Fall 2009


For this Fall’s first event, join us at our


September 22, Tuesday
6 to 8 PM

We are all stars as we toast our 10th anniversary and launch our fabulous new website.

Join us for a toast and hors d’oeuvre!

Gallery Space, 41-51 East 11th Street — 7th floor



A lecture by Elizabeth Reis

September 30, Wednesday
6:30 to 8 PM

NYU Humanities Initiative Lecture Room
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
Bowery @ East 5th Street

Elizabeth Reis is an associate professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Department of History at the University of Oregon and author of Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England (1997) and Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (2009).

In this talk, Elizabeth Reis will explore how so-called “normalizing” genital surgeries have been performed on infants for non-medical reasons throughout American history. In the case of intersex, social factors, such as the potential for marriage and the fear of homosexuality, in particular, have motivated these surgeries since the early 19th century. Similarly, male circumcision has been motivated by social rather than medical concerns, the incidence increasing and coinciding with the fear of masturbation in 19th-century America.


October 2, Friday
4 to 6 PM

Hagop Kevorkian Center
50 Washington Square South @ Sullivan Street

Directed & produced by Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel
2008, 89 min., USA

Two American friends from opposite sides of the divide investigate the war in Kashmir and find their friendship tested over deeply rooted political, cultural and religious biases they never had to face in the U.S.


Post-screening discussion with the filmmakers.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-US-The West, the Center for Religion and Media, and the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.




A forum with Ed Cohen and Rebecca Young moderated by Emily Martin
October 7, Wednesday
7 to 8:30 PM

Great Room, 19 University Place
between 8th Street and Waverly Place

This forum brings together three leading scholars, from three different disciplinary perspectives, to examine the unacknowledged political, economic, and gendered assumptions about “the” human body that biomedicine, neuroscience, and the health sciences more broadly take for granted when they devise studies of human embodiment and “solutions” to bodily disorders.

Ed Cohen, Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers

Ed Cohen is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of Talk on the Wild Side: Towards a Genealogy of a Discourse on Male Sexualities (Routledge, 1993) and A Body Worth Defending: Immunity, Biopolitics, and the Apotheosis of the Modern Body (Duke University Press, forthcoming). A Body Worth Defending asks why as living organisms we have come to imagine that bodies separate us from—rather than connect us to—each other and the world.

Rebecca Young, Women’s Studies, Barnard College

Rebecca Young — an assistant professor of Women’s Studies at Barnard College — is a sociomedical scientist whose research includes social epidemiology studies of HIV/AIDS, and evaluation of biological work on sex, gender and sexuality. Prior to joining the faculty at Barnard College, she was a Principal Investigator and Deputy Director of the Social Theory Core at the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research of the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., and has been a Health Disparities Scholar sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. She teaches courses in critical science studies, sexuality, gender theory, and HIV/AIDS. In the spring of 2008, Professor Young was a Visiting Scholar at the Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy, and a featured speaker in the FEST Trieste International Science Media Fair. Her forthcoming book, Sex, Hormones and Hardwiring: Re-thinking the Theory of Brain Organization, is a comprehensive critical analysis of research purporting to demonstrate that hormone exposures in utero permanently “organize” the brain to be either masculine or feminine.

Emily Martin, Anthropology, NYU

Emily Martin is Professor of Anthropology at New York University, where she is also part of the core faculty of NYU’s Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge. Her books include: Flexible Bodies: Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of AIDS Reproduction (Beacon Press, 1994), The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction (Beacon Press, 1987), and Chinese Ritual and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1981). The Woman in the Body received the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology, in 1988, for its contribution to scholarship in the area of gender and health.


an all day conference

October 10, Saturday
10 AM to 6:45 PM

NYU Tisch Performance Studies
721 Broadway, Suite 612
at Waverly Place

with Special Events at Housing Works Café, Public Assembly and 169 Bar

Website: http://arthursymposium.blogspot.com

Panels discussions and papers about the Arthur Russell, his music and his times:

featuring Mustapha Ahmed, Bob Blank, Joyce Bowden, Ernie Brooks, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Steve Knutson, Elodie Lauten, Tim Lawrence, Tom Lee, Gary Lucas, Simon Reynolds, Will Socolov, Peter Zummo & others.

Plus a screening of “Wild Combination” featuring Q&A with filmmaker Matt Wolf


Friday, October 9


Steven Hall and Joyce Bowden sing the songs of Arthur Russell

No cover At 169 Bar, 169 East Broadway, NYC,

Saturday, October 10


Solo and duo performances of Arthur Russell music by Mira Billotte, Joyce Bowden, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Nick Hallett, Rachel Henry, Alex Waterman, Peter Zummo and others

Book-signing for “Hold on to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene” a new biography of Arthur Russell, with author Tim Lawrence

$10 admission to benefit Housing Works, a nonprofit AIDS-service organization, 126 Crosby Street, NYC


$10 admission to benefit Gods Love We Deliver, At Public Assembly, 70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn

Conference presented by Bloomfield College, New York University, and the Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London.

