Sex and Violence in Performance | Arts and Science ONLINE

Sex & Violence in Performance

MUTH 201/3.0

This course is structured around a series of case studies of particular moments in the history of the representation of sex and violence in dramatic and musical performances.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the winter term

Learning Outcomes

After completing MUTH 201, you will be able to:

  • Identify the central recurring social issues engaged through the representation of sex and violence in performance;
  • List a range of aesthetic strategies for representing controversial aspects of human experience;
  • Explain the use of performance to moderate the tensions between psychological impulses and cultural imperatives;
  • Demonstrate how controversial works engage philosophical and practical issues of censorship;
  • Demonstrate how appeals to both pleasure and disgust play a role in formulating an intellectual response to a performance;
  • Analyze how the interplay between emotion and artistic form works to affect the judgment of an audience;
  • Analyze how critical readings of the specific historical examples included in this course can be extended to inform the interpretation of other works of performance.


This course is structured around a series of case studies of particular moments in the history of the representation of sex and violence in dramatic and musical performances. While these themes have been often regarded as taboo, the history of performance shows that we have never been able to resist these themes for long. Indeed, considering dangerous ideas through the medium of performance is one of the most valuable contributions music and drama can make to civilization.

To some degree, the history of sex and violence in performance is a history of changing tastes and changing morals. With that in mind, we will try to avoid two pitfalls that could threaten to put an end to useful discussion: excessive censoriousness and mindless titillation. To put the point plainly, it is not our business to attack and sanctimoniously lecture those living in earlier ages for not being as enlightened as our selves. But neither does this mean that we should take an entirely uncritical attitude. The possibility of real learning falls somewhere in between.


To be determined
Course Dates: 
Exam Dates: 
TBD (Online Final Exam)


60% Weekly Learning Forum (12 x 5%)

40% Online Final Exam 

**Evaluation Subject to change.**

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Craig Walker (

Instructor message

Welcome to MUTH 201: Sex and Violence in Performance! My name is Craig Walker, and I am your instructor for this course.

Here is a bit of background about me.

I am a Professor and Director of the School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University. I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where I had taken earlier degrees in English. I have been working at Queen’s University since 1992, having taught courses in ancient and modern theatre history, world drama, Canadian drama, theory of drama, theatre for young audiences, acting, directing and devised theatre. I have also taught a Queen’s summer course at the Shaw Festival for ten years.

My most recent publication is a chapter on Canadian drama in The Oxford Handbook to Canadian Literature (Oxford UP, 2015).  I am also the author of The Buried Astrolabe: Canadian Dramatic Imagination and Western Tradition (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001) and co-editor (with Jennifer Wise of the University of Victoria) of The Broadview Anthology of Drama: Plays from the Western Theatre, Volumes I and II (Broadview Press, 2003) and The Broadview Anthology of Drama, Concise Edition (Broadview Press, 2005). I have also edited Shakespeare’s King Lear (Broadview Press, 2011) in a version that features parallel Folio and Quarto texts. My other publications include numerous articles in various journals and chapters in books including four volumes of the Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre series (Playwrights Canada Press, 2005-11).

Prior to graduate school, I worked as a professional actor, spending seasons with companies such as Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and the National Arts Centre English Company, as well as appearing at various Toronto theatres ranging from the Poor to the Royal Alex. Since graduate school, my acting appearances have been less frequent, although I have acted for Theatre Kingston, Tarragon Theatre, Thousand Islands Playhouse and St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.

From 1997 to 2007, I was Artistic Director of Theatre Kingston, during which time I directed a few shows every season. I also directed many shows for Queen’s University.  My other work as a director includes seasons in the 1990s as an Intern Director at The Shaw Festival and an assistant director at The Stratford Festival, Much Ado About Nothing (2008) for DreamNorth Theatre, and Death and the Maiden (2012) and Private Lives (2013) for Plosive Productions at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa.  For the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, Ontario, I have directed Romeo and Juliet in 2007, As You Like It in 2008, Measure for Measure in 2009, Trouble on Dibble Street (John Lazarus’s adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor) in 2010, Twelfth Night in 2011 (a production which won the 2012 Prix Rideau Award for Outstanding Production) and The Tempest in 2014.

My writing for the theatre includes an adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, book, music and lyrics for Chantecler: a musical and new versions of several foreign plays, including Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, Bertolt Brecht’s Drums in the Night and Ödön von Horvàth’s Judgement Day.  My most recent work includes These Deeds, a play about Henry Irving, Bram Stoker and “Buffalo” Bill Cody, and One Last Night with Mata Hari, a music drama for which he wrote book and lyrics in collaboration with composer John Burge.

Contact information: (613) 533-6000, Ext. 74333 /

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10-12 hours per week on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.