Fall 2019 Courses

Notice to students: We welcome students from other departments and programs to enroll in our classes when space allows. Some of our courses are open to both graduate and undergraduate students, and other courses are graduate only. Please be sure to register for the appropriate course based on your level of studies (ASPP – GT is graduate and ASPP – UT is undergraduate). Non-Tisch students should check with their advisers regarding course allocation.

Anatomy of Difference

Professor Sheril Antonio

ASPP-UT 1020 (Undergraduate –  Juniors and Seniors)

ASPP-GT 2020 Graduate Section

Thursdays, 2 - 5:30pm

4 points– will count toward Humanities General Education credits for TISCH undergraduates

Prerequisite: One introductory film history/ criticism class.

This course looks at how difference is constructed in film through reading assignments, in-class screenings, and critical analysis of full-length features, including mainstream Hollywood, independent, and international films. This inquiry takes 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 deal primarily with textual analysis that focuses on story and character, as well as cinematic space and time. With the help of the required texts, we 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.

Special Topics: Case Studies on Curatorial Activism

Professor Grace Aneiza Ali

ASPP-UT 1006 (Undergraduate – Sophomores,  Juniors, and Seniors)

ASPP-GT 2006 Graduate Section

Wednesdays, 12:30 - 3:15pm

4 points

In her book, Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Maura Reilly writes that “Curatorial Activism” is “the practice of organizing art exhibitions with the principle aim of ensuring that certain constituencies of artists are no longer ghettoized or excluded from the master narratives of art. It is a practice that commits itself to counter-hegemonic initiatives that give voice to those who have been historically silenced or omitted altogether—and, as such, focuses almost exclusively on work produced by women, artists of color, non-Euro-Americans, and/or queer artists.” Taking Maura Reilly’s thesis as a point of departure, this seminar, Case Studies on Curatorial Activism, will examine formative exhibitions within the museum space as well as curatorial projects mounted outside of mainstream art spaces, such as community centers, non-profit arts institutions, university galleries, and public sites that have been enriched and provoked through a curatorial activism lens. The seminar will explore how these curatorial projects are critical towards using art to counter issues of visibility and invisibility. It will also directly engage with global curators via a series of Guest Speakers throughout the semester. Case Studies on Curatorial Activism is geared towards students invested in the intersections of museum studies, curatorial activism and arts politics.

All School Seminar: Festive Politics; Gatherings, Crowds, Movements, and Parties

Professor Luis Rincón Alba

ASPP-UT 1000 (Undergraduate – Sophomores,  Juniors, and Seniors)

ASPP-GT 2000 Graduate Section

Tuesdays, 4:55 - 7:40pm

4 points

In many political movements, the festive emerges as a major force shaping alternative social practices, forms of gathering, being together, and moving together. These alternative modes of being in collectivity are actively redefining the political. This becomes particularly evident in the aesthetics of the Global South and its Diasporas. Consequently, the seminar explores the role of the festive in the formation of political movements beyond the traditional scope that reduces it to a simple byproduct of social life. Taking Latin American and Caribbean aesthetics as an initial case, this seminar engages in detailed interpretation of performances that challenge traditional definitions of both the festive and the political. A wide range of performance practices, such as carnival parties, sound systems, cabaret shows, popular dance styles, artworks, organized slave riots, and indigenous uprisings, shape the modes students will engage theory and practice.

Questions regarding race, gender, and class will be directed to the philosophical, anthropological, and historical texts paying close attention to their involvement in the formation of colonial oppression. Performance studies’ methodologies will serve as the guiding mode to articulate these questions. We will read texts by Denise Ferreira da Silva, Fred Moten, Achille Mbembe, Alexandra Vazquez, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, José E. Muñoz, Laura Harris, Macarena Gómez-Barris, and Joshua Chambers-Letson in critical tension with authors such as Kant, Marx, Frazer, Hegel, Mauss, Rousseau, Lévi-Strauss, Benjamin, and Viveiros de Castro, among others. Attentiveness to festive performance will also allow students to learn basic compositional skills, focusing on the performer’s presence and movement, through focused class exercises that will give them the chance to explore more organic transits between theory and practice.


