DRA2072 - Culture in / as Performance

2022/3 Module description

StaffProfessor Jerri Daboo - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module looks at the relationship between performance and culture. We will explore different approaches to understanding and defining culture, and look at issues of the representation of ethnicity, gender and national identity in different types of performances including theatre, popular culture, films, and museums. Theories from performance studies and cultural studies, including globalization, transnationalism, diaspora theory and postcolonialism will be used to look at these performances in different cultural contexts, questioning how identity and culture reflects and/or resists definitions of the ‘norm’ or the ‘other’. It also looks at the way that nations and cultures perform themselves as a form of making and promoting national or local identity, and preserve or challenge this identity through the idea of ‘heritage’. You will conduct your own ethnographic cultural study of a performance, event or place as part of the module. 

Module aims

The module aims to introduce you to questions of culture, identity and representation in performance across different cultures and national contexts, to see how performance can be situated in the wider framework of issues of globalization, neoimperialism and postcolonialism. The module will begin by looking at definitions of culture in relation to performance, and will look at theories from performance studies including interculturalism, to see how performance and culture has been investigated historically within the field. The module then introduces students to a range of readings and performance contexts to investigate pertinent contemporary issues of the effects of globalization and neoimperialism, and how performance can be used to either reinforce or resist this. In this way, the research, teaching and learning the student will undertake will offer future employability potential through having a greater awareness of a range of performance forms from different cultural contexts, as well as a deeper understanding of how contemporary issues are affecting and are reflected by different approaches to performance.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues relating to performance and culture in different contexts, and the flow and adaptation of performance around the world.
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge of the range of scholarly and theoretical approaches to performance and culture.
  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the relationships between the social, cultural, historical, and ideological contexts and forms of performances.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and analyse, critique and manipulate complex material.
  • 5. Apply library and IT skills in independent additional research.
  • 6. Work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies.
  • 8. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and to improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions.
  • 9. Collaborate in various groups and group sizes, to learn elements of teamwork and presentation
  • 10. Balance between self-direction and collaborative work; self-management, collaborative working skills, problem solving, critical analysis and valuing own and others ideas and beliefs.

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of nine seminar sessions of four hours each, running weeks 1 to 10. The module will begin with examining key terms and definitions relating to culture and performance. The rest of the seminars will  look at a key range of theories, and performance contexts.  Student presentation assessments will be in Week 9, with students working on the Critical Portfolio during Weeks 11 and 12, before this is submitted in Week 12. Support for both assessments will be given during the module. 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 33Seminars: a combination of staff-led lectures, student presentations, tasks and discussion in seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 12Reading, analysis and discussion
Guided Independent Study36Small group presentations. Preparation for weeks readings, tasks, discussions and presentations.
Guided Independent Study219Reading and individual preparation for presentations, essay writing, portfolio writing.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Plan for critical portfolioUp to 500 words1, 3-4, 6-7, 10Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation in groups of two or three4025 minutes per group followed by 5 minutes of questions1-4,6-10Written feedback
Critical Portfolio602250 words (750=word critical analysis of an article/chapter; 2 x 750 critical responses to a performance/film/programme)1-3,5,7,10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written submission of presentation2000 words based on work for presentation1-3,4,6,7-10Referral/Deferral period
Critical PortfolioCritical Portfolio1-3,5,7,10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Balme, Christoher, Decolonizing the Stage (Oxford, 1999) - available online through the library catalogue
  • Gilbert, Helen, ed, (Post)colonial Stages: critical and creative views on drama, theatre and performance (Hebden Bridge: Dangaroo Press, 1999)
  • Ley, Graham and Dadswell, Sarah, eds, British South Asian Theatres: A Documented History, (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011) Ley, Graham and Dadswell, Sarah, eds, Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011)
  • Jacqueline Lo and Helen Gilbert, ‘Toward a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre Praxis’ , TDR Vol. 46, No. 3 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 31-53
  • Neilsen and Ybarra, eds, Neoliberalism and global theatres (Palgrave, 2012), electronic resource

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Key words search

Culture, performance, transnationalism, globalisation

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