Spring 2021 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.

All class will be taught remotely. Times listed below are in EST.

Imagination and Change: Arts, Culture, and Public Policy

Professors Caron Atlas and Gonzalo Casals

ASPP-UT 1048 (Undergraduate section - sophomores, juniors, seniors)

ASPP-GT 2048 Graduate section

Mondays, 5pm - 7:45pm

4 points– will count toward general education requirements (Humanities)

The course will explore arts and culture as part of public policy, public space, and public participation in decision making.  It will consider the values and relationships that underlie cultural policy: Who makes it? How is it made? How does it intersect with other public policy areas? How is it changed? The course will consider what it means to advance equity—both by operationalizing cultural equity and by incorporating arts and culture into equity efforts across other sectors. It will also address the relationship between activism and policy, including cultural methodologies for civic participation and community change. It will draw on timely examples from New York, nationally, and internationally and a diverse group of guests - policymakers, advocates, and cultural practitioners - will bring the pressing issues of the day into the classroom. Dialogue, inquiry, and on-the-ground experience will be emphasized. Students will gain access to the diverse networks of the instructors and guests to build relationships in the field.


Special Topics: ​Caribbean Women and Creative Migrations

Professor Grace Aneiza Ali

ASPP-UT 1006 (section 002) (Undergraduate section - sophomores, juniors, seniors)

ASPP-GT 2006 (section 002) Graduate section

Tuesdays, 10am - 12:45pm

4 points

NOTE: This course can fulfill the APP Theory II requirement. 

Contemporary Caribbean Art, Curatorial Practices and the Politics of Visibility 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.

Conceptual Studio: COVID and Dystopia

Professor Karen Finley

ASPP – UT 1029 (Undergraduate - sophomores, juniors, seniors) 

ASPP – GT 2029 (Graduate only) 

Tuesdays, 2pm - 5pm

4 points– will count toward elective credits for TISCH undergraduates

The border of an imagined state of a future dystopian landscape is upon us. Thinking of the rich contributions of utopian/dystopian narratives – where fact is stranger than fiction, we will consider our own dystopian world and how that functions to interpret policy, poetics and survival. We don’t have to go far from the new world order of the pandemic society for revelation. Building on themes of dystopia/utopia we will consider other portals such as

alternative realities to reimagine and inspire resistant narratives. The language of the pandemic will be deepened, discovered and re-invented. Social distancing, loss, authority, humanity, control, surviving, grief, enclosure, isolation, infection, positive, anger, anxiety, and as a workshop collective -we will begin to express authentically our experience along with the unexplained. How do we find inspiration during this era of quarantine, masks, hot spots,

infection, testing, positive, anti-bodies, isolation? Considering the artist as documenter of their times we will explore, research and consider historical examples of creative response and policy during times of crisis. Further inclusion with disability studies and ableism, both set against the questions of concepts around and access to healthcare. With the lens of recent and historical examples such as art activism and AIDS, anti-war, #Metoo, immigration policy, and BLM movements we will begin to consider context, concept with our own practice and perspective.

This class is to facilitate the development and awareness of concepts within our living history. With assignments, research, reflections, discussion and creative practice these undertakings will provide the impetus for deeper inspiration and theories in our artistic endeavors and scholarship. The professor will initiate concepts with readings and artistic examples. We will also consider artists and examine their themes and practices. Students are welcome from a variety of fields and disciplines. Guests working in the field will be visiting the class with their research and experience. Students will create a final presentation and paper. In addition, this seminar will be aligned with events hosted by the department of Art and Public Policy which the class will attend.


Professor Scott Barton

ASPP-UT 1006 (Undergraduate section - sophomores, juniors, seniors)

ASPP-GT 2006 Graduate section

Tuesdays, 6pm - 8:45pm

In this class we will explore “difference” through food. We will investigate food as a practice for engagement, activism and nurture that is necessary for sustained growth. If an army runs on its stomach, so does a peace movement Often there are shared foods, ingredients or dishes, named or prepared differently, yet in close proximity to each other. Using food as a practice for engagement, activism and nurture is necessary for sustained growth. Commensality growing, cooking, sharing and celebrating food and lives is an applied way to practice theories of inclusivity. Who belongs? Where is the table, (home, prison, care facility, work)? Who cooks and is there equity for their work? Are we eating as a reflection of ourselves, our histories, our health and healing?

