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THTRFLM 2CP3 Culture And Performance

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Janice Hladki


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 405

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23942

Office Hours: Thursdays 2:30-4:30, or by appointment.

Course Objectives:

In addressing approaches to “performance art,” the course examines performances that produce social and cultural thought. The focus is on particular performance practices and the strategies that performance artists use to structure and generate their work, especially in terms of challenges to artistic and social norms. These strategies may be aesthetic, conceptual, theoretical, technical, cultural, corporeal, and/or political. We will explore methods for interpreting concepts and practices of the performance art work we investigate. Students will acquire basic tools for analyzing the elements that performance practitioners deploy in order to offer potential theories, meanings, and questions about culture. The course is organized around the intersection of practices and theories, and methods and issues.

The term "performance" signals a number of meanings. 1) Performance may be understood broadly to refer to cultural practices in everyday life, such as eating, fashion, exercising, family rituals, and social and communal activities, such as parades, marches, fairs, dance marathons, sports events, political campaigns. 2) The concept of performance is also about ways we act in everyday encounters, e.g. patient-doctor relations, and ways to move, gesture, speak, dialogue, and dress. 3) The term performance may be understood to apply to what artist performers do, whether in live public performances such as theatre, performance events, or political contexts; to styles of acting; and to media performances, as in cinema and television. 4) As has been developed in contemporary critical theory, performance may also refer to how it is that we embody or enact aspects of cultural identity, including, for example, the "performance" of gender in our day-to-day lives. Course objectives focus predominantly on the two latter understandings: 1) forms of performance that artists create and 2) the performance of aspects of cultural identity.

The course draws extensively on artists' practices that are experimental, concerned with the importance of the human body for performance expression, address issues of social justice, and focus on making meanings about culture through performance. Another objective is to develop knowledge about Canadian-based performance work.

Class discussion is an important part of the course, along with lectures, readings, and class screenings.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text of Readings: THTR & FLM 2CP3 courseware pack

Required Theatre & Film Additional Expense: Ticket to the Theatre & Film Studies major production. The dates include November 9-11 (8:00 pm), 15-18 (8:00 pm), and 18 (2:00 pm). You will attend one performance on one of those dates.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations:

Participation 10%

In-class Test #1 10% (held in class Week 4, Thurs Sept 28)

In-class Test #2 10% (held in class Week 7, Thurs Oct 19)

Essay 25% (due in class Week 11, Thurs Nov 16)

In-Class Reflection on the T&F Major 5% (held in class Week 12, Thurs Nov 23)

Final Exam 40% (scheduled by the Registrar’s Office)

Please note: You will receive grades on assignments to meet the University regulations (10% of grades by Fri Nov 10).

Participation (10%):

This course includes experimental and atypical artistic work. It is important for the classroom to be a space of openness to the material studied and one of mutual respect regarding different points of view.

Participation in the class process is one of the indicators of your academic performance and potential demonstration of understanding the course material. The expectations include: regular attendance, viewing and reading the assigned materials, contributing to class discussion, respectful listening, and engaging with others’ comments to further our understandings of the materials and thematics.

1) Weekly Discussion

This activity is NOT graded. However, each week, you will be asked to respond to the material screened with the intent to discuss and analyze. You will participate individually and/or in groups. Students are encouraged to participate in order to clarify ideas and to become comfortable in developing points of view.

2) Attendance (10%)

For 10 weeks of the course (Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13), I will take a record of your attendance. An attendance/sign-in sheet will be passed around towards the end of the class. Weeks 6 and 10 will not be counted (midterm recess; shorter class). Each of the 10 weeks is graded at 1 mark for a total of 10 marks.

In-Class Tests #1 and #2 (10% each) 1) Week 4, Thurs Sept 28; 2) Week 7, Thurs Oct 19:

The tests are written in class, and each one is 30 minutes long. They consist of questions that involve interpretation and understanding about lectures, readings, and screened performances. The format of these questions could include short answer, matching, multiple choice, and/or best answer. Further details will be noted in class, prior to the tests. Test #1 questions pertain to material in Weeks 2 and 3; test #2 questions address Weeks 4 and 5.

