PERFORMANCE AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR - 2021/2
Module code: THE3032
This module engages with contemporary preoccupation with narratives of fear and anxiety. In the global media, in politics and in everyday social settings, we can observe the symptoms and repercussions of the affects of fear; of the ‘dangerous other’ (Lorey, 2015), of the collapse of economies, of the disintegration of community, of climate crisis and, in current times, of contagion. Meanwhile, performance can be both a mechanism for fueling affects of fear and anxiety, as well as a critical response to it.
In this module, we will explore performance in a broad sense, including analysis of political and everyday performances in addition to examining examples of theatrical performance. Through engagement with critical theory and a range of examples of performance, we will investigate the political, philosophical and socio-cultural functions of performance. We will examine the complexities of theatrical representation of a broad range of identities, engaging issues relating to race, gender, disability, sexuality and class. We will examine how some performance practices directly engage with social justice in how they relate to questions of fear and anxiety.
Guildford School of Acting
WAGNER Matthew (GSA)
Number of Credits: 15
ECTS Credits: 7.5
Framework: FHEQ Level 6
JACs code: W440
Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A
Overall student workload
Independent Learning Hours: 120
Seminar Hours: 20
Guided Learning: 10
Prerequisites / Co-requisites
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. 3hrs 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 type||Unit of assessment||Weighting|
|Coursework||Presentation (Group or Individual)||100|
Summative assessment alternative: 3000 word essay
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 (as part of a Student Conference
Research questions will be designed in conversation with the module tutor and presentations will be delivered in a mini-conference during the Term 3 assessment period.
Although assessed individually, students will be put into small ‘panels’ as appropriate to their research areas and encouraged to work dialogically with one another to prepare 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 – 500 word abstract for presentation
In-class formative tasks will receive oral feedback while the written formative assessment will receive feedback via 1:1 tutorials (and written feedback upon request).
Summative assessments will receive written feedback with optional follow-up tutorials.
- • 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):
- verbatim theatre alongside the social performances they represent;
- police tactics and surveillance as performance;
- terrorism and plays that attend to it;
- political activism;
- 'culture jamming';
- news and social media performances (from politicians’ speeches to trolling to news broadcasts);
- live art and body practices;
- medical performances;
- 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.
|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.||CK|
|002||• Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of relevant critical theories and their dynamic relationship to aesthetic practices.||CKT|
|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.||CKPT|
|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.||CKPT|
|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||CKPT|
C - Cognitive/analytical
K - Subject knowledge
T - Transferable skills
P - Professional/Practical skills
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 (20 hours over 10 weeks). Curated engagement with cultural products, such as films, performances, exhibitions, online art practices (20 hours over 10 weeks), framed by tutor set contextualisation/questions. Reading groups (10 hours over 10 weeks) in which students discuss weekly readings 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.
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: THE3032
Under the three term structure that commences from academic year 2019/0 – this module’s delivery falls in Semester 2 due to the teaching occurring in Teaching Block 3.
Programmes this module appears in
|Dance with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons)||1||Optional||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Theatre and Performance with Creative Writing BA (Hons)||1||Optional||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Theatre and Performance with Film Studies 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 2021/2 academic year.