The Performance as Public Practice curriculum includes a variety of core courses as well as electives within and outside the department. Interdisciplinary coursework is encouraged.

Sample of Curriculum

Choreographing Gender, Dancing Desire

The course posits that physical performance, particularly dance, is an especially rich site for the examination of gender, sexuality and embodiment in relation to evolving social and historical contexts. Taking a cross-historical approach and encompassing a wide range of genres including ballet, modern dance, dance-theater, physical theater, roller derby, reality TV, voguing, drag and transgender performance, the course juxtaposes critical readings from gender and dance studies with the viewing of videos and performance.

Cultural Policy and the Artist

This course assesses how contemporary cultural public policy initiatives have framed artistic practices historically and how, conversely, artists have intervened to inform and/or reshape those efforts. 


The class examines the term dramaturgy through multiple theoretical, historical, social and practical perspectives and applies those skills to constructing dramaturgy for the theatre, as well as public culture.

Feminist Theory and Performance

This course examines feminist theory and performance through a predominantly historical lens. Students explore feminist theory and performance as it emerged in the U.S. at the end of the 20th century.


Historiography generally means one of two things: the history of history in both its practices and as a discipline or the writing of history. By the end of the semester students will be able to engage in close and rigorous historiographical analysis that could be applied to a wide range of historical practice.

Proseminar: Performance as Public Practice 

This seminar introduces a variety of subjects, methods and interpretive approaches within the field of Performance as Public Practice (PPP). The first half of the semester is devoted to disciplinary genealogies, methods and epistemological concerns; the second half focuses on case studies of different methods and theoretical approaches undertaken by the PPP faculty and visiting scholars. This course aims to create a crtically generative space in which we can develop a nuanced understanding of how our own work contributes to and expands the boundaries of this dynamic field. 

Reading the Canon: Play Analysis and Practice

Students examine various approaches to reading plays as dramatic texts and as the basis for production, focusing on elements such as structure, character, language, audience, cultural context and larger social significance. The first part of the course focuses on the "canon" of dramatic literature that has dominated classrooms and regional theatre over the last few generations. The second part of the class examines how that canon has been challenged, redefined, broadened, and given renewed significance by recent dramatic literature. The final research project is individually tailored to the student's professional or scholarly interests.

Performance as Research

This course examines the relationship between embodied practice, performance and writing as critical methods in performance research and production. We look at numerous cases, written and performed, to consider how to integrate performance practices into research and writing, how to incorporate research into devising and how to write about our own performance work.

Research Methods

This course is designed for students to practice knowledge, skills and techniques needed by students to conduct research, to include organization, styles and bibliogrpahic forms.

Solo Performances 

This course trains artists to develop and produce independent performance works, plays and dances through engagement with methods such as writing original text, adapting narrative for performance, drawing upon political, cultural and social issues, devising movement, working with props and engaging diverse audiences. 

Staging Black Feminisms

This course considers the feminist practices of black women cultural producers including filmmakers, playwrights, visual artists, musicians and performing artists. Besides engaging with primary materials, we draw on black feminist scholarly texts in order to explore such topics as black womanhood, the black female body, black histories, sexuality, politics and aging. We will trace the genealogy of black feminist artistic practices and performances from the 1950s to the present and explore the ways that their work challenges the male gaze, the capitalist market place, heteronormativity and racial hierarchies. 

The Artist as Entrepreneur 

In this course, the focus is on how U.S. artists in all media create value through their work, but also offers a critical inquiry into the rise of entrepreneurship among cultural and arts workers. 

Back to top