Essay (20%) Due in class Week 11, Thurs Nov 16:

Length: 5 pages. Avoid writing more or less than the required length.

Write a critical discussion/analysis about one of the performance art works we view or discuss in this class by addressing the meanings about culture that the performance opens up and provokes. You can select a performance work that we have viewed to date, but you are also welcome to choose a performance from the weeks ahead. You may choose the focus of your critical analysis, but you need to demonstrate a thoughtful engagement with the performance by discussing it in relation to course ideas/issues/problematics. Your weekly notes on the performances and readings can provide a basis for your paper.

Focus on two components:

1) Demonstrate a thoughtful, analytical engagement with the performance. A) Discuss what meanings you think are significant in the work, relating your understandings to issues/thematics raised in class. B) Consider what strategies the artist employs to address issues about culture and how the artist uses those strategies. (You do not need to discuss everything the artist attempts. Choose what you find most significant.)

2) To inform your analysis, you are also asked to draw upon one (1) course reading. You may work with any reading from the courseware pack. The purpose of this component is to encourage you to work with the ideas and arguments in your chosen reading such that they inform your critical analysis. When integrating a quotation or idea, ensure that it makes sense in relation to your analysis.

This essay is relatively short, so I strongly advise you to focus on a particular meaning about culture in the performance work. You cannot address everything there is to say about the work. Be selective and keep to the point. Review your paper to edit out tangential and/or irrelevant material. In your introduction, clearly explain how you are going to address the performance work and your intended line of argument, so that you can focus and structure your essay.

With respect to documentation (citations and References/Bibliography), I do not have a particular requirement. That is, you may use Chicago, MLA, or APA, etc.: Use whichever style guide is most familiar to you and that enables you to focus on the substance of your paper. Nevertheless, your paper needs to be consistent with regard to the citation and reference practices, and you need to acknowledge all sources. Make sure that you provide a reference notation according to scholarly citation practices whenever you use an author’s idea, whether you use that idea by directly quoting or by paraphrasing. When paraphrasing, you must re-write the author’s idea in completely different language. Please see the following website for information on how to avoid plagiarism:

This paper is NOT a summary of the performance work, a description of why you “like” or “dislike” it, or a description of why you think it might be “good” or “bad.” The essay is a scholarly paper that provides a sustained critical discussion of the performance work in relation to course ideas.

Here are a few examples of essay titles from previous years:

“Who is the ‘Real’ Indian? Rethinking Stereotypes through Photos” (about James Luna’s “Take a Picture with a Real Indian”)

“Replay Culture and Strange Nature” (about “Strange Nature Excerpts”)

“Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen as Critique of Female Oppression and Objectification” (about Rosler’s work)

*Please be advised that I cannot accept papers via email.

*Please retain a copy of your submitted paper.

Writing Practices:

Your first draft should not be your submitted paper, so allow for enough time to revise. In rewriting, pay careful attention to the clarity and expression of your ideas and to those components that can benefit or disadvantage your analysis, such as a sustained argument, overall flow and organization, sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation. Developing the habit and skill of rewriting and editing is an important component in producing an academic paper.

If you would like individual help on improving writing skills, please contact the Student Success Centre, which offers Writing Support Services. The Centre is located in Gilmour Hall 110. Online, please go to You will find information on Writing Assistance, Student Resources including Writing Resources.

The Mills Learning Commons in the Mills Library also offers assistance with learning and writing skills. Room L213/E.


-Your paper should be 5 pages double-spaced (approximately 1500 words). Avoid writing a paper shorter or longer than the required length. Pages over the required length will be evaluated, and they will not lower the grade. However, a paper of 4.5 pages or less will be considered underwritten. The marks will be deducted as follows: 2.5 marks from your grade out of 100 for a paper ½ page short; 5 marks from your grade out of 100 for a paper 1 page short, etc.. *Please pay attention to the following problems that can contribute to an underwritten paper: a large margin at the top of page 1 (because no cover page has been provided), oversize margins at the sides and/or bottom of the page, excessive spacing between paragraphs, oversize font, and numbering your cover page as page 1.

