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Performing Wisdom, Student Workshops in Self-Evaluation and Self-Fashioning

Program Director: James Collins, Assistant Professor of Classics, USC Dornsife

These end-of-semester workshops engage students in in-depth dialogue and pose the questions: What are the effects of acting like other people? What are the differences between making and simulating difficult decisions? What are the connections between our principles and the choices we make? How do we explore and remake ourselves through writing, speaking, conversation and deportment?


2012/13 Workshops

Oedipus Tyrannus, A Performance Workshop

Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Zumberge Hall 352 

First produced around 429 BCE at the City Dionysia in Athens, Sophocles' much-celebrated Oedipus Tyrannus tells the story of a man who unwittingly commits unspeakable crimes and searches for the culprit. Participants of Greek Tragic Poets (GR345) lead a performance workshop on the play's themes of responsibility and the virtues of self-possessions and reverence in daily life. 

Strategies for the Art of Living Workshop by USC Thematic Option Students (CORE 102)

Some philosophers don't just present arguments. Instead, they present the sort of person that adheres to particular arguments. They write literature that explores what makes these sorts of people good and beautiful. Students briefed the audience about their work during the semester with these different literary characters, how self-construction can work in philosophical literature, and then created an experimental performance space in which the audience will be able to move and interact with dramatic renderings of philosophical personae.

2011/12 Workshops


Tuesday, April 24, 2012, Ground Zero Performance Cafe

A performative reading and informal conversation about the play Birds by Ancient Greek playwright Aristophans

The play, first performed at the City Dionysia in Athens in 414 B.C., is a comedy about two men disillusioned by the hustle, politics, war-mongering and responsibilities of Athenian life. They fly off to join the birds and start a new, carefree city. But while trying to protect their new settlement in the sky from Athenian visitors, they end up reproducing much of what was wrong in the city they left.

Visitors are invited to join in the performance!

Euripides' Hippolytus, adapted and read by USC students of Anicent Drama (CLAS 337)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011, Zumberge Hall 352

In this event students offered a dramatic reading of their adaptation of the play followed by reflections on their scholarly and creative engagement with this ancient drama. The play, first produced for the City of Dionysia in Athens in 428 BC, is full of characters that believe they know themselves until they have to wrestle with appetites, emotions, and voices that they had long neglected. Euripides offers a psychologically complex look at how people variously construct and commit to ideas about themselves and what constitutes virtuous living.