Research Methodology: Movements and Concepts in Performance

- Dr Soumyabrata Choudhury / Samik Bandopadhyay

This course will have two orientations. First, it will trace the path of theatre history and theatre studies as they developed as part of Europeanist and eventually Eurocentric intellectual history (history of ideas specifically). This tracing will culminate in a critical historical consciousness (of which postcolonial thinking is one reflection) which produces a contemporary domain of conceptual and practical problematization. This will be the domain of ‘performance’ as a primary problem of social, cultural and political aesthetic practices, rather than being a functional subset of the intellectual history of theatre, understood as the privileged site of ‘representation’. The second orientation of the course will follow the first one. It will examine the performative and epistemological functions of theatre in various strategic situations of the history of performance. While most of these situations and problems will be taken from the twentieth century some of them will involve studying the transformation of concepts across longer durations over heterogeneous movements. This will be a course studying the place of theatre in the overall place milieu of significant movements in the history of ideas, viz. romanticism, realism, materialism, surrealism, absurd and the grotesque, structuralism and feminism as a movement between knowledge and performance practices.

Pre reading:


• Elizabeth Burns, Theatricality, New York, Harper and Row, 1972

• Roger Caillois, Man, Play and Games, New York, The Free Press, 1961

• Carlson, Marvin, Theories of Theatre, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984

• Patrice Pavis, Languages of the Stage, New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982

• Richard Schechner, Between Theatre and Anthropology, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1967