Fall 2023 Courses

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.

Creative Response: Performance Matters, Between Imagination and Experience

Professor Karen Finley

Mon 3.30 PM - 6.15 PM 

ASPP-GT 2028
ASPP-UT 1028

Department Permission required. Email eb103@nyu.edu to request enrollment. 

This is a dynamic, generative class that will be jubilant. We are creating and making. Although we are considering performance art, creatives or curators that work in related areas are invited that wish to expand their practice. Such as film, visual art, photography, creative writing, music, technology or if you just need to explore new ground! The professor is a multi- disciplinary artist who is active in the field. This is a workshop atmosphere and the professor strives to have an educational space for trying things out and discovering together. This class will look deeper into varying aspects of performance: concept, generating content, research and staging. We will consider the strategies of subversion of form, of interruption from normative expectations. We will consider everyday experience, randomness, abstraction and performance as a space for social change. We will create rituals, appreciate lists, timing, gathering and collecting. Performing, embodiment and communicating the body: gender, race and identity.  Recovery, restoration and healing is made possible. Awareness of work in progress, process, hybrid media or site-specific. Humor and absurdity is appreciated. We will have a workshop on how we translate our performance into performance writing. We will look at performance scores such as with Fluxus. How do we construct a text, script, be online and considering improvisation will be utilized. The visual and prop aspect of performing:  such as objects, accessories, the archive, design and costume. Listening, finding voice, silence and giving and taking commands, and deviation from dominant forms of entertainment and product.  Hopefully with deeper understanding, we will seek to challenge and stimulate our own creative content to produce innovative, thought-provoking performance.  Students will present their own work either individually or in groups, write about the theory and content of their production and have assigned readings to supplement the assignments and their areas of concentration. There will be guest artists, and we will attend performances and art events. Finley will update the description closer to the course with field trips. Plans for attending the exhibit Just Above Midtown at the Museum of Modern Art is planned for now. But in past classes we have attended Skirball,La Mama, the New Museum, The Grey Gallery, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art. We will also visit the archives at NYU.

Race and Speculation

Professor Shanté Smalls

Tuesdays 11am - 1:45pm

4 points

Graduate Students Only

ASPP-GT 2040

This course takes seriously the work that science fiction and speculative works do in relation to constructions of gender and sexuality, race, and imaginary worlds and temporalities. This course considers how dystopian science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative categories render race and gender in the afterlife of structured society. Are race and gender metrics that register after civilization has been destroyed or radically altered? We consider such questions as: Who gets to lead in dystopian society? Who gets to have family and kinship and how are those portrayed? How is gender racialized and race gendered in post-apocalyptic worlds? And finally, can dystopic future renderings aid in undoing long-standing structural oppressions?

The class will focus on a series of objects and performances across genre, including, graphic novels, literary novels, and visual culture (film, tv, art)

Possible sites of inquiry: NYC Comic Con Festival, Midtown Comics, Forbidden Planet Comics; authors: NK Jemison, Octavia E. Butler, Marjorie Liu; Samuel Delany; films: Train to Busan (2016), The Girl With All the Gifts (2016), Pumzi (2009)

Queer NYC

Professors Gayatri Gopinath & Pato Hebert

ASPP – GT 2000
(Also listed as SCA-UA 421 001 for undergraduates)

Tuesdays 11am - 1:45pm

4 points

How queer is New York City? How do queerness and the city shape each other? This course crosses time and space, examining the history, politics and culture of the Big Apple. Ranging from Harlem to Times Square to Greenwich Village to Park Avenue, and beyond Manhattan to Queens, Brooklyn and Fire Island outposts, we follow people and money, high and underground culture, protests and politics. Materials include fiction and poetry, music, theater and performance, photography and film, and works of urban studies, history and ethnography. Assignments may include archival research and digital cartographic work.

Graduate Colloquium

Professor Karen Finley

Tue 2.30 PM - 5.15 PM

(MA Arts Politics Students Only - not open to other students)

ASPP-GT 2003

This class is a core course required for all AP students. In our class we will engage inconversation while getting to know each other as a cohort. We will have field trips and guest visits with leaders in the field. We will meet with alumni on their research, practice and hear from faculty. There will be generative engagement and space for fielding questions, incubation of process, activating content and meaning, considering arts activism, and community collaboration. Since we have had a year of the pandemic, we will engage in person at site visits in New York City as classroom. Some events that will be planned is- a tour of Stonewall Monument with Stonewall National Parks volunteer, visit the recent Maya Lin outdoor environmental installation “Ghost Trees”. We will engage in participatory walks – such as rethinking memorials – with the Columbus Monument, and retracing the remains, removal and landmarks of Seneca Village with alumni Kimiyo Bremer. Artists in the field will speak about their work such as John Sims with reclaiming and burying the Confederate flag. We will also be in the here and now, with current events and spontaneous responsive activism. And be mindful of the past year – of events, loss, trauma and regeneration, recuperation, restoration and commemoration. We will work individually but also engage in projects in cooperation and collaboration. We will consider celebration as a space for engagement and activism And we will challenge our comfort zones to consider inspiration, reimagining and possibility. As part of our process, we will delineate the increments of identifying prompts to deepen and awaken our practice. There will be readings and research alongside each unit, a presentation and final reflection essay.


