Spring 2024 - CA 357W D100

Context II (3)

Class Number: 6400

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CA 257W.



The second of two courses in the Context cluster. Work will include reading, writing and experiments in live performance creation. With a grounding in performance studies, this course offers a variety of frameworks and approaches to the histories and theories of the avant-garde. live art, and theatre. With a new topic each term, students develop skills for analyzing, researching, and writing about contemporary performance. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


Taking place is an integral element of performance: performance requires us to show up, come together, tune attention, and claim space. This course invites students to think and feel into what it means to take place in the world-building practice of performance, particularly in the context of the escalating global environmental crisis. Guided by the work of makers, scholars, and performers, we will consider how we show up to performance: how we situate ourselves between settler-colonial and unceded, ancestral land claims; and how we integrate our backstories into performance’s perpetual present; and how we co-create with natural and built environments. We will examine and experiment with how formal compositional choices shape performance’s temporary communities; how audience/performer contracts are created, offered, and negotiated; and how performance enacts relationship with its physical, digital, and social spaces.

This course will move between seminar and studio settings, seeking to ground theory in embodied exploration and to offer ideas and frameworks that directly serve creative practice. With its “W” designation, this course positions writing as a powerful tool in both its critical and creative capacities. Students will be guided in the development of key writing and research skills, including active reading strategies, performance analysis, project description and justification, performative writing, peer review, and revision techniques. Students can expect to work across theory and practice to: i) explore relevant Performance Studies discourses, ii) experiment with performative writing and devising strategies, iii) practice identifying and articulating the central ideas in performance events and critical writing, and iv) share writing and feedback with peers.


  • To practice skills central to hybrid artist-scholar performance making
  • To explore the intersections of academic and artistic research and to make links to urgent social issues
  • To practice moving between reading, writing, and performance making
  • To identify key concepts, assertions, and interventions in creative and critical work
  • To observe and articulate links between formal theatrical choices, material conditions, and the relational logic of a given performance
  • To understand performance as culturally, temporally, and spatially specific
  • To generate independent artist-scholar research topics and to develop and articulate critical-creative research questions & project proposals
  • To make use of the SFU Library resources specific to a given topic
  • To practice peer-feedback and revision skills


  • Participation: attendance, engagement, and preparedness 10%
  • Low-stakes writing reflections 10%
  • Performance Review/Response 10%
  • Project Proposal & Research Context 15%
  • Final Project 30%
  • Presentation in student symposium 10%
  • Midterm Essay (written in class) 15%



In lieu of a textbook, students will be required to purchase a ticket to one local performance during the semester.

Students will need Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. All written assignments will be submitted as Word Documents via the course Canvas site. SFU students can download Microsoft 365 for free at https://www.sfu.ca/information-systems/services/software/microsoft-365.html.


All course readings will be provided as PDFs via the course Canvas site.

Students must purchase a ticket to one of two PuSh shows. 


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html