The DE in Studies in Performance and Practice offers Ph.D.
students who want to focus on process, methods for
approaching practice, or procedures for analyzing it from
experiment, ways of thinking about and articulating
performance as embodied knowledge.
Performance Studies consists of a critical way of thinking about
practices of communication, from film and stage performance, to
sports, religion, and everyday behavior, among many other areas.
As an academic discipline it has developed new ways of knowing
and new knowledge about the process of these activities rather
than the end products. The field of Performance Studies is
inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative, and interacts
closely with new media. Its roots lie in critical philosophy that
emerged in the second half of the twentieth century, and which
responded to increasingly disembodied ways of thinking about
human behavior. By focusing on process, situated learning,
embodied knowledge, and the interaction and interplay of theory
and practice, performance studies has defined ways of looking at,
interpreting, and interacting with actual human agents and their
Critical approaches in the field of Performance Studies include
methods developed in interaction with anthropology and
ethnography, rhetoric and the history of language, communication
and the media, philosophy and critical theory, cultural and
technocultural studies, film studies, environmental studies and
many other areas.
The goals of the Designated Emphasis are
to provide graduate students with a set of strategies for
thinking about how performance theory and practice can interact
to encourage students to develop ways of recognizing and acting
upon embodied knowledge
to train students to analyze and evaluate craft and production
that is in process and may or may not produce identifiable and
conventionally duplicatable end products
to develop the students’ capacity for interdisciplinary thinking
through practical application, critical analysis and theory.
The required courses are PFS 200, one of PFS 265a-d, and at least
two other courses given by faculty who are affiliated with the
Many students involved in courses that look at material that is
“in process” will produce conventionally assessable work in
formats appropriate to the different disciplinary areas in which
they take a course (for example: the essay). At the same time,
some work will also take place in practical projects or the
production of portfolio work.
The Ph.D. in Performance Studies is a four to five year program.
In the first two years of study, students develop an
understanding of performance by drawing from a range of regular
course offerings in the field to identify, explore, and define a
field or fields of research. Students are required to complete
four core courses out of nine. Each individual program is then
built from seminar and/or practice as research courses, as well
as independent or group studies.
PFS200: Methods, Materials and Performance Research
(4) Seminar–3 hours; term paper. Essential research tools in
theatre 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.
PFS265a: Modes of Production, Prof Lynette
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.
PFS265a/CST 295: Ghosts of the Machine, Prof
PFS265b: Signification and the Body, Prof
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
PFS265b/ANT 210: Cyborg Writing, Prof Joe Dumit
PFS265c: Performance and Society, Prof
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.
PFS265c/REL 230B, Prof Archana Venkatesen.
Comparative, interpretive study of the treatment of religion:
language, rhetoric, and performance (postcolonial studies)
PFS265d: Theory of Performance
Studies, Prof Jon Rossini.
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.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 units before
taking the qualifying examination.
Language and Unit Requirements
All students are required to have a good reading knowledge of a
language other than English; ideally, this language should be one
relevant to the field of dissertation research. This requirement
should be passed by the end of the second year of study, and must
be passed before the student will be approved to take qualifying
examination. Students passing the language requirement with
course work taken at another institution must demonstrate that
this course work is sufficiently recent to demonstrate a useful
working knowledge of the language. No more than 12 units may
be taken below the graduate level unless specifically approved by
the PhD graduate program adviser.
Graduate students in certain Ph.D. programs may participate in a
Designated Emphasis, a specialization that might include a new
method of inquiry or an important field of application which is
related to two or more existing Ph.D. programs.
Performance Studies Ph.D. students can get a DE in the
D.E. in African American and African Studies
Faculty Contacts: Halifu Osumare(firstname.lastname@example.org), Milmon