Performance, Activism, & Human Rights

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Module Coordinators: Joshua Chambers-Letson

Committee of Instruction: Josh Chambers-Letson, Marcela Alejandra Fuentes, E. Patrick Johnson, D. Soyini Madison, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Shayna Silverstein, Elizabeth Son, Mary Alice Zimmerman

Module Advisor: Roxane Heinze-Bradshaw

In this module, students will explore the relationship between performance and activism, especially activism generated towards social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. Students will pursue coursework in the histories, theories, and tactics of activist performance in both their local and global dimensions; undertake guided activist practicums; and develop a final capstone project rooted in either the study or making of activist performance.

Learning Objectives

The overarching objective for the course is for the student to develop a comprehensive viewpoint of activism and how performance can be used as a powerful and effective strategy to promote and sustain activist practice. The module seeks:

  • To broaden students’ understanding of performance and its role in the production of social, political, and cultural behavior across nations, communities, and families.
  • To describe key concepts in the relationship between performance and activism.
  • To interpret the effect that performance has in generating the transformation of conflict, political discourse, human rights and activist initiatives as it relates to civic engagement, ethnographic methods, and artistic practice. 
  • To analyze public performance sites that range from activist interventions, governmental ceremonies, community and family traditions, and everyday behaviors of social and political life.

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