Performance Studies Issues and Methods

H42.2617 Fall 2000
Department of Performance Studies, New York University




The final portfolio for the course (due Friday December 15) will include all the work that you have done during the entire semester, including weekly written responses to the readings, revisions of those responses, the text of oral reports to the class, and methodological exercises.

Be sure to revise at least three of the pieces of writing included in the portfolio.

Include a cover letter to guide the reader of the portfolio to the work you did over the semester.

We will be reading for progress and growth over the course of the semester.

Responses to the readings

Engage the readings.

1.What is the core argument of the author?
2. What is useful/interesting about this reading and how would you apply or extend these ideas?
3. What do you disagree with and why?

After reading each selection carefully and in its own terms, reflect on the cluster of readings. How do the readings speak to each other? Find throughlines and points of contention within the set of readings?

Writing strategies. You can select one or more themes or issues and reflect on how the set of readings bears on them. You can focus on one reading and use it as the lens through which to consider issues raised in the other readings.

In the short space of 2-3 pages, the trick is to achieve a certain conciseness and density in the writing. Keep your focus on the readings and the issues they raise. Purge the writing of anything that is not substantive or that does not advance your argument.

Methodological exercises

Detailed instructions for each exercise may be found in the syllabus. We will work on performance documentation; participant-observation; the notion of performance as a way of knowing; ethnographic fieldwork; historical research; and interviewing.


Zinsser, On writing well
Strunk, 1918. The elements of style. Revised in many subsequent editions.
Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney, Writing in College: A Short Guide to College Writing
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