Spring 2018 Courses

The Transnational Turn: Ethics, Methods, and Race

Professor Hentyle Yapp

ASPP-GT 2026 Graduate Section

Tuesdays, 11am– 1:45pm

4 points – Graduate Students Only


Many fields have taken a transnational turn to examine locations outside of their normative purview. Although this shift could be imagined as a multicultural expansion towards the inclusion of others across the globe, this course aims to historicize this shift in relation to power, particularly formations like race, sexuality, class, gender, and ability and legacies surrounding settler colonialism, Eurocentrism, colonization, US empire, and the Cold War. Put differently, instead of imagining the world as “a small world after all,” how might we attend to the fractures and differences that continue to maintain a world order involving the biopolitical death, debilitization, and militarized policing of racialized, gendered, and sexualized populations?

This course thus historicizes, questions the ethics, and tracks the methods and fields available for the emergence and future of transnational analysis. Rather than accepting the liberal consideration of other spaces as simply better for intellectual fields and artistic practice, the main goal is to more critically understand how turns to the non-West are informed by the lingering problematics yet possibilities provided by anthropology, philosophy, area studies, and cultural studies as they can be contextualized in relation to the Cold War, neoliberalism, post-socialism, and culture wars, amongst other contexts. Further, the transnational must also be situated in relation to the medial forms available for tracking and considering the non-West, such as world cinema, literature, and performance. This course ultimately situates the historical alongside medial forms to help us consider the available methods (representation, cognitive mapping, and affect) for imagining nation states and the world. Rather than focusing on a single region, this course takes the admittedly difficult task of pondering the transnational turn as a broader concern across fields and analytics. This course will examine theorists like Frantz Fanon, Jasbir Puar, Edouard Glissant, Sylvia Wynter, Ella Shohat, Pheng Cheah, Trinh Minh-ha, Mel Chen, Fredric Jameson, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Andrea Smith, Naoki Sakai, and David Harvey. We will also situate theoretical discourse in relation to cultural production by artists like Jacolby Satterwhite, Cao Fei, Kapwani Kiwanga, Tao Dance Theater, Bert Bernally, Isaac Julien, Xandra Ibarra, and Shirin Neshat.

Sensing Race: Affect, Phenomena, and Worlding Relationality

Professor Hentyle Yapp

ASPP-UT 1006 Undergraduate Section (must get instructor permission to enroll)

ASPP-GT 2006 Graduate Section

Tuesdays 3:30 - 6:15pm

4 points


This course examines what happens when we shift away from an understanding of race as primarily visual to other sensibilities. How might we make sense of race beyond visuality? What are the theoretical, methodological, and political implications of making sense of race? By questioning the ableist limits of visibility, this course relies on disability and queer studies to expand sensory capacities towards the kinesthetic, erotic, sonic, aural, tactile, oral, and olfactory. In foregrounding sense, this course tempers and takes stock of the recent affective turn. In particular, by exploring the relationship between phenomenology and affect within Frantz Fanon’s work, French theory, and queer studies, we begin to chart possibilities through sense and intimacy. Furthermore, this course emphasizes and situates affect and sense making within the phenomena of colonial encounters, racialization, and the production of the New World order to contend with the political limits and possibilities of sense, intimacy, affect, and phenomenology. In other words, what are the stakes in sensing race, particularly as it relates to questions surrounding the transnational and governmentality? This course will examine theorists like Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, Maurice Merleau­ Ponty, Jasbir Puar, Sylvia Wynter, Gilles Deleuze, Mel Chen, Michel Foucault, and Hortense Spillers. In addition, we will engage dance (Faustin Linyekula, Tao Dance, and Ralph Lemon), new media (Jacolby Satterwhite, Cao Fei, and Kapwani Kiwanga), sound (M. Lamar and Nam June Paik), installation (Bert Benally, Yan Xing, and Isaac Julien), and performance art (Xandra Ibarra, Shirin Neshat, and Cassils)

All School Seminar: REPRESENTING THE MIDDLE EAST: Issues in the Politics of Culture

Professor Ella Shohat

ASPP-UT 1000 Undergraduate Section (must get instructor permission to enroll - Seniors only)

ASPP-GT 2000 Graduate Section

Wednesdays 2 - 5pm

4 points


This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the various dimensions of the cultural politics of representation with regards to the Middle East and its diaspora. We will begin from the premise that representation itself is a site of contestation, with profound historical and theoretical implications for the field of Middle Eastern Studies. These questions are political insofar as they have to do with knowledge, power and institutions. Drawing on various texts from diverse disciplines (especially, visual culture, literary theory, history, philosophy, anthropology, geography, and film/media studies), we will examine issues of representation in their various ramifications, all within a postcolonial perspective. The seminar will be organized around key concepts and questions having to do with Orientalism, the imperial imaginary, contested histories, imagined geographies, gender and national allegory, diasporic identity and postcoloniality.

