World Theatre 500 BCE to 1640 is the first in a three-part world theatre history sequence designed to explore the development of dramatic forms, theatre practices, and performances from the 5th century BCE to today. World Theatre 500 BCE to 1640 investigates histories of theatre and performance (scripts, embodiment, design, audiences, conventions, cultural functions, etc.) within local and global social, artistic and political contexts. The course focuses on evidence and interpretation as well as historical causation. Within each survey section, we will analyze and compare representative case studies to better understand performance as a practice and as a site of history making, with particular attention to questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Throughout the semester, we will explore a variety of theatre and performance forms, including Roman comedy, early Sanskrit drama, medieval commemorative drama, and Japanese theatre forms including Noh and Kabuki, among others.
We will investigate world theatre history from a historiographical perspective. This means that we will examine our material not only for content, but also for how it conveys that content. In our exploration of how theatre history is crafted, we will develop critical historical skills and tools, including how to ask historical questions, assess primary sources, critique narratives, and clearly communicate our historiographical ideas and arguments. Students will produce historical knowledge about theatre and performance with respect to questions of racial, gender, sexual, and class diversity throughout the semester.
Spring 2023 (2234)
THEA 1341-31304 (Undergraduate)
THEA 2205- 31304 (Graduate)
Number of Credits