Tuesday, August 10, 2021

TOPIC 5: Exploring Poverty through Elements of Theater

Workshop Leaders on Tuesday, August 10

Sangeeta Bishop and Mahatapa Palit

Schedule (in outline)
Tuesday, August 10 — 9am – 2pm

9:0010:00Reflection and discussion about topic themes and readings
10:1512:00Pedagogy Workshop
12:0012:30Plan together for fellows follow-up meeting (scheduled for August 16) & Complete Post-Institute Survey.
12:301:00Lunch break
1:002:00TBD (We may choose instead to reconvene in the early evening for a happy-hour celebration in honor of all the participants)


The last topic of our Institute will look at the various ways playwrights, and performers give critical expression to poverty and social identity. On Friday Erica Richardson will discuss the Harlem Renaissance in relation to African American Drama. Deepa Purohit will discuss the intersectionality of poverty with the concepts of class, caste (as defined in the Indian subcontinent) and gender – from both the historical point of view and immigration in the U.S. Karl O’Brian Williams will lead a workshop on dramatizing learning and discuss strategies for helping students reinforce their learning through low stakes dramatic writing and role-play. On Tuesday, facilitated by Institute co-directors Bishop and Palit, we will share our lesson plans and curricular ideas in progress and we will reflect on how this work relates to the multi-year project, “Voices and Experiences of Poverty – A New Interdisciplinary Humanities Curriculum.”

Key Questions

  • How did Harlem Renaissance theater educate and influence its various audiences?
  • What makes an expression “authentic”?
  • How do specific plays open us up to thinking about the intersectionality and distinctions among and between caste/class/poverty + wealth.
  • The translator’s point of view: What is it and how does it impact the translation and, in turn, the reading of a text?
  • What is it like to “be” another person (rich, poor) and imagine a life quite different from one’s own through theater?
  • How can CUNY students be empowered to think critically by engaging in/with theater?
  • Why would the “alienation effect” in art be important for fighting Poverty?

Topic 5 –  Required Readings and Resources

Required readings will be available on our website and @ the “Required Readings Folder.”


Topic 5 – Additional Readings and Resources Folder

Click the above link to go to the Institute Folder for Additional Readings and navigate to Topic 5 for an evolving list of readings and resources.




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