PCA Courses Offered | St. Lawrence University Performance and Communication Arts

PCA Courses Offered

100. Beginning Ballet
Fundamentals of classical ballet including barre, center work and across-the-floor movements with emphasis on body alignment and elements of ballet style. Material is presented in a progression from basic to more complex. Lectures consist of pertinent references to dance history, terminology, movement theory and dance films illustrating related subject matter.

101. Production Credit
This is a practicum credit for students working on faculty-directed productions. Students are selected through the regular audition process and credit (either .25 or .5 credit units) is based on the size of the role and/or the time commitment involved. Students may take up to 1 unit of production credit. Pass/fail grading only. Permission of instructor required. Elective only; does not count toward completion of major or minor.

103. Stagecraft
The study and practice of creating scenery for the stage, this course also explores the operation of the theater’s physical plant. Material is presented in lectures and is further illustrated through the activities of the production studio.

106. Performing Diversity
Using research, creative writing and personal experiences, this seminar explores various issues of multiculturalism and diversity on the St. Lawrence campus and in America today. We will engage a variety of texts to investigate the links between identity and oppression by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, differing abilities, and religion. As part of a significant research project, members of the class create performance texts (combining video presentations and live performance work) about specific research topic areas. To be a part of this seminar, you do not need prior experience in video production or acting/performance, but you must be willing to get involved with exploring both. This course is available to first-year students only as an FYS; it also fulfills the DIV and AEX requirements

107. Beginning Acting
An introduction to the basic mental and physical skills used in acting, including use of imagination, understanding of the self, character analysis, body flexibility and expression, and voice and diction. Coursework includes exploratory and centering exercises, improvisational techniques and scene and monologue study.

111. Rhetoric and Public Speaking
An introduction to the art of public speaking, focusing primarily on the construction and critique of persuasive discourse. Students study the classical rhetorical tradition as a continuing influence on the contemporary theory and practice of persuasion.

113. Introduction to Performance Studies
This course engages students in the analysis and performance of texts other than dramas (e.g., poems, short stories, personal nar­ratives). The course emphasizes analysis of the dramatic situation in texts, process-centered workshops, and performance criticism.

125. Introduction to Dramatic Scripts
Students are introduced to the formal aspects of play texts and develop the critical skills necessary to read plays and critique live and video performances. Representative dramas from the Greeks to the present are investigated in terms of character development, dialog, settings and central ideas, as well as their original theatrical contexts: theater architecture, stage conventions, scenic devices, costuming and acting techniques. The emphasis is on analysis of scripts and the relationship among performance conditions, cultural context and dramatic conventions. Also offered as English 125.

126. Persuasion
This course is designed to foster increased awareness of the diverse forms and functions of persuasion in contemporary society and to improve students’ ability to function as discriminating consumers of rhetorical texts. While the course includes extensive reading and analysis of public speeches, it is also intended to heighten student awareness of the presence of persuasive intent in texts not tradi­tionally considered rhetorical, e.g., poems, plays, songs, paintings, music videos and news broadcasts.

127. Introduction to Communication Studies
This course explores the forms, functions, techniques, technologies and institutions of human communication with the goal of enhancing understanding of the complex dynamics of social interaction. Topics include communication and meaning; language, thought and com­munication; non-verbal communication; gender and communication; intercultural communication; and the mass media.

201. Introduction to Journalism Studies
A general study of journalistic principles and methods as well as extensive practice in the newswriting. In the first half of the semester, students learn how to write and analyze basic types of stories in a style particular to new media, with an emphasis on accuracy, clarity, and efficiency. In the second half of the semester, students practice and refine such learned writing and reporting skills in an atmosphere closely resembling the conditions in a digital-era newsroom: covering actual events of local, state, national and international importance as they unfold in real time. Also offered as ENG 201.

202. Sound for the Stage
This course explores artistic and practical aspects of using sound in support of theatrical productions. Also offered as Music 222.

204. Costume History and Construction
This course explores the artistic and practical aspects of designing costumes for performance. Through a series of projects, students analyze the costume requirements for various plays, research period fashions and develop costume designs for specific characters and productions.

215. Dramatic Texts in Context
This course examines how knowing the theatrical and cultural contexts of plays helps theater practitioners make informed choices regarding how to stage them. Also offered as English 215.