-*Include a cover page with your name, course name and number, and the title of your paper. (If you do not include a cover page and you put this information at the top of page 1, your top margin will be quite large and will contribute to the calculation of a short paper.)

-Number the pages.

-Use 12pt Times New Roman font.

-Use regular margins (no more or less than 1 inch).

-A reference list, with both the performance work and the reading(s), must be included. It is to be placed at the end of the paper and titled “References.” The reference list includes only those secondary sources cited in the paper and not materials you may have read to develop your thinking.

Criteria for grading:

-Development of insightful understandings about the performance. (This aspect includes considerations such as the following: Do you work with ideas introduced in the course? Is the paper introduced clearly, i.e. are the focus and approach evident? Is the paper focused throughout, i.e. are all parts of the essay relevant? Are the ideas/arguments focused, well developed/elaborated, and avoid generalization? Are the arguments well stated and expressed? Is the critical analysis thoughtful, insightful, and/or imaginative?)

-Incorporation of course materials (scholarly literature). (This aspect includes considerations such as the following: Are the sources well-chosen in relation to your arguments? Are they properly cited? Is it evident that the course materials have been read and understood in your use of them? Do you engage with the ideas in the readings to inform and develop your arguments?)

-Organization and grammar (This aspect includes considerations such as the following: Correct length of paper; paragraph construction; sentence construction; transition of ideas; word choice; punctuation; spelling; typos, etc.)

An overall grade is provided.

Plagiarism: Please see the commentary under “Academic Dishonesty Statement” and note the following website for information on how to avoid plagiarism:

Consultation: If you have questions about the assessment of your essay and you would like to discuss how to do better in future writing projects, you may consult with me (or the teaching assistant) after the essay has been returned to you. For such consultation, you need to come prepared as follows: 1) reread your paper with the grading criteria in mind, 2) read and think through the commentary and recommendations, and 3) bring written notes to the meeting about what in particular you would like to discuss and further understand. With these practices, you develop abilities to better evaluate your own writing and to better understand how to make improvements for future writing projects in your University studies and/or in employment contexts.

*Please retain a copy of the final draft of your paper.

In-Class Reflection on the Theatre & Film Major Production (10%) Week 12, Thurs Nov 23:

You are required to attend one of the performances of the Major, which takes place on November 9-11 (8:00 pm), 15-18 (8:00 pm) and18 (2:00 pm). Please take notes after you have viewed the play so that you have material to draw from for your reflection assignment. Take notes based on the assignment questions below. You are welcome to bring your notes in hard copy format to the class for this assignment.

In class, on Week 12, Thurs Nov 23, you will write a reflection on the play. Write TWO pages, double spaced, in sentences and not in point form.

We will spend approximately 20 min on this assignment. You are to critically discuss the play as follows:

--What are the key ideas in the play? (approx. 1/2 page)

--What performance strategies does the production utilize? Describe how they serve to illuminate the ideas. Discuss at least two strategies, which could include: acting methods, the use of multimedia, staging and space, lighting, sound, costume, etc.. (approx. 1.5 pages)

Your reflection is NOT: a review of the play, as you would find in a theatre critic’s review; a summary of the narrative; a description of why you “like” or “dislike” the play or why you “agree” or “disagree” with it. The reflection is a scholarly written assignment that provides a critical discussion about the play.

If you complete the assignment as required, you will automatically receive the full grade of 5%.

Final Exam (40%):

You will be asked to discuss some of the key ideas in the course. Further details will be discussed in class, closer to the exam (Weeks 12 and 13). Please note that exams are scheduled by the Registrar’s Office during the exam period and cannot be changed. Please be advised that, as required, a deferred exam will be somewhat different from the scheduled exam.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Students are expected to complete the assignments on the specified due dates. Please note that extensions will not be granted and late penalties will not be waived except in exceptional circumstances and on an individual basis. Computer or printer problems, conflicting due dates, and a busy schedule are not considered suitable reasons for extensions. **In all cases, it is YOUR responsibility to follow up with the instructor immediately to see if an extension or other accommodation will be granted, and what form it will take. There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.

