COMM 6 – Introduction to Performance Studies Syllabus – Spring 2012 Instructor:

COMM 6 – Introduction to Performance Studies
Syllabus – Spring 2012
Instructor Information
Instructor: christine warda
Office: 451 R
Of. Hrs: MW 9am-10:30am
Phone: (510) 723-6808
TTh 2:30pm-3:30pm
Course Information
CRN: 32555
Section Number: 001
Location: Rm. 802
Class Meeting Time: TR 1pm-2:15pm
"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human
being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." - Oscar Wilde
"Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. You become just by
performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave
actions." – Aristotle
We talk and act a bit differently in bed than at work, or at a bar, or at a cocktail party, or at a
PTA meeting. The idea of 'just being yourself' is a total abstraction, for we are many selves and we
wear many masks." - Robert Cohen
"You must have a twinkle in your eye, a naughtiness -- and the audience must realize your mind is
working faster than your words." - Jeremy Brett
Philosophy: Performance Studies is a great lens for discussing, practicing, and
analyzing communication – both intra- and inter-personally. As the field of
Communication Studies continues to evolve, more scholars are utilizing the
practices of performance theory (embodied) to understand how people create and
shape the world. Performance Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to study
within academic settings and exists as a meaningful tool with which to critique
and re-envision the way we practice “knowledge production.”
As a critical pedagogue, I approach this class as a facilitator and instigator. I am
more interested in the way my students explain the world to me than how I might
explain it to them. In order to discover their theories, I assign papers and
performances with many open guidelines to hear individual voices and some
formal requirements with which to evaluate the work. I will facilitate
conversations, debates, and discussions, and may insert provocative questions to
stimulate, challenge, and play “devil’s advocate.” The intent isn’t to stump the
student or humiliate people; rather, the intent is to facilitate critical thinking and
listening development and to encourage open-mindedness. My hope is to speak
less than my students and by the end of the semester, have them take on facilitator
roles, encouraging diverse opinions and challenging set assumptions. This is a
clear way to assess the development of communication skills: performing them
within the classroom.
Objectives: Upon completion of the course students should be able to:
1. define, identify, and recognize basic performance theories;
2. critically evaluate performance art/installations in contemporary America;
3. utilize performance as a “voice” to connect their ideas/perspectives to
diverse audiences;
4. demonstrate critical and mindful listening skills to provide constructive
5. identify links between cultural studies, sociology, psychology, drama,
folklore, mythology, disability studies, political science, and
communication fields;
6. demonstrate an understanding of the differences of performing social,
professional, academic, theatrical, and other contextually-defined roles;
7. demonstrate an understanding of how to utilize site-specific, multi-media,
and ensemble performances for diverse audiences.
Textbook: Theories of Performance. Elizabeth Bell. 1st Ed. Sage Publications.
ISBN 978-1-4129-2638-6
5 ½ by 8 ½in. Black Binder – available in Chabot Bookstore
Standard size Binder – any color (1-2in. wide recommended)
10-12 Page protectors for 5x8 binder (“slicks”) – also available in the Bookstore
USB flash drive
Attendance Policy: This course REQUIRES active participation. Each of you
brings your own topics, styles, experiences, and knowledge to this room and I will
facilitate and guide you through the course content and performances. In this
way, we share many of the responsibilities of the success of this course. I consider
every member of the class not just a student, but a teacher. Thus, if you miss a
class or one of your speeches, we are not just a student short – we are a teacher
short. To encourage participation, it is a substantial part of your grade. You may
miss 1 class without penalty. Each class meeting after that will result in a 5 point
grade reduction. Arriving late and leaving early will count as ½ absence. If you
miss 4 consecutive classes without contacting the instructor, you will be
withdrawn/dropped from the course.
Audience/Decorum: Let’s create a supportive atmosphere in the classroom where
we are all invited to speak and be heard.
 Entering or leaving DURING someone’s performance is not
appropriate audience behavior. Wait at the door for the speaker
to finish and then enter.
