THTR&FLM 2CP3 CULTURE AND PERFORMANCE
Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015
Instructor: Dr. Janice Hladki
Office: Togo Salmon Hall 405
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23942
Office Hours: Thursdays 11:00-1:00 or by appointment
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
- Other Course Information
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 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, the Olympic Games, 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 professional performers do, whether in live public performances such as theatre, performance events, or politics; 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. The course focuses predominantly on the two latter understandings: 1) forms of performance that artists create and 2) the performance of aspects of cultural identity.
With regard to art practices, we will focus on various approaches to "performance art." 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.
Class discussion is an important part of the course, along with lectures, readings, and class screenings.
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
THTR & FLM 2CP3 courseware pack
Method of Assessment:
Assignments and Evaluations:
In-class Test 25% (held in class Week 6, Thurs Oct 9)
Essay 25% (due in class Week 10, Thurs Nov 6)
Final Exam 40% (scheduled by the Registrar’s Office)
Please note: You will receive feedback on the test to meet the University regulations (10% of grades by Fri
Missed or Late Assignments; Extensions:
Students are expected to hand in all assignments on time. Extensions or other accommodations will be determined by the instructor and will only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation. Please note that late penalties will not be waived except in exceptional circumstances and on an individual basis. In accordance with University regulations, documentation is required for circumstances of health or emergency. Computer or printer problems, conflicting due dates, and a busy schedule are not considered suitable reasons for extensions.
**Please refer to the protocols regarding “Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work” (http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/CALENDAR/current/pg2246.html).
If you use the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) on-line, self-reporting tool for minor medical situations lasting up to 5 days, you may request relief for missed academic work worth less than 30% of the final grade. You may submit a maximum of one Academic Work Missed request per term. *Contact me immediately after completing the form. Please note that the academic regulation states: “it is the prerogative of the instructor of the course to determine the appropriate relief for missed term work in his/her course.” Please note that grade percentages cannot be transferred onto one of the other course requirements.
If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office (Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation.
**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.
If you miss the test, it cannot be made up without official documentation for your absence. I will schedule ONE time for a make-up test. If you do not attend at that time, then I will determine another assignment (e.g. a short essay) worth the same amount.
-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.
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.
This course includes experimental cultural 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.
In-Class Test (25%) Week 6, Thurs Oct 9:
The test is to be written in class, and it is 60 minutes long. It consists 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 test.
Essay (25%) Due in class Week 10, Thurs Nov 6:
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 engagement with the performance: discuss what meanings you think are significant. Consider what strategies the artist employs to address issues about culture and how they mobilize those strategies. (You do not need to discuss everything the artist attempts. Choose what you find most significant.) Draw connections between issues and thematics raised in class and how you understand the performance.
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 what element of the performance work you are going to address and your intended line of argument so that you can focus and structure your essay.
With respect to documentation, 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: http://www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity/students/index.html.
This paper is neither a summary of the performance work nor a description of why you “like” or “dislike” it. 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 piece)
*Please be advised that I cannot accept papers via email.
*Please retain a copy of your submitted paper.
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 a strong paper.
If you would like individual help on improving writing skills, please contact the Student Success Centre, which offers Writing Support Services through Peer Mentor and Writing Assistant appointments and the Writing Process Workshop. The Centre is located in Gilmour Hall 110. http://studentsuccess.mcmaster.ca/academic-skills/writing-support-services.html
For assistance with academic writing, you can also book an appointment with a Peer Helper at The Writing Clinic in the Mills Learning Commons. http://library.mcmaster.ca/mills/learningcommons/learn.htm
-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 above under “Academic Dishonesty Statement” and note the following website for information on how to avoid plagiarism: http://www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity/students/index.html.
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.
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. Please note that exams are scheduled by the Registrar’s Office during the exam period and cannot be changed.
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 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. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 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.
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
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 www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- 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 mcmaster.ca/msaf/. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 4. Course Introduction
Week 2: Thurs Sept 11. Introducing Performance and Performance Art
Week 3: Thurs Sept 18. Experimentation
Week 4: Thurs Sept 25. Theatre Perspectives
DISCUSSION OF IN-CLASS TEST, HELD WEEK 6, THURS OCT 9
Week 5: Thurs Oct 2. Some Canadian Histories
Week 6: Thurs Oct 9.
*IN CLASS TEST TODAY
Week 7: Thurs Oct 16. Indigenous Challenges
*DISCUSSION OF ESSAY, DUE WEEK 10, THURS NOV 6
Week 8: Thurs Oct 23. Performer/Provocateur
Week 9: Thurs Oct 30.
NO CLASS TODAY: MIDTERM RECESS.
*THE MAJOR PRODUCTION OF THE THEATRE & FILM STUDIES PROGRAM, SUCCESS (WORKING TITLE), WILL BE STAGED IN NOVEMBER IN THE ROBINSON THEATRE. YOU ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND ONE OF THE PERFORMANCES.
Week 10: Thurs Nov 6. Provocations
*ESSAY DUE IN CLASS TODAY
*YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THE OPENING RECEPTION OF MY CO-CURATED EXHIBITION, THIS IS ME. THIS IS ALSO ME AT THE MCMASTER MUSEUM OF ART. 6:00-8:00 PM. (AS A RESULT OF THE EXHIBITION RECEPTION, CLASS WILL END SLIGHTLY EARLY TODAY).
Week 11: Thurs Nov 13. Identity/ies and/in Performance
Week 12. Thurs Nov 20. Posthuman?
FOR THE LAST HALF OF THE CLASS (4:00-5:20), WE WILL ATTEND, AS A GROUP, THE EXHIBITION THIS IS ME. THIS IS ALSO ME AT THE MCMASTER MUSEUM OF ART. THE EXHIBITION INCLUDES EXAMPLES OF PERFORMANCE FOR THE CAMERA AND THE WORK OF FOUR OF THE ARTISTS WE STUDY IN THIS COURSE (BELMORE, BOWEN, GENERAL IDEA, MONKMAN). I WILL TAKE ATTENDANCE AT THE MUSEUM.
Week 13. Thurs Nov 27. Concluding
FROM 1:30-3:00 PM, YOU ARE ASKED TO ATTEND A PANEL DISCUSSION, AT THE MCMASTER MUSEUM OF ART. THE PANEL ADDRESSES THE EXHIBITION YOU ATTENDED LAST WEEK. THE CLASS WILL THEN COMMENCE AT 3:30 WHEN I WILL DISCUSS FURTHER THE FINAL EXAM.
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 are housed at the Library Services desk, Mills Memorial Library, and may be borrowed for review and assignment preparation: regular loans are 48 hours for students (films cannot be renewed); films on Course Reserve are 4-hour loans. 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, http://library.mcmaster.ca/lyons. If you have any questions about access to the films, please direct them to the staff at the Library Services desk.
Students with disabilities receive accommodations to assist them in their course work, including for example, assistance with notetaking, assignments, and tests and exams. Please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS), for advice and for arranging accommodations. Appointments can be booked online, in person at the SAS office (MUSC B107), or by phone, ext. 28652. (http://sas.mcmaster.ca/). Note that students must register annually. All information is treated confidentially. 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 CSD accommodation letter, preferably by the second week of classes.
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 (email@example.com), 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.