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Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies Minor


  • Teaches students how to analyze, perform and create works emerging from diverse cultural contexts
  • Develops skills in multi-cultural and intercultural performance analysis, historical/cultural research, critical thought and public performance
  • Engages students in organizing, networking and interacting with diverse cultural communities

The minor complements existing programs in SMTD, LSA, Art and Design, and the Residential College by providing students with global and diverse perspectives on performance. For performance majors (Theatre, Music, and Dance), the minor builds upon traditional arts training and enhances job prospects in an increasingly interdependent cultural economy. For non-theatre majors, the minor provides experiences in performance practice, playmaking, and theatre studies.


The minor requires 5 courses or 15 credits of coursework. Courses are a balance of studio practice classes and applied literary analysis. A capstone course immerses students in an international and/or community engagement experience.

Course Descriptions

222 Introduction to Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies: Surveys performance histories of diverse cultural communities of the United States. Students study transnational origins and cultural contexts for multi-cultural theatre: African American (African, Caribbean, Afro-Latino), Native American, Latin American, Asian American (Southeast Asian, East Asian), Middle Eastern, and others. Students study multi-cultural literatures and practices in the United States. Students learn about performance histories and practices of culturally diverse communities in the United States,study performance aesthetics emerging from Asian American, African American, Latin American and Native American communities, and learn how to read and analyze diverse plays by United States authors in cultural context.

233 Studio: Modern Rituals/Traditional Practices: Trains students in performance techniques grounded in various cultural traditions: choral singing, masking, poetry, vocal call and responses, dance, martial arts, and mimicry. Embodied studio practice emphasizes aesthetics of diverse cultural communities. Guest artists and instructors interact with students in the instructional space. Students learn how practice emerges from culturally specific contexts, how to embody culturally specific aesthetics and practices, and they train in the vocal, physical and theatrical expression skills.

325 Contemporary American Theatre and Drama: Examines works and developments in American theatre and drama from the past twenty years, especially the diverse and multicultural drama of this period. Looks at elements of class and ethnicity, urbanization, family and community, war and technology, commercialism and consumerism, gender, race, and sexuality.

326 Intercultural Drama: Examines how international dramatic literature in translation comments on global lives and lifestyles. Class reads, analyzes and discusses intercultural plays in cultural context. Written assignments and in-class presentations investigate the political, social, ad cultural impact meaning of intercultural dramatic works. Students learn to analyze themes, structures, characters, and language of intercultural/international plays through the lens of cultural studies.

332 Performing Archives and Oral Histories: Students use ethnographic or archival sources to create new performance works. Building on histories introduced in 222, they create individual or small group projects. Interpretative text and character work helps to improve individual student performance skills.

340 Devising Theatre: The course is a laboratory course for play development. The class creates collaborative theatrical works from text, visual art, movement, stories and/or contemporary events. The class develops performances through improvisation, then organizes and evaluates their work using principles of dramatic structure, and play analysis. Dramaturgy and directing skills are introduced through studio practice and critique.

440 Special Topics in Global/Ethnic Theatre: This is an in-depth research and performance course that examines African American Theatre. The class investigates history, biography, international or contemporary aspects of African descendent theatre.

324 Global Community Practicum: Engages students in research and development of performance projects at a local, community organization or at an international site. The class participates in fieldwork experiences and each individual submits a final project report or thesis at the end of their fieldwork. The Capstone course is collaborative and interdisciplinary and multiple faculty members can supervise and approve student work.

Course Plan

Year 1

  • The required introductory course, THTREMUS 222 Introduction to Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies is a history and literature survey course about multi-cultural performance histories in the United States with an emphasis on transnational origins of contemporary practice. This lecture and discussion course is designed for a broad cross-section of performance and liberal arts students.
  • THTREMUS 233 Modern Rituals/Traditional Practices is the required introductory studio practice course. Students learn expressive vocal and physical and storytelling practices from a variety of cultural communities.

Year 2/3

  • Students elect one of two advanced literature analysis courses, THTREMUS 325 Contemporary American Drama or THTREMUS 326 Intercultural Drama.
  • Students elect one of three advanced studio practice courses: THTREMUS 332 Performing Archives and Oral Histories or THTREMUS 340 Devised Theatre or THTREMUS 440 Special Topics.

Year 3/4

Students are required to participate in a supervised experience in engaged theatre practice, THTREMUS 324 Global Community Practicum or its equivalent.

Curriculum Map

Year 1 Fall

222 Intro to Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies

Year 1 Winter

Year 2 Fall

325 or 326 Literature elective

Year 2 Winter

233 Modern Rituals/Traditional Practices

Year 3 Fall

332 or 340 or 440 Studio elective
OR 325 or 326 Literature elective

Year 3 Winter or Spring

332 or 340 or 440 Studio elective
OR 324 Community Practicum

Year 4 Fall

Year 4 Winter or Spring

324 Community Practicum

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