Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitCentre for Theatre and Performance
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Anna Scheer


This unit introduces the key thinkers and concepts in the discipline of Performance Studies from its origin in the anthropology of theatre and performance to the emergence of the main threads, debates and schools of thought which characterize the field today. The ideas of theorists such as Schechner, Turner, Conquergood, Austin, Butler and others will be covered, detailing concepts of ritual, everyday social performance and performativity. Examples from political performance, protest, institutional and environmental performance will be analysed.


Upon completion of this course students will:

  1. understand the meanings and applications of the concept of performativity and be able to make considered arguments concerning its worth and scope;
  2. be able to analyse everyday activities and broader social events in their performative dimensions;
  3. apply and argue the key concepts and debates in contemporary performance studies;
  4. be able to employ a variety of theoretical approaches to the analysis of everyday and ritual social and cultural performances;
  5. apply concepts of the self, gender, subjectivity and identity viewed as performances;
  6. develop a sense of the cultural relativity of their own and others' everyday practices, becoming more open-minded and understanding of the diversity of cultural practice;
  7. be able to demonstrate an understanding and employ techniques of ethnographic writing.


Group class presentation (15 minutes equiv.900 words): 20%
Individual ethnographic description (minimum 1350 words): 30%
Exam: 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


1st year sequence in Theatre