Research guide for CA 312 / CA 826 New Approaches in Performance Studies : Performing Black Identities Across Diasporic Spaces (Summer 2022)

This guide is intended to be an introduction to finding research materials related to the content of the course.

If you do not find what you need, please contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Communication & Contemporary Arts for Contemporary Arts, at or 778.782.3681.  For an immediate response, use the AskAway research help service.

Important note

Discussions of performance theory and practice happen in a wide variety of publications (books, book chapters, journal articles, reviews in news sources and professional magazines).  You will be able to find scholarly and professional publications in digital form, via links from the SFU Library catalogue and article databases. However, you may find useful materials are only available in print form.

If you are able to visit one of the SFU Libraries to pick up materials, you can request books from the collection.  If you're interested in only part of a book (e.g. a chapter) or an article from a magazine, you can request a scan of this material which will be made available via a link in your email.  Details are available on our guide to getting books and articles delivered from other SFU libraries.

Background sources

As well as your course readings, we have a variety of specialized books on aspects of the African diaspora, performance studies and how these intersect in different arts and cultural practices.  The following titles provide a useful entry point to this literature, providing you with key perspectives, vocabulary and additional scholarship that relates to these topics.

Performance studies

African Diasporic arts practices 

    Sources in other disciplines may provide useful perspectives on specific aspects of disaporic performance studies, such as dance, music and visual arts, play (Education, Sociology, Psychology), ritual (Anthropology, Ethnology, Sociology) and sport.  SFU Library Research Guides list background resources that can help you understand these perspectives.  If you would like assistance finding the right source, Ask a Librarian.

    Finding books & articles

    Library Search searches library catalogue records and selected collections of full text journal articles. 

    Performance studies is not a standard subject heading in the Library catalogue so you will need to be a bit creative when searching for books. 

    Standard subject headings

    To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu.

    • African diaspora (subheadings include "in art", "history", "in literature", "in motion pictures")
    • Performance (including subheadings such as "philosophy", "semiotics", "social aspects", "political aspects")
    • Performance theory
    • Performance art
    • Performative (Philosophy)
    • Performativity
    • Performing arts
    • Experimental theater

    You can also use these terms in keyword searches to find examples of scholarly studies of performance, such as:

    Article indexes

    Article indexes will provide you with the ability to search for articles published in both print and electronic journals.  This is important because some significant content may not be available in digital form.  The Where can I get this? llink in the journal indexes enable you to find digital copies of articles, if available at SFU, and to request copies of print articles from the Bennett (SFU Burnaby) or Fraser (SFU Surrey) libraries.

    International Index to the Performing Arts
    Multidisciplinary index to journals for the performing arts (drama, theater, dance, film, television).

    Humanities & Social Sciences Index
    Covers basic periodicals on all social sciences and humanities topics.

    Communication & Mass Media Complete
    Indexing & abstracts for over 550 journals in the fields of communication and mass media studies.

    Music Index
    Index to reviews and journal articles on all aspects of music.

    Art Full Text [formerly known as Art Index] 
    All aspects and periods of art.

    Bibliographic index to journal articles, books and dissertations. Subjects covered include language, literature, linguistics, literary theory & criticism, dramatic arts, printing and publishing.
    Theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and policy science.

    Searchable collections of full text

    Full text articles from scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences.
    Searchable, archival collection of core scholarly arts, humanities and social sciences journals.

    Journals with significant performance studies content