Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Performance, Politics and Protest
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of Part 1.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 3 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Portfolio (equivalent to 2,500 words)  50%
Semester Exam 7 Hours   Performed Essay/Performative Intervention (15 minutes)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Critical Portfolio  50%
Supplementary Exam y Hours   Essay/Performance Design (2,500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a clear understanding of a range of cultural contexts in which performance takes place, and articulate a firm grasp of the political operation of theatre and theatricality in an extended public sphere.

2. Evidence and evaluate the performative dynamics of political protests, processes and events.

3. Explicate a coherent theoretical framework for addressing the relationship between politics and aesthetic practice, and bring this to bear on the critical analysis of empirical materials.

4. Adopt a creative, innovative approach to imagining the possibilities of performance as a site of political contestation, challenge and renewal, by imaging and developing their own practices of performative intervention.

Brief description

Exploring a wide range of topics including rioting, youth-driven protests, the occupation of public space and the deployment of social media and technologies of representation, the module examines the ways in which politics is 'staged' in increasingly performative ways and investigates how theatre and performance research might provide a critical framework through which to conceptualise these practices and contribute to new understandings of politics. By critically interrogating events such as the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, the protests in Tiannamen Square or the activities of the Thai Redshirts, the module addresses how protest is made manifest and politics is brought into to appearance through performative tactics and theatrical logics.


The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the concept of theatre and performance operating in an expanded field of social practice and critical enquiry, drawing on research at the leading edge of theatre and performance studies.
  • investigate the performative dynamics of political protest and strategies of governance, drawing on interdisciplinary work in performance and international politics.
  • provide students with an opportunity to examine issues concerning the politics of appearance, image, event, and the occupation of public space, and to establish a conceptual framework for the critical consideration of these issues.
  • engage students in the development and deployment of innovative new research methods and practices of enquiry, from auto-ethnography to performative interventions, from the aesthetic thought of scenario-planning to the politics of dialogical and relational practices.
  • prepare students for further study at MA level, both generally and specifically in the area of performance and politics (e.g. Aberystwyth’s interdisciplinary MA in Politics, Media and Performance)


Course delivery:

10 x 3 hour Lecture/Seminars

The module will be taught through a ten-week series of lecture/seminars (3 hours); typically a one-hour lecture followed by a two-hour seminar.

Week 1: Politics and aesthetics? Questions of form, practice and relation

Week 2: Spot the Difference? Interrogating Jacques Rancière’'s conjunction, 'aesthetic-politics', Chantal Mouffe's 'antagonistics', and Judith Butler's conception of 'performative politics'

Week 3: Aesthetic subjects? The London Riots, political agency and the politics of presence

Week 4: Occupations of public space: Occupy London and the spatial dynamics of power

Week 5: Border performances: the bio-politics of movement, migration and asylum

Week 6: Regimes of visibility: Abu Ghraib and the production and circulation of the image

Week 7: The event of mediation: 9/11 and dramaturgies of scale and signification

Week 8: (Not) representing genocide: Alfredo Jaar's Rwanda Project

Week 9: Optical illusions, haptic happenings: perspectives on The Arab Spring

Week 10: The 'aesthetic cut' and the limits of thinking through performance: political actors, actor networks, and the politics of formalisation

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students' written communication skills will be developed (e.g. appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). Opportunities will be given, through seminar sessions for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. Students will be given opportunities to develop note-taking skills. Students will develop their critical thinking and research skills. Through small group discussions in seminars students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning for written and performed assignments. Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources on the web and on library catalogues. Students will develop their reference skills and their ability to select relevant materials for the task. Blackboard will be the main form of communication and information sharing in this module.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be given the opportunity to evaluate current knowledge and skills. Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures and apply this to other areas.
Problem solving Problem solving, outcome recognition, and the identification of appropriate strategies and procedures, are encouraged and assessed across the duration of the module.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal research practices, are explicitly developed throughout the module, and are assessed through their impact on the development and presentation of assessments. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, interpret and reflect upon a variety of sources.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007). The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed: *describing, theorising, interpreting and evaluating performance texts and performance events from a range of critical perspectives *reading the performance possibilities implied by a script, score and other textual or documentary sources *engaging in performance and production, based on an acquisition and understanding of appropriate performance and production vocabularies, skills, structures and working methods * creating original work using the skills and crafts of performance making using performance techniques associated with particular cultural forms and/or practitioners *developing skills of observation and visual, aural and spatial awareness * considering theories of spectatorship and developing an awareness of the audience or client group for performance and an ability to respond and adapt to it through flexible means
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6