ERIC Number: ED393128
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Theatre History: The Influence of Historiographical Theory on Pedagogy.
Although "theory" has been used increasingly in analysis of literary texts, performances, and historical events, theater history has been slow to appropriate this approach. New Historicism insists upon understanding literature as the product of a particular time and society in which it was written or produced. It gives attention to representations of race, ethnicity, class and gender; it is grounded in questions of power and construction. These theories run counter to earlier, positivist methods, such as that of Oscar Brockett, which proposes a four-step methodology, in which the gathering of historical facts precedes the interpretation of them. Bruce McConachie, for instance, lays out an approach that he calls "postpositivist theater history." It is influenced by phenomenologists and structuralists who believe that all events and texts, including playscripts and performances, are influenced significantly by their culture and context. Understanding is not direct but negotiated between the historian and the text or event. Further, Thomas Postlewait explains that interpretation does not occur after the gathering of "facts" but at all stages of the historian's process. Theorists also prefer the specific to the general. They recognize large sweeping movements as constructs and would rather the student of history concentrate on the localized, specific and narrow. These approaches can and should be incorporated into classroom practices; the more original texts and documents examined the better. (Contains 21 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Theater History
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (81st, San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 1995).