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Performing Social Justice

Performance Lab

Katie Johnson (English) & Ann Elizabeth Armstrong (Theatre)

Performing Social Justice features student-engaged research and experience-based projects that utilize performance as a methodology of engaging vital social issues and enacting social change. Taught as a sprint course, the lab is organized around the following questions: how have notions of social justice been conceptualized over time? Who counts, or is excluded, from definitions of citizenship? How is social justice performed/embodied and by whom? How can performance reveal fissures in structures of oppression? How do various populations resist normative notions of citizenship, thus blurring lines between borders, nations, and the un/documented?

Taking inspiration from the Living Newspapers of the 1930s, as well as from contemporary practices in devising theatre, students in this lab will research, reflect, and take creative action as they experiment with ways to represent a complex civic problem. The lab will culminate in a short collaborative performance based on current issues found in the headlines. The final performance piece will engage Miami audiences and particular community groups in civic dialog to explore multiple perspectives and expand critical consciousness regarding an issue or current event related to social justice.

Courses (spring 2020):

  • ENG386: Studies in Drama and Performance (Katie Johnson)
  • THE394: Topics in Dramatic Literature and Cultural Performance (Ann Elizabeth Armstrong)

Lab (8-week sprint course, spring 2020):

  • CAS320 UB: Performing Headlines, T 4:25-6:15 Hiestand 100
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