of or relating to the sense of touch, in particular relating to the perception and manipulation of objects using the senses of touch and proprioception [relative perception].
How are we, as global citizens, accountable to each other? This year’s Scholar and Feminist Conference explores the haptic—the perception and manipulation of objects using the sense of touch—as an ethics of being in the world. Feminist scholars, artists, and activists come together in this utterly unique two-day conference to examine the many ways in which touch helps us better understand the politics and aesthetics of embodiment, situatedness, and performance. Through a series of panels and artistic encounters, we consider how our senses—not only touch, but taste, sight, and sound—situate us as bodies in political and economic contexts (such as labor), as well as in personal and sensory ones.
GALLERY EXHIBIT: March 3 – 28
Please visit the concurrent exhibition Weaving Gender/Quilting Race featuring works by Vera P. Hall and Martha Friedman, on view from March 1 – 28 in the Tunnel Gallery, Altschul, Lower Level.
Blue Herring by Martha Friedman
Blue Herring is part of a body of work that consists of a series of large relief sculptures, which replicate the signature patterns of bespoke male suiting. It is a sculpture that dissects standard suiting cloth weaves, in this case, herringbone, to reconfigure it on a monumental scale. The patterns displayed present a symbolic representation of male power and privilege alluding to a gendered, hierarchical society in which some individuals are draped and girded by these fabrics, as others toil using unacknowledged digital labor to make them.
Touching History: The Quilts of Vera P. Hall
Quilting is an unusually community oriented artistic practice, and even everyday quilts have “stories stitched in the seams.” Former educator and political activist, Vera P. Hall has been a textile artist for over 50 years. The black history quilts displayed in Touching History combine Hall’s masterful stitching with skills she developed as a second grade teacher and reading expert to digitally engage important questions: How do you tell a complicated story visually? How do you help people with different literacies learn our common history?
Friday, March 3rd
4 PM – 5 PM: Weaving Gender/Quilting Race: The Politics of Digital Labor
Artist talkback with Vera P. Hall, Touching History, and Martha Friedman, Blue Herring
Moderated by Tina Campt
5 PM – 6 PM: Reception
6 PM – 8 PM: Dance and Spoken Word Performances
Dance conduction – student/faculty performance led by Gabri Christa with live music by Burnt Sugar Arkestra
Spoken word performance by Ramya Ramana
Artist talkback moderated by Sarah Nooter
Saturday, March 4th
10 AM: Welcome by Tina Campt and Nancy Worman
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM: Art and the Senses: Panel 1
Josely Carvalho, “Open Diaries: Images and Smells”
In conversation with Alicia Imperiale and Alex Purves
Moderated by Nancy Worman
For people with chemical disabilities and scent sensitivities, please note that scent cards will be distributed during this panel.
11:30 AM – 1 PM: The Haptics of Race
Rizvana Bradley, “Certainly No Clamor for a Kiss: Hapticality, Intimacy, and the Frenzy of Kissed Sensation”
Ashon Crawley, “The Lonely Letters (Or, Touching Friendship)”
Samantha Sheppard, “Sporting Blackness and Critical Muscle Memory”
Mila Zuo, “Envisioning Flavors and Tasting Chinese Bodies”
Moderated by Tina Campt
1 PM – 2 PM: Lunch
2:30 PM – 3:45 PM Haptic Animalities
Joshua Bennett, “White Dogs”
Patricia Clough, “Animality and Technicality: The Affective Infrastructure of the Haptic”
Jasbir Puar, “Posthuman Subalterns”
Moderated by Carla Freccero
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Art and the Senses: Panel 2
Grisha Coleman, “Ecology, Embodiment, and Information in the Science Fictions of echo::system”
Erin Manning, “Touching Duration: A Collective Encounter with Time in the Making”
In conversation with Victoria Wohl
Moderated by Nancy Worman
Dr. Joshua Bennett is the author of The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016). He holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University, and an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, where he was a Marshall Scholar. In 2010, Dr. Bennett delivered the Commencement Address at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with the distinctions of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.
Winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series, Dr. Bennett has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Cave Canem, and the Ford Foundation. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The New York Times, Poetry and elsewhere. He is currently a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University.
Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and African-American Studies at Yale University. Currently she is finishing the year as a Visiting Research Fellow in the History of Art Department at University College London. She holds a BA from Williams College and a PhD from Duke University. She was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Her forthcoming book manuscript received a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She was the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, and has published articles in TDR: The Drama Review, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, and Black Camera: An International Film Journal, and was also recently appointed Assistant Editor at the journal, boundary 2.
Tina Campt is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Studies, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard College-Columbia University. Campt’s published work explores gender, racial and diasporic formation in black communities in Germany, and Europe more broadly. She is the author of two books: Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (2004), an oral history that explores the experiences of Black Germans during the Third Reich, and Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), which theorizes the affects of family photography of in early twentieth century Black German and Black British communities. Campt has edited special issues of Feminist Review, Callaloo and small axe, and together with Paul Gilroy, co-edited Der Black Atlantik (2004). Her most recent book, Listening to Images theorizes the everyday practices of refusal and fugitivity enacted in a frequently overlooked genre of black vernacular photographs she calls ‘quiet photography.’
Brazilian-born multimedia artist Josely Carvalho lives and works in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. Her works range from paintings, sculptures and book art to printmaking, photography, video/sound installations, internet and most recently olfactory art. Her installations incorporate varied technology in the construction of both digital and physical environments, while her provocative web concept, Book of Roofs (2000), weaves sound, text, and images into interactive virtual perspectives on “shelter/shelterless.” Carvalho has exhibited extensively and her work is the collection of several museums. Since 2009, she has been working in the development of conceptual smells bringing this forgotten sense to the attention of contemporary visual art.
She has been awarded last year a Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Among other grants are: Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio International Conference and Research Center residency in Italy; Frans Masserel Print Center, Kasterlee, Belgium; New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA); Creative Capital Foundation; New York Foundation for the Arts; NEA Visual Artist Fellowship. As an artist, she has been actively engaged in communities founding and directing for eleven years The Silkscreen Project at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, N.Y.C. As a feminist artist, she created artistic events and exhibits to include Latin American Women artists in the New York contemporary art circle in the 80s. She was a member of the Heresies Collective; a Board member of College of Art Association and an Advisory artist at New York Foundation for the Arts.
Choreographer and filmmaker Gabri Christa hails from the island nation of Curaçao. She choreographed and danced with companies such as Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (Cuba) and the Bill T. Jones Dance Company (USA). Awards include a Guggenheim for Choreography, an ABC television award for creative excellence. Gabri was invited to Pangea Day Festival as one World’s 100 most promising Filmmakers. Her new Film “One Day At a Time” won Best Short Documentary at the Harlem International Film Festival in the fall. She is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College, Columbia University, dance Department. Read her writing in BCRW’s Scholar and Feminist Online, “ANOTHER BUILDING dancing: Making Quarantine and Savoneta.”
Patricia Ticineto Clough is professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the Graduate Center and Queens College of the City University of New York. Among her publications is Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology and as editor The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, and Beyond Biopolitics. Forthcoming is The User Unconscious: Essays on Affect, Media and Computation. Clough’s work has drawn on theoretical traditions concerned with technology, affect, unconscious processes, political economy and experimental methods of research and presentation. She also is a psychoanalyst practicing in NYC.
Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching experiences are in the areas of Black Studies, Performance Theory and Sound Studies, Philosophy and Theology, Black Feminist and Queer theories. His first book project, Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press), is an investigation of aesthetics and performance as modes of collective, social imaginings otherwise.
