School of Humanities



Parisa Shams

Start date

Mar 2015

Submission date

Mar 2019

Parisa Shams


The Performative in Performance: Subjectivity, Identity, and Power in the Drama of August Strindberg, Edward Albee, and Howard Barker


My thesis merges identity and gender politics with contemporary drama to provide an interpretation of literary and dramatic portrayals of individual and social crises through the lenses of philosophy, feminist and gender theory, psychology, and sociology. To this end, I textually analysed selected dramatic works of August Strindberg, Edward Albee and Howard Barker within a critical framework that takes as its core the theories of Judith Butler and her re-readings of Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche and others so that a framework is provided for detailed textual analysis of the selected plays in relation to the sociopolitical concerns and theoretical concepts introduced by Butler. This will be an attempt to discuss the cultural and psychological sources that shape, limit, or expand the meaning of theatrical and literary articulations, and an effort to reveal the relations between literary, theatrical and material culture.

Why my research is important

Performance as a cultural practice reproduces and reshapes social life as it delves into the behaviour of humans, revealing how they are conditioned by the social, political and cultural milieu. The creation and reception of literary and dramatic works are affected by issues of power and identity, and investigation of the way gender, identity and power are presented in literature and drama can reveal important facts about the social and cultural context in which they are produced.


  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • Australian Postgraduate Award
  • University of Western Australia Safety Net Top-Up Scholarship