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Critical Studies in Theatre and Performance (Cluster)

 The Theatre and Performance Cluster provide systematic training and advising to students utilizing the theoretical premises, methodologies, and intellectual materials of theatre and performance.

The program is aimed at doctoral students in a wide variety of cognate departments – including Comparative Literature, Screen Cultures, Musicology, and African American Studies – as well as students in area studies and ethnic studies.

Programs and events

There are many different ways for faculty and students to participate in the intellectual life of the cluster. Many cluster events, such as visiting lecturers and conferences, are open to all members of the University. Cluster seminars are open to graduate students across the University. We encourage all students, faculty and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Who should apply?

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. Past participants have come from the following programs:

  • African-American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Comparative Literary Studies
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • German Literature and Critical Thought
  • History
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures

How to apply

Prospective graduate students interested in participating in this cluster should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs.

Current graduate students interested in participating in this cluster should contact Professor Dassia Posner at d-posner@northwestern.edu.

Who to contact

Please contact the program director, listed below, with questions about this program.

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

A minimum of three courses constitute the cluster requirements. Cluster students are required to take one of the methodology courses offered by the collaborating programs:

  • Theatre and Drama 501 Research Methods
  • Performance Studies 518 Problems in Research

If a student chooses to take both courses, the second will count toward the required three. In addition, students will choose one or more classes from any 400/500-level course offered in Theatre and Drama or Performance Studies including, but not limited to:

  • Theatre and Drama 502 Topics in Theatre
  • Theater and Drama 503 Interdisciplinary Studies in Theatre and Performance
  • Theater and Drama 546 Studies in Theatre
  • Theatre and Drama 441  Studies in Modern Theatre and Drama
  • Theatre and Drama 448 Studies in American Theatre and Drama
  • Performance Studies 509 Performance and Pedagogy
  • Performance Studies 515 Topics in Performance Studies
  • Performance Studies 516-1 Critical Performance Ethnography (Theory)
  • Performance Studies 516-2 Critical Performance Ethnography (Methods)

The list of applicable courses will vary from year to year and will often include classes taught under the auspices of English, Gender Studies, African American Studies, Theatre, and Comparative Literary Studies.

In addition to these course requirements, students are expected to attend or participate in a minimum of five cluster-sponsored professional development workshops and/or lectures over the course of their graduate career.