Theatre Research and Bibliography (Professor James Wilson): This course will provide an overview of the profession and how one begins to join the conversation it represents. Classes will concern such matters as general research methodologies as demonstrated in current publications; approaches to historiography; the procedure for getting papers accepted for conferences and the benefits of participating therein; and a number of issues related to teaching. A constant theme will be the preparation and writing of research papers, conference papers, and papers for publication. Examples and strategies will be drawn from scholarship on a broad a range of geographical and historical material. Factors that affect grades include: demonstration that the assigned readings have been done, via informed participation in class discussion and on an in-class exam, written on the scheduled exam date exam; weekly written exercises; and several class presentations, most of them connected to a final term paper. A basic text will be Wayne C. Booth, et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, which you may already know, but which we can all benefit from re-reading.
Thursdays, 2:00 pm to 4:00pm.
Contextual and Intertextual Studies in Drama (Professor Daniel Gerould): A study of selected dramatic texts from world drama, representing a wide range of traditions and forms, from ancient times to the present. Three or more plays, depending on length, will be analyzed each week, along with ancillary theoretical and historical materials. Plays studied will be placed in historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts and viewed in relation to other works of literature, art and music.
Special consideration will be given to the nature and history of genres, such as farce, tragicomedy, melodrama, history play; types, such as the political, including agit-prop, living newspaper, documentary, verbatim; movements, such as Sturm und Drang, naturalism, symbolism; modes, such as satire, pastoral, grotesque, sublime; devices and conventions, such as parable, allegory, ekphrasis; themes and topics (topoi), such as myth, social or natural environments (ecocriticism), war, exile; and cultural encounters, such as appropriation, adaptation, parody. Assignments include one short and one longer paper and a final examination.
Wednesdays, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Seminar in Comparative Drama: Theatre and Performance in the 1960s ( Professor Marvin Carlson) and (Professor David Savran) No decade of the twentieth century has been as mythologized as the 1960s, a decade that bore witness to radical social, cultural, and political changes. The students, workers, and activists around the world who mounted the barricades succeeded in effecting the largest general strike in French history, the decolonization of large portions of the global South, and, in the United States, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist protests that shut down universities and prompted the withdrawal of the U.S. from Vietnam. Among cultural forms, theatre, as a social practice, was especially impacted by the utopian dreams and revolutionary social movements of the decade, including feminism, gay liberation, and black cultural nationalism. New directors, playwrights, and companies redefined both commercial and nonprofit theatre and greatly expanded the range of what counts as theatrical performance. This course offers a broad survey of the theatre of the 1960s. Although the readings will emphasize performance in the United States, the course is intent on analyzing the relationship between theatre practices and contemporaneous cultural, philosophical, and political movements. Among the persons, companies, and plays to be discussed will be Jerzy Grotowski, the Living Theatre, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Peter Brook, The Boys in the Band, Luis Valdez, Joan Littlewood, Bertolt Brecht, Aimé Césaire, Maria Irene Fornes, Hello, Dolly!, Richard Schechner, Amiri Baraka, Hair, Edward Bond, and Carolee Schneemann. The course requirements include three short reports to be circulated by email before class, a final paper, and a final oral exam.
Tuesdays, 4:15pm to 6:15pm
Seminar in Theatre Theory: Introduction to Performance Studies (Professor Edward Miller): This course charts the development of performance studies and discerns the field's disciplinary influences and defining principles. We read many of the texts that are considered foundational, including the work of Richard Schechner, Joseph Roach, Erving Goffman, J.L. Austin, Judith Butler, among others. Particular attention is paid to the relevance of performance theory to theatre studies as well as to the methodologies deployed by performance researchers such as fieldwork, movement analysis, orature, and documentation and interpretation of live events. Additionally the course looks at the impact of theoreticians who explore concepts of performativity and how this affects the study of constructions of gender, race, and national identity. This emphasis allows us to deliberate upon the usefulness of an emphasis on performance cross-culturally and within minoritarian discourses. Assignments include an in-class presentation, a paper proposal, and a fifteen-page research paper.
