Experimentar (verb. to experience; to experiment) leads this seminar and practicum on a study of how bodies experiment with political and cultural narratives about its experiences. Moreover, in this vein, the structure of the seminar experiments with the experience of studying bodies by blending the seminar with practice-based research: this is a seminar and practicum experiment. In “Bodies Experimentales,” we will ask, how does the body experience other gendered and racialized material worlds? Grounded queer theory and transgender studies, this seminar studies the themes of abjection, citizenship, hegemony, shame, and vulnerability. Informing our critical and theoretical lexicon, this seminar takes a transdisciplinary approach through critical theory (Butler, Bataille, Derrida, Fanon, Grosz, Levinas, Preciado, Richard), Afropessimisms and Black feminisms (Jackson, Macharia, Quashie, Scott, Sharpe, Spillers), performance studies (Alvarado, Doyle Fusco, Lepecki, Muñoz, Phelan, Schneider), and practice-based research. We will take a step away from the written text, to participate in body-based knowledge production through actual participation in the body’s performance. Students will be asked to physically participate in these techniques through a hands-on methodology. The practicum component of the seminar is inclusive of all bodies and informed by experimental dance, improvisation, modern dance, movement art, performance activism, and theater. At stake in this experiment are the aesthetic crossing of theory and practice. Students will design and develop both theoretical and performance works to shape how as scholars we experience theories of the body. In addition to our own performance as a case study, we also study experimental works by Spanish and Latin American artists (Almódovar, Elizondo, Eltit, Lemebel, Mendieta, Ocaña, and others).
This course will be taught in English (knowledge of Spanish is highly recommended).