Fall 2018 Courses

Anatomy of Difference

Dr. Sheril Antonio

ASPP-UT 1020/ ASPP-GT 2020

Open to juniors and seniors with past coursework in film criticism and permission of instructor. Open to graduate students.

Thursdays, 2:00 - 5:30pm


This course looks at how difference is constructed in film through reading assignments, in class screenings and critical analysis of full-length features including main stream Hollywood, independent, and international films. This inquiry will take note that while some of these films may be conventional in form, in content they challenge accepted notions of differences, or stereotypes. Our goal is to catalog films that resist accepted notions of the "other." To accomplish our goals we will deal primarily with textual analysis that focuses on story, character, as well as cinematic space and time. With the help of the required texts we will examine socially accepted notions of the "other" and see how they are derived and or challenged in and by films, thus looking at how an art form can interact with socially accepted forms of "othering." The objective of the course is to train emerging artists and scholars to engage in critical analysis that can make profound contributions to the individual's unique creative or analytical process. Another intention of the course is to delineate and occupy the space left for debate between authorship as expressed from a directorial perspective from authorship from the spectator's point of view.


*This course counts toward Humanities General Education credits for Tisch undergraduates

Language as Action

Professor Kathy Engel

ASPP-UT 1070/ ASPP-GT 2070

Open to juniors and seniors and graduate students. Sophomores must get instructor approval to enroll. 

Wednesdays, 12:30 - 3:15pm

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised and misunderstood . . . What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say?  . . . The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not the difference which immobilizes us, but the silence. And there are so many silences to be broken."   - Audre Lorde

We live in a world in which meaning is kidnapped, language usurped, re defined. Do we (any we) have the language we need today to communicate what we need to communicate, politically, personally, socially, artistically? When are we incarcerated by language rather than liberated? And what do we do about it? How do we look into the colonization of language and image while continuing to break open spaces to imagine and create? What are the forms, utterances, disruptions of form that can open up archeologies of narrative and lyric towards understanding, confusion, wonder, and challenge?

This a close reading and writing class. The class will engage language as living, nourishing, dangerous, fluid, changing, grounding, essential to our ways of communicating and existing as human animals. The class will explore a range of texts including poetry, essays, creative non- fiction and cross over forms, with a poetic emphasis. We will engage with the new eco justice poetry anthology Ghost Fishing, University of Georgia Press, 2018, and the work of Layli Long Soldier, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Aracelis Girmay, Dawn Lundy Martin, Eduardo Galeano, among others. Students will also contribute to the reading, listening and viewing list. They will write a minimum of a page a week and work intensively with each other and the professor on revision (re  vision), digging deep into the work to excavate, make specific, and allow for the realization and invention of meaning and form. The class will also explore projects that involve language, literature and community in different ways.

Guest writers will be invited to visit the class.

*This course counts toward Humanities General Education credits for Tisch undergraduates

All School Seminar: Environmental Entanglements

Dr. Laura Harris

ASPP-UT 1000/ ASPP-GT 2000  

Open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students

Fridays, 11am - 1:45pm

We will consider various theoretical formulations of the environment, the divisions that articulate it (sovereign subject/world, transparent subject/ racialized other, normal subject/ deviant, man/woman, human/animal, human/nature, organic matter/inorganic matter, matter/energy, the living/the dead, etc.), the forms of exploitation those divisions have structured and justified and the violence and toxicity that exploitation has entailed. What kind of future is imaginable within such formulations? What kind of justice? How else might the entanglements that form and articulate the environment be understood? How might (co)habitation and sociality be reconceived? We will focus on works by artists, filmmakers and authors such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Ana Mendieta, Lucille Clifton, Ellen Gallagher, Octavia Butler, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Zitkala-Sa, Rachel Carson, Shu Lea Cheang, Agnes Varda, Jorge Furtado, Anna Tsing, Ala Plástica, Vandana Shiva, Eduardo Kohn and Karen Barad as well as environmental justice activities around the world.

*This course counts toward Social Science General Education credits for Tisch undergraduates

Special Topics: Caribbean Women and Creative Migrations

Professor Grace Aneiza Ali

ASPP-UT 1006/ ASPP-GT 2006

Open to sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students.

Thursdays, 11am - 1:45pm


This course explores the current curatorial drive within and for the Caribbean. Critically examining the politics of visibility, the seminar addresses what goes into making Caribbean Art “visible” when facilitating a rethinking of the canon along more global lines and breaking the silences and silos common to art practices in and about post-colonial spaces. Looking at select contemporary curatorial projects exhibited in the past five years within the Caribbean as well as in the United States as “Case Studies,” the seminar will analyze how these projects have succeeded, advanced, failed, complicated and troubled the work of challenging stereotypical notions of Caribbean Art, while informing audiences about the region’s complexities, histories, and politics. To gain a deeper understanding of these complexities and the critical issues artists of the region grapple with, these “Case Studies” will have a special focus on “Caribbean Women and Creative Migrations” to explore the artistic and creative responses to the experiences of migration in the Caribbean diaspora. We will examine the work of several Caribbean and Caribbean-American women artists who use their art practices to engage timely issues of displacement, dislocation, labor and immigration and the feminization of migration. This special focus will inform larger universal concerns of our time: the potential of art to speak to who and what gets left, what survives and what is mourned, in global acts of migration.