Wednesdays, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Seminar in Theatre History: Ways of Looking: Spectacle, Politics, and Affirmation (Professor Maurya Wickstrom): One of the key assumptions about political theatre is that it should have efficacy: that it needs to have an effect on its spectators, that it moves them to action of some kind. Recently, important critiques of efficacy have emerged. These critiques suggest new ways of examining the relationship between theatre and the political, including a rethinking of what constitutes the political itself. The class will initially include a historical perspective. We'll explore the specificities of the relationship between theatre and the political in the 20th century, and the discontinuities from that relationship that pre-date the 20th century. When and why was theatre expected to produce an effect in spectators, and when and why were theatre and the political explicitly joined into the term political theatre? Alain Badiou's The Century will be used, in part, to provide a frame for understanding the singularities of the 20th century, including the desire to unmask ideology, and the search for the real. Brecht and all his descendents across the globe are key figures here. Jacques Ranciere's work to reinstate the spectacle as a necessary third term between performance and spectator will be used as a starting point for ways of looking that, in the 21st century, suggest new ideas for the ways that the relationship between politics and theatre might be meaningful. These include the expansion of the collective, the equality of intelligences, and the creation on stage of new modalities of history, the present, and space. Finally, we'll explore the idea of affirmation as a positive contrast to a certain attachment to mourning, loss, and absence that has been prevalent, especially in Performance Studies. The class will include at least two trips to see theatre or performance events that have the potential to be springboards to different ways of looking, or that can provide vivid examples of 20th century forms of the desire for political efficacy. Reading for the class will include plays, historical theatre theory that touches on efficacy, essays on political theatre, essays on the spectacle including those of Guy Debord, and readings from performance studies. Core texts will include work from Baz Kershaw, James Thompson, Alan Read, Ranciere and Badiou. Class requirements: a short mid-term paper (8-12 pages), a final paper (20-25 pages), and a group project based on a production seen for the class
Tuesdays, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Seminar in Film Studies: Film and the Invention of the Human (Professor Morris Dickstein): This course takes much of its inspiration from the celebrated line by the director/actor Jean Renoir in The Rules of the Game: "The really terrible thing is that everyone has his reasons." Renoir is referring ruefully to the mixed, ambiguous character of human motives and morality, as well as the crucial importance of seeing things from the point of view of the other people, of not demonizing them or blocking off our understanding of them. In art this quality is often thought of as Shakespearean. Keats called it Negative Capability and Harold Bloom described it hyperbolically as Shakespeare's "invention of the human." One of the great achievements of film is that it developed new techniques for portraying the most intimate and fundamental human experiences: joy and sorrow; love and loss; childhood and maturity; illness, aging, and death. Close-ups and reaction shots, for example, offered new ways of portraying intense feeling. The human face became a map of the interior life, the actor's voice an instrument different from how it was used in the theater. This course will trace the development of what might be called a cinema of empathy, using examples from different periods and markedly varied cultural situations. The course will begin with two early masters of cinematic emotion, Jean Vigo (L'Atalante) and Charlie Chaplin (City Lights). We'll then turn to one of their greatest successors, Renoir, beginning with La Chienne and Boudu Saved from Drowning, along with some parallel Hollywood films, including Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, a moving story of an aging couple discarded by their grown children. Other examples of this humanist cinema will come from postwar Italian Neorealism (Rossellini, De Sica), the French New Wave (especially Truffaut), Indian cinema (Satyajit Ray, including the Apu trilogy), Japanese cinema (late Ozu), and American independent cinema (especially Cassavetes). The course will conclude with some more recent versions of this kind of filmmaking, such as Canadian director Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter and Paul Schrader's Affliction, both based on novels by Russell Banks. It's crucial that many of these directors knew and admired each other and were directly influenced by each others' example. Ray, for example, worked with Renoir and was inspired by De Sica's Bicycle Thieves. Renoir admired both Chaplin and McCarey, while McCarey's film certainly influenced Ozu's Tokyo Story. There will also be readings and reports focused on writers whose work is closely related to this film tradition, such as Anton Chekhov. Requirements for the course will include a term paper, an oral report, and weekly home film-viewing.
Tuesdays, 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Seminar in Film Studies: The American Sitcom (Professor Heather Hendershot): According to conventional wisdom, American television comedies were once designed to entertain the widest possible "family" audience, but they now target a younger, edgier demographic. In other words, if Betwitched was a typical show of the 1960s, South Park is more representative of the state of contemporary TV comedy. Further, in the wake of the rise of cable and the concomitant shift from the "mass audience" to the "niche audience," the contemporary American sitcom has clearly become an increasingly "hybrid" form. Thus, today's programs range from those using the structure of the classic sitcom but lacking a laugh track (30 Rock), to darker programs designed to induce more cringing than laughter (Curb Your Enthusiasm), to the hybrid docu-com, which combines many of the gags and situations of the conventional sitcom with the conventions and structures of reality TV (The Office). In sum, this course will chart the evolution of the American sitcom from its roots in vaudeville to the present, examining the genre's ever-hybrid, unstable format, its fluctuation between acknowledging and ignoring audience presence, and its shifts in response to recently changing viewing patterns and industrial practices in the wake of the rise of the multi-channel, post-network environment.Programs viewed will include: All in the Family, Amos 'n' Andy, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, The Burns and Allen Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Chappelle's Show, Community, The Cosby Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Family Guy, Father Knows Best, I Love Lucy, The Jack Benny Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Lil' Bush, The Lucy Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, M*A*S*H, Maude, Modern Family, Mr. Show, The Office (US and UK), Parks and Recreation, Roseanne, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Soap, South Park, SpongeBob SquarePants, 30 Rock, lineThat's My Bush!, Two and a Half Men, and WKRP in Cincinnati. In addition to weekly readings, to prepare for class students will also be required to see additional episodes of TV programs on their own ahead of time (all readily available via Netflix or Hulu). We will also view a number of television episodes in class each week. Students will complete one major assignment for the class, a 20–25 page research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. Each student will meet individually with me to discuss his/her final project, and 5 page proposals for the final papers will be due several weeks before the papers themselves. Papers should involve substantial original research and should display both mastery of issues covered in the class and the ability to apply course concepts to the paper topic.