In-Class Tests:

If you miss a test, it cannot be made up without official documentation for your absence (e.g. MSAF; medical documentation) for your absence. Contact me immediately because *I will schedule ONE time for a make-up test for Test #1 and ONE time for a make-up test for Test #2. The make-up tests are scheduled within 2 weeks of the original in-class tests dates. If you do not attend at a scheduled time for a make-up test, then you will write a short essay worth the same amount (10%).

In-Class Reflection:

The reflection is written in class and submitted directly to the course instructor in the scheduled class. Otherwise, if you miss the class, you are required to provide official documentation (e.g. MSAF; medical documentation) for your absence such that I can approve an accommodation, or a mark of zero will be assigned.


-I will accept papers in person only, in class, in hard copy format. Do not slip an essay under my door. Please be advised that I cannot accept assignments submitted via email.

-A paper is considered late if it is not handed directly to the course instructor in the scheduled class.

-Papers should not be handed into the School of the Arts office.

-Please contact me if you are submitting a late paper.

-Essays submitted on the due date will be returned with commentary. Essays submitted after the due date will receive only a grade.

-Students are advised to budget enough time to accommodate for unforeseen last-minute difficulties such as computer or printer failure. *Since computer or printer problems are not considered suitable reasons for extensions, I advise you to save your work regularly and to back-up all versions of your essay. Email yourself a copy of the file.

-Late essays will be penalized 3% per day or part day, seven days a week to a maximum of one week, in order to be fair to those students who submit their work according to the set deadlines. After one week, late assignments will not be accepted, as a grade of zero will be assigned.

-Ensure that you keep copies of all submitted work. If the essay is lost, you are responsible for providing a copy.

Using the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) on-line self-reporting tool (on MOSAIC):

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences due to minor medical situations that last up to 3 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work worth less than 25% of the final grade. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period.

You may submit a maximum of one Academic Work Missed request per term. It is your responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (normally within two working days) regarding the nature of the accommodation. Failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief. It is the prerogative of the instructor of the course to determine the appropriate relief for missed term work in the course. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 3 days, or exceed one request per term you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office (Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean’s office.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1: Thurs Sept 7. Course Introduction

Week 2: Thurs Sept 14. Introducing Performance and Performance Art


Carlson, Marvin. (1996). What is Performance? In Michael Huxley & Noel Witts (Eds.), The Twentieth Century Performance Reader (2nd ed.) (pp. 146-153). London: Routledge.

Stucky, Nathan, & Wimmer, Cynthia. (2002). Excerpt from: “Introduction: The Power of Transformation in Performance Studies Pedagogy.” In N. Stucky & C. Wimmer (Eds.), Teaching Performance Studies (pp. 10-16). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.

Stiles, Kristene. (1996). Performance Art. In Kristen Stiles and Peter Selz (Eds.), Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (pp. 679-694). Berkeley: University of California Press.


Steele, Lisa. (1974). Birthday Suit with Scars and Defects. Canada. 12 min.

Tschinkel, Paul. (2001). Laurie Anderson – On Performance. Part 1 & II [Excerpt]. USA. 58 min.

About Laurie Anderson:

Wenders, Wim. (2011). Pina [Excerpt]. Germany. 103 min.

Week 3: Thurs Sept 21. Experimentation




Diamond, Elin. (2000). Performance and Cultural Politics. In Lizbeth Goodman & Jane de Gay (Eds.), The Routledge Reader in Politics and Performance (pp. 66-69). New York: Routledge.

Hill, Leslie. (2000). Suffragettes Invented Performance Art. In Lizbeth Goodman & Jane de Gay (Eds.), The Routledge Reader in Politics and Performance (pp. 150-156). New York: Routledge.

