Courses: Spring 2013
Courses listed below are from many departments at the University of Washington, all relating to the study of performance in some way.
Comp Lit 303 - Black Contemporary Cinemas
Comp Lit 507 - History of Literary Criticism and Theory I
Comp Lit 596 - Contemporary Film Theory
African American Studies 498: Special Topics
Sonnet H. Retman
Black Aesthetics Drawing on both multi-media and print sources, including fiction, poetry, prose, films, polemics, historiography and speeches, this course will explore the idea of a black aesthetic in various cultural, historical and political contexts within the 20th century. Specifically, we will focus on three moments of burgeoning black cultural production tied implicitly or explicitly to political or social movements that attempt to harness art as a vehicle for change: the New Negro Movement of the 1920s and 30s, the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s and the Post-Soul/ Post-Black movement of the present. As we explore this series of debates about the possible grounds, contours and impact of black aesthetic practice waged by a range of activists, artists and intellectuals, we will consider works of art that push this lively, often heated conversation in new ways. We will analyze how particular notions of a black aesthetic construct racial politics through an engagement with class, gender, and sexuality.
Classics 445: Greek and Roman Religion
RELIGION majors only Period 1 (2/15/2013-3/3/2013)
Religion in the social life of the Greeks and Romans, with emphasis placed on their public rituals and festivals. Attention is given to the priesthoods, personal piety, rituals of purification and healing, and the conflict of religions in the early Roman Empire. Many lectures illustrated by slides. Recommended: JSIS B 201. Offered: jointly with JSIS 445.
Communications 495: The Tele-Novel: Seriality and Visual Storytelling
In this course we will examine three television serials that transcend the common practice of episodic TV entertainment and aspire on a variety of levels to the complexity and import of great literature (Heimat, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica). These are sweeping works of visual fiction that are conceived not as endless serials, but as stories with a beginning, middle, and end. In addition to identifying the marks of aesthetic practices that are unique to this genre, we will address the social, political, and ethical issues raised in novel ways by the shows. We will also investigate the material processes of production of each of the series: how do economic structures, financial constraints, institutional organizations, censorship (explicit or unspoken), and collaborative labor practices help to shape the final product on the small screen (and in the DVD box)? In each case, we will observe the material and social constraints imposed on writing and production from the outside as well as the rhetorical and artistic creation each series manages to achieve despite (or because of) these external forces. At all times we will be concerned with television as a collaborative enterprise, in which the creative ideas of writers, directors, actors, designers, and hosts of production workers must engage at many levels with economic and institutional systems in order to produce a work of art.
We will begin the course with forays into traditional genres that have influenced the form and content of the Tele-Novel. Shakespeare’s history plays, Homer’s oral epics, and Dickens’s serialized novels can be read as vying prototypes and templates for both the collaborative creative processes and the finished episodic wholes of the Tele-Novel. In addition to viewing multiple episodes of the TV shows under discussion, we will also read articles in the history and theory of television. Students will learn to practice both close and distant readings of the shows we watch.
This course is offered with German 390.
CHID 480: Indigenous Encounters
Maria E Garcia
The images of, ideologies about and insecurities over “Indians” have had a powerful impact all over the globe. In particular, since the first encounters between European and Native peoples in the territory now known as America (North, Central and South), the “imagined” Indian has played a critical role in shaping ideas of civilization, nationhood, and progress. This seminar explores these early discourses as well as more recent ones regarding the “return” of Indigenous peoples to public life. Additionally, in this course we will interrogate important debates about the relationship between social science and Indigenous struggles by exploring representations of Indigenous peoples in film, literature, the media, and academic writings. We will delve into ethnographic explorations of Indigenous struggles, and contemplate the implications of Indigenous resistance that has included the “post-modern” rebellion of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the emergence of transnational Indigenous intellectuals in universities and cyberspace, and the controversial tactics of gaming among Native Americans in the U.S. While our focus will be on the Americas, we will also consider the politics and poetics of Indigenous representations in other parts of the world. Finally, in this seminar we will critically examine central concepts like “culture,” “gender,” and “race” that are part of the discourses of authenticity and survival that shape the ways in which scholars, state officials, and Indigenous leaders and intellectuals engage each other.
