G-LSUD4 AmLit459 English Drama around the world

Course type




The advent of a new century offers an adequate, albeit arbitrary, opportunity to think of our most recent past, to re-assess some of  its political, social and literary achievements and failures. The aim of this course is to provide a broad survey of recent developments in the field of anglophone drama around the globe, discuss differences and similarities in terms of style, thematics, ideology, concerns, etc. as well as problems and possiblities generated by the eruption of this pluralism. For example, to what extent is cultural hybridity a liberating force? Does, in any way, mask a new system of hierarchies? Is it deployed on behalf of the dominant? How does the appeal to anti-essentialist models and plural alliances re-negotiate fundamental differences amongst peoples, nations, ideologies, cultures etc? How do oppositional movements affect the "centre"? Or is it left "untroubled" to propagate the key strategy in colonial management―"divide and rule"? Etc, etc, etc. For more, join us this coming semester.




Sam Shepard. True West (American)

Marsha Norman. The Holdup (American)

Charles Mee. Big Love (American)

Athol Fugard, The Island (South African)

Ola Rotimi. The Gods are not to Blame (Nigerian

Adrienne Kennedy. The Funnyhouse of a Negro (African American)

Tomson Highway. Rez Sisters (Indian Canadian)

Jane Taylor. Ubu and the Truth Commission (South African)

Derek Walcott. A Branch of the Blue Nile (Trinidad)

Sharon Pollock. Blood Relations (Canadian)

Guillermo Verdecchia. Fronteras Americanas (Argentinean Canadian)




Course Outline


Week 1.

Cultural background. Globalization. Trends and resistances.

Key words: hybridity, pastiche, mobility, de-hyphenation, nationalization, de-nationalization


Week 2

Cultural background continued. Globalization. Beyond the nation-sate

Problematics of contextualizing a play (how to  read a play in relation to its era).

 Key words: Cultural historicism. Postmodernism. Cosmopolitanism


Week 3

Imagining the nation

Key words: Grand narratives, archives, traditionalism

Sam Shepard. True West (American)


Week 3

RE-examining national myths

Key words: Grand narratives, archives, traditionalism, gender


Marsha Norman. The Holdup (American)

Visit to theatre. Playing “critic”.


Week 4.

Examine the question of: Exile, Political asylum, The other

Key words: otherness, borders, citizenship, subjecthood

Charles Mee. Big Love (American)


Week 5

The politics of myth 1

Key words: appropriation, re-activation, freedom

Athol Fugard, The Island (South African)


Week  6

The politics of myth 2

Key words: appropriation, re-activation, selfhood

Ola Rotimi. The Gods are not to Blame (Nigerian)

Visit to theatre: playing critic


Week 7

The otherness of color

Key words: race, deracialization, belonging, oneness, selfhood, subject position

Adrienne Kennedy. The Funnyhouse of a Negro (African American)


Week 8

Indian otherness

Key words: race, deracialization, belonging, oneness, selfhood, subject position

Tomson Highway. Rez Sisters (Indian Canadian)


Week 9

Political theatre

Key words: hypridity, oppression, revenge, democracy

Jane Taylor. Ubu and the Truth Commission (South African)


Week 10

The (im)possibilities of decolonization

Key words: appropriation, subject position

Derek Walcott. A Branch of the Blue Nile (Trinidad)

Week 11

About subject positions

Key words: whiteness, class, gender

Sharon Pollock. Blood Relations (Canadian)

Visit to theatre: playing  critic

Week 12


Key words: pastiche, hybridity, crossing, borders

Guillermo Verdecchia. Fronteras Americanas (Argentinean Canadian)

Week 13

Concluding comments. Necessary comparisons.

Week 14

Wrapping up by raising numerous questions. i.e After the nation, what? Can people live in a borderless world? Can people learn how to handle the reservoir of their memories differently? Can people fight provincialism? Can people discover new zones of togetherness? How do myths function?





Lit. 459



Ashcroft, B., G. Griffiths, and H. Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-colonial Literatures.

Ashcroft et al., eds. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader

Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture

Bharucha, R. Theatre and the World.

Birringer, Johannes. Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism.

Bourdieu, Pierre. The Field of Cultural Production

Butler Judith. Bodies That Matter

Calhoun, Craig. Social History and the Politics of Identity

Chow, R. Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporarty Cultural Studies.

Davis, Geoffrey V. and Anne Fuchs, eds. Theatre and Change in South Africa.

Eagleton, Terry.  Ideology of the Aesthetic.  

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth.

---------------. Black Skin, White Masks

Gilbert, Helen, ed. Postcolnial Plays: an Anthology.

Gilbert, Helen and Joanne Tompkins. Postcolonial Drama.

Greenblatt, S. Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World.

Kelly, Veronica, ed. Our Australian Theatre in the 1990s.

Kingh, Bruce. Derek Walcott and WEst Indian Drama

Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection

Maufort, Marc and Franca Bellarsi, eds.  Crucible of Cultures

Maufort, Marc, ed.  Staging Difference

Moore-Gilbert, Bart. Postcolnial Theory

Novy, Marianne. Cross-cultural Performances

Pavis, Patrice. Theatre at the Crossroads of Culture

Said, Edward. Orientalism

Salhi, Kamal, ed. African Theatre for Development

Stallybrass, P. and A. White. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression

Ukpokodu, I. P. Socio-Political Theatre in Nigeria.

Urry, J. The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies.

Wagner, A. ed. Contemporary Canadian Theatre.

Wallace, R. Producing Marginality: Theatre and Criticism in Canada.

Wertheim, Albert. The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard

Wilentz, G. Binding Cultures: Black Women Writers in Africa and the Diaspora

Yajnik, R. K. The Indian Theatre: Its Origins and Its Later Developments Under European Influence.

Yarrow, Ralph. Indian Theatre.


Note: In addition to the books on this reading list students are strongly encouraged to consult periodical sources as well, like MODERN DRAMA, THE DRAMA REVIEW, THEATRE JOURNAL, THEATRE SURVEY, PERFORMING ARTS JOURNAL, THEATREFORUM among others.



Teaching hours: 3 | Credits: 3 | ECTS: 6

The course is not currently offerred.