Potkin, Helen. (2000). Performance Art. In Fiona Carson & Claire Pajaczkowska (Eds.), Feminist Visual Culture (pp. 75-88). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Akers, Matthew. (2012). Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present [Excerpt]. USA. 106 min.

About Marina Abramović:

Week 4: Thurs Sept 28. Theatre Perspectives; Performance Sites



Goodman, Lizbeth. (2000). The Politics of Performativity in the Age of Replay Culture. In Lizbeth Goodman & Jane de Gay (Eds.), The Routledge Reader in Politics and Performance (pp. 288-294). New York: Routledge.

Barlizo, Marie-Leofeli R. (2009). Cultural Diversity in Play. Canadian Theatre Review, 139, 50-55.

Rose, Richard. (2003). The Significance of Theatre: A Commencement Address. In Kathleen Gallagher & David Booth (Eds.), How Theatre Educates: Convergences and Counterpoints (pp. 231-238). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Sandahl, Carrie & Auslander, Philip. (2005). Introduction: Disability Studies in Commotion with Performance Studies. In Carrie Sandahl & Philip Auslander (Eds.), Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance (pp. 1-15). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.


Rosler, Martha. (1975). Semiotics of the Kitchen. USA. 7 min. In Lyn Blumenthal (Producer), What Does She Want? Fact is Stranger Than Fiction.

Peebles, Sarah. (1996). “Strange Nature” Excerpts. Canada. 12 min.

Shannon, Bill. (2006). Crutch. 4 min

Shannon, Bill. (2007). Work it Out. 3 min.

Shannon, Bill. (2009). VISA commercial. 1 min.

New York Surveillance Camera Players.

Week 5: Thurs Oct 5. Some Canadian Histories




Robertson, Clive. (1991). Performance Art in Canada 1970-1980: Tracing Some Origins of Need. In Clive Robertson & Alain-Martin Richard (Eds.), Performance Canada 1970-1990 (pp. 8-19). Toronto: Coach House Press and Quebec: Editions Intervention.

Robertson, Clive. (2004). Lillian Allen: Holding the Past, Touching the Present, Shining Out to the Future. In Tanya Mars & Johanna Householder (Eds.), Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (pp. 102-110). Toronto: YYZ Books.

Conley, Christine. (2004). May Chan: Coming Into Her Own. In Tanya Mars & Johanna Householder (Eds.), Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (pp. 140-149). Toronto: YYZ Books.


May, Derek. (1981). Off the Wall [Excerpts]. Canada. 55:36 min.

About Lillian Allen:

“Limbo Dancer”:

“What is Dub Poetry?”:

“No Home”:

Mangaard, Annette. (2008). General Idea: Art, AIDS, and the Fin de Siècle [Excerpts]. Canada. 47:50 min.

About General Idea:

Week 6: Thurs Oct 12.


Week 7: Thurs Oct 19. Indigenous Challenges



Swanson, Kerry. (2012). The Noble Savage was a Drag Queen: Hybridity and Transformation in Kent Monkman’s Performance and Visual Art Interventions. In Maureen Fitzgerald & Scott Rayter (Eds.), Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies (pp. 565-576). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Weintraub, Linda, Danto, Arthur, & McEvilley, Thomas. (1996). James Luna: A Native American Man. In L. Weintraub et al., Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art’s Meaning in Contemporary Society 1970s-1990s (pp. 97-102). Litchfield, CT: Art Insights Inc.

Young-ing, Greg. (2005). The Indigenous Tradition / New Technology Interface. In Transference, Tradition, Technology: Native New Media Exploring Visual and Digital Culture (pp. 179-187). Banff, Alberta: Walter Phillips Gallery Editions.


Luna, James. (1997). Bringing it all Back Home [Excerpt]. USA. 55:12 min

Luna, James, & Merritt, David J. (2001). Take a Picture With a Real Indian. USA. 12:10 min.

About James Luna:

Monkman, Kent. (2010). Dance to Miss Chief. Canada. 4:50 min.