Comp Lit 303: Black Contemporary Cinemas
C Lit 303 - Black Contemporary Cinemas is open to AIS, AES, CHID, ENGL, GWSS, DRAMA and C Lit students during Period 1 registration as well as students in performance studies. No prior film analysis knowledge is necessary.
C Lit 303 runs 4 days/ week with two days for screening and two days for lecture. While students are responsible to watch both films, unless otherwise indicated, most films will be streamed online so students can decide which screening day is best for them to attend regularly.
In this class we will look at a broad range of contemporary filmmakers from around the world who for whatever reason self-identify as Black from the 1970s to the present. Some of them were born in the US, some of were trained in the US and share citizenship elsewhere. If post-Obama does not mean post-racial, then what does it mean? And what does it mean to an American public who sees black faces more frequently on screens than ever before, screens where black men are allowed to kiss white women and black men are allowed to kiss each other. We will look at the challenges of black film authorship and will ask: What is at stake in African American cinema? What is the visceral, gut-level function of motion pictures in African American and Black communities? Can we speak of a distinctive practice given the diverse experiences and variable conditions that affect Black lives? What do motion pictures mean for people whose sense of home has been dislocated by migrations and fraught with attacks on their citizenship and humanity, largely through visual representation? We will also trouble notions of nation, ability, gender, sexuality and class as they locate and destabilize blackness.
Together through film watching and interactive lecture, we will explore our present moment and ask ourselves if black citizenship is still in question in America in the same ways it may or may not be around the world?
Comp Lit 507: History of Literary Criticism and Theory I
This course is the first in a series of survey courses on the history of literary criticism and theory in the West. It will concentrate on ancient literary theory from Plato to Augustine by way of Aristotle, ancient rhetoricians, Horace, Plutarch, Longinus and Plotinus. In addition to these core readings, students will be asked to give oral presentations based on modern commentaries on ancient texts (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze, Ricoeur, etc.)
This course fulfills the Ph.D. Program in Theory and Criticism requirements.
Comp Lit 596: Contemporary Film Theory
This course will focus on three key topics in contemporary film and media theory. The first section of the course will examine the recent revival of interest in the relationship between philosophy and cinema. Reading may include work by Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, and Slavoj Zizek. A second section will consider the role of archives and theories of the archive in recent cinema and media studies, with emphasis on both the collection and preservation of film and other images (that is, an archive viewed in the more technical sense of the term) and the documentary quality of moving images (that is, film and media serving as a form of historical object and testimony, as an archive in another sense). A third section will consider the challenges posed by new media to film studies, to philosophy, and to our understanding of the archive. Within all of these sections, the overarching goal of the course will be to study the extremes of film studies, from the abstractions of philosophy to the materiality of the archive and production conditions, and to introduce some of the diverse methods and perspectives at work in the discipline today.
Dance 515: Research Methods I
This course will introduce students to a range of research methodologies currently used in dance scholarship. These methodologies include: historical archival methods, oral history, ethnography, dance science, reconstruction, movement analysis, and cultural studies. We may also select additional topics (e.g., semiotics, phenomenology, aesthetics) to explore based on student interest. We will touch upon the history and disciplinary traditions out of which each method emerges and how it has been applied to dance research. Because methodologies are informed by theoretical perspectives, we will to a certain extent invoke discussion of different theories out of which they developed. However, the focus of the course will be on the specific tools researchers use in dance research—the what and how of dance research, rather than the why of it.The course culminates in students designing their own research project based in one or more of the methods introduced in the course.
