Contemporary Performance Practices

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Bachelor of Performing Arts
Course Code
BPAC 4004
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This interdisciplinary course extends the exploration begun in BPAC 4000. Using several theoretical frameworks, students identify and analyze factors that created a new arts climate after the Second World War, with an emphasis on what is known as “the performative turn” of the 1960s and its repercussions in the following decades. Students will critically engage with the work of artists from this “postmodern” period, including artists who are currently practicing. The course surveys art movement across disciplines with a focus on hybrid or interdisciplinary performance.
Course Content

In this course we will look at the history, practice, and theory of various post-WWII art movements through six specific ‘lenses’: Body, Space, Time, Technology, Interactivity, Organization. These six categories form the basis of the textbook, Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction.

  • Body and performance industrialism; art deco
  • Space and performance
  • Time and performance
  • Technology and performance
  • Interactivity and performance
  • Organization and performance
Learning Activities
  • Lecture
  • Presentations
  • In-class exercises
  • Participation
Means of Assessment

Typical Activities and Weighting (in %)

Assignments: 60%
Final Exam: 25%
Participation: 15%
Total: 100%




  1. Bi-weekly journal: Unlike the 1st term journal assignment, this one is evaluative. This means the student’s ability to engage with the course materials in their journal will be assessed. Missing journals are docked 2% marks (i.e. if only 4 journals are submitted, the maximum mark possible for this assignment is 8% of 10%).
  2. Oral presentation: This term oral presentations are worth 20%. Presentation teams will be limited to 2 students per presentation. Each student will be expected to participate in one oral presentation with one other student; the schedule to be determined by instructor. This term, greater bibliographic rigour will be required – that is, a more extensive bibliography for the presenation will be needed and more scholarly sources will be required.
  3. Term paper: There is only one essay writing assignment this term (but please note that journal and oral presentations are more demanding this term). Write a research essay of 4,000 to 5,000 words on a topic agreed upon by student and instructor. Please note the term paper is worth 30%.
  4. Final exam: As in term one, a final exam worth 25% will be written on the final day of class.
  5. Attendance and Participation: The participation mark is worth more this term as in-class exercises based on chapters from the textbook will required greater preparedness for each session.

This is a letter graded course. Passing grade is C.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about and discuss the seminal artistic period after World War II that shaped current trends in music, film, video, theatre, dance, writing and visual arts;
  • Analyze and critique the practice, theory and history of several disciplines of the performing arts;
  • Integrate learning across the performing arts disciplines;
  • Present their work effectively in group settings;
  • Describe major movements in art from the modernist period;
  • Identify key artists and describe their work;
  • Express how performing artists manifested modernist concerns in performance;
  • Communicate the character of various multi-media/interdisciplinary approaches to making performance in the modernist period;
  • Articulate one’s own artistic practice;
  • Conduct research, and use and adapt information to specific projects;
  • Convey their work in oral, and written form.
Textbook Materials

Typical texts and resource materials:

Required – Pitches, Jonathan and Sita Popat. Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction. Palgrave-Macmillan. Current Edition.
Required – Huxley, Michael and Noel Witts. The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader. Routledge. Current Edition.
Recommended – The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Current Edition.
Recommended – Woods, Tim. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester UP. Current Edition.
Recommended – Bertens, J.W. The Idea of Postmodern: A History. New York. Current Edition. 







Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for BPAC 4004
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Winter 2023