Art and/as Research: Ways of Knowing

Professor Karen Finley

ASPP – UT 1023 (Undergraduate – Juniors & Seniors only)

ASPP – GT 2023 (Graduate only)

Mondays 3:30 - 6:15pm

4 points– will count toward Humanities General Education credits for TISCH undergraduates

This class will concentrate on research methods of art making. It has been argued that creativity has seven stages: orientation, preparation, analysis, ideation, incubation, synthesis, and evaluation. Each of these steps will be explored and researched with complimentary writing assignments and individual or group creative problem solving exercises. These seven steps of creativity will be a platform to structure the class and hopefully come to understand the mystery of inspiration, originality and invention.  We will examine other related theories such as trauma and creativity, spontaneity, chance, creativity as a voice for empowerment and the function of freedom and lack of freedom to heighten artistic movement. How are we inspired? Is there a method to our creativity? Can the creative process have a formula? How does research inform the creative process? The class will utilize the archives, galleries and libraries as a research tool and NYU as research University. We will visit the Fayles library, the Tainamont library, NYU Grey Art Gallery as well as visit with scholars and artists to consider the furthering of ideas into a series of stages to a final project and paper.

Performing Narratives

Professor Anna Deavere Smith


Sundays, October 6 - December 15, 1 - 5pm

Admission is by application only. To apply for this course, please complete the online application located at: https://tinyurl.com/ADSpn2019

What’s your story? Professor Smith wants to know what your story is, and wants to work with you to make it more compelling and engaging.

This is a studio course. Students will perform throughout the term. However, you do not have to be an experienced performer to benefit from the class. It has practical applications, whether you plan to enter the arts, business, medicine, advertising, or professions that help people or society. The class is about how to make your narrative powerful. Good, riveting storytelling is at the core of everything we do. Smith will draw from a variety of texts and materials: newspaper articles, letters, film, television, and theater scripts. She includes guest teachers from the worlds of dance and music. One session includes an entire jazz band composed of professional musicians. Over the course of the semester, students will learn to identify what makes a story compelling, and will explore how to most effectively communicate that story to an audience. Students will perform and revise their own stories. One exercise will focus on performing the narratives of others.

This course will develop your listening skills and your ability to observe. It will enhance your understanding of how your body can be a more effective tool for communication and engaging with others, whether on a large scale or in smaller settings. The course also teaches Smith’s idea of “radical hospitality.” Everyone in the class is responsible for contributing to a community where risk-taking is supported and encouraged.

**For more information, or with any questions, contact Stephanie Schneider in Professor Smith’s office. stephanie.iacd@nyu.edu / 212.998.1813

Methods and Criticism I | Seminar in Cultural Activism

Professor Karen Finley


Mondays, 11am - 2pm

4 points

This seminar will focus on developing our work, theory, and art into a realized production.  Each student will start with presenting his or her ideas and goals of creating a public project.  This may take the form of public art, exhibition, performance, narrative but bringing it to a goal of actualizing the work out of the school student world.  But the class is more than just bringing the art into the public light. We will scrutinize and examine intent and where to bring a production. Media, reviews, current events, intent, audience, controversy, economics, politics and other issues and challenges that is vital to a successful professional life.  These connections and awareness of the outside world out of school will be a reality check of all the responsibilities of participating in culture.

The class is interested in original and dynamic thought, provoking associative thinking and awareness.  The class is designed to transform and consider challenging your process and opinion. You are encouraged to bring awareness of different approaches to create new and borrowed strategies in cultural activism.  The class is considered process oriented and the professor is encouraging conceptual principles. Process is encouraging original thought over guaranteed knowns.


Theory I | Issues in Arts Politics

Professor Laura Harris

ASPP-GT 2001 (Graduate Only)

Crosslisted with PERF – GT 2312

Tuesdays, 12:30 - 3:15pm

4 points

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.