Dance 490 B: Writing about Dance
The course will provide students with intensive practice in writing performance reviews from the dancer’s perspective and provide a historical overview of Western modern dance criticism from the 1930s to the present day. By the end of the quarter students will be able to communicate an informed and well-argued opinion about the role of the dance critic, the dance review and what the future may hold for the field of dance criticism. Writings will be built around observations of weekly video viewings and live performances.
Dance 490 C: Dance and Community
This course will offer students the opportunity to explore the concept of community and the potential of dance to create a heightened communal experience. Through a historical and cross-cultural examination of the relationship between community and dance, students will investigate the ways dance and movement are used to build a sense of community among individuals and the ways that communities employ dance as part of their rituals and spiritual pursuits, for social and political change, to empower marginalized groups, and bridge disparate groups. Students will also learn the ways that current artists are engaging with communities and will develop ideas for how they too can engage with their communities through art.
Although the course’s main focus will be dance, all explorations will be interdisciplinary. The topics addressed will include, but are not limited to: Victor Turner’s theory of communitas, William McNeill’s theory of muscular bonding, McMillan and Chavis’ theory of sense of community, and Robert Putnam’s theory of social capital; early community dance pioneer Rudolf Laban’s movement choirs and the artist colony Monte Verità where he began to develop his philosophy; the community-oriented institution of higher education, Black Mountain College; historical collaborative, community based organizations: New Dance Group, The Judson Dance Theater, The Grand Union; community dance projects; community-based choreographers: Liz Lerman, Tamar Rogoff, Jawolle Willa Jo Zollar, Anna Halprin; Pat Graney’s prison project, Sardono Kusomo’s work with communities in Indonesia, Trey McIntyre Project’s community engagement practices, Wagogo music and dance of Tanzania, Native American Pow-Wow, Haitian Vodou, trance and dance in Bali, raves, Burning Man, flash mobs, contact improvisation, and hip-hop.
Through theory, practice, and case studies, we will explore the meaning of community; theories related to community; the nature of collaborations, innovations, and sharing of ideas within communities; the experiences of artists who seek to involve communities in and with their work; and the integration of art within certain ethnic and religious communities.
We will engage with these topics through lectures, readings, reading questions, videos, discussions, and practice-based activities. We will perform ethnographic fieldwork on local arts communities and present our research to the class. We will divide into groups and participate in collaborative, creative final projects focused on engaging communities through dance.
Drama 587: Memory, Theatre and Performance
Collective, embodied, archival, commemorative, spatial, ghosted, revised, fractured, persistent, and grieved – memory is the locus and the framework for this course which explores how memory functions in theatre and cultural performance, and how history and identity are shaped, remembered, and can be re-imagined through the processes of memory. Beginning with the fundamental, expansive concepts of memory’s operations by Maurice Halbwachs, we will work with theoretical contributions to the field of memory studies as outlined by Paul Connerton, Pierre Nora, Paul Ricoeur, and others. The transformational place of memory in theatre and performance then engages us with the disparate work of theatre and cultural studies scholars as they explore spaces, texts, and performances, in the theatre and in daily life, that offer evocative approaches and analyses that demonstrate what memory in the theatre and performance can teach us about the past, the present, and the human condition. Some areas of inquiry will include: rethinking the cultural production and exchange of history and memory; reconsidering ways and sites of knowing through embodied practices; looking again at the inescapable layers of the past that inform our reception of a text in the present; and re-envisioning the power of mourning and commemoration to a community identity wounded by a collective loss. We will read selections from a variety of interdisciplinary case studies and memory projects, such as works by Joseph Roach, Diana Taylor, James E. Young, Marvin Carlson, and Deborah Paredez.
