Performance Studies

Degree Types: PhD, MA

The Department of Performance Studies is committed to the interdisciplinary study of performance. Students in the program produce provocative research and creative work in cultural studies and ethnography, performance theory and criticism, and the adaptation and staging of narrative texts.

The program works closely with other departments and programs within the University. Coursework and research draws from anthropology, African studies, Asian American studies, African American studies, gender studies, radio-TV-film, theatre & drama, and others.

Students in this program are also encouraged to participate in TGS’s Interdisciplinary Initiative program. For more information on how you can have a second intellectual “home” outside of your department or program please visit the Interdisciplinary Clusters page.

Additional resources:

Performance Studies Courses

PERF_ST 310-0 Performance of Women of Color (1 Unit)  

Literary expressions by native, Latina, African, and Asian American women reflecting intersections of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and culture in the United States. Feminisms considered across race and culture. Includes poetry, fiction, autobiography, drama, and critical theory.

PERF_ST 311-0 Performance in Everyday Life (1 Unit)  

Conceptual view of human beings as actors. Dramatism and the perspective of life as theatre.

PERF_ST 314-0 Postcolonial Theory, Fiction, & Film (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 315-0 Non-Fiction Studies (1 Unit)  

Exploration of the dramatic impulse in nonfiction texts. Emphasis on autobiographical one-person shows.

PERF_ST 316-0 Folklore and Oral Traditions (1 Unit)  

Genres of oral literature and an introduction to the methods and aims of folklore research. The nature of verbal art as performance and the importance of cultural context.

PERF_ST 324-1 Presentational Aesthetics (1 Unit)  

Theatrical convention, presentational mode, and conscious artifice in the performance of dramatic literature, poetry, and nonfiction.

PERF_ST 326-1 Performance Art (1 Unit)  

History, development, and theories of performance art as a live-art genre from the modernist avant-garde to contemporary cross-cultural forms. Media in all forms, with emphasis on performance process and audience relationship.

PERF_ST 326-2 Performance Art (1 Unit)  

Further theoretical and laboratory exploration of compositional processes and political strategies of performance, media, and event/audience contexts.

PERF_ST 327-0 Performance Ethnography (1 Unit)  

Ethnographic approaches to the field of performance studies, including the theoretical foundations of performance ethnography and methodological approaches to its performance.

PERF_ST 330-0 Topics in Performance Studies (1 Unit)  

Readings, discussion, and creative work in performance studies research and artistic practice. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit.

PERF_ST 331-0 Field Study/Internship in Performance Studies (1-4 Units)  

Intensive participation in off-campus production and/or field research experience. Departmental approval required.

PERF_ST 332-0 Urban Festivity (1 Unit)  

Ethnographic study of festivals, parades, exhibitions, civic celebrations, and other genres of urban cultural performance. Multiethnic expressions of Chicago identity. Field research methods.

PERF_ST 334-0 Human Rights & Performance (1 Unit)  

How social movements, local communities, and individual activists from specific regions around the world use performance to seek political empowerment and social justice. Performance as theory, method, and event in the arts of resistance; human rights as ideology and praxis within indigenous histories, imaginaries, and contexts.

PERF_ST 335-0 Social Art Tactics (1 Unit)  

Exploration of historical and theoretical foundations of social art practice, including work focused on social change in such genres as performance, digital media, relational art, and photography. Performance/art workshops; development of performance-based interventions.

PERF_ST 336-0 Latino/a Performance (1 Unit)  

Exploration of US Latina/o literature through narratives of migration, annexation, exile, and diaspora; focus on the arrival and development of Latina/o performance traditions in the United States.

PERF_ST 338-0 Family Stories, Memoirs and Diaries (1 Unit)  

Use of performance to explore family stories, memoirs, diaries, and other biographical and autobiographical sources.

PERF_ST 410-0 Studies in Performance (1 Unit)  

Principles governing the congruence of literary texts and their oral presentation.

PERF_ST 412-0 Perf of Individual Literary Styles (1 Unit)  

Critical study of the work of one writer, resulting in a lecture recital.

PERF_ST 414-0 Studies in the History of Performance Traditions (1 Unit)  

Critical writings from ancient times to the present, tracing uses of and development in the performance of text; analysis of contemporary principles and practices.

PERF_ST 416-0 Seminar in Cultural Studies & Performnce (1 Unit)  

Contemporary theories on the dialogical relationship between culture and performance (performative anthropology, interpretive and symbolic ethnography). Creative, dynamic, and processual energies of culture as expressed in performance genres.

PERF_ST 424-0 Practicum: Adaptation/Staging of Texts (1 Unit)  

Participatory apprenticeship seminar: observation of the scripting process and rehearsal for a production of a narrative work. Major research papers by seminar members.

PERF_ST 426-0 Seminar on Media and Performance (1 Unit)  

Interdisciplinary seminar introducing methods of performance research that explore, both analytically and creatively, the movement of performance across the traditional boundaries of the live arts and the visual and electronic media.

PERF_ST 427-0 Seminar on Modes of Representation (1 Unit)  

Theories of representation applied to performance; repetition and improvisation, the ideology of form, intertextuality, metaphor, irony, parody, synesthesia, idiophonics, and effort qualities in human action.

PERF_ST 499-0 Independent Study (1 Unit)  

SEE DEPT FOR SECTION AND PERMISSION NUMBERS May be repeated for credit. Permission of instructor and department required.

PERF_ST 509-0 Performance & Pedagogy (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 510-0 Postmodern Performance (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 514-0 Postcolonial Theory, Fiction and Film (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 515-0 Seminar: Problems in Performance Studies (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 516-1 Crit/Performance Ethnography: Theories and Fieldwork (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 516-2 Critical/Performance Ethnography: Practicum (1 Unit)  

PERF_ST 518-0 Seminar: Problems in Research (1 Unit)  

For MA and PhD students only.

PERF_ST 590-0 Research (1-3 Units)  

SEE DEPT FOR SECTION AND PERMISSION NUMBERS Independent investigation of selected problems pertaining to thesis or dissertation. May be repeated for credit.