Professor Kathy Engel
ASPP-UT 1070 (Undergraduate section - juniors, seniors,  sophomores with permission)
ASPP-UT 2070 (Graduate section)
Tuesdays, 6pm  - 8:45pm
4 points

Every few years, generally in times of great public strife, articles appear in major media outlets referring to an increase in people turning to and sharing poetry to cope, soothe, understand conditions, and connect across borders and differences. A field of writing, teaching and research has developed studying the powers of poetry to sustain individuals and communities, foster communication, and imagine worlds. Gregory Orr’s “Poetry As Survival,” James Crews’ “Poetry as Resilience” seminars and the anthologies he’s edited including “How to Love the

World” and “The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy,” Ross Gay’s acclaimed “The Book of Delights,” are only a few of the numerous works that have emerged directly or more broadly inviting readers (and writers) to engage poetry in the context of nurturing community, communication and offering tools for better understanding the world. A plethora of workshops and retreats exist grounded in the belief that poetry serves these purposes. Poet and wellness practitioner Dr. LeConté Dill, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, African American and African Studies, and Associate Editor of Health Promotion Practice’s new section “Poetry for the Public’s Health,” is among a group of scholars working to integrate poetry and other art forms into curricula and program initiatives focusing on health and resilience. This course will explore works of poetry and poetic projects that, broadly defined, support survival and beyond that, thrival. Students will engage in close reading and discuss the texts as literature as well as the ways the works are supportive of individual and social wellbeing. Students will write regularly and share their writing with the class.


Hip Hop Aesthetics

Professor Shanté Smalls

Wednesdays 11am - 1:45pm

4 points

Graduate Students Only

ASPP-GT 2030

This course examines aesthetics in hip hop culture and production. Through studying hip hop film, music, visual art, dance, and literature, we will think through what is so valuable about the aesthetic practices in the 50-year history of hip hop culture. This class is a rigorous attempt to think with critical and scholarly eyes and ears about a form many of us love. This course will concentrate on race, gender, and sexuality as produced in hip hop culture.

This course will center around performances, exhibits, and objects across NYC related to the celebration of hip hop at 50. We will also read and watch material that contextualized hip hop culture and performance in a broader Black Studies context. Possible site visits: Universal Hip Hop Museum, ongoing art exhibits; films: Wild Style (1983); “Hip Hop at 50” Instagram page; books: Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip Hop; Dark Matter in Breaking Cyphers; Graffiti Grrlz


Memory and Memoir: Reading and Writing

Professors Kathy Engel and Ella Shohat

Wed 11.00 AM - 1.45 PM

ASPP-GT 2049 Professors Kathy Engel and Ella Shohat
ASPP-UT 2049 (Graduate students only)
Wednesdays, 11am - 1:45pm
4 points

This seminar will focus on memoirs, whether in written or audiovisual form, which foreground a complex understanding of such questions as “home,” “homeland,” “exile,” “hybridity,” and “diaspora.” We will examine different narrative forms of memory-making, analyzing how post/colonial authors and media-makers perform “dislocation and belonging.” We will address the socio-political ramifications of the reading and writing of memory. We will also explore various genres and media including memoir, creative non-fiction, poetry, film, and music video. While examining texts and audiovisual forms of memoir, we will create our own, with particular focus on language, narrative, multilateral expression of story through time, place, and context. We will look at multilingualism, and memoir as a form of resistance and survival, giving students the opportunity to write their own versions of such narratives. Through writing exercises, we will explore the relationships between ways of seeing, knowing, recording and transforming experience.  As co-teachers of the class, a poet and a scholar, both historically engaged with the question of public narrative and the weaving of the single and the collective story, we will work together to probe reading and writing invoking and invoked by the multiple expressions and experiences of memory. Course requirements include readings, screenings, presentations, critical and creative writing, and workshop style discussions of students' work. A final project will be either a scholarly paper or an extension of the student’s own narrative writing.

Issues in Arts Politics

Wed 3.30 PM - 6.15 PM

Professor Ella Shohat

ASPP-GT 2001  (MA Arts Politics Students Only)

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 anticolonial and critical race theory, transnational feminism, queer studies and disability discourse, we reimagine the issues of arts and politics in relation to questions of power and survival. Rather than perpetuating a dominant discourse of art merely being resistant to the state, we will expand other narratives and analytics that seek to complicate not only the political, but also the aesthetic. Through tracking shifts in visual art in relation to performance, social practice, and the intermedial, we will also find grounding in concepts from political economy. This course intends to introduce key analytics in critical theory to help students theorize and historicize their own practices and approaches.

War: Aesthetic Approaches/Theoretical Retreats

Professor Luis Rincon Alba

Thu 3.30 PM - 6.15 PM

ASPP-GT 2006

"In her book “The Unwomanly Face of War,” journalist and Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich questions the grandiose and male-centered manners historians have approached war. Alexievich’s response to the omissions committed by such an attitude considers the senses in conjunction with the memories of women whose stories have been neglected, erased, and suppressed for being a menace to the status of this very grandiosity. In this class, we will follow a similar approach and interrogate the forms in which artists from war-affected regions and populations recuperate and redeem the traces, memories, lessons, and scars left by armed conflicts. In conjunction with this, we will critically read philosophical, historical, and other texts from the humanistic tradition to understand how war overflows, challenges, and redefine the theoretical understanding of violence, brutality, race, gender, sex, and the human. The class will also pay attention to how war and its traces remain in audio-visual archives, theater plays, choreographies, music, literature, and performance art.

Some of the authors and artists we will pay attention to include Doris Salcedo, Claudia Rankine, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Teresa Margolles, Svetlana Alexievich, Eiko & Koma, Nidia Góngora, An-My Lê, Joe Arroyo, Walter Benjamin, Francisco Goya, Ariella Azoulay, Robert Mosse, Arthur Jafa, Ariella Azoulay, John Akomfrah, and Raoul Peck."