Affects, Bodies, Ecologies: Borders of Performance from Antiquity to the Early Modern World





Pandemics such as COVID-19 have revealed not only the fragility of the human body within an equally delicate environment, but also our deep connection and commitment to artistic performances-the latter were the first to be canceled due to the high risk of infection and will be the last to return. This course asks how performance in its manifold guises (theater, processions, auto da fés, carnivals, etc.) and the presence (or absence) of the human body in public, on stage, and in the audience was negotiated in the early modern period. With the face covering currently implemented as a mandatory element of our clothing in public spaces, we ask about the history and the 'aesthetic of the mask' (Carlos Amorales); the theorizing, practicing, and gendering of space; the relationship between the written and the staged word, between passions and affects (Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth), and between the corporeal and the incorporeal (Elizabeth Grosz)-all elements central to the early modern period. Starting from the origins of performance in antiquity (Sophocles, Aristotle) and with an eye to the present, we will explore performance in its different articulations across the early modern world: from Japanese Kabuki to performances in the New World; from puppet theater in North Africa to new forms of theater (tragicomedies, opera, etc.) in Europe.

Additional Information

Faculty: Katharina Piechocki
Semester: Full Fall Term
Time: Mon, 3:00 - 5:45 p.m. ET