Performance Studies Current Courses


Performance Studies Courses

The following information is divided into two sections:

1) a list of core courses, and

2) expandable lists by quarter of elective and core courses.


PFS 200: Methods, Materials and Performance Research

Essential research tools in performance and related fields; bibliographies, primary sources; methods of evaluating and presenting evidence; delineating research areas in the field; current debates; researching, shaping and presenting oral and written paper.

PFS 265A: Modes of Production

Introduces students to the literature of performance production in a variety of media: theatre, dance, film, video, computer-based, looking at cultural, aesthetic, rhetorical and political theory. May be repeated.

PFS 265B: Signification and the Body

Introduces students to analysis of the body in performance, drawing on theoretical models from several fields. Material will vary depending on instructor but examples might include body mechanics, the body and social behavior, body movement and theories of rhetoric, historical theories of body and soul. May be repeated.

PFS 265C: Performance and Society

Introduces students to the role of performance (broadly defined), in everyday life, sociopolitical negotiation, identity, social movements, the media, the environment, the state, transnational and global sites. Material will differ depending on instructor, but topics might include presidential elections, performative aspects of medicine and law, religious ritual, ecological activism, among others. May be repeated.

PFS 265D: Theories of Performance Studies

Performance Studies is a new discipline, growing out of several others including history and analysis of text within the fields of theatre and dance, anthropology and ethnology, linguistics, sociology, cultural and technological studies. There is a very substantial field of theory, history and criticism that has developed, which is integral to the understanding and development of performance research generally. Depending on the instructor the topics may vary, but could include history from Stanislavski to Grotowski, the impact of poststructural theory on performance, and/or ethical responsibility in performance. May be repeated.

PFS 299: Individual Study, Prof TBD by Student

As a Performance Studies core course, PFS 299: Individual studies offers students the opportunity to set up an independent study on a subject that may not be offered within the catalog with a professor of their choosing. It is important to note that independent studies must be approved by both the PFS Program Coordinator and the Professor(s), in order to obtain the correct CRN for registration. Additionally scheduling must be organized between the student and the Professor(s). May register anywhere from 4 to 12 units.



Spring 2024

PFS 265B / STS 210 / ANT 210, Slow, Collective, Presence, Wonder, Joe Dumit and Marisol de la Cadena, W 2:10 – 5, STS conference room, 31535

PFS 265C, Performing the Self(ie): Cultural Production and Identity Construction on Social Media, Katlin Sweeny, T 1:10 – 4:00, 1107 Cruess, crn 57499

On platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, nonfamous people gain access to a range of interactive features that enable their multifaceted participation in the U.S. mediascape. Through their social media profiles, people present a version of themselves online that involves self-adorning the body, performing a public persona, appealing to platform algorithms, and engaging with an audience. Their savvy use of platform tools, such as video editing, hashtags, photo filters, and comment sections, can facilitate their emergence as digital “content creators,” and in some cases, as social media influencers and internet celebrities. Additionally, a creator’s visual-verbal depictions of one or more of their marginalized identities may be interpreted by viewers as a form of media representation beyond legacy media.  

In this course, we will examine how social media content creators establish a self-mediation methodology in their cultural production and form a co-creative dynamic with their viewers through their public engagement. We will also consider how viewers can utilize their role as post respondent in comment sections to initiate discourse that extends beyond the content of the creator’s original post. Throughout the quarter, we will look to examples of mediated selfhood and co-creative interaction on social media found in (but not limited to) selfies, short- and long-form video, and digital comics. In doing so, we will identify how content creators and their viewers utilize their social media presence to contribute forms of cultural critique, media representation, entertainment, and community organizing.

SOC 230 Sociology of Race, Maxine Craig, TBA

AHI 190L/290 Provenance Studies, Heghnar Watenpaugh, Mondays, 1:10-4 Everson 157

Topics: Collecting the Arts from the Middle East in historical and theoretical perspective. We will consider all aspects of the history of collecting – such as the manifold processes that result in objects traveling across vast distances and acquiring new functions and contexts. We will also do deep dives on the “cast of characters” that often play multiple roles in this process– art dealers, art collectors, museum officials, looters, fixers, middle men, attorneys, scholars, and curators. Finally we will critically consider manifold resistance movements focused on defending cultural heritage in war and peacetime and pressing restitution claims, as well as movements that advocate the selective erasure of cultural heritage and battles over memory and history.

GSW 200B Problems in Feminist Research, Beenash Jafri, Thurs 10-1, TBA.

Winter 2024

PFS 265A Modes of Production: Press Reset: An Alternate History of Game Studies, Patrick LeMieux, Thursdays, 5:10 – 8 p.m., 234 Cruess (Mod Lab), crn 45235

What if instead of the cultural studies, philosophies, and anthropologies of Huizinga, Suits, and Sutton-Smith, game studies was founded on the phenomenologies, auto-ethnographies, and playful practices of Fink, James, DeKoven, Sudnow, and Buckles? In this course we will try to build a counterfactual history of game studies by conducting a survey of both the foundational texts as well as practice-based research operating on the margins of the field. To put our theories into practice we will also experiment in a series of hands-on workshops where we play together in order to situate our understanding of games within longer traditions of embodiment, phenomenology, performance, and play.

PFS 265A / ANT 210, Getting Caught: A collaboration on and off stage between theater and anthropology, Cristiana Giordano, W 2:10 – 5, 1107 Cruess Hall, crn 12228

This graduate seminar is an exploration of and a cross pollination between research and narrative practices in theater and anthropology. By creating a dialogue between these disciplines in a laboratory format, we explore techniques that will enrich our engagement with anthropological questions and embodied production. We will investigate, one the one hand, how anthropologists can learn from theater a more playful posture towards research, and a more performative understanding of narrative that can translate either into new forms of writing and production (essays, plays, short stories, installations, performance pieces etc.), or into a revitalized existing practice of academic writing. On the other hand, theater makers can learn from anthropology a more nuanced understanding of political and cultural contexts, new approaches to the different discourse formations around events and social issues, and ways to pay attention to the complexities of worlds and their grammars.

This is not a seminar on the anthropology of theater nor an acting or playwrighting class. We simultaneously engage theatrical devising practices, anthropological modes of attending to forms of life, and affect and post-dramatic theories, to practice what we call Affect Theater. In this context, theatrical devices will provide us with tools to analyze our findings through the body and the embodiment of narratives in space. By exploring our research through the elements of the stage (lights, sets, objects, sound, bodies etc.), theater can teach us to engage the empirical more viscerally in our writing. Anthropological listening to the intricacies of stories that are embedded and woven within specific worlds can broaden and deepen the ways in which theater makers render narratives for the stage.

MUS 221: Music and Nature, Beth Levy, M 1:10 - 4, 230 Music

This course will explore changing conceptions of music and nature from the 18th to the 21st centuries.  How and why have composers attempted to depict or reflect the natural world in their works?  What happens when musicians around the world conceive their relationships to the environment?  What is the relationship between natural sounds and musical ones?  What role can musicians play in increasing environmental awareness at a time of crisis?  Students may select from any genre or time period for their own individual projects, which will be shared with the class at several stages, culminating in final presentations during the last week of the quarter.

ENL 287 Media Theories, Stephanie Boluk, T/R 3:10 – 6:00 pm, Voorhies 120

Description: This introductory graduate seminar will survey a range of historical and contemporary approaches to media, media theory, and media philosophy. A significant unit of the course will focus on contemporary engagements with Marshall McLuhan’s methods and thought by scholars such as Sarah Sharma, Armond R. Towns, Nicole Starosielski, etc but we will also try to cover a range of media studies work as well. We will examine how the field of media studies has been shaped by multiple disciplines ranging from information theory and cybernetics to cultural studies and critical theory to infrastructure studies and environmentalism. We will think about issues of human embodiment, identity, materiality, economy, and ecology in relation to the history of media technologies. Beyond using the term media as a descriptor for either technological platforms or communication protocols, this course investigates how a practical and philosophical understanding of media might help live in the twentieth-first century.

