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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laurie J Sears
SISSE 468
Seattle Campus

Theatre as a Site of History and Memory

Explores Asian theatre traditions as sites of memory, testimony, and archive using ethnographic and historiographical approaches. Includes service-learning components and collaborative performance projects. Offered: jointly with HIST 468; Sp.

Class description

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

We will alternate between lecture/discussion and interactive performance and pedagogy exercises. Students will be asked to carry out oral history interviews with community or family members and transcribe those interviews and write short reflection papers on them. Students will work in groups to combine their oral history interviews and to write and create their own versions of Asian performance traditions.

Recommended preparation

An open mind. Interest in Asian performance traditions. Some prior knowledge of Asia will be useful but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Do assigned readings. Oral history gathering, transcription, reflection papers. Collaborative performance or poster project. Final Paper.

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 project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Laurie J Sears
Date: 10/22/2010