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Performance Studies Research Group

Year of Funding: 

The Performance Studies Research Group draws together scholars from various disciplines to read and discuss foundational and new work in Performance Studies. We also host quarterly talks by leading scholars from US and international universities.

Since the 1990s, Performance Studies has increasingly informed conversations in the humanities and social sciences in the US academy. Perhaps best defined as a mode of inquiry, rather than a discipline or a field, Performance Studies brings theoretical insights from theatre, film, dance, and music to both artistic work and nonartistic public practices (such as protests, conventions, religious rituals, and social customs). Methodologically, it borrows procedures from anthropology, historiography, media studies, theatre, cultural and literary studies. In short, Performance Studies examines the way individuals and groups make and transfer meaning beyond that which is text-based, including voice, gesture, posture, ritual, play, other visual and aural media, the use of space, and even pre-lingual “affective” forms of communication.

Through regular discussions of readings in Performance Studies and quarterly talks by speakers, we are laying the foundations for the University of Washington to be a vital space for sustained conversation about how Performance Studies helps us know the world around us.

Learn more about Performance Studies at the UW via the Center for Performance Studies and the School of Drama


Images: Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Coco Fusco as Two Undiscovered Amerindians in a Cage (left), and Turtles at World Trade Organization Protest, Seattle, 1999 (right).

Primary Contacts

Scott Magelssen (Drama)

Stefka Mihaylova (Drama)