A concentrator in this track will study the multiple modes in which live performance articulates culture, negotiates difference, constructs identity, and transmits collective historical traditions and memories. Because Performance Studies is not primarily invested in one performance mode over another (such as theatre or dance), a concentrator will gain exposure to a broad spectrum of global performance modes. Studying ritual, play, game, festival, spectacle and a broad spectrum of “performance behaviors” under the umbrella of Performance Studies, a concentrator will graduate having investigated the role of performance in culture, including performative acts in everyday life, political enactment, ritual behavior, aesthetic or representational practices, and social role or the performance of subjectivity.
The history of aesthetic performance practices (such as the histories of theatre and/or dance) will be an important part of this track, serving to ground inquiry into the broader spectrum of performance study. Students will craft their electives on this track from a wide selection of courses both within the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and across the university. The study of performance behavior across mediums such as dance, theatre, ritual, and orature allows for geographic and historical flexibility as not all cultures parse theatre from dance, nor, historically, genres of religious or political ritual from genres of entertainment, play, or game. Participation in practical classes in modes of performance is also required.