Performance Matters

Volume 8, Number 2, 2023 The Syllabus is the Thing: Materialities of the Performance Studies Classroom Guest-edited by Karin Shankar and Julia Steinmetz

Image Caption: "Human Knot (Introduction to Performance Studies, Pratt Institute)." Photo: Julia Steinmetz, 2019.

What does a performance studies syllabus instantiate or call into being in the classroom? In this special issue, contributors respond to this question, while simultaneously seeking to reframe the performance studies syllabus. If the syllabus (from its Greek origins, meaning “title,” “slip” or “label”) is a protocol for an experiment, how might we design syllabi to serve radical spaces of knowledge-making and modes of coming-to-know? In turn, how might syllabi create new structures within which to learn, reformulating the dynamics and relationships between teacher, student, and institution?

Table of contents (14 articles)


  1. Introduction: The Stuff of Teaching

Pedagogical Duets

  1. Syllabus for Race, Performance, and Media Studies
  2. The Unwieldy Otherwise: Rethinking the Roots of Performance Studies in and through the Black Freedom Struggle
  3. Performance, Protest, and Feminism in Latin America
  4. The Studio in the Seminar: Performing Theory in an MFA Classroom

From Pro Forma to Performative

  1. Awe of What a Body Can Be: Disability Justice, the Syllabus, and Academic Labour
  2. Performativity, Possibility, and Land Acknowledgments in Academia: Community-Engaged Work as Decolonial Praxis in the COVID-19 Context
  3. Un/Commoning Pedagogies: Forging Collectivity Through Difference in the Embodied Classroom and Beyond

Between Students and Teachers

  1. Four Handouts
  2. Pedagogies of Negation: Notes on the Politics of Refusal
  3. Pandemic Pedagogy: Snapshots from a Year of COVID-Impacted Teaching in Three Artifacts

Classroom Experiments

  1. Collective Curation across Difference: Performing Live with Race, Gender, and Sexuality
  2. Pedagogies of Praxis: Exercises in Embodying Social Justice for Performance Studies Seminars
  3. Bathtub Dramaturgy: An Experimental Syllabus for Theatre and Performance Studies Classrooms


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