This interdisciplinary graduate seminar will explore how performance functions to recover or rebuild identity in threatened populations, past and present. It considers the sensitive, enduring, and courageous problem of how culture and memory survive through performance, and how performance resists erasure and allows preservation in ways no other text can. The course will introduce students to the methodologies disparate disciplines use to approach common and contextual issues of documenting, archiving, and accessing performance and the cultural memory behind it, including strategies for storying individual and collective experiences, for recording performance practices, and for reconstructing or reanimating performance texts as a form of cultural remembering.
Faculty from Ethnomusicology, Social Work, Dance, Drama, and the Southeast Asia Center will provide multiple frameworks for considering the social and cultural efficacy of performance in different community and historical settings. Case studies for these practices may include (1) Fandango Sins Fronteras, a transnational movement that propagates the four-hundred-year-old tradition of son jarocho (music, dance, and verse) from Veracruz, Mexico, as a means of building community; (2) Seattle-based collaborations collecting and performing oral histories from Southeast Asian immigrants and descendants, and (3) dance collaborations/compositions that engage with the indigenous and post-colonial contexts and languages of South Africa.
Sponsored by the Center for Performance Studies and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.