Theater and Performance in Asian America
It’s a new day for Asian American performers, who are demanding visibility (#StarringJohnCho), reveling in success (Crazy Rich Asians), and mocking the idea that they are passive model minorities grateful for the crumbs off of Hollywood’s table (“It’s an honor just to be Asian”—Sandra Oh).
Or is it? In this course, we’ll discover the complicated backstory to today’s debates over Asian American performing arts. We’ll begin with the Asian American movement of the 1960s and ’70s, a revolutionary social movement that found expression in do-it-yourself performance genres, including public protest itself, and see how professional Asian American theater developed from the movement, and a longer history of Asian American performance.
Together, we’ll read plays, watch films, talk politics, and even stage a scene or two.