This course will critically examine the processes by which divergent cultures create, shape and disseminate narratives about themselves through expressive public performance. Employing seasonal celebrations, holidays, festivals, carnivals, parades, sporting events, political rallies and other public performances, students will analyze underlying meta-communications put forth in expressive public display. The roles of gender, race and ethnicity in public performance will also be examined. This course will provide students with a greater understanding and appreciation of how cultures along the itinerary define their histories, tell their stories and attain cultural unity through collective expressive public performance.
Field WorkCountry: Brazil
Spend the day exploring the samba, a rhythmic dance imported from Africa during the slave-trading days of the 19th century that is now recognized as the "national dance of Brazil," and is closely associated with the three-day Carnival celebration. Students will learn about the history and development of the samba and other Brazilian-based dances from an authority in Brazilian history. Students will also visit a samba school, where they will become involved with the many phases of carnival, from costume making and float building to instrument selection and playing. From the samba school the students will travel to Casa Rosa, a local restaurant located in the backstreets of Favela Maloca and housed in one of Rio's most famous historic brothels. Students will enjoy a meal of Feijoada (a Brazilian national dish) and samba the night away on one of several dance floors. Only in Rio!