Laurie J Sears
This course will investigate Mahabharata stories, Vietnamese stories, Cambodian dance, Indonesian shadow theater, and Asian American theater traditions as sites of memory, testimony, and archive and will be looking at the way that performance traditions change as they become transnational and diasporic. We will explore how these different traditions create textual communities and identities. Focusing on story-telling, oral tradition, and cultural memories, the course will explore the encoding and transmission of knowledge in theatrical traditions. Through an interdisciplinary approach combining oral history work and historiographical methods, the class will move from theatrical arts to sites of memory like Seattle's Asian communities to see how text, artifact, and site police the borders of identity and tradition.
Student learning goals
See HIST 468 for learning goals.
General method of instruction
The class will alternate between lecture/discussion and interactive performance and pedagogy exercises. Students will carry out oral interviews with community or family members. Students will then work in groups to combine the stories they have gathered and to create their own versions of Asian performance traditions and stories.
An open mind. Interest in Asian performance traditions. Some prior knowledge of Asia will be useful but not required. Interest in theater and performance traditions is useful but not required.
Class assignments and grading
Read assigned readings. Gather oral histories, transcribe them, and write short reflection papers. Writing of scripts for collaborative performance. Learning techniques of drama coaching for oral history/performance work. Directing or acting in final performance projects. Writing of reflections papers or academic paper on an Asian or Asian American performance tradition.
Grades are assigned based on seriousness and commitment to class activities and assignments. Successful completion and comprehension of assigned readings. Willingness to work in a collegial manner in groups. Ability to become knowledgeable about one Asian performance tradition in your final paper or performance project.