Department of Drama UG Module Directory (2022)


Race and Racism in Performance

Level 5 (15 credits)

This module explores how race is performed in theatre, art, and popular culture. Of particular interest are performances that trouble how we think or talk about race, especially as it intersects with other identity categories like gender, class, sexuality and disability. Why are race and structural racism such difficult topics to discuss, especially in the context of performance? What does it mean to label a performance racist, and how can we as artists develop anti-racist performance practices? The topics this seminar covers could include histories of blackface minstrelsy, debates over "colour-blind" casting, the politics of cultural appropriation in pop culture for example.

Preparing for this Module and Approximate Costs

To prepare for this module, it is highly recommended that you read Harvey Young's Theatre & Race. We will refer to this book throughout the semester but it will provide a good orientation to the module aims and themes. It can be purchased online from most sellers for £6.99.

Full details of what to prepare for the first class will be made available in January.

There will be up to one play text and one performance ticket to purchase for this module. The total cost will be approximately £20.

Why take Race and Racism in Performance?

  1. This module offers a chance to develop a language for talking about issues of race and racialisation in performance
  2. We will consider a number of topics, from casting and intersectionality, to whiteness and anti-racist struggles
  3. We study an array of performance forms, not just plays and recordings of theatre productions, but also (for example) music videos, film, and visual art.
Learning Context Seminar-based
Semester 2
  1. Essay (1000 words), 30%
  2. Essay (2500 words), 70%
Mode of reassessment Standard
Contact Shane Boyle