Monkman, Kent. (2013). Miss Chief: Justice of the Peace. Canada. 31 min.

About Kent Monkman: (interview)

Week 8: Thurs Oct 26. Performer/Provocateur



Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. (2000). La Migrant Life. In G. Gomez-Pena, Dangerous Border Crossings: The Artist Talks Back (pp. 7-15). London: Routledge.

Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. (2000). Ethno-cyborgs and Genetically Engineered Mexicans. In G. Gómez-Peña, Dangerous Border Crossings: The Artist Talks Back (pp. 45-57). London: Routledge.

Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. (2000). The Dangers of Being a Biracial Kid. In G. Gómez-Peña, Dangerous Border Crossings: The Artist Talks Back (pp. 243-246). London: Routledge.


Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. (1998). Borderstasis: The Many Lives of an End of the Century Bandit. USA. 25:30 min.

Oregon Public Broadcasting. (1997). A World of Art: Works in Progress: Guillermo Gómez-Peña (Tape 2). USA.

About Guillermo Gómez-Peña:




The fall Major production is Lope de Vega’s Women and Servants (1613), a comic play that was very radical in its time. The manuscript of the play was only recently discovered (2014) and the English translation was published this year. The production will be the world premiere of the English translation. The play gives emphasis to issues of social difference, including gender and class.

Week 9: Thurs Nov 2. Provocations


Bradley, Jessica. (2004). Rebecca Belmore: Art and the Object of Performance. In Tanya Mars & Johanna Householder (Eds.), Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (pp. 120-129). Toronto: YYZ Books.

Ritter, Kathleen. (2008). The Reclining Figure and Other Provocations. In Daina Augaitis & Kathleen Ritter (Eds.), Rebecca Belmore: Rising to the Occasion (pp. 53-65). Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery.


Belmore, Rebecca. (2002). Vigil. 7 min.

Belmore, Rebecca. (2000). Bury My Heart. 8 min.

Belmore, Rebecca. (2010). Worth. 14 min.

Week 10: Thurs Nov 9. Resistance and Intervention



No readings this week. Use what would have been your reading time for this week to work on the essay.


Lerner, Mike and Maxim Pozdorovkin. (2013). Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. (88 min)

Week 11: Thurs Nov 16. Identity/ies and/in Performance


No readings this week. Use what would have been your reading time for this week to work on the essay.


Dempsey, Shawna, & Millan, Lorri. (1999). A Live Decade [Excerpts]. Canada. 45 min.

Dempsey, Shawna, & Millan, Lorri. (1994). Arborite Housedress [Excerpt]. Canada. 22 min.

Dempsey, Shawna, & Millan, Lorri. (2007). Target Marketing. 2007. 2 min excerpt.

Bowen, Deanna. (2010). sum of the parts: what can be named. Canada. 20 min.

Dylan, Bob. (1965). Subterranean Homesick Blues. 2 min.

Berry, Chuck. (1958). Johnny B. Goode. 2.30min.

Week 12. Thurs Nov 24. Posthuman?




Stelarc. (1998). From Psycho-Body to Cyber-Systems: Images as Post-Human Entities. In Joan Broadhurst Dixon & Eric J. Cassidy (Eds.), Virtual Futures: Cyberotics, Technology and Post-Human Pragmatism (pp. 116-123). London: Routledge.

Kusahara, Machiko. (2000). Presence, Absence, and Knowledge in Telerobotic Art. In Ken Goldberg (Ed.), The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet (pp. 199-212). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


Ontario College of Art and Design. (1994). Stelarc. Canada. 95 min. (Excerpts)

“The Body is Obsolete.” 4 min

About Stelarc:

Week 13. Thurs Dec 1. Concluding

Overall notes on the course.



Other Course Information:


Thursdays during class time. *The films of the performances are central to the course, and it is expected that all students will be present for the in-class screenings.