221. Intercultural Communication
This course explores theoretical and rhetorical frames around culture, cultural difference and cultural encounter, the purpose being to en­able participants to become more culturally sensitive and effective communicators. Also offered through African-American Studies.

223. Playwriting
This course explores the processes of composition characteristic of the playwright. In a series of weekly assignments, various aspects of the art are introduced, e.g., characterization, dialog, dramatic action and others. The course concludes with the writing of a one-act play. Students read exemplary plays from the modern repertoire. Also offered as English 223.

325. Peer Mentoring in Rhetoric and Communication
This course is designed to train students who will work as rhetoric and communication mentors in the University’s WORD Studio. Permission of instructor required. Also offered as English 229.

226. Introduction to Japanese Drama
A study of Japanese drama in its historical, theatrical and literary aspects from the Classical Theatres of Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku to the modern New Theatre and avant-garde experiments. Readings are in English. Elective only; does not count toward completion of major or minor. Also offered as Modern Languages (Japanese) 226 and through Asian Studies.

230. Introduction to Modern Dance
This course emphasizes development of basic modern dance concepts and technique, including increase of students’ strength, control, rhythmic awareness and stage presence. Specific techniques touched upon and/or covered in depth include, but not limited to, O’Donnell, Nickolas, Garth Fagan and Graham. The course provides an in-depth knowledge of the history of modern dance. Students will strengthen their choreographic skills and produce an original piece.

235. Introduction to Jazz Dance
This course is for the elementary dance student interested in devel­oping the basic movement skills of jazz dance. Emphasis is placed on the Jack Cole technique. Course material consists primarily of building a solid technical base, learning isolations, rhythmic differ­ence and dynamics. The course provides an in-depth knowledge of jazz dance, its phenomenon and its changing character throughout the years. Students are exposed to Broadway, concert and commer­cial jazz styles, strengthen their choreographic skills and produce an original piece.

239. Media Industries.
This course surveys the historical development of traditional media industries such as newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio, film, music recording, video games, as well as issues related to emergence of digital technologies epitomized by the Internet. It likewise focusses on the historical evolution of two other closely related fields - advertisement and public relations. Dual-listed by the FILM Department.

244. Techniques of Screenwriting
An introductory study of basic technical problems and formal concepts of screenwriting. The study of produced screenplays and formal film technique, along with writing scene exercises, builds toward the construction of a short (50-minute) script. Also offered as English 244 and through Film and Representation Studies.

255. African-American Drama
African-American drama is a tradition that has unique themes and forms with sources in African ritual and language; gesture and folklore; the Southern Baptist church; the blues; and jazz. Students examine plays, read essays, view videos and listen to music to discover the qualities that make this drama a vital resource of African-American culture and an important social and political voice. Also offered as English 255 and through African-American Studies.

270. Collaboration Across the Arts
The direction of this course is determined largely by the unique combination of students who participate. Students form groups of two or three to work on a collaborative project of their own design reflecting their collective interests. For example, a pair of students may create a multimedia work that draws connections between image and sound. Students critique works in progress, study exemplary works, discuss relevant aesthetic issues, trace connections across media and consider strategies for collaborative work. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Also offered as Art and Art History 270 and Music 270.

3000-3999. Special Topics in Rhetoric/ Communication Studies
Introductory courses in rhetoric/communication studies that the department cannot offer on a regular basis. Their topics change and will be announced each semester.

3000-3999. Special Topics in Theatre/ Performance Studies
Introductory courses in theatre/performance studies that the depart­ment cannot offer on a regular basis. Their topics change and will be announced each semester.

301. Advanced Modern Dance
An exploration of advanced modern technique and theory in a variety of styles of modern dance. The class emphasizes educating the body as an instrument for artistic expression as well as development of flexibility, strength, coordination and awareness of principles of motion. The class will also work on choreography and composition exercises using the concepts of space, time, effort and shape.

303. Stage Lighting
An investigation of theatrical lighting equipment and its applied use in producing drama, concerts, and dance on the modern stage. The course includes a study of basic electricity, lighting instruments, computerized lighting control and design procedures. Materials are presented in a lecture/demonstration format and are further explored in the lighting lab and departmental productions. Prerequisite: PCA 103.

306. Advanced Screenwriting
An extension and intensification of PCA 244. Students are expected to work independently on the preparation of two feature-length screenplays. Workshop format emphasizes the revision and editing process. Prerequisite: PCA 244. Also offered as English 306 and through Film and Representation Studies.

