Fall 1999


Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett/Fred Moten

Anita Cherian, Branislav Jakovljevic, Jaime Morrison

This course explores performance, performativity, and Performance Studies from a variety of perspectives. We begin by considering the historical formation of Performance Studies as a field of study and conclude with a discussion of future directions. T he intervening sessions are organized into three units. At the heart of each unit is a particular performance-our own toy theatres, drag (vogue balls), and opera (Carmen). We will relate these performances to theoretical and methodological issues that the y and the readings raise. Weekly written responses to the readings and to the performances will provide the basis for class discussions, oral presentations, and two short essays.


Introduction: Histories of Performance Studies

9/13 Pavis, Dictionary of the Theatre. (Read the following entries: Perception, erformance Analysis, Performance Art, Performance Text, Performer, Performing Arts, Theatre Art, Theatre of Everyday Life, Theatricality, Theatrical P erformance, Theatrical Reality, Total Theatre, Theatron, Theory of Theatre)

Schechner, "Performance Studies: The Broad Spectrum Approach"

Pelias and VanOosting, "A Paradigm for Performance Studies"


9/20 Yom Kippur: no class


9/27 Austin, How to Do Things with Words

Cavell, "Counter-Philosophy and the Pawn of Voice"

Derrida, "Signature Event Context"


Unit 1: Life of Objects

10/4 Cixous, "Grace and Innocence: Heinrich von Kleist"

Craig, "The Actor and the Über-Marionette"

de Man, "Aesthetic Formalization: Kleist's Über das Marionettentheater"

Gropius & Wensinger, The Theater of the Bauhaus

Kleist, "On the Marionette Theater"


10/11 Toy Theatre Workshop

Stephen Kaplin, "The Puppet Tree," in special issue of TDR devoted to puppets, edited by John Bell (fall 1999).


10/17 Sunday: All-day Toy Theatre Workshop and evening performance


10/18 Discussion of Toy Theatre Performances


10/25 Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things


Unit 2: Bodies Of Ethnography


11/1 First essay due: 8-10 pages

Performance tba

Asad, "From the History of Colonial Anthropology to the Anthropology of Western


Clifford, "On Ethnographic Self-fashioning"

Fabian, Time and the Other, Ch. 4

Malinowski, "Introduction" in Argonauts of the Western Pacific; "The Kula" in The Ethnography of Malinowski; A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term, pp. 3-75, 230-98; "Erotic Dreams and Fantasies" in The Sexual Life of S avages; The Story of a Marriage: The Letters of Bronislaw Malinowski and Elsie Masson, Ch. 4

Marcus, "Sticking With Ethnography Through Thick and Thin"


11/8 Newton, Mother Camp

Pettiway, Honey, Honey, Miss Thang


11/15 View the film Paris is Burning at the Avery Fisher Center, Bobst Library.

Browning, "Penetrable Bodies ('Paris is Burning')"

Butler, "Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion"

Harper, "'The Subversive Edge': Paris is Burning, Social Critique and the Limits of Subjective Agency"

Kondo, "The Limits of the Avant-Garde?: Gender and Race on the Runway"

Ninja, "Not a Mutant Turtle"

Rose, "Nobody Wants a Part-Time Mother: An Interview with Willi Ninja"


Unit 3: Theater of Voices

Attend Carmen at the Amato Opera Theatre ( before it closes on 11/28. 319 Bowery at 2nd St. New York, NY 10003. Call (212) 228-8200 for reservations. Email:


11/22 Opera Workshop

Clement, Opera or the Undoing of Woman

Cavell, "Opera and the Lease of Voice"


11/29 Adorno, "Fantasia sopra Carmen"

Baldwin, "Carmen Jones: The Dark is Light Enough"

Hartman, Scenes of Subjection, Introduction-Chapter 2

McClary, Georges Bizet: Carmen


12/6 Adorno, "The Curves of the Record Needle," "The Form of the Phonograph Record" & "Opera and the Long-Playing Record"

Brecht, "The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre" & "A Short Organum for the Theatre"

Kittler, "Gramophone"

Phelan, "The Ontology of Performance"



Conclusion: Futures of Performance Studies


12/13 Muñoz, Disidentifications

Joseph, Nomadic Identities


12/17 Second essay due: 8-10 pp.




Weekly one-page written response to the readings and performances to be submitted in discussion section.

One oral presentation with a written outline to be handed out to the class.

Two 8-10 pp. papers that develop ideas in the written response to the readings and performances.


Attendance and Participation

Attendance is mandatory: Monday classes, Friday discussion sections, Sunday toy theatre workshop and performance, and two other performances. Active and informed participation in class discussion.



Appadurai, Arjun, ed. 1986. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Austin, J. L. 1980. How To Do Things With Words. New York: Oxford University Press.

Clement, Catherine. 1997. Opera, or The undoing of women. trans. Betsy Wing. London: Tauris.

Fabian, Johannes. 1983. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gropius, Walter, and Arthur S. Wensinger, eds. 1996. The Theater of the Bauhaus. ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hartman, Saidiya V. 1997. Scenes of subjection : terror, slavery, and self-making in nineteenth-century America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Joseph, May. 1999. Nomadic identities: the performance of citizenship. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1989. A diary in the strict sense of the term. trans. Norman Guterman. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

McClary, Susan. 1992. George Bizet: Carmen. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Munoz, Jose Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications; queers of color and the performance of politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Newton, Esther. 1979. Mother Camp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pavis, Patrice. 1998. Dictionary of the theatre: terms, concepts, and analysis. trans. Christine Shantz. Toronto: University of Toronto.

Pettiway, Leon E. 1996. Honey, Honey, Miss Thang : being black, gay, and on the streets. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Phelan, Peggy. 1993. Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. New York: Routledge.

Schechner, Richard. 1985. Between Theatre and Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.



Barz, Gregory F., and Timothy J. Cooley, eds. 1997. Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. 1995. The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Emerson, Robert M., Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw. 1995. Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jackson, Bruce. 1987. Fieldwork. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.



Carlson, Marvin. 1996. Performance: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge.

Huxley, Mike, and Noel Witts, eds. 1996. Twentieth Century Performance Reader. New York: Routledge.

Lentricchia, Frank, and Thomas McLaughlin, eds. 1995. Critical Terms for Literary Study. 2nd ed. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Nelson, Robert S., and Richard Schiff, eds. 1996. Critical terms for art history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pavis, Patrice. 1998. Dictionary of the theatre: terms, concepts, and analysis. trans. Christine Shantz. Toronto: University of Toronto.

Williams, Raymond. 1983. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism Online< /A>


Resource Reading List

See for additional resources, including links to the full text of journals, online (Jstor, Project Muse, CarlUncover, etc.)