Ethnography is a methodology that refers to the study of an individual or a community’s customs and cultures. Through conducting ethnographic studies, we can encounter our own communities in new ways and come into contact with communities outside of our own. Such study and experience is essential to playwriting as a method to document, critique, and challenge the world in which we live. Through literary review, interview-based ethnographic fieldwork, and dramatic writing workshops this course will help you find ways to enter or engage a community, document your individual life, and document your communities in ethnographic plays. This course will also feature a diverse group of working playwrights and scholars as we discuss the research methods and playwriting craft behind such groundbreaking plays as The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman, Fires in the Mirror by Anna Deveare Smith, and Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920s by Tony Speciale and the Plastic Theater, and the viewing of a few plays. We will also be reading work by various scholars including selections from Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre by Dr. Johnny Saldaña, Method Meets Art by Dr. Patricia Leavy, and Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes by Robert M Emerson and others. Upon completing this course you will have ethnographic plays, ethnographies, and an artistic statement about your research-based playwriting.
Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)