307. Characterization
An intensive study of the acting process building on skills developed in PCA 107. The course focuses on character development in psycho­logical realism and is intended to expand the actor’s range with both scene and monologue work, as well as to expand skills in voice/body integration and script analysis. Prerequisites: PCA 125 and PCA 107.

309. Acting Styles
A concentrated study of three theatrical styles: Greek tragedy, Elizabethan drama and comedy of manners. The course includes reading and research on the theater and culture of each historical period, followed by an intensive exploration of their vocal and physical styles through guided improvisations, exercise and scene study. Prerequisite: PCA 107.

310. Culture & Media
Print or electronic mediating technologies have accompanied humans for more than five centuries and at some point people started questioning the extent to which they influenced, or as we will learn to say, co-constructed our everyday reality. This class surveys some of the important intellectual contributions to this inquiry – media theories and seminal studies. At the same time, it follows some of the most significant contemporary debates that reflect the symbiotic relationship between the media and our own culture. Dual-listed by the FILM Department.

311. Advanced Public Speaking
Intensive study of the principles and practices of researching, organizing, writing, delivering and criticizing persuasive speeches. Students employ contemporary theories of persuasion to analyze a variety of rhetorical situations. Students construct persuasive speeches for different speaking situations in order to develop critical and practical skills. Prerequisite: PCA 111.

314. Group Performance
This course focuses on the process of adapting and staging non-dramatic texts (e.g., novels, short stories, poems) for group performance. The class emphasizes the process of selecting, adapting, scripting and rehearsing texts for group performance. Prerequisite: PCA 107 or PCA 113.

315. Gender and Communication
All of our communications have a gendered component, and all gender performances are, by definition, communicative. In this course, we explore some of the many contexts, media and modalities through which communication and gender intersect. We examine both how we perform gender and how we become gendered through the processes of social interaction. Prerequisite: PCA 127 or GNDR 103. Also offered through Peace Studies.

316. Advanced Communication Studies
This course surveys contemporary theories and principles of human communication and complements this inquiry with practical exer­cises designed to test and explain the theories. Course material focuses on interpersonal communication, non-verbal communication, mass communication, intercultural communication and the relationship between gender and communication. Prerequisite: PCA 127.

317. Performing Poetry
“Milktongue, goatfoot, and twinbird” are the words that poet Donald Hall uses to describe what the voicing and embodying of poetry feels like to him. It’s something with taste and texture in our mouths, something we feel in our bodies, and something that sings, chants, and fills the world with sight and sound. In this course we focus on the performance of various poetic forms: traditional fixed forms, open verse, concrete poems, found poems and others. We will add to Hall’s list of ways to describe what happens when poetry returns to its roots in the oral tradition, and in the process examine the intersections of contemporary poetic theory and performance theory. Also offered as English 313.

318. Argumentation and Debate
Study of the nature and functions of argument: the classical and contemporary concepts of rationality, truth, knowledge and models of argument; and the evaluation of argument in formal and ordinary language situations. Students participate in several argumentation and debate assignments to develop critical and practical skills. Prerequisite: PCA 111.

319, 320. Shakespeare
An intensive study of Shakespeare’s plays; 319 concentrates on Shakespeare’s histories, comedies and romances, while 320 focuses on the tragedies. Prerequisites: PCA 125 or English 250. Also offered as English 319, 320 and through European Studies.

322. Native American Oral Traditions
This course examines the oral literatures of Native Americans and the incorporation of these oral traditions into written texts. Native American oral traditions are examined using written texts, videos and live performances. With a focus on origin stories, mythic heroes, personal narratives and contemporary poetry and fiction, the course considers Native American views of storytelling, family, religion/cosmogony and language. Also offered through Native American Studies.

324. Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama
An examination of the vibrant popular genres (the revenge tragedy, the city comedy, the revisionist history, feminist drama, tragicomedy) practiced 1580-1640 by the finest of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and followers. Performance challenges associated with each play are also discussed. Prerequisites: English 250 and one other 200-level English course. Also offered as English 324 and through European Studies.

