Performance Studies (PFS) - UC Davis


Created date

August 1, 2018

Critical Commentary

The Performance Studies (PFS) Graduate Group at UC Davis is dedicated to a range of studies under the purvue of performance.

The vision of the program, according to the PFS website:


We are committed to a notion of process, both in understanding performance activity, and identities, cultures, and representation. We understand practice not only as an important counterweight to theory, but as a mode of inquiry in its own right. We focus on a broadly inclusive definition of historical and contemporary performance forms, including consciously staged performances in theater, dance, film, new media, ritual, political activism, public demonstrations, writing, the visual arts, music and everyday performances in virtual and real life. We understand that studying performance is studying a way of doing, and that bridging the theoretical and the practical within disciplinary and transdisciplinary formations is a powerful means of enhancing both theory and practice.

Composed of four clusters of interest – Interactive MediasCultures/EcologiesText/History, and Embodiments – the graduate group engages students in ways of thinking about performance that are historically, politically, culturally, and rhetorically informed, using tools from theater studies, dance studies, anthropology, sociology, film studies, visual culture, linguistics, literary studies, ethnography, ethnomusicology, computer science, feminist theory and women’s studies, technocultural studies, religion, critical race and ethnic studies, critical theory, cultural studies as well as the emerging canon of performance theory. Students are accepted into the program to pursue their inquiry either through traditional scholarly methodologies (archival research, ethnographic practice, theoretical and historical inquiry) or through practice as research, in which students are engaged simultaneously in the process of creation and analysis.


This artifact is part of an essay on Joe Dumit, who is an affiliated faculty member. 



Group Audience