Writing the Artist Statement: Representing Your Work for Funding and Beyond

Professor Elizabeth Mikesell

ASPP-UT 1009 (Undergraduate section - sophomores, juniors, seniors)

ASPP-GT 2009 Graduate section

Thursdays 11am – 1:45pm

4 points


In this course, you will develop the skills you need to write about your own work. A series of guided reading, research, and writing exercises will help you think about what your work is, what it means, and why it matters, so that you will be able to craft language that accurately and effectively represent you as an artist and thinker. We will study a variety of personal statements, project descriptions, manifestos, and other artist writings, examining them for their relative strengths and weaknesses with an eye towards the most effective expressive strategies.

You will use the writing you’ve generated as the groundwork for your final projects: After we explore the variety of public and private sources of funding, fellowships, and residency opportunities in the US, you will use search resources (such as the Foundation Center and various philanthropic databases) to research and identify several opportunities that would be appropriate for your work. You will prepare applications for two opportunities of your choosing (three for graduate students).  After we examine a range of artist websites,you will learn to make your own artist website (using WordPress). You will also prepare an elevator pitch for the project of your choice.You will exit the course with writing that you might revise and reuse for many different purposes in your professional creative life.

**This course will count toward elective credit for undergraduate students.

Feminist Practices in the Americas

Professor Laura Harris

ASPP-UT 1076(Undergraduate section - juniors, seniors)

ASPP-GT 2076 Graduate section

Fridays 11am – 1:45pm

4 points


This course will offer neither a linear, developmental history nor a comprehensive survey of feminism but a look at various dissident creative practices--sometimes disjunctive, sometimes conflicting, sometimes interlinked--from a range of contexts in the Americas.  The focus will be primarily on practices that resist the modes of gendering and the gender-based relations of domination that underpin settler colonialism, racial capitalism and cis-heteropatriarchy and by defending and/or inventing alternative ways of life.  We will think about the social and aesthetic aspects of the various forms such practices take, including writing, image-making and performing, but also organizing, assembling, caring, etc. and what those forms make possible.  The practices we consider can and will necessarily expand beyond the geographical frame loosely specified here to account for transnational or inter-local connections.  Students will also contribute to a collective archive of feminist practices in order to further elaborate our sense of what feminism might be or do.

Personal Narratives, Global Identities

Professor Anna Deavere Smith

ASPP-GT 2076 Graduate section - by instructor permission only

Sundays (2/11 - 4/29) 1 - 5pm

4 points - Graduate Students Only


Your account of who you are, the mission statement you want to put forward, even the story of a product you wish to sell, is a narrative that can be reworked for maximum effectiveness. This narrative, and how you express it, are important parts of moving about in the world, for personal, professional, political or artistic reasons. The seeds of this narrative are within you.

This course will use acting and performance techniques to refine personal narratives. Students will create performance pieces and in the process, they will expand their self-awareness. Hand in hand with the exploration of personal narrative is the deep exploration of the narratives of your classmates. This experience should develop your listening skills, your ability to observe, and your empathic imagination.

The class will conclude in a performance for an invited audience. We open enrollment to all disciplines. Performance experience is not required, but it is helpful. 

Please note that this course meets on Sundays, beginning February 11th and concluding with a final performance on April 29th. Regular class hours are 1-5pm. Because this is a studio course, we will occasionally meet for extended hours, especially as we prepare for the final performance.

Limited enrollment. To apply for this course, please complete the online application form located at tinyurl.com/ADSclass2018. You will be asked to include your resume as a pdf file, and a 2-minute (maximum) video in which you introduce yourself and speak about why you would like to take this course.

Applications are due on/before Monday, November 20th at noon. With questions, contact Stephanie Schneider in Professor Smith’s office. 212-998-1813or stephanie.iacd@nyu.edu