One of my key teaching objectives is to allow students opportunities to engage course materials with curiosity, creativity, and rigor through various modes of written and performed scholarship. This commitment extends from gateway courses, like COMM 160: Introduction to Performance Studies to mid- and upper-lever courses, such as COMM 437: US Black Culture and Performance, COMM 661: Race Ethnicity and Performance, and COMM 662: African/Black Diaspora Culture and Performance, as well as graduate courses, like COMM 841: Critical/Performance Ethnography.“Performance” serves as a process–oriented, participatory, and experiential way of critically engaging course themes. Performed scholarship allows students to script and stage performances (live, mediated, art object) as critical tools in analyzing course materials.
The questions that drive critical inquiry in each of my courses are directly connected to my research agenda and focus on how sociocultural constructs like race, gender, and ethnicity come to mean and matter for particular bodies situated in space and time. To engage with these questions, each class generally offers students: the opportunity to examine culture as expressed through the literary arts, staged performance, and/or film; to understand the primary sociohistorical contexts that influence these cultural expressions; to use appropriate theoretical approaches to examine the workings of power; and to approach identity, subjectivity, and culture as performative processes.