325. Feature Writing.
Students learn the basic techniques of literary journalism, a specific genre that combines best practices of journalistic reporting with creative writing. In the first part of the semester, the class will survey some of the best feature stories published English language literature – journals, magazines and anthologies. In the next step, the students will learn how to gradually develop their own compelling topics through brainstorming, research and interviewing. At the same time, the class will survey the basic writing techniques that help the author to organize, structure and present fact-based information in a creative manner. Also offered as English 309.

326. American Public Address
A study of American history through examination of the speeches of spokespersons for social, political, legal and religious institutions and movements. From Thomas Jefferson to George Bush, from Su­san B. Anthony to Phyllis Schlafly, from George Wallace to Martin Luther King Jr.: a study of the impact of rhetorical strategies upon ideas and events and of ideas and events upon rhetorical strategies.

327. Drama by and About Women
Using theoretical writings and dramatic scripts, this course asks what, if anything, is different about reading drama written by women about women. Although the foundations of this course are rooted in a variety of feminist perspectives, it focuses on a way of reading rather than on any one of a group of political stances. Stu­dents are expected to respond subjectively to the voices of women articulated in the plays and, at the same time, use critical skills to comprehend the social, historical and cultural contexts that shaped them. Prerequisite: PCA 125 or permission.

328. Interpersonal Communication
This course examines the social situations in which people create and maintain interpersonal relationships, exploring the myriad social and cultural factors that impinge upon the success of these relationships. Topics include identity, relationship formation, family, friendship, intimacy, gender and sexualities, relationships at school and work, conflict, and digitally mediated interpersonal communication. Prerequisite: PCA 127.

329. Rhetoric of Social Movements
This course examines the rhetorical strategies employed in contem­porary American social movements (civil rights, Vietnam/anti-war movement, women’s liberation, American Indian Movement, gay and lesbian rights). Cultural texts, speeches, manifestos, sit-ins, marches and songs drawn from each of these calls for change are examined and interpreted using a variety of rhetorical theories.

330. Ritual Studies
This course examines the nature of rituals, how humans use ritu­als, the various types of rituals, and how rituals evolve over time.

331. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric
This course examines the forms and functions of rhetoric within the context of presidential election campaigns. Students engage in a variety of formal and informal oral and written exercises related to the persuasive strategies that candidates, the media and independent organizations use to advance their political agendas.

332. Directing
This course provides the advanced student with practical skills and an understanding of directing methods, including intensive script analysis, concept development and articulation,

336. Rhetoric and Citizenship
In this course students explore citizenship through the lens of rhetorical theory and history, study philosophical debates over citizenship, and debate the current state of citizenship in U.S. society. While engaged in these theoretical discussions, students enact their own civic engagement by examining their communities of obligation, identifying concerns in their communities, and using rhetoric to address a community concern.

338. Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde
Students are exposed to theoretical writings, dramatic texts and performances that reflect the continuing experimentation in the theater since the 1890s. Students examine artistic reactions to a post-Darwinian and post-Freudian worldview and are exposed to the various methods by which playwrights and theater practitioners have grappled with finding new ways of articulating what it means to be human in an industrialized world. Prerequisites: PCA 125 or PCA 215 or permission of instructor. Also offered as English 338 and through European Studies.

340. Performance Art
Students read essays about the historical tradition of performance art and the relationship between performance art, theater, dance and the visual arts, and consider the work of contemporary performance artists such as Karen Finley, Spaulding Gray, Laurie Anderson, Rachel Rosenthal and Pina Bausch. Students also learn about performance art by doing it -— by engaging in the process of creating and producing their own performance art pieces. Prerequisite: PCA 107 or PCA 113 or permission.

343. Taboo Performances
Taboo Performances: The Politics of Sex on Stage is a rigorous, academic study of the ways that we read sexual acts and bodies in performance. The course uses a theoretical lens to examine what is deemed “acceptable” onstage versus what is considered “taboo” and the privilege wrapped up in those discourses. Course readings focus on dramatic literature, theory, and criticism. Students read plays which include taboo acts, engage with the criticism and theory of the dramatic literature, and frame the dialogue through performance and body theory. Prerequisites: PCA 125 or PCA 107. Also offered as Gender Studies 343.


344. Children’s Theatre in the Schools
Students explore the use of theatre games and acting exercises in order to teach basic acting and educational skills to local elementary school children. Skills include physicalization, vocalization, imagina­tion, public speaking, concentration, problem-solving, collaboration, listening and characterization. Students will rehearse and perform a children’s theatre play for an elementary school audience at the conclusion of the course.