English 527A: Literature and Class, 1660-1840
This is a course about the representation of social class, from early modern forms (Shakespeare’s “mechanicals,” or the “lower orders”) to politically self-conscious categories like “working class.” We will survey a broad range of texts illustrating social class and class discourse, from lowlife to high, with emphasis on drama (e.g. Restoration comedy, The Beggar’s Opera, Goldsmith, Sheridan) and the novel, including examples in whole or part from Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Burney, and Dickens, as well as other material and reading in nonliterary, historical, and theoretical sources. The seminar should be of interest to students working, or thinking of working, in British eighteenth or nineteenth century periods, or on drama, the history of the novel, or critical problems related to the concept of class. In-class presentations and seminar paper; no previous experience assumed. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
French 441: Quebecois Literature
Readings of novels, plays, and occasionally, poetry. Special attention paid to how Quebecois authors represent in their works the complex socio-political reality of their culture. Conducted in French. French majors required to read and write in French; all others may read and write in English. Prerequisite: FRENCH 303; either FRENCH 304, FRENCH 305, FRENCH 306, or FRENCH 307. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 441.
GWSS 542: Gender, Music, Nation
Music criticism and music studies as a site of feminist intellectual practice. Explores the ways gender and race/ethnicity shape musical discourse as well as narrative constructions of nation in regional and transnational contexts. Considers the influence of feminist theory, queer studies, performance studies, and cultural studies on music scholarship.
JSIS 586A: Theatre as a Site of History and Memory
This course will investigate Mahabharata stories, Vietnamese stories, Cambodian dance, Indonesian shadow puppet theater, and Asian American theater texts and traditions as sites of memory, testimony, and archive and will be looking at the way that performance traditions change as they become transnational and diasporic. We will explore how these different traditions create textual communities and identities. Focusing on story-telling, oral tradition, and cultural memories, the course will explore the encoding and transmission of knowledge, memory, and trauma in theatrical traditions. Through an interdisciplinary approach combining oral history work and historiographical methods, the class will move from theatrical arts to sites of memory and trauma to see how text, artifact, and site police the borders of identity and tradition. The course, co-taught by Laurie Sears (History) and Seattle theatre Director and Actor Tikka Sears (memorywartheater.com ), will explore the integration of innovative pedagogies with innovative content thus serving as preparation for graduate and undergraduate teaching. Readings include theoretical works on trauma and memory as well as dramatic texts from Asia, Asian America and African America.
Music 512: Thinking about Islam and the Arts
This seminar explores theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of popular music from different parts of the world, including the Caribbean, South Africa, the United States, Indonesia, and the Middle East. Through close reading of scholarship on a variety of genres, such as calypso, rap, salsa, and dangdut, students will explore topics and issues of interest to scholars of popular music, including technology and agency, circulation, communities and scenes, youth culture, nationalism, transnationalism, fusion and hybridity, neo-liberalism, and audiences. Students will also think about how they might apply approaches from studies of popular music to their own work.
Polish 420: Contemporary Polish Cinema and Culture
Dr. Jacek Mikolajczyk
You may know a couple of Polish movie directors like Polanski or Kieslowski, but contemporary Polish cinema is far richer than you can imagine. After the collapse of communism in 1989, movie directors in Poland seriously questioned whether real political change was possible. They produced several action movies, like The Pigs by Wladyslaw Pasikowski, which take place in a corrupt and degenerate world, ruled by mafia and former members of communist regime. These films are darker than The Godfather and Fight Club combined. When these artists started to discuss Poland’s current economic problems, they began to shoot movies like Krzysztof Krauze’s The Debt, which we could call a Polish version of American Psycho. Wojciech Smarzowski, a new star of Polish cinema, deals in his movies with Poland’s troubled past, creating works comparable to Coen brothers’ films. We will discuss all of these movies and many others in the context of contemporary Polish culture and politics. All films have English subtitles.
Scandanavian 590: Special Topics in Scandanavian Literature
This course explores the history of singing traditions in the Baltic. We aim to reconstruct a historical and cultural context for the “Singing Revolution,” the nonviolent movement for the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 1988-1991. Learn about the history of singing traditions in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Learn about 150 songs that shaped the Baltic national cultures Write three short essays about the relation between songs and politics