English PFS 259 - Winter, 2017

    Topic: Media & Performance

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
Time: W 2:10-5:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


    This course offers a primer for students interested in the intersection of performance with media, with some emphasis on digital media. But it also will provide a forum for more advanced students to develop rigorous methodological frameworks for their work in these fields. We’ll begin by reading some foundational works in the field of media studies (e.g., McLuhan; Hayles; Bolter and Grusin), going on to examine the work of key performance studies scholars who have shaped the fields of multimedia performance, cyborg theatre, digital performance, and such (e.g., Auslander; Lehmann; Phelan); important recent historical surveys of the field (e.g., Dixon; Salter); and various theoretical approaches (Birringer; Case; Broadhurst; Parker-Starbuck).

    For the second part of the class, we will work closely with the methodological frameworks for studying performance and media offered in Sarah Bay-Cheng, Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, and David Z. Saltz’s recently published _Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field_. The book presents several possible taxonomies for theorizing the relationship between performance and media, each providing a unique framework for analyzing performance objects. For instance, Bay-Cheng suggests that we plot media and performance along the “axes of distortion in space, time, and bodies” (47). Parker-Starbuck focuses on the concepts of subject, object, and abject, arguing that these are attributes of both bodies and technologies, and she charts performances in terms of this taxonomy. Students will present to the class on a particular performance object of their choice: this can be anything from a production (including a production of the student’s own making), an object that does performative work on the theater stage (e.g. costume, props), a digital object (e.g. videogame, database), a practice (e.g. Meyerhold biomechanics, yoga), or a genre of performance (e.g. circus, poetry slam, puppetry). And each week, as we read about a different taxonomy for media-performance relations, we will test out its usefulness by applying it to student projects. Students will be encouraged to think about how their performance objects both support and resist these given frameworks as well as to develop new taxonomies that can contribute to the field of performance and media studies.


    Students will be assessed based on their contributions to class discussion, presentations, and a seminar paper.


    Coursepack at Davis Copy (3rd St)
    Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field, Bay-Cheng et al.