Using food, land, access and agency to explore questions of inclusivity across difference, resistance and resilience, this course will look at current and historic food movements, culinary interventions, rites and ceremonies including shared meals to build an agenda of collaboration and community. We will look theoretically, critically historically as well as concurrently studying makers, events and movements including: A Festa da Boa Morte, (The Festival of the Good Death) in Brazil, Cacerolazos (pot and pan rebellions), Fannie Lou Hamer’s Civil Rights Era, “Pig Bank”, Vandana Shiva, Blondell Cummings, Chicken Soup, recently featured in Brooklyn Museum’s Radical Black Women exhibition, TheMalaga Island Project, Rachel Harding’s Welcome Table, and a variety of food art projects as a means to create our own interventions.

Law, Race, and the Humanities

Professor Hentyle Yapp

ASPP-UT 1016 (Undergraduate section - juniors, seniors with instructor’s permission)

ASPP-GT 2016 Graduate section

Wednesdays, 11:30-2:15

4 points

NOTE: This course can fulfill the APP Theory II requirement. 

This course examines the relationship between law and race, especially as it relates to the production of subjects and how they come to be managed. In addition to engaging case law in the construction and management of race, we will study how the humanities and arts have come to contend with this history. The larger point in doing so is to reflect on the theoretical, methodological, and political ramifications of humanistic discourse and cultural production in how they create specific visions and understandings of the law. As such, we will unpack a set of interlocking questions that ultimately highlight the stakes of placing law, culture, race, and institutional critique together: What notions of justice are achieved through artistic, cultural, and theoretical engagements with the law that exceed the law's capacity? What ideas of institutional critique can such engagements produce beyond merely being resistant to the law or “against” the institution? Most importantly, how does the legacy of liberalism overdetermine the very terms in which we understand these questions? This course will examine theorists like Saidiya Hartman, Jacques Derrida, Lisa Lowe, Janet Halley, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Robert Cover, and Cheryl Harris, amongst others.

Marxism and In/Humanism: Race, Queerness, and the Aesthetic

Professor Hentyle Yapp

ASPP-UT 1077 (Undergraduate section - juniors, seniors with instructor’s permission)

ASPP-GT 2077 Graduate section

Wednesdays, 3:30-6:15

4 points

NOTE: This course can fulfill the APP Theory II requirement. 

Following ongoing critiques of liberal humanism from critical race, Afro-pessimist, transnational, queer, and feminist studies, what alternative political projects or visions might now inform our practices and work? What should follow after we question the grounds of modernity, liberalism, and materialism? This class seeks to examine one critical possibility: Marxism, particularly Marxist humanism. Although we will define this political project, we will also question its limits. The legacy of humanism in both liberalism and Marxism becomes a problem when placed alongside recent critiques around the subhuman and inhuman. In particular, what is the figure of the human for Marxist humanism? And how does such a figure sit with and/or against the liberal subject, person, and Man that has come under critique by queer inhumanism (with a focus on objects, animals, and environmental relations), along with the larger ontological turn coming from Black studies, Afro-pessimism, trans and queer theories, and new materialism? This class examines 1) differing notions of the human and subject as informed by liberalism and Marxist humanism, 2) the political limits and possibilities of Marxist humanism, and 3) the history and the continued mediation of Marxism alongside discourses of race, the transnational, disability, queerness, sexuality, and gender. In addition, we will situate how the aesthetic has engaged these larger questions. This course will examine theorists like Sylvia Wynter, Raya Dunayevskaya, Cedric Robinson, Glen Coulthard, CLR James, Jacques Derrida, Stuart Hall, Shu-mei Shih, Fredric Jameson, Mario Mieli, and Petrus Liu, amongst others.

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

Wednesdays, 7 - 9:45pm

4 points 

NOTE: This course can fulfill the APP Theory II requirement. 

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.

