Examines the rise of spectacle culture in social events, popular culture, and mass media in the United States, such as Burning Man, Mardi Gras, Las Vegas, Halloween, carnivals, freak shows, professional wrestling, historical reenactments, fantasy cons, zombie walks, flash mobs, cult films, and mega-churches. Uses readings by Richard Schechner and Victor Turner to introduce fundamental concepts from the field of performance studies, including ritual, theatre, and play. Additional texts by scholars such as Joseph Roach, Umberto Eco, and Guy Debord are used to critique the role of race and gender in late capitalism and to identify the potential for performance as a form of political resistance. Students may expect frequent short field trips and participatory assignments. (Not offered 2018-19).
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