Fall 2017

The Play of Ideas

Listed in: English, as ENGL-435


Christopher A. Grobe (Section 01)


We don’t just think, speak, or write our ideas; we perform them, too. Think TED Talks.  Think political movements.  Think 400-level seminars in English.  In this course, you will read plays that are fueled by an argument and arguments that look an awful lot like plays.  Readings will range from ancient philosophical dialogues to modern “plays of ideas”–from essays on pedagogy to works of social theory.  As the semester wears on, you will begin to research your own angle on our central theme:  Ideas performed.  Your final project will be a mock prospectus, in which you imagine this “angle” turning into a thesis project–creative, critical, or a mixture of the two.

Previous experience with drama or performance theory might help, but is hardly required for enrollment.  As a matter of fact, this course works best when students from a wide range of majors enroll.  The reading load isn’t heavy, but expectations are high that you will turn up to class prepared to engage in an active discussion.  I mean, would you show up to a performance not knowing your lines, or fail to speak when you heard your cue?  I didn’t think so.  See you there.

Open to juniors and seniors.  Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Grobe.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to senior and junior English majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2021