*This course counts toward Humanities General Education credits for Tisch undergraduates

Issues in Arts Politics

Dr. Hentyle Yapp

ASPP-GT 2001

Issues in Arts Politics

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:15pm


This course expands the methodological, theoretical, and discursive possibilities of situating culture and the arts in relation to the political, tracking this relationship in a transnational world. By privileging analytics from transnational feminism, critical race theory, disability discourse, and queer studies, this course specifically reimagines the issues of arts and politics in relation to questions of power and survival. However, rather than perpetuating a dominant discourse of art merely being resistant to the state, we aim to expand other narratives and analytics that seek to complicate not only the political, but also the aesthetic.


This course will first establish working definitions of aesthetic theory and practice and political discourse. While tracking shifts in visual art in relation to performance, social practice, and the intermedial, we will also find grounding in concepts from political economy like neoliberalism, biopolitics, and Marxism. By doing so, we will establish methodological approaches to how we analyze legal texts, policy documents, art objects, and moving bodies. From this theoretical and practical grounding in arts and politics, we then engage different legal, “material” sites – including but not limited to native sovereignty, immigration, citizenship/personhood, “War on Terror,” intellectual property, and labor. We will ask what analyses of culture and art reveal about such sites. In offering multiple texts, the goal is for us to track intellectual conversations that are occurring across disciplines and fields. In situating art in relation to theory and legal cases, we will examine and destabilize the disciplinary boundaries around what we take/privilege to be fact, truth, ephemera, and merely interesting. By looking at legal cases and theory, critical theory, and cultural production, our meetings will study what it means to critique the law from a “left/progressive” standpoint(s), seeking to challenge the liberal frames that inform many of our normative claims. What are the limits of both politics and art in describing and addressing bodily injury, pain, and power?  The artworks we will draw from come from the Global South, along with Europe and the US. Theorists include Hortense Spillers, Sylvia Wynter, Saba Mahmood, Sue Schweik, Mel Chen, Saidiya Hartman, Michel Foucault, Shannon Jackson, Giorgia Agamben, Jasbir Puar, Dean Spade, Hannah Arendt, and Mark Rifkin, amongst others.


Graduate Colloquium

Professor Pato Hebert

ASPP-GT 2003


Mondays, 11am - 1:45pm

Mondays, 3:30 - 6:15pm

2-3 points


The Graduate Colloquium is a space in the fall semester devoted solely to the Art & Public Policy (APP) student cohort. Fiction and the political dimensions of imagination will be central to our work together. We will focus our reading and analytical skills on two novels: Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms and Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. We will consider how fiction, and the novel in particular, offers a space for contending with deep historical fissures caused by colonialism and embodied in gendered violence. How does science fiction envision new worlds and forms of collectivity amidst dystopian futures? Operating outside of conventional notions of activism, agitprop or the contemporary, how might such texts help us to reimagine the political and creative dimensions of our practices? Additionally, how do critical readings and contextualizations of these novels guide us into new possibilities for thinking more critically about the terms and forms of our work? 


Our goal will then be to apply these lessons to the professional pauses and pivots that you may enact over the course of this one-year program. How is this current historical moment calling you to reflect, shift or lead? What are the frameworks, methodologies, tools, connections and experiences you need in order to evolve and sustain your practice? These questions will guide us in our core Objectives, which are as follows:


  • Help each other land and orient to New York City, the Department of Art & Public Policy, and NYU more broadly

  • Gain greater knowledge of one another and our diverse practices

  • Identify and navigate our political and interpersonal convergences, alignments, differences and conflicts

  • Practice slower reading and deeper textual analysis

  • Begin to articulate various pathways through the program and your time in New York

  • Create shared activities drawn from our collective priorities and developed in collaboration

Throughout the semester, you will engage in regular readings and leading of discussions, complete online writing assignments to hone analytical and conceptual skills, present an example of your individual practice and receive critical feedback from your peers, visit a museum, work in groups to develop collaborative activities prioritized by the cohort, and write a short individual paper articulating your understanding of Arts Politics. These activities are designed to help us query our relationships to our practices and to one another as well as the broader potential of Arts Politics. Through our shared work, we also aim to critically consider and shape what we might be together — a cadre, coalition, community, group of collaborators, co-conspirators, a sense of home, a hybrid or something else altogether?