PERFORMANCE AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR - 2018/9

Module code: THE3027

Module Overview

We might argue that contemporary (western) social discourse (particularly as represented in the news media) is preoccupied with narratives of fear or  anxiety: of the other, of terrorism, of the collapse of capitalism, of anti-social behaviour and violence, of the dumbing down of education standards, of the disintegration of community, of the rise of consumerism and ‘unthinking’ neoliberalism, for example. Meanwhile, the history of performance since Plato holds at its centre a complex and powerful anxiety about and mistrust of representation. Through recourse to critical theory, political and medical histories, psychoanalysis and philosophy students will investigate the philosophical, political and socio-cultural nature and social function of performance and representation as it relates to contemporary questions of fear, anxiety and ‘dis-ease’.

[Students from other disciplines welcome. In addition to drama, theatre, and performance students this module will engage the interest of students from sociology, creative writing, psychology, English literature, history, philosophy and politics.]

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader

DUGGAN P Dr (GSA)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: C880

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 24

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

Indicative content:

Students will meet every  week for a 2-hour seminar-workshop. In addition to this students will be required to attend weekly film screenings or live performances (c. 2hrs per week), which may include 'reading group' debates with pre-set questions. The taught sessions may comprise presentations, discussions, small-group research tasks and workshop activities. Students will receive weekly readings (including: critical theory, theatre and performance studies, plays, and journalistic writing) that will form the basis of the weekly classes. Classes may take place in a variety of learning environments both on and off campus (indicatively: seminar rooms, studios, art centres/galleries, museums, theatre buildings, libraries). Students will also be required to engage with a number of theatre and performance events and to undertake self-led research activity. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation 20 MINUTE INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION 100

Alternative Assessment

Summative assessment alternative: 3000 word essay

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate


awareness and understanding of current debates in contemporary culture as it relates to discourses concerned with the politics of fear and anxiety
analytical skills and critical thinking
ability to design and realise own research projects
confidence and ability in presenting and structuring ideas coherently and articulately


 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


20 minute individual research presentation


Research questions will be designed in conversation with the module tutor and presentations will be delivered in a mini-conference during the semester 1 exam period.

Although assessed individually, students will be put into pairs as appropriate to their research areas and encouraged to work dialogically with one another to create 2 person ‘panels’ for the conference.

While critical enquiry and rigorous research will underpin the presentations, students will be encouraged to think creatively about the form their work takes.

Formative assessment

In addition to summative assessment (see above), students will be required to complete short seminar presentations on the set reading and will receive formative feedback on this work. Students will have the opportunity to submit a short (500 - 600 word), non-assessed abstract of their presentation for formative feedback

Feedback

In-class formative tasks will receive oral feedback while the written formative assessment will receive written feedback.

Summative assessments will receive written feedback with optional follow-up tutorials.

Module aims

  • Investigate the cultural, ideological and socio-political ‘function’ of contemporary performance within western late-capitalism.
  • Interrogate the power of representation and implications of theatre and performance events that attend to what might be thought of as a contemporary culture of ‘dis-ease’, as well as the value of intellectual work of such representations.
  • Analyse examples of social and aesthetic performance through critical and conceptual frameworks (for example: mimesis, theories of ethics and trauma, feminism, media and political theory and poststructuralist philosophy) to explore questions about contemporary geo-politics.
  • Develop a broad understanding of ‘performance’ through analysis of (indicatively):
    a) verbatim theatre alongside the social performances they represent;
    b) police tactics and surveillance as performance;
    c) terrorism and plays that attend to it;
    d) political activism;
    e) 'culture jamming';
    f) news and social media performances (from politicians’ speeches to trolling to news broadcasts);
    g) live art and body practices;
    h) medical performances;
    i) immersive theatre.
  • Equip students with core skills in interpretation and analysis of plural forms of performance and help them to interrogate the interrelationship between politics, ideology, aesthetics and representation. In short, the students on this module will consider exactly how and why theatre and performance matters in the contemporary moment.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop a keen understanding of developments in contemporary performance practice and the possible social, political and cultural ‘function’ of performance as it relates to contemporary discourses around fear and anxiety. KC
002 Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of relevant critical theories and their dynamic relationship to aesthetic practices. KCT
003 Demonstrate the ability to apply a wide range of library and IT skills in detailed independent research. CPT
004 Demonstrate the ability to contribute and communicate research to small group, in-class tasks/presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and to develop advanced confidence in the ability to analyse, critique and manipulate complex material. KCPT
005 Demonstrate the ability to engage critically and analytically from different conceptual perspectives, to explore theoretical concerns through creative practice, and vice versa, and to synthesise findings in creative and written tasks. The ability to interpret research into creative practice and vice versa. KCPT
006 Develop advanced personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self critical as much as self reflective. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to foster: a high level of critical thinking and reflection; analytical skills; evaluative skills; detailed knowledge of the module’s subject areas and their socio-political context; and an ability to articulate clearly one’s own critical perspectives, as well as representing the critical perspectives of others.  

Indicative learning and teaching methods include: short form lectures, seminars, debates, small group research tasks, workshops, and field work (22 hours over 11 weeks). Curated engagement with cultural products, such as films, performances, exhibitions, online art practices (22 hours over 11 weeks), framed by tutor set contextualisation/questions (this may include short, group research or discussion tasks framed by tutor set questions).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for PERFORMANCE AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/the3027

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Dance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.