STS 205 The Priors: Archives, Preservation, Libraries, Finn Brunton, Tuesdays 1:10-4:00PM, SSH 1246, CRN 44950

The goal of this seminar is to think about the role of archives and libraries in the production of knowledge, particularly in areas pertinent to STS. Along with a review of the canonical STS literature and theories on the subject, we will be exploring unorthodox or less studied forms of preservation, archival collection, and librarianship. These will include shadow libraries like libgen, Sci-Hub, Monoskop, and Anna’s Archive; emergent collections like the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive; biomedical data collection and preservation practices; seed banks and botanical gardens; the Prelinger Archive and their approach to moving image preservation; documenting and preserving ephemeral knowledge, bodily techniques, practices, and performance; data management and data friction for ultra-large-scale materials in domains like climate and high energy physics research; and the role of all of these and more in the production, not just maintenance, of knowledge itself.

ENL 290F Creative Writing- Fiction, Lucy Corin, W 3:10-6:00pm, 120 Voorhies

 This is a graduate level fiction writing workshop. Priority for seats is given to MFA candidates in creative writing. Students from other programs are welcome, space permitting; interested students should send a writing sample (fiction) to me (Professor Corin) when requesting permission to enroll.

I want the course to be a place of refuge and invention. You can work on long or short form fiction, fiction that is conventional or unconventional in form. It just has to be literary, it has to want to be art in its broadest most expansive, inclusive, serious and irreverent efforts. We’ll read the new Justin Torres novel Blackouts together (it’s just out now, so I will read it for the first time with you) along with a smattering of short stories I’ll put up on canvas. Make sure you get a hard copy of the Torres to work with (unless you have a disability that makes an electronic version better for you.)

Please register asap, and turn on Canvas notifications for email, so that when I contact you via Canvas to prepare for our first meeting before school starts, you’ll get the message. It also helps folks on the wait list know their schedules.

Fall 2023

UWP 220 / PFS 200, Methods, Materials and Performance Research, Marit Macarthur, Mon. 2:10 – 5, 1107 Cruess, crn 51457 (this is a UWP class, counts as a PFS 200)

This course will prepare graduate students in performance studies, and related fields in the humanities and social sciences, to undertake scholarly research and understand graduate-level expectations for academic writing. We will explore current methods and debates in performance studies, and consider how to articulate the insights of practice-as-research and contribute to ongoing scholarly conversations. Assignments will include an autoethnography, an informal analysis of and presentation on an academic journal, an annotated bibliography, a seminar paper, and a mini-conference presentation, all linked to each student’s developing interests. Faculty from a range of disciplines affiliated with performance studies will also visit the class and share their research. The required texts are What a Body Can Do: Technique as Knowledge, Practice as Research by Ben Spatz (Routledge, 2015) and articles provided on Canvas. Performance Studies: An Introduction, 4th edition, by Richard Schechner and Sarah Lucie (Routledge, 2020) and The Performance Studies Reader, Ed. Henry Bial and Sara Brady (Routledge, 2015), are also recommended.

PFS 265D: Media, Performance and Embodiment, Gina Bloom, Weds 12:10-3, 308 Voorhies, crn 57241

Description: In this course, we’ll read foundational theory at the intersection of performance studies and media studies to explore the relationship between human bodies and performance technologies, including but not exclusively digital technologies. Students will select a performance object of their choice as their focus for the course: this can be anything from a particular production (including a production of the student’s own making), an object that does performative work on the theater stage (e.g. costume, props), a digital object (e.g. videogame, database), a practice (e.g. Meyerhold biomechanics, yoga), or a genre of performance (e.g. circus, poetry slam, puppetry). Students are also welcome theorize their own performance work as their performance object.

AHI 190J/290 Provenance Studies, Heghnar Watenpaugh, M 1:10-4, crn 52515, 157 Everson Hall

ANT 210 The Essayistic Imagination, Tarik Elhaik, W 3:10 – 6, 224 Young Hall, crn 22233

An early modern narrative form (eg. Montaigne, Ibn Battoutah) that lives on in contemporary media (cinema, radio, podcasts), the “essay form” is an inspiring tool for remediating our fieldwork encounters and inquiries. A fascinating characteristic of the essay is that it authorizes the inquirer to drift and to playfully move between the sciences and the arts.  Essayistic playfulness is nourished by both scientific and artistic imaginations, gluttonously drawing from their respective aesthetic and conceptual traditions, from their respective modes of juxtaposing, re-ordering, re-classifying, re-assembling, and re-curating the real.  The ethical substance of the essay is the prefix “re-“.  Theodor Adorno went as far as saying that the essay is classed among “the oddities” and “heresies”!  The seminar will reexamine and pay tribute to such narrative oddities and heresies.  Students will be invited to do exercises in which they will create their own essays (in single or multimedia form). 

STS 200, Colin Milburn

Spring 2023

ANT 210/PFS 265B: Bodies, Joseph Dumit, Wed 2:10-5, Young Hall 224, CRN 32327

DRA 253: Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Matty Davis, Tues, Thurs 1:10-4, Wyatt Pavillion, CRN 61735

Description: Negotiating Need and Desire. Develop your voice as a collaborator. You will explore: Why we collaborate? How we collaborate in context of our personal, creative goals: How we open ourselves to other creatives. 

SOC 265B, Contemporary Sociological Theory, Maxine Craig, Wed. 12:10-3, Soc Sci & Humanities 1291, CRN 59737

ENL 237, Seminar in Prose, Lucy Corin, Mon 12:10-3, Voorhies 120, CRN 62297

MUS 223 Topics in Ethnomusicology, Music Composition and/in/vs Ethnomusicology, Henry Spiller Tu 1:10-4, Music 230, CRN 52040

Description: In this seminar, we investigate the notion of “music composition” and examine the evolution and role of “composer” in and beyond the Western European tradition.

Comp Lit 210/CDM 210 World Cinema, Sheldon Lu, Tu 2:10-5:00, Hutchison 102, CRN 37297

Description: This course examines “world cinema” as a concept, as a critical discourse, and above all as the practices of diverse cinematic traditions of the world. We will also tackle related categories of contemporary film studies such as “national cinema,” “transnational cinema,” “global cinema,” “third cinema,” “third-world cinema,” and postcolonial cinema.  Depending on student interests and enrollment, comparative case studies will be drawn from countries and regions from around the world, such as Asia, Europe, Africa, and America.  Special attention will be given to East-West cross-cultural interflows in the traveling of images, discourses, and ideas.  As we look at some pivotal moments in world film history, we also raise broad issues in current film studies such as globalization, diaspora, cinematic style, national identity, visual culture, and film industry.  Students will examine the ideas, practices, and styles of a variety of filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, R. W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Yasujiro Ozu, Gillo Pontecorvo, Wong Kar-wai, Jia Zhangke, Zhang Yimou, Ousmane Sembene, Claire Denis, and others. 

Winter 2023

PFS 265C Performance and Society, Larry Bogad, Wednesdays 2:10-5 PM, 222 Wright Hall.

Description: This seminar examines the often-fraught relationship between politically motivated performances (broadly defined), social movements, the media, and the state.  Students will analyze and discuss the texts, and will be responsible for independent research in preparation for class presentations.  Final project will be a major research paper, or a practical project complemented by a shorter paper which theorizes and justifies the project.

PFS 265D/FRE 214/COM 210 Performance Studies: Theory, History, Criticism, Noah Guynn, Mondays 2:10-5 pm, Olson Hall 117, CRN 44623

Description: Study of a Literary Movement. This course will be devoted to ancient, medieval, and early modern comedy, with a particular focus on slaves and servants as protagonists. The primary texts will be in Latin, English, and especially French, with translations available.

PFS 265/ANT 210 Aspects of Culture Structure. What Stories Tell and Don’t Tell: Memory and Archives between Textual and Non-textual Experimentation Cristiana Giordano, Wednesdays 10-12:50, 224 Young Hall, CRN 45349

Description: This seminar explores the forms and practices of representation, storytelling, and narrative production in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. We ask: What is a story? What is in a story? How do we, as anthropologists, artists, performers, and philosophers choose what constitutes a story? How do we relate to what in a story remains unsaid? For social scientists and artists working with empirical material, what constitutes the “real”? what different kinds of archives do we encounter in our research projects? How do we move from our ethnographic, archival, visual, and sonic research material into a text, installation, or performance? How do the different temporalities of memory affect the time of telling and listening? We will explore experiments in ethnographic research and writing that play with truth and representation, translation and creation, blurring the boundaries of the real and the unreal. We will draw from other disciplines and practices to tell stories in ways that rather than reproducing a linear effect, introduce estrangement and interruption and compel readers and audiences to think differently about a given event or world. Readings will range from classic and contemporary ethnographies to short stories and novels, from reportage photo-stories and plays to philosophical texts and art installations. In our readings and discussions, we will approach stories and archives as linear accounts, montages, and dream like assemblages of words and images, in their fictional, documentary, performative, and evocative forms.

