About the Program
“We understand performance as both an object of inquiry and as a lens through which to view the world.”
The PhD in Performance Studies started in 1996 with the following faculty: Sue-Ellen Case, Susan Foster, Janelle Reinelt, Barbara Sellers-Young, and W. B. Worthen. Since 2003 it has run in its current form as a genuinely interdisciplinary degree combining academic work that is theoretically and critically engaged with performance practice as research. The PFS graduate group is highly supportive of PhD students, who are encouraged to build personal research areas with active mentoring and within a strong graduate culture. Students coming into the program work with outstanding faculty whose areas of expertise cover a wide range of historical periods, media and approaches to performance studies.
The PhD offers a mainstream focus on criticism, history and theory, and a growing area of practice as research. ‘Practice as research’ is a term that is coming into use around the academic world to describe challenging graduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral research and critical reflection into various areas of performance practice and media. Candidates who would like to emphasize the practice as research strand must have at least ten to fifteen years of experience in professional performance fields or with professional media experience. The PhD criticism, history and theory strand has long roots in the faculty and University campus at Davis and continues to be the more popular option, and the new strand is developing and complementing its partner in exciting and energizing ways.