 Please turn off all pagers, cell phones, and electronic devices
(iPods, etc.) prior to the start of class.
 Please do not practice or look over your notes while others are
performing. This is distracting and rude.
 It is the student’s responsibility to understand the code of
conduct while on the Chabot campus.
1st Offense: Loss of Participation Points (5).
2nd Offense: You will be asked to leave and lose participation points.
3rd Offense: You will need to see the Dean to return to class.
Journal: Students will compile their work, responses to prompts, and critical
analyses into a journal. This will be turned in twice during the semester to checkin on progress. Please maintain progress on your journal and consider it a sacred
text for this course.
Exams: There are two examinations for this course: a mid-term and a final. These
will be take-home, typed, short essay questions and due dates are firm. You may
email the exam to the instructor if your printer fails, your dog eats the paper, or
you are unable to attend class on the due dates.
Performances: An important way for me to assess your progress and
understanding of key concepts will be through your performances. These are the
true ‘tests’ of the course. There will be 2 monologue assignments, an oral
interpretation of literature, and a group/team performance. There will be the
opportunity to utilize multi-media approaches to performance, but live
presentations will be crucial to your success in this course.
**Missed or Late Speeches
Do not miss your performance date! To accommodate everyone in the class and
to get to all the required performances, it is absolutely imperative that everyone
speaks on her/his assigned day. If you must miss a speech, it is up to you to
schedule a makeup date with the instructor, provided that we have the time. All
makeup performances will receive a 25% grading penalty. At most, you may
make up ONE performance.
Chabot Communication Lab: In room 803, the Communication Studies
department offers tutoring and resources for all Chabot students. You may go for
feedback on presentations you are creating/rehearsing, use of the camera
equipment, and for group meetings. Please note the Spring hours and feel free to
drop-in any time throughout the semester. I will offer extra credit for your first
visit (25 points) to check out the resources and to meet a tutor.
Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty occurs when a student attempts to show possession of a
level of knowledge or skill which he or she does not possess. The two most
common kinds of academic dishonesty are “cheating” and “plagiarism.” Any
occurrence of academic dishonesty will result in a score of 0 on the
assignment and will be reported to the Dean.
**It surprises me how often this happens. Please trust in the process. I don’t
expect that you know all the answers before taking this course. I also don’t expect
you to know all the answers at the end of this course. I DO expect progress and a
genuine effort to excel. Do your own work - allow yourself to make mistakes - for
truly, that is the best way to improve and grow.
In coordination with the DSPS office, reasonable accommodation will be provided
to eligible students with visible and non-visible disabilities. Please inform me near
the beginning of the semester for any type of accommodation that will be
necessary. Also, contact DSPS at 510.723.6725 if you have not done so already.
It is YOUR responsibility to maintain successful progress in this course.
Please use this worksheet to keep track of your grade.
Journal (10 @ 25 pts. each) (25%)
Performances (30%)
Monologue #1
Monologue #2
Oral Interpretation
Group/Team Project
MidTerm Exam
Final Exam
Participation and Attendance
Total Points ______/1000
1000 - 900 = A
899 - 800 = B
799 - 700 = C
699 - 600 = D
Schedule for COMM 6 – Introduction to Performance Studies
Syllabus; Introduction to course
Chapter 1 - Overview
Chapter 1 cont’d
Chapter 1 cont’d
Monologue #1
Monologue #1
Census Date
Chapter 2
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 3
Chapter 3
Oral Interpretation Performances
Oral Interpretation Performances
Oral Interpretation Performances
Chapter 4
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 5
Chapter 5
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 7
Spring Break
Spring Break
Monologue #2
Monologue #2
Chapter 8
Chapter 8
Chapter 8
Group Presentations
Group Presentations
Chapter 9
Chapter 9
Chapter 9
FINAL CLASS MEETING – 12pm – 1:50pm
MidTerm Exam Due
Journals Due (first time)
**Last day to Withdraw(W) Apr. 6
Journals Due (last time)
Final Exam Due