STS 200 Theories & Methods in Science & Technology Studies, Joseph Dumit, Wednesdays 1:10-4PM, Social Science & Humanities 1246, CRN 45375

Description: Theories and methods of Science & Technology Studies as a field of critical and empirical scholarship, and examination of various contexts in which STS has emerged worldwide.

MUS 223, Topics in Ethnomusicology: Issues in Africa Musicology, Scott Linford, Mondays 2:10-5, Music 230. CRN 34110

Description: What methods and perspectives have scholars adopted in researching African music, and what representational, analytical, and ethical issues do they face? What are the musical legacies of colonialism, and how have contemporary African musicians responded to lingering coloniality while envisioning new futures and contributing to global culture? We will examine a variety of African music research perspectives: ethnographic, analytical, self-reflective, filmic, and compositional (including African pianism and operatic writing). We will also explore a variety of African musics from across the continent, including traditional, pop, and art music. 

WMS 201 Special Topics in Feminist Theory & Research: The Settler Colonial Question Beenash Jafri, Tuesdays 10-12:50, Hart Hall 1208, CRN 44432.

Description: What is settler colonialism and (why) does it matter? Over the last two decades, settler colonialism has emerged as a keyword not only in gender and sexuality studies, but across interdisciplines such as cultural studies, ethnic studies, American studies, and environmental studies. At the same time, settler colonial studies—both its field formation, and its interventions—has come under question by scholars in a number of overlapping fields. Critics have noted troubling ways in which settler colonial studies is perceived as substitute for Native American/Indigenous studies, for instance; or tendencies to exceptionalize and isolate settler colonialism from other forms of historical violence. Rather than offering an overview of settler colonial studies, the course will ask after the conversations and debates that the concept of settler colonialism has animated, particularly engaging the insights of Indigenous queer and feminist scholarship, as well as critical ethnic studies critiques. The geographical focus of the class is primarily (but not exclusively) the US and Canada, though a transnational frame will orient our discussions.

HMR 200B/CST 210/SPA 202 Memory, Culture, and Human Rights, Michael Lazara, Tuesdays 2:10-5, Olson 18.

Description: Although “memory” has been a topic for intellectual reflection since classical antiquity, it has sparked analysis and debate in academia since the 1980s, particularly due to the rise of Holocaust Studies and the urgent need to reflect on the causes and consequences of human rights violations around the world. Crossing the social sciences, humanities, and the arts, memory has become a category for critical inquiry as well as a political and ethical imperative that links intellectual reflection to political activism both during and after authoritarian regimes, wars, civil conflicts, genocide, slavery, and other traumatic and discriminatory histories. Over the past 30 years, memory studies have become institutionalized in the U.S. and abroad in the form of M.A. programs, certificate programs, conferences, and specialized journals promoting scholarship in this area. This seminar will explore the productivity of “memory” an analytical category through which to do cultural studies work and for thinking about human rights. We will discuss how societal actors in different historical, cultural, and national settings construct meanings of past political violence, inter-group conflicts, and human rights struggles.

Fall 2022

PFS 200: Methods and Materials in Theatre Research, Jessica Perea, Tuesdays 2:10-5PM, Mondavi Center CRN 44854

Description: Essential research tools in theatre and related fields; bibliographies, primary sources; methods of evaluating and presenting evidence; delineating research areas in the field.

PFS 259: Topics in Contemporary Theatre & Performance, Jon Rossini, Thursdays 1:10-4, Wright 222. CRN 44855

PFS 265A: Modes of Production, TBA, CRN 44856

AHI 200A: Visual Theory and Interpretive Methods, Heghnar Watenpaugh, Mondays 1:10-4, Everson Hall157, CRN 20761

Description: Close study of selected recent developments in interpretive methodology used by art historians and other analysts of visual culture and the place of those developments within art history’s history and in the larger field of social, cultural and historical analysis.

ENL 290F: Creative Writing, Fiction, Lucy Corin, Thursdays 12:10-3PM, Voorhies Hall 248

Description: Writing of prose fiction. Evaluation of written materials and individual student conferences.

Spring 2022

DES 222, James Housefield, Fridays 12:10 - 3 PM

Description: Seminar—3 hours; independent study. Prerequisite: course 221; graduate standing in Design or consent of instructor. Focused on research methods and critical writing related to design topics including case studies, original and secondary sources, critical reviews. Expectation of a paper meeting professional standards suitable for publication from each student at end of course. Requires commitment to an advance-scheduled weekly session with writing tutor, 30 minutes, independent of class.

EDU 248: Academic Language and Literacies, Dr. Kerry Enright, R 12:10-3:00pm CRN 61592

In this course, we examine, and sometimes problematize, theories and research on academic language and literacies, with particular attention to their applications in classrooms enrolling racialized and language minoritized learners. Readings will include theoretical and empirical work related to K-12 classrooms in the United States. Depending on student interest and areas of inquiry, readings may also address heritage and world language instruction in higher ed or international contexts. Typically, students will use basic qualitative methods to gather and analyze classroom language and literacy data. If pandemic concerns make this challenging in Spring 2022, students may choose to collaborate on data collection or draw from the instructor’s existing data sets for analysis and final papers. GGE Students may count this course toward the “Advanced Research Methods” requirement with consent of their advisor.

EDU 249: Classroom Discourse Analysis, Dr. Kerry Enright, M 1:40-4:30pm, CRN 62364

Classrooms are complex sites of discursive interaction. Discourse norms and routines are shaped by interactions among teachers’ language ideologies and curricular objectives, students’ diverse communicative repertoires and goals, and the materials and technologies of the classroom. Texts from classroom discourse analysts employing critical discourse analytic (Rymes, 2016) and microethnographic (Bloome, 2022) perspectives will guide us in data collection and analysis for individual or group projects. Readings of foundational and contemporary studies of classroom discourse will contextualize the potential and limitations of these methods and help us to articulate important questions related to teaching, learning, and educational justice that can be explored through classroom discourse analysis. While the methods texts center English-medium U.S. classrooms, students interested in bilingual and second language settings in the U.S. and internationally have found the course helpful. Empirical work on the syllabus will be selected based on the interests and needs of the students who enroll.

MUS 223: Topics in Ethnomusicology, Juan Diego Diaz, CRN 62323, T 1:10 – 4

Description: Ethnography is a research method developed by anthropologists to study people’s cultures through deep immersion. Music and dance scholars, especially ethnomusicologists and ethnochoreologists, have adapted it to understand how and why people make music and dance relevant in their lives. In this seminar we will discuss what ethnography, as method and practice, may offer for the study of music and dance in the context of culture and what are its practical and ethical pitfalls. Students will learn about the intellectual history of musical/dance ethnography and the concept of fieldwork (what are the “field” and the “work”?) through reading and discussion of analytical texts and selected ethnographies. We will also learn, criticize, and apply the standard techniques of participant observation, interviewing, learning musical/dance repertoires, audio and video recording, and fieldnotes taking. Finally, digital and multi-sited ethnography, as well as the critical concept of ethnographic refusal will be discussed. Students will apply the learned concepts and techniques in a final essay based on an original mini-ethnography focusing on a topic of their own choice.  

This seminar is primarily geared toward graduate students in music, dance, and performance studies and secondarily to students from other departments who are interested in researching musical and dance traditions. Students outside the Music Department are NOT required to have performance experience or prior knowledge of music theory.