Carla Freccero is Distinguished Professor of Literature and History of Consciousness at UCSC. Trained in continental Renaissance Studies, she also works on Feminist and Queer Theory and Animal Studies. She is the author of several books, including Father Figures (Cornell 1991),Popular Culture (NYU 1999), and Queer/Early/Modern (Duke 2006). She co-edited Premodern Sexualities; and special issues of American Quarterly (on Species/Race/Sex) and Yale French Studies (Animots). Her current book project is Animal Inscription.
Martha Friedman (b. Detroit, MI) lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 and her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2003. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 in New York City, The Institute of Fine Arts New York University, New York (2016-17); Locust Projects, Miami (2015-16); Wallspace, New York (2012, 2009, 2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2010); DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA (2010); and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL (2010). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Select examples include Frieze New York Sculpture Park, curated by Tom Eccles, New York (2013) and Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2013). Friedman is a lecturer in Visual Arts at Princeton University. A solo exhibition of Friedman’s work is forthcoming at the Henry Museum, Seattle in 2018.
A former educator and political activist, Baltimore resident Vera P. Hall has also been a textile artist for over 50 years. She grew up in rural North Carolina with a love of clothing design and gradually moved from sewing for friends and family to becoming an expert in couture clothing techniques and wearable art. Throughout her life as a teacher, administrator, politician and mother, she continued to sew professionally. In addition to serving on the Baltimore City Council from 1985-1992, Vera made history when she was elected Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party in 1992, becoming the first African American female chair of a state Democratic Party by one vote. During her retirement, she devoted herself to mastering applique quilting and has been creating a series of African American History quilts that draw on her wide reading in African history, her visits to historic sites, and, of course, her rich imagination. You can find a more biographical information on Vera in the African-American History archive.
Alicia Imperiale is a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University 2016-17. She is an architect and artist and received her Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture from Princeton University in 2014. Her visual and scholarly work focuses on the impact of technology on art, architecture, representation, and fabrication. She is author of New Flatness: Surface Tension in Digital Architecture (Birkhauser, 2000). Other essays include “Digital skins: architecture of surface” in SKIN: Surface, Substance and Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002),“Territories of Protest,” in Log 13, “Seminal Space: Getting under the Digital Skin,” in RE: SKIN, ed. Mary Flanagan, (MIT Press, 2006), “Dynamic Symmetries” in Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry (ICA, 2011) and “Stupid Little Automata” in Architecture & Culture (2014). She is author of the forthcoming book Alternate Organics: The aesthetics of experimentation in art, technology & architecture in postwar Italy. Her research has been supported by a Center for the Humanities at Temple University Faculty Fellowship, a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Research Grant among others.
Erin Manning holds a University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the director of the SenseLab (www.senselab.ca), a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Current art projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour and movement. Publications include Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke UP, 2013), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009) and, with Brian Massumi, Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minnesota UP, 2014) and The Minor Gesture (Duke UP, 2016).
Sarah Nooter is an associate professor at the University of Chicago in Classics and Theater and Performance Studies. She works on ancient Greek poetry, particularly tragedy, from a literary and affective perspective, as well as on modern poetry and performance. She is the author of When Heroes Sing: Sophocles and the Shifting Soundscape of Tragedy (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and The Mortal Voice in the Tragedies of Aeschylus (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and is co-editor with Shane Butler of Sound and the Ancient Senses (Routledge, 2017). She has also published on the reception of Greek drama in twentieth-century Africa and is currently working on questions of embodiment and time in Greek poetry.
Jasbir K. Puar is Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University. Puar is the author of The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (Duke University Press, forthcoming in 2017), Affective Politics: States of Debility and Capacity (Duke University Press, 2016), and Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press, 2007), which won the 2007 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Puar’s edited volumes include “Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization” (GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies); and co-edited volumes on “Sexuality and Space” (Society and Space); “Interspecies” (Social Text); “Viral” (Women’s Studies Quarterly). Her major awards include the Edward Said Chair of American Studies 2012-13 at the American University of Beirut, a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center (1999-2000) and a Ford Foundation grant for archival and ethnographic documentation work (2002-2003). She recently received the 2013 Modern Languages Association Gay Lesbian/Queer Caucus Michael Lynch Award for her years of scholar-activist work.
