General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Performance And Performative Art
Language English
Module lecturer dr hab. Piotr Dobrowolski
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-F-PPA


Tuesday, 18:45 - 20:15, room 222, Collegium Maius 

Module aim (aims)

The course introduces general characteristics of performance in cultural practices. Anthropological approach to the phenomena, with theories of religious (ritual), social (games) and psychological practices (gender) will be sketched as a background for discussion around performances in modern culture. Participants will distinguish theatricality from general performance practice as well as acquaint a division between different fields for (conscious and unconscious) possible role-playing described. The general history of performance art will be described (from futurism to the present, through the most important high points in the history of performance art) and different examples of famous international and Polish practitioners’ artwork will be introduced. The Diversity of forms shown and described during the course will lead to make characteristics of different modal form of performance in contemporary art and cultural practices, such as performance art, video performance, body art, happening, mixed media performance.Students will get to know the phenomena of performance and performative art through basic contextual and theoretical introduction, given from a field of cultural studies. Discussion will be based on presented fragments of filmed performances, photos, texts and other forms of available documentation.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

General interest in theatre, performance and other life art forms is welcome, but not obligatory.


Week 1 Performance – definitions and descriptionsWeek 2 Performative connections – different field of art conjoined through human activity.Week 3 Performance anthropology I: Performance and religion.Week 4 Performance anthropology II: Performing social identity.Week 5 Creation of an individual through performance.Week 6 Prehistory. Performative practices in art from the ancient times to the Second World War.Week 7 Activity in the sake of art – post-war performance art in the USA and Europe .Week 8 Body art. Human flesh as a material for a creation in art.Week 9 Between life and death. Liminal performance. Body modifications – from ritualistic scarring to plastic surgery.Week 10 Reality as performance material. The act of aesthetical framing.Week 11 Happening, its history and modern variations.Week 12 Theatre of the Oppressed and Invisible TheatreWeek 13 Video performance and video in performance.Week 14 Performance in time of new technologies’ expansion.Week 15 Performative turn in cultural studies – towards new aesthetics.

Reading list

Philip Auslander, Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture.Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.Marvin Carlson, Performance: A Critical Introduction.Erika Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics.Erving Goffman, Performance in Everyday life.RoseLee Goldberg, Performance Art. From Futurism to the Present.Amelia Jones, Body Art/Performing the Subject.Richard Schechner, Performance Studies. An Introduction.Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play.