Winter 2022

PFS 259 Performance Writing, Jon Rossini, (crn TBA), R, 2:10 – 5

Description TBD


PFS 265A Media Theory / Media Practice, Patrick LeMieux, W, 12:10 – 3, crn 36431, Cruess 1106

This graduate course introduces students to the interlinked fields of media theory and media practice. In this class we will read, think, talk, make, and critique media together. Starting with a range of historical and critical approaches to media, we will examine how the field of media studies has been shaped by multiple disciplines ranging from information theory and cybernetics to cultural studies and critical theory to infrastructure studies and environmentalism. Then, engaging practice-based research methodologies including media archaeology, platform/software/code studies, text mining and data analysis, video essay and game design, we will enrich our relationships to our objects of study. How do we think about issues of human embodiment, identity, materiality, economy, and ecology in relation to the history of media technologies? Beyond using the term ​media​ as a descriptor for either technological platforms or communication protocols, this course investigates what a practical and philosophical understanding of media offers us for living in the twentieth-first century. Previous technical experience is not required, but this is a graduate level course and will proceed at a brisk pace. Students should come to class ready to engage complex readings, hands-on prototyping, in-class discussion, and rigorous critique.


ANT 210 / PFS 265A Aspects of Cultural Structures: The Experimental Real, Cristiana Giordano (Remote Fridays 9:00 am – 11:50 am CRN 12205)

What constitutes the “real”? This is a question that both anthropology and the performing arts ask in their respective practices of representation and writing. In this seminar, we will approach this question by working at the threshold of different disciplines and drawing from the performing arts and humanities a more visceral non-representational relation to the “real.” We will explore experiments in ethnographic research and writing that play between truth and representation, translation and creation, and with the emergence of new languages and worlds in the stories we tell and write as ethnographers, artists, and performers. These experiments will allow us to explore ways of decolonizing scholarship in a broader sense. In anthropology, scholars have initially emphasized the importance of reclaiming our interlocutors as intellectuals with stories, voices, and theories of their own. This project has created new methods across disciplines that enable new engagements with worlds and challenge the usually unquestioned form of single-authored writing and the centrality of written text. This seminar is a cross pollinations between anthropology and the arts and explores different forms of collaboration.

We will ask questions such as: What does it mean to document, describe, analyze, and critique when we work at the threshold of the “real” and the imaginary? What is a “documentary,” and what relations does it bear to fiction and poetry? What is an “experiment,” and what does it mean to experiment with forms of rendering “reality”? How can we decenter text as a way of writing the empirical, all the while working with words and transcripts, archives and stories? What kinds of collaborations can we create among different forms, interlocutors, sites, genres, practices, and materials? How do we move from our ethnographic, archival, visual, and sonic research material into a text, film, installation, or performance?

This seminar is intended for graduate students engaging in the task of textual and non-textual representation and creation, whether they are writing papers, dissertations, preparing to do fieldwork, making performances, and other artistic practices. The seminar has three components: 1) Readings and discussions; 2) Writing workshops where participants share drafts of their writings/creations and reflect on their processes of experimentation; 3) some embodied practice. Each seminar meeting is organized around practices to revitalize our relation to our respective empirical material, engagement with theory, and creating our own texts. We will conduct collaborative experiments with form and content.


PFS 265D Theory of Performance Studies: The Story With Story: Learning from Doc Praxis Now, Prof. Julie Wyman, (T 1:10 – 4pm, Art Annex Seminar Room, CRN 45688)

This seminar will consider – and creatively engage with – the limitations of story, and the possibilities of media work that eschews or resides beyond or outside of story. We will hone media production skills while engaging in a series of creative experiments and interventions. The course is anchored by the online community  “Beyond Story” manifesto (Alexandra Juhasz and Alisa Lebow, 2018) and extends into a close reading of the Spring 2021 V5 World Records journal issue, including live conversations with a selection of its authors, viewings of related media works, and creative responses to the idea of “Beyond Story.”


EVH 200 Environmental Humanities Elizabeth Miller and Louis Warren (W 12:10 PM – 3:00 PM Voorhies 120 CRN 45365)

EVH200 is the core seminar for graduate students from various disciplinary backgrounds in the humanities and beyond with an interest in pursuing the new Designated Emphasis (DE) in Environmental Humanities. The seminar will introduce participants to key issues, themes, questions, and debates in the field through discussions of classic and contemporary readings in the main fields that have contributed to environmental humanities scholarship. In addition to close engagement with specific texts, emphasis will be placed on high-level understanding of the history of the field and the interrelationships between its various elements and on the most significant questions in current research. By the end of the seminar, students will be able to situate any environmental humanities project in its historical, aesthetic, and ideological contexts, and to understand how environmental scholarship in their home disciplines connect to work carried on in other fields. Students will also be introduced to the institutional infrastructure of the environmental humanities, including university programs, journals, academic presses, and professional organizations, and to key pedagogical modes such as field teaching.

Classic and contemporary readings in environmental history, eco-criticism, environmental philosophy and ethics, geography, design, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, eco-arts, and other fields that make up the environmental humanities.


ANT 206 Research Methods of Social Anthropology, Smriti Srinivas (R 12:10pm – 3:00pm Young Hall 224 CRN 45200)

Formulation of research problems and preparation of research proposals; relationships between theory and method, funding, pre-fieldwork preparations, entering the community, field research techniques, and problems of ethics; intensive work on proposal writing.


DES 222 Research Methods and Critical Writing for Design, James Housefield (4 units, Seminar – 3 hours CRN 18982)

Independent study. Prerequisite(s): DES 221 and graduate standing in Design or consent of instructor. Focused on research methods and critical writing related to design topics, including case studies, original and secondary sources, and critical reviews. Course expectations include a substantial weekly reading and writing workload including engagement with advanced critical and theoretical works, and completion of a paper meeting professional standards, suitable for publication, at the end of the course. PFS or other graduate students wishing to enroll should petition Professor James Housefield with a brief letter detailing their interests, focusing on the relation of their work to the field of Design, and an accompanying current CV. Admission to the course will be contingent upon space available and the specific relevance of the petitioning students’ needs. Write to


ENG 287 Topics in Literature and Media: Money as Medium, Stephanie Boluk (T R 12:10 – 3:00pm 120 Voorhies, CRN 23675)

Is money one of the first forms of digital media? Or, even more simply, what is money? How do transformations in media affect the way money operates? Since the 2008 financial crisis, the socially constructed and unstable status of money has become even less self-evident than it once pretended to be. From cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to virtual commodities like Counter-Strike gunskins to NFTs recent experiments with money are calling into question this symbolic form of communication. In order to better understand the materiality and effects of money, this course will undertake a survey of the various historical technologies of currency, from ancient coins and paper banknotes to ultrafast algorithmic trading, crowdfunding, and alternative currencies. How do changes in the money form shape transformations in perception (fetishism, visuality, attention economies), shifts in the built environment (gentrification, the slum, digital spaces, and augmented realities), and spark geopolitical conflicts (colonialism, racism, imperialism, rentier capitalism)? In conjunction with broader historical and theoretical readings on money, we look at some contemporary cases that examine the relationship between computation and finance.

Assignments: 15-20 page paper or comparable project, participation + presentation in class


WMS 201 001 Special Topics: The Settler Colonial Question, Beenash Jafri (R 2:10pm – 5:00pm Hart Hall 1208, CRN 44197)

Explores in depth a topic in feminist theory and research related to the research interests of the instructor.


Fall 2021

PFS 200 Methods & Materials in Theatre Research, Lynette Hunter M 2-5pm, crn 44988

Description TBD.


STS 200 Theories and Methods, Colin Milburn (T 9 – 11:50, CRN 51451)

Description TBD.


DRA 254 - Margaret Kemp

Description TBD.


CRI 200A – Kris Fallon

Description TBD.


DES 221 – Simon Sadler

Description TBD.


ANT 201 – Tarik Elhaik

Description TBD.


SOC 225 – Laura Grindstaff

Description TBD.


MUS 221 – Beth Levy

Description TBD.


NAS 254 – Inez Hernandez-Avila

Description TBD.


NAS 233 – Halleah Tsinhnahjinnie

Description TBD.


NAS 200 – Jessica Perea

Description TBD.


Spring 2021

MUS 223 - Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music and Missionaries, Henry Spiller,(CRN 62179), T 9:00-11:50 via ZOOM

Description TBD.


NAS 224 / PFS 265C Performance in the Americas, Zoila Mendoza, (W, 2:10 – 5:00pm, CRN 62446)

Description TBD.


STS 210 - Brains, Machines, Media, Tim Lenoir, (R, 1:10 – 4 CRN 62459)

Description TBD.


Winter 2021

PFS 265C - Performance Studies: Performance & Society, Fiamma di Montezemolo (W 9 -11:50)

Description TBD.


