AP/ANTH 3350 6.00
CULTURE AS PERFORMANCE: THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE ARTS
Think about world's fairs, raves, shopping malls, national dance companies, museums, national parks, the circus, mass advertising, wrestling matches, ritual performances, situationalist happenings, art galleries, tourist adventures and all other means of mass cultural performances. These are forms of cultural representation that enact the modern world as exhibition and spectacle. They are also forms of expressive culture that share a logic, the structure, power, and effects of which we will examine in this course.
We begin the course by investigating what it means to talk about cultural performance in the age of spectacle consumption, and then take up a series of historical and contemporary examples of popular culture, artistic expression, and entertainment in order to develop a clear understanding of the role of performance and spectacle in the making of contemporary social and cultural worlds. Throughout the course, we will be building on theoretical arguments in poststructuralist anthropology related to the process of cultural production, affect, and materialist semiotics.
The expected learning outcomes of this course are as follows: 1) to provide students with an overall introduction and understanding of the structure, context, and power of cultural performances as everyday activities or as framed public spectacles; 2) to provide students with the tools to recognize the effects and affective forces of spectacle consumption in the contemporary world anywhere they find them; to ensure the students become familiar with, and have the ability to utilize, the ideas developed in this course in their everyday lives.
Format: Three seminar hours