Upcoming Residency Course

Whose Art Is It Anyway? Explorating Folk Performance from South Asia

Course: ASIAN 300 Lec 004: Topics in Asian Studies (Folk Performance: South Asia)
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays from 4–5:15 p.m.
Location: 155 Van Hise | 1220 Linden Drive
Credits: 3
Prereqs: Sophomore standing. Freshmen are welcome, permission is required, please reach out to rweiss@wisc.edu for authorization.
Other Info: This course counts towards LAS Humanities and Intermediate credits for students in the College of Letters & Science; as well as a Humanities requirements for the ALC, and ALC-SAS majors, and the SAS certificate and Foreign Language and Area Studies content course managed by the Center for South Asia. Students in art programs and/or theater and drama are encouraged to reach out to their advisors to inquire if this course may count towards electives in their major.
Download the course flyer (PDF).


Description: What are some rules that govern performance culture globally? Who set these rules? Can they be broken? How? — These are the central questions around which the course, Whose Art Is It Anyway? Explorating Folk Performance from South Asia, is structured. Students will examine the appropriation, weaponization, dilution, or valuation of particular performance practices from historically marginalized South Asian and American artistic communities by dominant groups. We will also juxtapose the history of these performance styles with models of contemporary artists in South Asia and the US who have subverted these “classical” forms for activism and political assertion.

This course is designed to help students gain a new perspective on viewing art as a complex product of social, personal, political and spiritual forces. More specifically, students will:

  • Critically engage with different definitions of aesthetics, form & language with respect to Indian folk performance.
  • Examine the process of creative production in organized and unorganized creative industries and the relationship between tradition and its community.
  • Reflect on similarities and differences between notions of aesthetics across the globe and the Indian folk performance.
  • Develop a personal framework for receiving, reviewing and responding to art.
  • Creatively produce a work or argument that reflects their original, informed view, investigate their own biases, and challenge dominant ideas of “what art is.”