355. Studies in World Dramatic Literature
The study of dramatic literature primarily produced outside the United States and Great Britain. Focus may be upon cultural coherence (e.g., Francophone dramatic literature), discrete dramatic movements on a particular continent (e.g., South African drama), shared thematic concerns (e.g., the role of women) or a period-specific examination of non-Anglo drama. Prerequisite: varies.

360. The Public Sphere of Renaissance Venice
At the peak of its Renaissance period (1480-1530), the Republic of Venice presented itself as a perfect embodiment of Plato’s and Aristotle’s classical republican model. At the same time, it reached a significant hegemonic position in the Western world measured both by hard (military and economic) as well as soft (political philosophy, arts and architecture) standards of power. This course is conceived as a multidisciplinary reading and research seminar examining the complexity of the public life in the famous Italian city-state. Dual-listed by the ECON, GOVT, GS, HIST, ITAL and PHIL departments.

361. London Coffeehouse Culture & Modernity
German philosopher Jürgen Habermas famously described the culture of the early 1700s London coffeehouses as the spark that kindled the advent of modern democracy. Indeed, the last licensing act in England expired in 1695 and with it also the censorship of press. Within the next decade, London was flooded with newspapers and pamphlets that openly scrutinized practically all aspects of public, but also private life. They were read and discussed in coffeehouses that soon became social institutions of their own right. Yet, such idealized world of London coffeehouses also had another, much darker side. Relying on secondary sources as well as original newspaper articles, essays and pamphlets published mainly by Addison, Steele and Defoe, the proposed course’s main goal is to help students mentally recreate the atmosphere of London at the down of what we call the Enlightenment era. Dual-listed by the ENG Department.

370. Against Health: Rhetoric of & the Health Humanities
The links between rhetoric and health reach back to Plato, who famously compared the practical art of medicine to the sham art of rhetoric. According to Plato, medicine was concerned with improving lives and health, and rhetoric was concerned only with improving the appearance of things. This course will flip Plato on his head. By approaching health and medicine as always rhetorically mediated, we will interrogate the emphasis on healthy living that pervades the civic sphere. Our primary objective will be to consider how health, wellness, and sickness are influenced by rhetorical norms and practices; how patient-provider interaction, institutional imperatives, and public deliberation structure health care opportunities and decision-making; how medical discourses influence health care practices and policies; and what these reveal about the character and function of the rhetorical shaping of health. Case studies will delve into topics such as contagion, cyberchondria, AIDS, obesity, and zombies.

400. Independent Study in Ballet
Supervised research or project on an independent basis. Prerequi­site: permission of instructor. Elective only, does not count toward completion of major or minor.

480. Independent Study
Supervised research on an independent basis. Students wishing to register for independent project credit must submit a proposal for approval before registering for this course. Proposals are due by the second day of class during the semester in which the independent study will occur. Proposals should be submitted directly to the faculty member whom the student wishes to super­vise the independent study. Only juniors and seniors may propose independent projects. A maximum of two independent courses can be taken for major/minor credit; one additional independent project can be taken for elective credit only.

489/490. SYE: Senior Project
The senior project is a capstone designed to allow students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize the analytical and practical skills associated with the discipline. Only those students who have had their senior project proposal approved by the department may register for this course. Proposal guidelines are available in the Arts Office. Students enrolled in PCA 489/490 are assigned a senior project advisor who is solely responsible for overseeing the execution and evaluation of the project.

498/499. SYE: Honors Senior Project
The senior project is a capstone designed to allow students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize the analytical and practical skills associated with the discipline. Only those students who have had their senior project proposal approved by the department may register for this course. Proposal guidelines are available in the Arts Office. Students enrolled in PCA 498/499 are assigned a three-person senior project committee, one of whom will be designated as the student’s primary senior project advisor, with the other two serving as readers. Students enrolled in PCA 498/499 must orally defend their senior project.

4000-4999. Special Topics in Rhetoric/ Communication Studies
Introductory courses in rhetoric/communication studies that the department cannot offer on a regular basis. Their topics change and will be announced each semester.

4000-4999. Special Topics in Theatre/ Performance Studies
Introductory courses in theatre/performance studies that the depart­ment cannot offer on a regular basis. Their topics change and will be announced each semester.