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Performing Arts Department

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Performing Ghosts: Blackness, Performance, and Archival Erasure

Drama 437 - Spring 2020

Taking ghost as apparition, metaphor, an imaginary, and type of possession, this course focuses on the intersections between performance, affect theory, and archival practice to investigate how scholars and artists contend with the psychic and affective terrors against blackness. Part of these terrors, the course asserts, happened and is happening in the realm of the affective, ephemeral, and archival. Moving across theoretical works, literature, and theater, our readings differently query: how can performance enable us to recuperate the lives of those violently erased from the archive? How to imagine embodiment for subjects "tracked" by history, such as black folks whose bodies suggest other forms of pathology, like sexual deviancy, mentally "insanity," and other forms of criminalization? How have attachments to ghosts been used as a methodology to stage and reperform blackness in the past and in the present? And lastly, how can we capture embodiment (or enfleshment) without live bodies? By rethinking "liveness," "absence," "loss," and "remains," the readings and discussions will offer performance as a methodological and analytical infrastructure to conduct historical and/or archival research.
Course Attributes: EN HBU HumBU BAAS HUMAS SD IFA HUMAR HUMFA CPSC

Section 01

Performing Ghosts: Blackness, Performance, and Archival Erasure
INSTRUCTOR: Rhaisa Williams
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