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One aspect of dramaturgy is the research that goes into the theatermaking process. Commonly referred to as production research, this work involves finding information that can be used to explore the many facets of a play: its author, context in our world and the world of the play, production history, critical analysis and interpretation, images and sounds, and sources, influences, and analogues.
Examples of Social Histories
Daily Life in Elizabethan England by
Call Number: DA320 .S56 1995
Publication Date: 1995
"Daily Life in Elizabethan England provides a vivid and intimate account of life in the Elizabethan age.
Aboriginal Peoples of Canada by
Call Number: E78.C2 A265 2002
Publication Date: 2002
Each essay covers economics, culture, language, education, politics, kinship, religion, social organization, identification, and history of each nation, among other topics, and ends with suggestions for further readings.
Postwar America by
Call Number: E169.12 .P654 2007
Publication Date: 2006
From the outbreak of the Cold War to the rise of the United States as the last remaining superpower, the years following World War II were filled with momentous events and rapid change. Diplomatically, economically, politically, and culturally, the United States became a major influence around the globe.
Women of Color in U. S. Society by
Call Number: HQ1421 .W655 1994
The theme of race, class, and gender as interlocking systems of oppression unites these original essays about the experience of women of color-African Americans, Latinas, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. The contributing scholars discuss the social conditions that simultaneously oppress women of color and provide sites for opposition.
Call Number: E184.O6 W84 2002
Publication Date: 2001
This book addresses some of the most controversial contemporary issues: discrimination, immigration, diversity, globalization, and the mixed-race movement, introducing the example of Asian Americans to shed new light on the current debates.
World of the Play
World of the Play - Concerns the setting in which the action takes place. The setting includes: specific information about the environment, what has happened before the play begins, and the attitudes of characters toward the world of the play.
When doing research on the world of the play, look for information about:
- Economic environment--class, wealth and poverty
- Political environment--the relationship of the characters to the form of government under which they live
- Social environment--the mores and social institutions under which the characters live
- Cultural environment--the arts, architecture, sports, fashion, popular culture
- Historical environment--events in history
Academic Search Premier
A multidisciplinary database containing full text journal, magazine & newspaper articles, many from peer-reviewed titles. This scholarly collection covers information in nearly every area of academic study.
America: History & Life This link opens in a new window
Indexes articles, books, essays in books, and dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials
Combines the premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion with ATLA's online collection of major religion and theology journals.
Historical Abstracts This link opens in a new window
Indexes articles, books, book chapters, and dissertations on all aspects of world history from 1450 to the present. Does not include United States and Canadian history, which is covered in America: History and Life.
More Databases to Search
Databases provide access magazines, journals, newspapers, and books about the environment of the play.
An interdisciplinary journal archive. It includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.
Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic)
Access to news, business, governmental and legal sources.
Research Library (ProQuest)
Features the full text of a diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines and newspapers covering all academic subject areas.
Abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
New York Times Historical Newspaper This link opens in a new window
Some examples of subject encyclopedias that help explore the world of the play
Arts and Humanities Through the Eras by
Call Number: Online Access
Profiling milestones and movements in the arts, literature, music and religion from a specific period, each volume in this five-volume set helps students and researchers understand the various disciplines of the humanities in relation to each other, as well as to history and culture. An overview of the period and a chronology of major world events begin each volume. Nine chapters follow, covering the major branches of the humanities: architecture and design, dance, fashion, literature, music, philosophy, religion, theater and visual arts. Chapters begin with a chronology of major events within the discipline followed by articles covering the movements, schools of thought and masterworks that characterize the discipline during the era and biographical profiles of pioneers, masters and other prominent figures in the field. Chapters end with significant primary documents from the period.
Call Number: Online
Includes the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance and the Dictionary of Plays
Sage Reference Online
Call Number: Online
A collection of encyclopedias and handbooks on a variety of topics for background information
Oxford encyclopedia of American social history
Call Number: Online
To open this resource, click on the link "Connect to Oxford Reference."
Use this encyclopedia to find background information about US life during different periods of history. Examples of topics include: marriage, Chinese Americans, wealth, the Sixties, urban renewal, and more!
Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century by
Call Number: E740.7 .E53 1996
Publication Date: 1995-11-01
Twentieth-century history is approached here from a social and cultural perspective, as well as from the more traditional political and economic views. Contributions of racial minorities, Native Americans, women and non-traditional religions are given a close look. Additionally, the way average Americans worked, lived, played and worshiped is pictured against the backdrop of political change and the growth of the world's foremost industrial power.
Call Number: online
Great resource for background information on contemporary issues like immigration, race relations, the economy, and more!
Search for Books
Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. Request books held by Summit libraries for delivery to Collins Library within 3-5 business days.
Catalog Search Tips
- Use terms such as economic, political, or social, and combine it with the time period and/or geographical location of the play's setting
- Example for Chekhov's The Seagull: Soviet Union and social
Note: When searching by subject in the catalog, use the ER spelling of theatre
Examples of Chronologies
Chronologies identify signficant events during the time of the play.
Chronology of World History by
Call Number: D11 .M39 1999 Reference
Publication Date: 1999
This four volume set includes 70,000 events and constitutes the most complete and current chronology of world history ever created.
Chronology of Hispanic-American History by
Call Number: E184.S75 C49 1995 Reference
Publication Date: 1995
Provides a concise presentation of key people, places and events that have played a significant role in Hispanic American history, primarily from 1492 to the present.
Chronology of Native North American History by
Call Number: E77 .C555 1994 Reference
Publication Date: 1994
Includes a historical timeline, American Indian orators, documents of history, excerpts from significant legal cases, and pre-1500 history, history from 1500-1959, and history from 1960-1994.
Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture by
Call Number: DS33 .C63 2000 Reference
Publication Date: 2000
The Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture features: three discrete chronologies on (1) Politics/History, (2) Art/Culture/Religion, and (3) Science/Economics/Everyday Life for each of Asia's three major cultures -- China, India, and Japan -- as well as a combined chronology for each of the other nations.