Anatomy of Difference

Professor Sheril Antonio

ASPP-UT 1020 (Undergraduate –  Juniors and Seniors) 

ASPP-GT 2020 Graduate Section

Thursdays, 10am - 1:30pm

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

Prerequisite: One introductory film history/ criticism class. 

NOTE: This course can fulfill the APP Theory II requirement. 

This course looks at how difference is constructed in film through reading assignments, short and full length features, and critical analysis of the visual form and content seen in 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 and other media 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 articles and 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.

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, 2pm - 4:45pm

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 represents 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 gathering effective expressive strategies. You will use the writing you’ve generated in your assignments as the groundwork for several final artist statements that approach and represent your work from different perspectives.  

After we explore a variety of public and private sources of funding, fellowships, and residency opportunities in the US, you will identify several opportunities that would be appropriate for your work. You will then prepare applications for two opportunities of your choosing (three for graduate students). 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.

Play Story Analysis: Shakespeare, Politics, and Contemporary Drama

Professor Oskar Eustis

ASPP-GT 2119 Graduate section (MA Arts Politics Students Only); Crosslisted DWPG-GT 2116 

Fridays, 9:30 - 11:55am

4 points

A class in which the intersection between the political world around us and our theatrical heritage collide. We’ll look at the politics that informed Shakespeare when he wrote plays like Julius Caesar and Richard II as well as how those plays reflect and augment our understanding of politics today. We’ll also examine how Shakespeare helps us as contemporary dramatists through an examination of such Shakespearean modern works as Angels in America and Junk.

Female Cultural Rebels in Modern Times

Professor Karen Finley

ASPP-UT 1034 Undergraduate section

ASPP-GT 2034 Graduate section

Wednesdays, 2:30 - 5:15pm

4 points

This class will reflect on feminism, gender and sexuality themes. Some of the topics will be preliminary such as the gaze, the documenting and managing of stereotypes such as the madwoman, as in the documentary “Grey Gardens”. Current events and issues will be part of our conversation such as in popular culture, policy, reproductive rights, and Me Too. For this particular spring 2021 semester Finley plans the class to consider the historical event of Kamala Harris as Vice President. Other units may be on gaslighting, gossip, the soap opera, hysteria, horror films, beyond female-masculinity, abjection, objectification, domesticity, anger, outrage, ambiguity and invisibility.  We will consider altars and protection, matriarchy, the Goddess and the sorceress. Students will also be able to concentrate on a particular subject for research. We consider examples of the art work of Narcissister, Chrysanne Stathcos, Annie Sprinkle Viva Ruiz and Thank God for Abortion. We will review the recent exhibit at the Park Avenue Armory of 100 Women 100 Years on Women’s Right to Vote. And we will visit Audre Lorde, Andrea Dworkin, Jose Munoz and other writers who reflect on gender. Class visits with scholars, artists and activists will move the conversation to those active in the field. Creative projects are encouraged in the class to strengthen your own research and arts practice. A midterm presentation and final project with companion paper is required.

This course will count toward general education requirements for TSOA students (Social Science).


Professor Pato Hebert


Mondays, 12pm - 3pm

2 - 3.5 points 

This is the second course in the Methods and Criticism track and an important space of synthesis. The course encourages students to work in self-selected clusters based on shared interests and modes of working. For example, students interested in curating might organize themselves around developing an exhibition. Artists can assemble a critique group for giving in-depth feedback on works in progress. Scholars interested in pursuing publishing or a Ph.D. could workshop chapters and organize panels. These peer-based practice clusters are not mutually exclusive; rather they hold open curricular space for students to further focus and tailor their work together. Students will also develop pathways for their practices after graduation, networking with potential partners, organizations, employers and support systems. Our graduates go on to work as artists and scholars, curators and community organizers, arts administrators, educators and cultural innovators. Our alumni are actively connected to the pulse of social justice, forming a global network of engaged thinkers and doers across six different continents. Methods and Criticism II gives current students the opportunity to tap into the alumni network’s experiences, while crafting their own creative, research and activist projects.


Contact the Department:

Emily Brown
Administrative Director
email: eb103@nyu.edu
phone: 212.992.8248