PFS 265A - Performance Studies: Modes of Production, Patrick LeMieux (W 12:10 – 3 CRN 45516)

Description TBD.


MUS 221 / PFS 259 - Music Interactions: Texts, Contexts, Performance, Pierpaolo Polzonetti (R 1:10 – 4)

Description TBD.


MUS 223 / PFS 265B - Ethnomusicology: Transcription of Music and Dance, Juan Diego Diaz (T 1:10 – 4)

Description TBD.


DRA 253 / PFS 259 Approaches to Collaboration / Performance of Non-Fiction, Larry Bogad (T, R 1:10 – 4)

Description TBD.


SOC 295 / PFS 265B Sociology of the Body, Maxine Craig (R 11 – 1:50)

Description TBD.


ANT 210 / PFS 265C On Stories, Narratives, and the Unsaid, Cristiana Giordano (R 9 - 11:50)

Description TBD.


COM 210 / FRE 214, Laughter and the Body, Noah Guynn (W 4:10 – 7)

Description TBD.


Fall 2020

PFS 200 - Methods & Materials in Theatre Research, Lynette Hunter M 2-5pm

Description TBD.


PFS 265A - Performance Studies: Modes of Production, Lynette Hunter W 2-5pm

Description TBD.


ANT 210 / PFS 265B - Another University Is Possible, Joseph Dumit and Michelle Murphy (T 12-3pm, CRN: 22201)

Description TBD.


AHI 200A - Visual Theory, Heghnar Watenpaugh, (M 2-5pm CRN 20756)

Description TBD.


GER 297 - Graduate Film Studies: The Case of Cinema in Germany, Jaimey Fisher

Description TBD.


Spring 2020

SOC 295 / PFS 265B - Sociology of the Body (and embodiment), Maxine Craig, (T, 10 – 12:50, CRN 81829) SOC SCI 1291

Description TBD.


NAS 224 / PFS 265C - Performance in the Americas, Zoila Mendoza, (W 9 - 11:50, CRN 84158)

Description TBD.


CRI 200C - History of Critical Theory, Kris Fallon, (M 2:10 – 5, CRN 59260, ARTANX 112)

Description TBD.


ART 290 - Developing language around your individual art practice, Darrin Martin

Description TBD.


PFS 265D - Theories of Performance, Jon Rossini, (W 2:10 – 5, Wright 222, CRN 76276)

Description TBD.


STS 205 / PFS 265A - Practicing Research, Researching Practice. Virtual Experiments, Joe Dumit, (T 3:10-6pm, Cruess 234 (Modlab) CRN 84788)

Description TBD.


MUS 221 - Music in California, Beth Levy, (W 9 – 11:50, 230 Music, CRN 73704)

Description TBD.


PFS 298 / DRA 198 - Socially Engaged Performance, Caro Novella / Lynette Hunter, (W 2:10 – 5, Della, CRN 76310)

Description TBD.


Winter 2020

AHI 250Topics in Art History on cultural heritage, war and conflict

Description TBD.


NAS 202Indigenous Ecological Law and Policy

Description TBD.


PFS 265COppositional Performance and Social Movements, Larry Bogad, (W 3:10 – 6, CRN 68264, Wright 222)

Description TBD.


CRD 249Innovative Media and Community Development, Jesse Drew, (T, 10 – 1, Wellman 25, CRN 76699)

Description TBD.


ANT 210 / PFS 265A – Cristiana Giordano, (W 12:10 – 3, 222 Wright)

Description TBD.


Fall 2019

AHI 200AVisual Theory, Heghnar Watenpaugh

Description TBD.


PFS 200 – Methods, Materials and Performance Research, Lynette Hunter, (M 2:10 – 5)

Description TBD.


ANT 210Fieldwork in Art History (aesthetic anthropology), Tarik Elhaik

Description TBD.


PFS 265AModes of Production: Game/Design/Philosophy, Stephanie Boluk and Patrick Lemieux, (W 3:10 – 6, 201 Sprocket)

Description TBD.


DRA 252Time / Space / Place, Peter Lichtenfels, (T / R 2:10 – 4)

Description TBD.


CRI 200CGhosts of the Machine, Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli, (M 1:10 – 4)

Description TBD.


STS 200Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies, Colin Milburn, (W 9 - 11:50)

Description TBD.


Spring 2019

EDU 292 - Experiential Learning, Cary Trexler, (Th 1:10-4, Academic Surge 2377 CRN 92612)

Description TBD.


PFS 265D - Queer Performance: Histories and Theories, Elizabeth Freeman, Th 3:10 - 6, 308 Voorhies

Description TBD.


STS 205 / PFS 265B - Bodies, Embodiments, Affects, Movements, Joe Dumit, (W 2:10 – 5, SSH 1246 CRN 92999)

Description TBD.


SOC 295 - Health, Culture, and Inequalities, Ming-Cheng Lo,2269 SSH Bldg 2269.

Description TBD.


DRA 251 - Scripting and Scoring

Description TBD.


SOC 295 - Buy-ology: Culture, Environment and the Sociology of Consumption, Rafi Grosglik, (W 9:00 – 11:50 AM, Social Science & Humanities Rm 1291)

Description TBD.


Winter 2019

PFS 259 / CRN 46351 - Contemporary Performance, Margaret Kemp, (M 2:10-5pm, Wright)

Description TBD.


PFS 265C - Performance and Society, Fiamma Montezemolo, (M 3-6pm Della)

Description TBD.


ANT 206 - Grant Writing, Joe Dumit, (Wed 2-5p, SSH 1246)

Description TBD.


MUS 223 - Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music and (Bodily) Movement, Henry Spiller, (T 1:10 – 4:00 pm, Everson 266)

Description TBD.


GER 297 - Life Writing Graphic Novels and the Holocaust, Elizabeth Kramer (T 2:10-5 pm, 109 Olson Hall, CRN 37017)

Description TBD.


STS 250 - Faciality, K. Ravetto-Biagioli, (T 12:10-3:00, CRN 55382)

Description TBD.


ENG 290F - Creative Writing: Fiction, Lucy Corin (Thurs 12:10-3pm, 120 Voorhies)

Description TBD.


Fall 2018

PFS 265 B - Signification and the Body, Maxine Craig

Description TBD.


CST 210 / HMR 200B - Memory, Culture, and Human Rights (CRN 43098 / CRN 43145)

Description TBD.


PFS 298 - Performance Writing, Jon Rossini. (Wed 10a-12p Wright 222, CRN 34660)

Description TBD.


PFS 298 / STS 298 - Critical and Creative Embodiment: Practicing Research and Researching Practice, Joe Dumit (Tue 2-5p, Wright 222)

Description TBD.


Comp. Lit. 210Chinese Cinema, Sheldon Lu (R 2:10-5:00P, 3 Wellman Hall, CRN 16710)

Description TBD.


Spring 2018

PFS 265 BSignification and the Body, Maxine Craig

Description TBD.


MUS 221 - Topics in Music History, Carol Hess

Description TBD.


MUS 223Ethnomusicology, Juan Diego Diaz

Description TBD.


CRI 200CSovereignty, Kriss Ravetto

Description TBD.


FMS 125Epic Television: The Golden Age of TV, Jaimey Fisher

Description TBD.


Winter 2018

GER 241 - The German Drama: The Anti-Aristotelian Tradition, Gail Finney

Description TBD.


MUS 210C - Proseminar in Ethnomusicology, Henry Spiller

Description TBD.


AHI 190/290 - Cultural Heritage in Wartime, Prof Watenpaugh

Description TBD.


CRD 249 - Innovative Media and Community Development,  Jesse Drew

Description TBD.


PFS 259 - Trans Feminist Performance: Queering Ecology, Jean Vaccaro

Description TBD.


PFS 259 - Voice For Performance, Margaret Kemp

Description TBD.


PFS 259 - First Person: Embodiment and Performativity in Virtual Reality, Patrick LeMieux

Description TBD.


STS 298 - Transplant, Quimera Rosa.

Description TBD.


CDM 163 - Between the White Cube and the Black Box, Fiamma di Montezemolo

Description TBD.


PFS 265A / CRI 200C - History of Critical Theory, Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli

Description TBD.


