Constructing And Performing The Self

HUM4620 Constructing and Performing the Self
4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credits
In Constructing and Performing the Self students will examine and attempt to answer the most fundamental of questions: Who am I? A question this significant cannot be adequately answered by any one approach, thus the course brings together two very different approaches to guide the investigation. Psychological studies of identity marshal the tools and methods of science to develop and test theories that describe and explain the self. Theater studies bring interpretative and aesthetic perspectives to represent and reveal identity. In this course, these two approaches will be purposely inter-mingled: the questions asked and the answers derived will be informed equally by psychology and theater. Students will see, on a daily basis, how each field informs, supports, and speaks to the other. While there are some class sessions and assignments explicitly grounded in only one field to build students' fluency, the major activities of the semester will require both.

Given how personally applicable both psychology and theater are, students' own sense of identity will be the central text in this course. Like Tom in The Glass Menagerie, students are both the main character in their own life stories and also the narrator of them. This course aims for true interdisciplinary integration, and students will be called upon to use and apply the theoretical work as they build and create an original solo performance about a key moment in their lives. Our hope is that by semester's end students will have taken a concrete step forward in understanding and articulating their sense of self and feel comfortable and confident in their ability to perform for a live, public audience.

Students are asked to alternate between four roles in this course: scholar, writer, actor, and critic.
- Scholars consume information in analytical ways and produce new knowledge that is deeply grounded in their foundational knowledge.
- Writers produce new works, both analytical and creative, that take a novel position and support it.
- Actors give life to both old and new characters, conveying their shifting objectives over time to impact an audience.
- Critics evaluate texts (in our case, performances) with a constructive, thoughtful, and respectful approach that brings new insights.
Some days students will only adopt one role, other students will be asked to oscillate between the

Prerequisites: Any combination of 2 ILA (HSS, LTA, CSP, LVA, CVA)

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Arts and Humanities
  • Level: Advanced Liberal Arts 4600 Requirement (UGrad),Advanced Elective (UGrad),Advanced Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: HUM4620
  • Number of Credits: 4