Drama 576

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Reading the Long 18th Century
Odai Johnson
This seminar is designed to introduce the theatre scholar to the practice of local reading through the detailed exploration of one period loosely referred to as the Long Eighteenth Century.  It embraces a sweep of English and Anglophone print and performance culture from the Restoration to the close of the 18th century, emanating from London as the cultural center and spreading out across the transatlantic web of empire.   We consider how performance (in its broadest sense) functioned in forging citizenship, making British bodies, London manners, and empire-building across this geography:  from the Anglophone provincial circuit, including Dublin, Edinburgh, the Caribbean and colonial America, to India.   The course offers a working introduction to the practice of situating theatre and performance within a precise, complex social and political landscape of the period and how this landscape was represented in--and occasionally shaped by--the playhouse.   Using primary resources of the period, an overview of the historiography and iconography, representative plays, biographies, contemporary criticism and seminal scholarship, we will explore the tense/dense relationship between the theatre and the culture at large.

Conversations with Antiquity
Odai Johnson

This course is designed to explore the first encounters with antiquity from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. From the unearthing of the Laocoon, to the first modern publications of classical literature, the commentaries on them, the re-construction projects of the Italian academies, the imitation of classical forms, the debates of the ancients and the moderns, to the Greek Revival of the 18th century, the resurgence of classical learning and the return of antiquity was a vital force of culture in the west. The broad approach of this seminar considers the theme of dialogue between periods through many mediums: art history, architecture, theatre, and theatre culture, including such possible topics as the invention of Neo-Classicism, Renaissance concepts of Roman theatres, Greek Revival architecture, and nationalism, the Senecan tradition of tragedy, the Humanist comedies of the academies, the re-discovery of perspective, and the poetics of ruins.