Performance: An Approach to Strengthening Interdisciplinarity in Women's Studies and Gender Studies


performance theory, interdisciplinarity, women's studies and gender studies, feminism, queer theory, pedagogy, practice based research


Issues of transition are always difficult and transforming founding assumptions to suit changing conditions can be a challenge for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies programs in the corporate university environment. This essay explains how performance of Fefu and Her Friends by Marie Irene Fornes in a mansion on campus led faculty participants in History, Classics, Modern Languages, Theatre, Communication, Social Work, and Nursing to re-vision their professional lives and the institutional status of the Women’s Studies and Gender Studies program through a new appreciation for interdisciplinarity, derived from using performance as research. Each of eight faculty reflect on their experience of performance as an embodied pedagogy and method of research. The importance of emotion, trust, and responsibility in team work and collaboration, consideration of bodies in spaces and communities, and linkages between theory to practice are all considered in reflections. The individual re-visioning led to changes and renewed energy in the WSGS program and faculty collaboration in research and teaching.

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