Organizers: Peter Gordon (Bloomfield), Tim Lawrence (UEL), Sukhdev Sandhu (NYU)

Info: Sukhdev Sandhu ss162@nyu.edu


October 12, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 PM

41-51 East 11th Street, Room 709
between University Place and Broadway

Nina Lykke, Gender Studies, Linköping University, and director of the Centre of Gender Excellence (GEXcel)

This presentation draws from Nina Lykke’s ongoing research on alternative sex education in the U.S. and Sweden. These “alternative” sites and media for sex education include feminist sex shops and feminist/women/queer-owned companies that produce sex-toys and other sexual items (films, books, etc.). Lykke is interested to compare the selling and producing of sex-toys and sexual items in feminist/women/queer-friendly contexts in the U.S. and Sweden. She uses this case study to de/construct the bodies and norms of alternative sex education and to ask if and how feminist, queer, and anti-racist perspectives on constructions of bodies and norms manage to displace the normativizing power of traditional sexological categories in the teaching of sex. In short, do the sex education practices emerging out of queer, feminist, and anti-racist movements manage to challenge/deconstruct/resignify sexological categories and configure sexual bodies in new and alternative ways?

Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series. Bring your own lunch – we’ll provide beverages!

Nina Lykke is professor of Gender Studies with special reference to Gender and Culture at Linköping University, Sweden, and in 2008 was awarded one of the university’s distinguished professorships due to her merits in research, education and management. Originally from Denmark, where she for 15 years led a Women’s Studies Center at the University of Southern Denmark (the center was the first WS center in Denmark), she has since the inception in 1999 headed the PhD program in interdisciplinary Gender Studies at Linköping University (the first PhD program of this kind in Sweden). She is director of an international Centre of Gender Excellence, GEXcel, as well as scientific leader of a Nordic and a Swedish-International Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. She has extensive international experience from numerous cross-national projects and networks in gender research and education in Gender Studies. From 2001-2005, she was managing director of AOIFE (Association of Institutions of Feminist Education and Research in Europe), and she is also a longstanding member of the lead-team of the European thematic network in Women’s Studies, Athena. She is associate editor of the European Journal of Women’s Studies and advisor for several other scholarly feminist journals. She is co-editor of the book series Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality. A central focus of her research is feminist theory, including intersectionality studies, feminist cultural studies and feminist technoscience studies. She has published 145 scholarly publications, including 19 books in several languages, among others:

Rotkäppchen und Ödipus (Passagen Verlag, Vienna 1993)
Between Monsters, Goddesses and Cyborgs. Feminist Confrontations with Science, Medicine and Cyberspace (with Rosi Braidotti) (ZED, London 1996)
Cosmodolphins. Feminist Cultural Studies of Technology, Animals and the Sacred (with Mette Bryld) (ZED, London 2000)
Bits of Life. Feminism at the Intersections of Media, Bioscience, and Technology (with Anneke Smelik) (Washington UP 2008)
Feminist Studies. A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing (Routledge, New York, forthcoming)



LGBTQ Studies Pedagogy Workshop presented by CUNY Center for Lesbian and Gay
Studies (CLAGS) and co-sponsored by CSGS.

October 14, Wednesday
7 to 9 PM

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, Room C201
between 34th & 35th Streets

Matthew Brim, English, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Matthew Brim is Assistant Professor of Queer Studies in the English department at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. His research focuses mostly on 20th- and 21st-century queer American literature and culture. His current book project, titled “James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination,” argues that Baldwin plays a central and complicated role in the “queer imagination,” a term used to characterize the overlapping creative energies and critical approaches that have given rise to the universalizing project of queer literary and theoretical inquiry.

This workshop will explore the responsibilities of the queer studies teacher in hyperassimilationist gay and straight culture. How might queer classrooms be intentionally framed as separatist in this context, and what does separatist queer pedagogy look like? The workshop will be discussion based, so please come ready to participate.



A symposium co-organized with the Institute of French Studies, NYU

This symposium will put scholars from the U.S. and France into conversation to explore how feminist movements have been divided over such differences as class, religion, sexuality, and race; how feminisms have been institutionalized by the state and by global institutions; and what kinds of alliances are possible across difference (including national difference). Different social and political contexts in France and in the U.S. have come to shape different feminist agendas and alliances in these countries. While French feminisms had to deal with the rhetorical frame of universal and secular Republicanism, U.S. feminisms were faced with the specifics of their racial history as well as the dismantling of the welfare state. Yet, French and American feminisms have constantly fueled each other, from the influence of Beauvoir in the U.S. to the recent importation by French feminists of the notions of postcolonialism and intersectionality. Invited speakers will address and speak from their national contexts, but will also move beyond the national to get to questions about feminisms and the transnational. As a transnational feminist project, then, this symposium moves to ask how ideas travel, what (and who) gets lost in translation, how and which global institutions (for example, the UN, NGOs, internationalized universities) come to shape feminist agendas in different countries.