ENL 290 - Creative Writing: Hybrid Writing Practices, Lucy Corin

Description TBD.


PFS 265C / NAS 224 - Performance in the Americas, Zoila Mendoza

Description TBD.


EDU 230 - Critical Race Theory in Education, Patricia Quijada

Description TBD.


WMS 201 - Feminist Science and Democracy,  Sara Giordano

Description TBD.


Fall 2017

GER 297 - Graduate Film Studies; The Case of Cinema in Germany, Fisher

Description TBD.


ENL 280 – Digitizing the Early Modern (M 12:10-3:00 PM)

Description TBD.


MUS 210B - Proseminar in Musicology/Criticism, Beth Levy

Description TBD.


PFS 298 Sec. 10 - Performance Writing, Jon D. Rossini,W (12:10-2:00 PM Wright 222 CRN: 54493)

Description TBD.


DES 225 - Studio Practice in Design, Glenda Drew, M 9-11:50 AM Cruess Hall 256

Description TBD.


AHI 200AVisual Theory, Professor Watenpaugh, (TR 3:10-6 PM)

Description TBD.


STS 200 - Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies, Colin Milburn, (T 9 AM-12 PM)

Description TBD.


REL 230F - Visual, Cultural, Media Technology Circulation of Culture: South Asian Documentary Cinema, Gargi Sen (W 3:10-6:00)

Description TBD.


Spring 2017

WMS 200B 001 - Feminist Research, Rana Jaleel

Description TBD.


MUS 221 - Music and Nature/Ecomusicology, Beth Levy

Description TBD.


DRA 158 - Tactical Performance, Lawrence Bogad

Description TBD.

Winter 2017

PFS 259 / DRA 253 - Approaches to Collaboration: Performance of Non-Fiction, Larry Bogad (Wed 10-12:50pm)

Description TBD.


PFS 265A / DRA 265A - Lynette Hunter (M 2:10 – 5, Wright 220)

Description TBD.


PFS 259 - Theorizing Media and Performance, Gina Bloom (W 2:10 – 5, 248 Voorhies)

Description TBD.


GSW 200A - Feminist Theory, Wendy Ho

Description TBD.


CRI 200A – Approaches to Critical Theory, Kris Fallon (W, 2:10-5:00pm)

Description TBD.


ANT 210 - Affect and Representation, Cristiana Giordano

Description TBD.


Fall 2016

PFS 200 - Methods and Materials, Fiamma Montezemolo, (Tue 2:10 - 5 PM)

Description TBD.


STS 210 / ANT 210 - Conspiracy/Theory, Joseph Dumit & Joe Masco, (Wed 12:10-3 PM)

Description TBD.


ANT 201 - Reading Ethnography, Tarek Elhaik, (W 9-11:50 AM)

Description TBD.


GER 262 - Studies in Turn-of-the-Century Culture, Gail Finney, (Wed 2-5 PM)

Description TBD.


CST 204 - History and Theory of Sexualities, Christina Perez (visiting scholar)

Description TBD.


Art History 200A - Visual Theory, Heghnar Watenpaugh (Wed 2:10-5 PM)

Description TBD.


SOC 292A - Field Methods, Laura Grindstaff, (Wed 3:10-6pm)

Description TBD.


ENL 262 – Lady Sings the Blues: Blues, Literature, and Black Feminism, Danielle Heard

Description TBD.


Winter 2016

PFS 259 – Contemporary Performance, Lynette Hunter

Description TBD.


PFS 265C – Performance and Society, Larry Bogad

Description TBD.


Fall 2015

PFS 200 – Methods and Materials in Theatre Research, Lynette Hunter

Description TBD.


Spring 2015

PFS 265B – Signification and Body, Maxine Craig

Description TBD.


Winter 2015

PFS 265A – Modes of Production, Lynette Hunter

Description TBD.


PFS 259 – Contemporary Performance, Larry Bogad

Description TBD.




Music 223 Topics in Ethnomusicology, Professor: Henry Spiller (
Topic: Music and Missionaries (CRN 62179)
Syllabus: Spring 2021, T 9:00-11:50 am, via Zoom

Course Description and Objectives: In this seminar we will explore (1) the role(s) that music has played in missionizing various religious belief systems (Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, among others), and (2) the various role(s) missionaries have played in documenting, modifying, eliminating, and/or preserving the indigenous musical practices they encountered.

In addition to shared class activities, each participant will develop an individual research project on a topic of their choice that expands on some of the concepts discussed in the seminar and will present the results of this research in both a term paper and in a public presentation.



PFS 265A Lynette Hunter

DRA 253 / PFS 259) Approaches to Collaboration/Performance of Non-Fiction, Larry Bogad (T 1-4pm) 

Description: An exploration of different approaches to collaboration among artists in different media and their influence on the creative process. This is a practical performance workshop class, emphasizing the creation of original performances based on non-fictional texts.  These can range from newspaper articles, historical primary sources, declassified government documents, eyewitness accounts, lists of chemical ingredients, instructional manuals, etc.  Students should choose a subject matter that ignites their passion/anger/sense of humor and explore it widely and deeply. Students will advance their work through weekly five-minute performances (“challenge performances”) based on a weekly challenge/theme.  *Students support each other in the creation of their pieces; each student will create a piece that they are responsible for, but with the collaborative support of at least one other student.  This ideally will be self-organized within the community of the group, but if need be, we can create a structure/graph for this in class.  Students will present them to the class and exchange constructive suggestions/feedback.  We may change or add to the challenges listed in the syllabus depending on the progress or passions of the class. Feel free to interpret the challenges wildly or bizarrely—but do address them.


MUS 221 / PFS 259) Music Interactions: Texts, Contexts, Performance Pierpaolo Polzonetti

This graduate seminar focuses on textuality in the context of music performance. It addresses questions such as, where is or what is the text when we shift focus from written texts to performance? Is performance reading, quoting, paraphrasing or rewriting? How do we understand the interaction among authors, performers, and audiences? How does the medium or venue of performance change the meaning or perception of the text? Students will read and discuss essays in the fields of philosophy, literary theory, performance studies, and musicology. We will explore a variety of samples from early music, addressing the concept of ‘authenticity’, opera, addressing theatricality and movement as part of the ‘text’, and jazz, addressing collaborative authorship and improvisation. We will explore methods and ideas on how to describe, transcribe, and analyze performing-arts events in their multi-media complexity involving interaction in sound production and movement. Students who will take this seminar in tandem with Professor Diaz’s class on transcription in ethnomusicology are encouraged to produce one single final project, engaging with both professors and seminar groups. The ability to read and analyze music is not a prerequisite. The final outcome can be a traditional scholarly paper or a sample of research through practice, possibly combining text and performance.


MUS 223 Topics in Ethnomusicology: Transcription of Music and Dance Prof:Juan Diego Diaz (Music)

This course is concerned with musical and dance transcription, that is, the graphic representation of musical sound and its associated dance practices. Transcription is a tool that has served musicians, dancers, scholars, and educators from different cultures and periods to deepen their understanding of music and dance, facilitate the creative process, and communicate and reinforce their reflections and analyses. Music and dance scholars, especially ethnomusicologists and choreomusicologists, routinely use transcription to notate and analyze the musical and dance practices they study, which frequently come from oral traditions or lack available scores. In doing, so they may adapt methods held to be universal such as Western staff notation or the Laban method, culture-specific methods such as Korean Jeongganbo, or propose their own. //  What is gained and lost when we transcribe music and dance from oral traditions? What are the ethical dimensions of this practice? What notational systems are more appropriate for certain kinds of analyses or repertoires? How can the analytical exercise of transcription work in tandem with other forms of analysis such as historical or discourse analysis? What is gained when we examine music and dance as an inseparable unit? // This seminar is primarily geared towards graduate students in music, dance, and performance studies and secondarily to students from other departments who are interested in musical and dance traditions. (Please notice that students from outside the Music Department are NOT required to know any notational method beforehand.) In the seminar students will improve or develop their transcription skills, analyze music and dance from a variety of performance traditions from around the world, read and discuss scholarship about transcription, learn, apply, and critique existing transcription techniques, and ideally develop their own methodologies and notational systems. During weekly workshop-like meetings, the class will comment on and constructively critique each other’s transcriptions, interact with guests who have developed their own notational solutions, and contextualize their discussions with academic readings. Students will also complete a large-scale final essay (a transcription and prose analysis of an audio visual recording, chosen in consultation with the instructor) and present their findings to the class in a conference format. // Students who will take this seminar in tandem with Professor Polzonetti’s seminar Music Interactions: Texts, Contexts, Performance, are encouraged to produce one single final project, engaging with both seminars at once.


