What is performance? Is it an event or an action? Is it what happens on a stage or in your living room? Furthermore, what does performance have to do with our understanding of how race, gender, sexuality or community function both historically and in the present? This course approaches theater and performance as both a critical lens for viewing social and cultural life, and as a creative practice of worldmaking. Students will be introduced to the theoretical, critical, and creative field of performance studies. Pulling from anthropology, theater, dance, queer studies, critical race theory, and linguistics, we will look at performances ranging from the play Fairview by Jackie Siblies Drury, to "Fires in the Mirror" by Anna Deveare Smith, and the story weaving work Spiderwoman Theater. In this writing-intensive course we will pay particular attention to queer artists and artists of color. In this class we will explore writing as process, writing as personal and political, writing as a social and rhetorical activity, writing as cognitively complex work, and writing as thinking. At the end of this course you should have an understanding of key debates in performance studies and be familiar with a range of contemporary performance practices.