Performance and Visual Studies - BA

The mission of the BA in Performance and Visual Studies is to cultivate a dynamic and interdisciplinary learning environment where students explore the depths of performance and visual culture and develop crucial skills in research, writing, and interpretation. To this end, the program fosters contemplation and analytical reflection about the role and meaning of artistic and creative practices in the world and trains students in humanities practices (Visual and Performing Arts Analysis, Historical and Archival Research, Criticism, Ethnography, Critical Theory, Performance as Research, and Public Humanities). Objects of study include theatre, music, dance, film and television, performance art, visual art, material culture, sports, politics, folklore, ritual, performance of self, social media, video games, and other expressive practices and art forms.

The curriculum combines elements from Art History, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Ethnomusicology, Media Studies, and the Dramatic Arts, offering a comprehensive and diverse educational experience. The core of the program is the seminar class—a small collaborative, discussion-based class, which historically and/or theoretically explores a topic of performance and visual culture in-depth. Students complete a two-semester long, individualized research project. The program’s position within the College of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts affords its students the opportunity to work closely with artists and to engage with cutting-edge media technology. Students in the program are able to research the arts in a collaborative environment, working with students and faculty pursuing a variety of unique and dynamic creative practices. The program encourages and supports study abroad, community-focused internships, and independent studies, where students can pursue their interests under guidance from faculty members.

The overarching goal of the program is to empower graduates to be thoughtful contributors and innovators in the broader cultural landscape. Graduates of this program are well equipped for diverse career paths, such as professions in curating, teaching, criticism, arts administration, and non-profit. Alternatively, graduates of the degree will be well positioned for further studies at the MA and PhD level