Thurssdays, 4:15pm to 8:15pm
Seminar in Film Studies: Seminar in Film Theory (Professor Amy Herzog): This class will provide an overview of significant movements, debates, and figures in film theory. Readings will span both classical and contemporary film theory, addressing a range of approaches including realism, structuralism, auteur theory, genre criticism, psychoanalytic film theory, feminist and critical race theories, and third cinema. The class will examine writings on cinema in their historical and national contexts, looking at the ways in which film theory intersects with political, cultural, and aesthetic trends. The final sessions of the course will focus on recent developments in film theory, in particular the debates surrounding cognitive approaches to film, the evolution of digital technology, and the writings of philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In each case, new theoretical work on cinema will be read in relation to the complex history of film criticism. In addition, the class will examine the field of film theory alongside related fields of aesthetics and representation (e.g. art history and photography, television studies, cultural studies, visual studies, postmodernism), exploring the ways these disciplines have overlapped. Each seminar meeting will involve close analyses of readings related to a particular topic or theme. We will discuss the contexts within which these writings emerged, and the institutional frameworks that provided for the evolution of the field. Written texts will be read alongside specific cinematic examples. Students will be required to screen at least one film per week outside class (independently, or preferably in groups). We will view additional shorts and review clips in class. Ideally, students will also view supplemental films that are suggested, and attend screenings and discussions in venues around the city. Students will write either three six-page analysis papers, performing close readings of theoretical texts, or one twenty-page research paper on a topic in film theory. Each student will also present clips throughout the semester that respond to the readings, as a means of facilitating discussion.
Mondays, 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Film History II (Professor Paula Massood): This course is devoted to intensive analysis of the international development of cinema as a medium and art form from the early sound years (1930 onward) to the present. We will concentrate on major film tendencies and aesthetic and political developments through a close examination of individual film texts. Subjects covered will include Hollywood filmmaking during the Depression years, French Poetic Realism, Italian Neorealism, melodrama and other postwar Hollywood genres, the rise of global "new waves" (including French, Latin American, and German filmmaking movements from the late-1950s through the 1970s) and modernist tendencies in international cinema. We will also examine the rise of American independent filmmaking, recent global cinema trends, and the effects of new digital technologies on visual and narrative aesthetics. Emphasis will be placed on the major historical currents of each period and on changes in aesthetic, political and industrial context. Required Texts: David A. Cook. A History of Narrative Film. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 1996. Available through the GC Virtual Bookshop. Scheduled films and supplemental readings ® are on reserve in the library. Recommended books and additional films are listed in the syllabus (available in the Certificate Programs office, Room 5110). Please note: Students are not required to purchase recommended texts or view all the suggested films. Course requirements: Writing Assignments: 1) 8pp. essay on prearranged topic. (40%)2) 15pp. final essay on topic of choice. (50%) Discussion Questions: Each week, two students will be required to prepare two questions each to initiate class discussion on the scheduled reading and screening. (10%) Class sessions will begin promptly at 2:00pm and will last, unless otherwise noted, until 6:00pm. Please be prepared to attend the entire class.
Wednesdays, 2:00pm to 6:00pm
History of American Theatre: Tennessee Williams in Context (Professor Annette Saddik): This course explores the plays of Tennessee Williams in the context of changing social, cultural, and political developments in the United States from the 1930s to the 1980s, and examines his relationship to the work of other playwrights in each period. In particular, we will discuss Williams's work with the Federal Writers' Project and the "Living Newspaper" program, his 1940s plays in the context of World War II and postindustrial capitalism, the anxiety surrounding homosocial/sexual relationships during the 1950s and the repressive environment of the McCarthy era, Williams's relationship to off-broadway and the avant-garde theater groups of the 1960s and '70s, the shift from subtle to overt representations of sexuality, particularly queer sexuality, in Williams's plays after Stonewall and his "official" coming out in 1970, and his despair concerning the threat of nuclear holocaust during the 1980s. In addition to Williams, we will discuss the work of playwrights Elmer Rice, Maxwell Anderson, Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Robert Anderson, William Inge, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, Charles Ludlum, and Sarah Kane, as well as theorists John Clum, David Savran, Annette Saddik, Michael Paller, Robert Bray, Allean Hale, Ruby Cohn, Linda Dorff, and Susan Sontag. Assignments include two essays (6-8 pages and 10-12 pages), as well as an in-class presentation.
Wednesdays, 4:15pm to 6:15pm