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Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Site-Specific Performance as Public Knowledge

Dr. Ross M. Louis

by Dr. Ross M. Louis

This project will produce a new special topics course, CMST 3075: Site-Specific Performance, which will examine the relationship between performance and physical sites of race critique and/or resistance. Site-specific performance refers to “a staging and performance conceived on the basis of a place in the real word” for which research of a place (“often an unusual one that is imbued with history or permeated with atmosphere”) is required (Pavis, 1998, p. 337). CMST 3075 will be framed as a series of experiments that produce public knowledge about physical sites in the New Orleans area linked to race critique and/or resistance through two products: student contributions to Wikipedia featuring analysis of the selected sites and site-specific performances staged for a public audience. In the process, students will examine the interdisciplinary tradition of site-specific performance from the perspectives of visual art and performance studies, participate in a service-learning partnership, and collaborate virtually with representatives from the EESAB Art School in Lorient, France to explore the French East India Company Museum as a problematic site of slavery documentation. The course thus re-imagines learning as an embodied, situated experience that explores how social justice work might happen through publicly shared critical analysis and performance.

This project addresses the “Making Knowledge Public Using Educational Technology” theme by training students to produce historical and cultural critique of selected local sites for Wikipedia. That material will also serve as the research foundation for students’ site-specific performances so that the staging of their performances become another means of making knowledge public.

Start date: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Finish date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018