Blockseminar in June/July:
Over the course of the past half-century, theatre has emerged as one of the most prominent artistic forms for representing the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The following course will treat various playwrights and works from this tradition, beginning with The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, a play by the non-Indigenous author George Ryga in 1967. Our concern in discussing several important plays of this tradition will be in observing the development of formal innovations, but also in analysing both the evolution and the continuity of thematic issues of relevance to Indigenous life. Our readings will also be informed by awareness of the changing nature of the place of Indigenous peoples within Canada. Included amongst the topics of interest will be (re-)considerations of the historical experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada, the dramatic treatment of the social and psychological effects of Indigenous and Euro-Canadian contact, the multiple questions regarding the nature of Indigenous identity within Canada and the various forms of response – including artistic – available to Indigenous people to represent their collective experience.
Students are required to read the assigned texts in advance of the relevant classes and to come to discussions prepared to express their own ideas and insights. The approach taken in this course also assumes the importance of this theatrical tradition in both reflecting and enacting changing understandings of indigeneity in Canada.
Depending on the dictates of public health, the course will either be held in-class or conducted via Zoom meetings.
List of Required Reading (tentative list):
George Ryga, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (1967)
Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters (1986)
Ian Ross, farewel (1998)
Daniel David Moses, Brébeuf’s Ghost (2000)
Marie Clements, The Unnatural and Accidental Women (2000)
Drew Haydon Taylor, Dead White Writer on the Floor (2010)
Kevin Loring, Where the Blood Mixes (2009)
N.B. Course Requirements: Course readings / discussions
Presentation on a relevant topic of the student’s choice
Final essay of approximately 15 - 20 pp.