FALL 2020

ANT 210 / PFS 265B Feminist and Decolonial Technoscience Studies: Another University is Possible

This course looks to Feminist, Black, and Indigenous technoscience studies efforts to imagine other ways of knowing, being, researching, and learning.  It takes a desire-based approach, asking, what kind of university, what kinds of knowledges does one want to cultivate when engaging with technoscience. Since this class is within the university, we take up the question of what possibilities for cultivating more justice relations and recognizing many worlds are possible here, now, without deferring to a better moment. The class will emphasize readings and responses to readings that take up this task, but will also be committed to playing and experimenting with the format of the classroom and online platforms in this moment when we are assembling virtually together during challenging times. What can our class do in its practices to conjure another university?  What otherwise possibilities are already here?  

An aspiration and struggle of the course is to think and write for desired futures and tactically for surviving in the present.

This is a two university course between WGS1004 at the University of Toronto taught by Prof Murphy and ANT210 at University of California Davis taught by Prof. Dumit. Our two universities have different start times and that is reflected in the schedule.  We are excited to be thinking across places and disciplines about this course. 



MUS 221 Topics in Music History: Music in California, Beth Levy

Course Description: This course explores the diversity of music making in California, including Bay Area and Los Angeles institutions, as well as some local history.  While most of our readings will treat classical, jazz, and film music and institutions from the 20th century, students may select from any genre or time period for their individual projects, which will culminate in final presentations during the last week(s) of the quarter.


FALL 2019

CRI 200C

Course Description: This course traces the relationship of technological inventions such as the camera, the gramophone, and the Turing machine to human perception.  It explores how emerging media disrupt sense perceptions, creating doubles, forms of re-animation of the dead, memories, or historical events, and specters and ghosts in the machine. We will analyze the impact of the ghostly on the social imaginary and modes of communication. Course assignments require students to analyze audiovisual media and make critical arguments about them.


AHI 200A

Course Description: Close study of selected recent developments in interpretive methodology used by art historians and other analysts of visual culture and the place of those developments within art history’s history and in the larger field of social, cultural and historical analysis.


STS 200 Colin Milburn

Course Description: This graduate seminar focuses on theories and methods in science and technology studies (STS). Students will be introduced to major authors, works, and movements that have shaped the interdisciplinary field of STS, attending to intersections of the history and philosophy of science, the anthropology and sociology of science, and literary and cultural studies of science. Students will gain a strong foundation in a variety of STS approaches and concepts: constructivism; sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK); actor-network theory; gender studies of science; rhetoric and semiotics of scientific writing; scientific trading zones; experimental systems; and others. The seminar is designed for graduate students interested in adding STS methods to their scholarly toolkits.



Edu 292 Experiential Learning, Cary Trexler, (Th 1:10-4, Academic Surge 2377 CRN 92612)

This course focuses on historical and contemporary philosophical, theoretical, and practical perspectives related to experiential learning in formal and non-formal settings.  The course is targeted at those who are interested in how to design experiences that promote affective, psychomotor, and cognitive learning. Specifically, the course is designed for those who are interested in designing authentic learning experiences for school aged and adult learners in such settings as: environmental outdoor camps, Farmer Field Schools, science museums, short and long term agricultural extension trainings, and K-12 classrooms.  After reviewing the philosophical and theoretical foundations of experiential learning, student in this course will design, develop, and teach experienced-rich lessons related to their interests to others in the course.

Cary Trexler worked as a high school agriculture, biology and health teacher in California and Vermont early in his career.  He also served as a school administrator in Michigan for an elementary science education program that used food, agriculture, renewable resources, and the environment as a context for instruction. Cary also has extensive experience working in international development contexts designing and implementing agricultural and environmental extension programs that engage people in experiences that promote behavioral change.


SOC 295 Buy-ology: Culture, Environment and the Sociology of Consumption, Rafi Grosglik, (W 9:00 – 11:50 AM, Soc.Humanities Rm 1291)

This course explores the ways in which consumption was formed as a major source of identity and citizenship, and as a driving force of global, local and national politics and economies. We will analyze the appearance and development of consumer society(ies), namely the social spheres in which the accumulation of material goods has become extremely important for individuals and the larger culture. A general aim of this course is to facilitate students’ grasp of how major works in sociology of consumption and material culture can help us think about the conceptualization and analysis of notions such as: consumer culture, ethical consumption, global commodity chain, the social life of things, cultural consumption, shared economy, green consumption and anti-consumption. The course will begin by offering a theoretical overview of the relationship between social structure and consumption patterns. Following that, we will consider sociological critiques of global capitalist production. Through engagement with theories of sociology of consumption, we will ask what role consumerism plays in the societies from both the Global North and the Global South. We will learn how possession of goods, commodities and technologies intersect with class, gender, ethnic and national hierarchies, desires and values. Next, we will discuss how social inequality and environmental problems might be related to consumption. We will also consider the ethics and politics surrounding consumption patterns and examine issues related to consumer activism and ethical consumption. Goals and Aims: A major aim of this course is to facilitate the efforts of graduate students in sociology (as well as geography, environmental studies, anthropology or, indeed, any field) who are interested in critical engagement in studies of consumption and material culture. The course also has a more practical aim – to help graduate students make progress toward their immediate goals, including: preparing for qualifying exams and advancing their own research. To this end, as a final assignment, students will write a synthetic essay on a topic of their choosing. Graduate students in this course will be encouraged to take an active part in a one-day symposium on Wednesday, April 26th at UC Davis on markets, movements and the politics of commodities.


SOC 295 Health, Culture, and Inequalities, Ming-Cheng Lo, (2269 SSH Bldg 2269.)

This seminar focuses on several key theoretically-informed questions in medical sociology, including: what are the dynamics of domination and power in the social field of healthcare? How is medicalization a form of social control? How are racial, gender, or class disparities reproduced or challenged in health-related policies and practices? How do illness experiences affect individuals’ – and their caretakers’ – identities?

We start with an investigation of the macro-historical contexts in which medicine achieved professional dominance in the US and, subsequently, healthcare became an expanding network of market-driven industry. We continue our discussion of macro forces of domination as we examine the regulatory power of the “medical gaze.” We then shift our attention to how meso-level social forces, in particular race, class, ethnicity, and gender, produce and reproduce health disparities, as these factors influence access to care, individuals’ social environment and “habitus,” doctor-patient interactions, etc. Also relevant here is the question of how and why the workforce of healthcare itself is stratified. We finish the quarter with an analysis of how individuals experience and narrate their health problems outside of the clinic – in their lifeworlds and with their own voices. Both as patients and caregivers, women and men endeavor to draw upon elements from their cultural repertoires to construct narratives about their (or their spouses’ or children’s) health problems – narratives that help them to make sense of how the illness is interrupting their identities and how they envision their future social selves.

Two groups of graduate students can potentially benefit from this course: those who are interested in medical sociology/anthropology and the sociology of health and illness, and the students who do not self-identify as medical sociologists but are interested in exploring the theoretical issues raised in the seminar.


PFS 265D Queer Performance: Histories and Theories, Elizabeth Freeman, Th 3:10 – 6, 308 Voorhies.

This course will sample a broad historical range of performance traditions that might conceivably be called “queer”: cross-dressing on the Early Modern English stage; 19th century minstrelsy; early 20th century Harlem cabaret; 1950s camp; 1980s vogue/ballroom culture; late 20th century trans* beauty pageants, 2000s karaoke, and global contemporary transgender performance.   We will look at these performance traditions through primary works of literature, film, and performance recording, alongside of critical readings that analyze the traditions themselves in terms of queer performance theory, and/or alongside of more general explorations of queer performance and performativity theory.  Students will present an “embodied critical act” of one reading once during the quarter, and may choose either a traditional final paper or a performance project with an accompanying analytic piece of writing explaining their performance and its relation to course materials. Readings TBA, as this course was reassigned to this instructor only very recently, but critics/theorists are likely to include Judith Butler, Joshua Chambers-Letson, Eric Lott, Martin Manalansan, José Esteban Muñoz, Esther Newton, Marcia Ochoa, Eve Sedgwick, and others.