Alex Purves is Associate Professor of Classics at UCLA. She writes on archaic and classical Greek literature, and is the author of Homer and the Poetics of Gesture (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and Space and Time in Ancient Greek Narrative (Cambridge University Press, 2010). She is currently editing a collection of essays on haptic sensibilities in antiquity called Touch and the Ancient Senses (Routledge, forthcoming). In 2013 she co-edited with Shane Butler (in the same series) Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses, which explores the merging of sensory experiences beyond the discrete categories of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Ramya Ramana, 21, is an author, activist, poet, writer, and most of all, believer of God. She was the previous Youth Poet Laureate of New York City. She won the New York Knicks Poetry Slam that awarded her with a full scholarship to St. John’s University, where she is studying English. As the Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya has performed at several venues including Apollo Theatre, City Hall, Hammerstein Ballroom and many more notable venues including the inauguration of New York City’s Mayor, Bill De Blasio. She has shared stages with notable people including Harry Belafonte, President Bill Clinton, Mayor Bill De Blasio, Rosario Dawson, Eve Ensler and many more. Through her journey and collective experiences, Ramya hopes to grow into a better person with light, love and a clear vision of unity for humanity.
Samantha N. Sheppard is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. She is currently a 2016-2017 Faculty Fellow at Cornell’s Society for the Humanities where she is completing her manuscript Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory in Sports Cinema. She earned her MA and PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of California Los Angeles. Sheppard is the co-editor of From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University Press of Mississippi, 2016). She has published essays in Cinema Journal and the award-winning edited collection The L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press, 2015). She has forthcoming essays in the Journal of Sport & Social Issues and the Journal of Sports History.
Victoria Wohl is Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. She works on the literature and culture of classical Athens, with a focus on the social (especially gender) relations, political thought, and psychic life of democratic Athens. In particular she is interested in the intersection among these three fields – the social, the political, and the psychic – and the role of literature in articulating and negotiating their interaction. She is the author of Intimate Commerce: Exchange, Gender, and Subjectivity in Greek Tragedy (Texas, 1998), Love Among the Ruins: The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens (Princeton, 2002), Law’s Cosmos: Juridical Discourse in Athenian Forensic Oratory (Cambridge, 2010), and Euripides and the Politics of Form (Princeton, 2015); and editor of the volume Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought (Cambridge, 2014). You can reach her at email@example.com.
Nancy Worman is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Classics at Barnard College, and is affiliated with the Program in Comparative Literature and the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research focuses on the body in performance in classical Greek drama and oratory, as well as ancient literary criticism and theory. Her most recent book, Landscape and the Spaces of Metaphor in Ancient Literary Theory and Criticism (Cambridge 2015) treats the landscaping of ancient literary aesthetics. Two current projects explore embodiment in Greek tragedy and Virginia Woolf’s gendering of Greek tragic style, both of which she is presently pursuing as a Fellow at the Cornell University Society for the Humanties.
Mila Zuo is assistant professor of Film at Oregon State University. She received her PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA in 2015, and her current book project examines the affective work and world-making of contemporary Chinese women film stars. Her recent articles, “Bodies, blood, and love: the ‘touching’ politics of HIV/AIDS film Love for Life” and “Sensing ‘performance anxiety’: Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, and female film stardom in the People’s Republic of China” appear respectively in Journal of Chinese Cinemas and Celebrity Studies journal. Zuo is current recipient of a 2016-2017 Center for the Humanities fellowship at Oregon State University.
Zuo’s creative praxis examines the embodied performances of race and gender through narrative filmmaking. Her short film Carnal Orient was an official selection in a dozen international film festivals and has exhibited in theaters and gallery spaces in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Diego, Atlanta, Portland, London, Singapore, Nagoya, the Czech Republic, as well as in various university classrooms.