you for your graduate performance and it will provide the tools required to explore the relationship between aesthetics, critical inquiry, and multimodal knowledge production and communication. Through critical essays, in-class discussions, and performance exercises we will investigate what it means to use the body, objects, storytelling, and dialogue as research methods and communicative media. The aim of the course is to explore performance as a meaning-making and transformative practice, paying close attention to the role of embodied behavior in the production, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge. 

Class Attributes: None. Materials will be available on Canvas or via the library. 


PERF_ST 515-20, Seminar: Problems in Performance Studies, Queer Love and Loss, Joshua Chambers-Letson, Krause/AMS Sem 

Overview: The dynamics of love and loss have long been animating forces in queer of color critique, queer theory, and trans studies. This course explores the thematics of love and loss in queer and trans art and writing, engaging with key debates about pleasure, death, and sex; melancholia and reparation; desire, love, being-with, and grief. Paying particular attention to queer of color, feminist, and trans approaches to love and loss, and drawing from intellectual traditions that include psychoanalysis and performance studies, authors and artists studied may include: C. Riley Snorton, Christina Sharpe, José Esteban Muñoz, Amber Musser, Lauren Berlant, Micha Cardenas, Felix González-Torres, Yoko Ono, Leo Bersani, Hoang Tan Nguyen, Nao Bustamante, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Juana Maria Rodríguez, Gertrude Stein, Jean LaPlanche, Paul Preciado, Avgi Saketopoulou, David Eng, Shinhee Han, Jennifer Doyle, Darieck Scott, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Marlon Riggs, Keijaun Thomas, Joan Riviere, and Omiseke Nitasha Tinsley. This course is open to graduate students only.  

Class Materials: All assigned materials will be available on Canvas.  

Class Attributes: Graduate Students Only 


PERF_ST 518-01, Problems in Research, W 2-4:50pm, Marcela Fuentes, Wirtz 235 

Overview: This course will introduce incoming graduate students to the field of performance studies, and its key concepts and methodologies; prepare students for Master’s and Dissertation research and writing; and help them engage current Performance Studies faculty and their research through focused discussions of their work. 

Class Attributes: PS Graduates Only 


PERF_ST 330-22, Black Gospel Music in America T-Th, 9:30 – 10:50 am, Kent Brooks, Wirtz 230 

Overview: This course explores the evolution of Black Gospel music from its African roots to today’s abundant subgenres of contemporary Gospel. Through readings, videos, and live performances, students will engage in critical discussions regarding the language, delivery, and social-historical implications of this original American artform. The class also looks at the lives of some of Gospel’s luminaries, including Chicago’s own Professor Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Black Gospel Music.” 

Class Materials: People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel by Robert Darden (2005); ISBN: 0-8264-1752-3. Additional readings will be provided on Canvas.