Films of the performances are on Course Reserve. They are housed at the Library Services desk, Mills Memorial Library, and may be borrowed for review and assignment preparation. The loans are for 4 hours. DVDs can be played on most personal laptops and any iMac computer in the Library (Learning Commons and the 2nd floor). VHS can be played on the TV systems on the 4th floor lobby. These computers and TVs are open access, i.e., first-come first-serve. Students may also book a room in Lyons (L-416) for VHS and DVD using the on-line booking form on the Lyons' home page, If you have any questions about access to the films, please direct them to the staff at the Library Services desk.

Class Etiquette and Electronic Devices:

Lectures and Discussions: Overall, respect should guide your participation in class. Please arrive on time for lectures. If you have to leave the class early, do so quietly. Refrain from leaving or starting to pack up your things at the end of the class before the lecture ends, as this is disruptive to other students. Please show consideration for your fellow students by listening attentively during lectures and discussions.

Be prepared to focus on the readings and the films. Bring your course readings to class.

Electronic Devices: Students are required to turn off all personal electronic devices. You should not be on the internet, email, Facebook, or text messaging during class. This is distracting to your colleagues. Handwritten notetaking is recommended. If you require a device for notetaking, please sit within the first 5 rows of the classroom. If you need your cell phone on because you have children or need to remain in contact with someone because of a medical emergency, please inform me at the beginning of the class and please leave the cell phone on vibrate. Laptops must be closed for all screenings. Students who consult non-course related content on laptops during class will be required to close their laptops for the duration of the class.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

Please see in this document: “Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities”

In addition, please note:

Students with disabilities receive accommodations to assist them in completing their programs successfully. With regard to course work, there is assistance with note-taking, assignments, and tests and exams. Please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS), in the Centre for Student Development, for advice and for arranging accommodations. Appointments can be booked online, in person at the SAS office (MUSC B107), or by phone, ext. 28652. ( Note that students must register annually. Self-identification is voluntary, all information is treated confidentially, and access to information must be approved by the applicant. Please consult the following policy, “The McMaster University Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities,” which recognizes that the University has an obligation “to make its services available in a manner that does not discriminate.”

*I am in full support of accommodation arrangements, so please make sure I receive a copy of your SAS accommodation letter, preferably by the second week of classes.

Student Wellness and Student Success:

The Student Wellness Centre (MUSC B101) emphasizes the importance of “wellness in mind, body, and spirit” for realizing one’s academic potential. The Centre offers medical and health services as well as personal counseling. (

The Student Success Centre provides services to assist students in terms of “academic support,” “personal growth,’ and “professional development.” improving skills for academic success. The Centre is located in Gilmour Hall 110. (x24254)

Avenue to Learn:

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn. In the week following the class, the lecture notes will be posted on Avenue. Details about assignments and any necessary announcements will also be posted. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.


If you have a question about the class or assignments, don’t hesitate to ask for my assistance. But please remember to review the course outline, which provides considerable information about the course. If you wish to speak to me outside of class time, please feel free to drop by during my office hours. I will try to arrange another time with you if these hours do not suit. I prefer to discuss important matters in person and in the exchange of conversation. This includes questions about assignments and evaluations. I am happy to handle brief, logistical questions via email, but I cannot provide an in-depth response. If you have a question that may be helpful to other people in the course, such as a general query about course requirements, I encourage you to ask that question during class time.

If you need to email me (, please note that your email must originate from your official McMaster University email account. See the Faculty of Humanities policy above. I will do my best to respond to email within 48 hours. Messages received Friday to Sunday will be answered no later than Tuesday. Please note that consultation emails need to follow professional protocols: compose your email using professional language and avoid informal language and casual modes of address.

Course Evaluation:

Your feedback is important. You will have the opportunity to complete an online course evaluation near the end of the term. Information about when and how to complete the evaluation will be shared in class. I encourage you to take the time to complete evaluations for all of your courses.

Note-Taking and Critical Analysis:

Take notes on your readings, the lectures, screenings of the performance material, and post-screening discussions. Keep a record of your critical understandings. This record will assist you with assignments and with participation in class discussions. The establishment of note-taking practices and a written vocabulary of your understandings will contribute to the development of critical analysis skills.