PFS 265C Performance and Society Fiamma Montezemolo, (M 3-6pm Della)

In this seminar we will try to answer a series of key questions revolving around the relation between Performance and Society, with a special focus on the second term and its actual or in/actual conceptual relevance. What is a ‘society’? Is the ‘social’ something given, inalterable, contingent, tangible? What are those activities that are deemed to have a ‘social dimension’? Is the Social something that has kept its intrinsic meaning unchanged over time? Is the social a dimension exclusively pertaining to the human? And can society be ‘defended’? How is society related to politics and control? Moreover, what is the relation between society and community? We will attempt to engage these questions through a series of key texts by T.Bender, M.Foucault, G.Deleuze, A.Mbembe, C.Bishop, T.Rees, B.Latour, N.Rose, S.O’Sullivan as well as artists case studies including Teresa Margolles, Tania Bruguera, Pierre Huyghe, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and the collective Postcommodity.


STS 250 Faciality K. Ravetto-Biagioli, (T 12:10-3:00 CRN 55382)

With the invention of photography, cinema, and computational media the face has come to signify intensity and power (Deleuze), the bearing of the soul (Balasz), individuality (Lacan), truth, beauty, ideas (Barthes), and interiority as well as the most basic support of intersubjectivity (Levinas). Yet contemporary facial technologies allow us to inhabit other people’s faces and to modify our own. This course will examine the how the history of perception has been entangled with the image (eidolon) of the face, haptics (Descartes), and the neural processing of emotions, examining how the face came to be considered the interface between reception and expression. The course will consider how optical and visual technologies have transformed the way we think about and interact with the face. Readings from Plato, Kepler, Descartes, Darwin, Galton, Duchenne, Münsterberg, Balasz, Levinas, Flusser, Ekman, Deleuze and Guattari, Doane, Steimatzky, Gates, Galloway, Pearl, etc.


German 297 Life Writing Graphic Novels and the Holocost, Elizabeth Kramer (T 2:10-5pm, 109 Olson Hall CRN 37017)

This course examines the genre of life writing in the context of the Holocaust with particular attention to graphic novels. We will discuss texts on the genre of life writing (Thomas Couser), on the representation of the Holocaust (James Young), on the Holocaust and gender (Marianne Hirsch), and on graphic novels (McCloud). Texts to be discussed include Ruth Klüger’s Still Alive, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Miriam Katin’s Letting It Go, Barbara Yelin’s Irmina, and Nora Krug’s Heimat. Knowledge of German not required. All texts are available in English.


MUS 223 Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music and (Bodily) Movement Henry Spiller, (1:10 - 4:00 pm, Everson 266)

The modernist category of “music” is a disembodied thing–purely aural and mental, curiously disconnected from the gestural and physical phenomena that invariably accompany its sounds. This seminar explores approaches for examining how music encompasses human bodily movements. Through readings and discussions (and even occasional in-class moving) we will interrogate the conceptual boundaries erected between movement and music, explore the role of physical gestures in creating music, look at ways in which music suggests gestures, and examine how (disembodied) music accompanies aestheticized movement forms such as dance, marching, martial arts, film/video, and even (if somebody insists) synchronized swimming.


ENG 290F Creative Writing: Fiction, Lucy Corin, (Th 12:10-3pm, 120 Voorhies)

This is a graduate level fiction writing workshop. Priority is given to graduate students in creative writing. Students from other programs are welcome, space permitting, and interested students should send a writing sample (fiction) when requesting permission to enroll. My approach privileges intensity and awareness of language textures and narrative shape, and asks each student to make each new work press the boundaries (intellectual, emotional, formal) of previous work. Making an immaculate-feeling piece of art is the ultimate goal, and we will work toward making your stories as beautiful as they can be, but I am less interested in you crafting pieces that conform to an “ideal form” than I am in you challenging yourself artistically. Revision is essential to this challenge. You are expected, therefore, to engage in revision, not in order to be “done” with a work, but to deepen and push at a work. Consistent, thorough attention to peer fictions both in writing and in discussion is required. This quarter we’ll compile a reader of short fictions that includes some drawn from enrolled students’ recent reading practices. We’ll also read a couple of short novels. Right now I’m thinking we’ll read Mary Robison’s /Why Did I Ever/ and Horacio Castellanos Moya’s /The Dream of My Return/.


FALL 2018

CST 210 / HMR 200B Memory, Culture, and Human Rights, Professor Lazzara (Hart Hall 3114, Wednesdays 1:10-4 pm CRN 43098 /  CRN 43145)

Although “memory” has been a topic for intellectual reflection since classical antiquity, it has experienced an upsurge in academia since the 1980s, particularly due to the rise of Holocaust Studies and the urgent need to reflect on gross human rights violations around the world. Crossing the social sciences and humanities, memory has become a category for critical inquiry as well as a political and ethical imperative that links intellectual reflection to political activism in the aftermath of authoritarian regimes, genocide, and situations of violence. Furthermore, “memory studies” now find spaces of institutional legitimacy in the U.S. and abroad as master’s programs and specialized journals promote scholarship in this area.

What are memory studies? An autonomous field, a space of inquiry that permits certain kinds of interdisciplinary work? What kinds of work can be done within the rubric of memory studies? What are the limits, drawbacks, and untapped potential of this framework? This course looks at the productivity of “memory” as a lens through which to do cultural studies work; in so doing, it explores the multiple convergences among memory, culture, and human rights. We will discuss how societal actors in different historical, cultural, and national settings construct meanings of past political violence, inter-group conflicts, and human rights struggles. We will also work to acquire the critical vocabulary that scholars working in this area regularly use.

Readings will mostly be theoretical or conceptual in nature, although we will also discuss a few “primary” texts derived largely from Latin America, an area in which memory studies have firmly taken root. Given the limited time we have in the seminar, primary texts will touch on the literary genres of fiction and testimony, although students are welcome to engage with other cultural objects—film, music, memorials, etc.—in their individual projects. Additionally, seminar participants will be encouraged to draw parallels to other contexts and geographies that are relevant to their individual research programs.

This course serves as one of the two core graduate seminars for the DE in Human Rights:


Comparative Literature 210 Section 001 Chinese Cinema Sheldon Lu (R 2:10-5:00P 3 Wellman Hall CRN 16710)

This quarter we focus on the rich cinematic traditions of China. We begin with early Chinese cinema and move all the way to the twenty-first century. Students will explore the themes, styles, aesthetics, stars, and socio-political contexts of particular films as well as the evolution of entire film industries. Representative directors and internationally renowned filmmakers will be discussed, such as Xie Jin, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, Jiang Wen, Feng Xiaogang, and Jia Zhangke. We examine Chinese cinema as an outgrowth of indigenous, national roots as well as a necessary response to international film culture. We look at how films engage in social critique and cultural reflection, and how film artists react to the conditions and forces of socialist politics, capitalist economy, tradition, modernization, and globalization in Chinese-speaking regions. Companion course to COM 180 for graduate students. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in Comparative Literature, English, or a foreign-language literature, or consent of instructor (


PFS 298 Critical and Creative Embodiment: Practicing Research and Researching Practice (T 2-5p CRN: 34659)

As an anthropologist who studies the practice of research, I am very interested in “Practice as Research” (a term used in dance, art and performance work), “Research Creation” (in Canada and other places for the arts), and in general treating research as practice, and all practice as a type of research. Attending to practice indicates habits, sensitization, bodies, affects, embodiments, etc. Therefore my focus this fall is on how we practice (whoever joins the group is “we”) and whether that is the same as how we research (why, why not). One of the goals is that each of us learns more about what we do, and another is learning more how to talk about what we do, in terms of that are legible to others (for our future selves, for grants, for articles, and for collaborations).

There will be small readings each week to press upon these concepts and weekly practice and writing work – I really do believe that each style of writing (including academic) is a skill that gets better through practice and feedback.

Currently the class is scheduled for Tuesdays 2-5p. (I also have a slot Wed 12-3p that is possible). You sign up for it with the CRN 34659 – and let me know too so I can try to keep track. You have choose the credits and ideally you treat it as a 4-credit course.

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Melody Chiang


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