La Maison Française
16 Washington Mews
between 8th Street and Washington Square North

October 16, Friday
10:30 AM to 7:30 PM

Click here for symposium poster.

10:30 AM: Welcoming remarks and introduction
Dean Catharine R. Stimpson (Graduate School of Arts and Science, NYU)
Edward Berenson (History, NYU)
Frédéric Viguier (IFS, NYU)

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM: Institutional Legacies of Second-Wave Feminism
Laure Bereni (IFS, NYU)
Rana Jaleel (American Studies, NYU)
Discussant: Victoria Hesford (Women’s Studies, SUNY Stony Brooke)

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM: Feminism and Religion: Current Controversies
Nacira Guénif-Souilamas (Université Paris 13 / IFS, NYU)
James McBride (Liberal Studies, NYU)
Discussant: Ann Pellegrini (CSGS, NYU)

4:00 PM to 5:30 PM: The Future of Intersectionality
Elsa Dorlin (Université de Paris 1- Panthéon Sorbonne)
Robert Reid-Pharr (Graduate Center, CUNY)
Discussant: Nacira Guénif-Souilamas (Université Paris 13 / IFS, NYU)

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM: Keynote: Feminism’s Difference Problem
Joan W. Scott (Institute for Advanced Study)

Joan W. Scott is the Harold F. Linder Professor at the School of Social Science, the Institute for Advanced Study, at Princeton University. Her work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice, including the nature of historical evidence and historical experience. Drawing on a range of philosophical thought, as well as on a rethinking of her own training as a labor historian, she has contributed to the formulation of a field of critical history. Written more than twenty years ago, her now classic article, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” continues to inspire innovative research on women and gender. In her latest work she has been concerned with the ways in which difference poses problems for democratic practice. She has taken up this question in her most recent books: Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man; Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism; and The Politics of the Veil. She is currently extending her work on the veil to examine the relationship between secularism and gender equality. She is also preparing a collection of her essays that deals with the uses of psychoanalysis, particularly fantasy, for historical interpretation. The book will be called The Fantasy of Feminist History.

Laure Bereni is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at the Institute of French Studies of NYU. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Paris 1 – Sorbonne (2007). Her main research interests include women’s movements, feminism and diversity politics in France. She is the co-author (with S. Chauvin, A. Jaunait, and A. Revillard) of Introduction aux Gender Studies (De Boeck, 2008). She is currently writing a book about the French women’s movement and the issue of political representation since the 1970s.

Edward Berenson is Professor of History at New York University. His research has focused on modern France from the French Revolution to the First World War. He works at the intersection of social and cultural history and has written on the links between religion and politics in the Revolution of 1848 and on gender and culture in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He has also worked on the history of popular journalism and on the historiography of the various French Revolutions. Professor Berenson’s current research is a comparative study of the popular culture of imperialism in England and France. His books include Populist Religion and Left-Wing Politics in France (Princeton U., 1984) and the forthcoming Constructing Charisma: Fame, Celebrity and Power in 19th-Century Europe, co-editor with Eva Giloi (Berghahn Books, forthcoming).

Nacira Guénif-Souilamas has a Ph.D. in Sociology from l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, she is Associate Professor at the University of Paris Nord and research fellow at Experice (Paris 13-Paris 8). Her Ph.D. dissertation was awarded « Le prix le Monde de la recherche universitaire » published as Des beurettes aux descendantes d’immigrants nord-africains, Grasset (2000), and in a paperback edition under the title Des beurettes, Hachette-Pluriel (2003), translated in arabic in 2004. She has co-authored with Éric Macé Les féministes et le garçon arabe, L’Aube (2004, paperback edition in 2006). She has edited La république mise à nu par son immigration, La Fabrique (2006). A number of her contributions appear in edited volumes : La fracture coloniale, Qui a peur de la télévision en couleurs?, La situation postcoloniale, La reconnaissance dans les société contemporaines, Repenser l’éducation préscolaire, Histoire politique des luttes de l’immigration (post)coloniale), Migration und Menschenrechte in Europa ; and articles in reviews and journals such as La Revue Européenne des Migration Internationales; French Politics, Culture and Society; Contemporary French Civilization (invited ed); Cosmopolitiques (invited ed); Mouvements; VEI Diversité; European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. She is currently completing a series of chapters for forthcoming edited volumes : La fracture postcoloniale, Israeli-Paslestinian Conflict in the Francophone World, and articles for the Feminist Review, Yale French Studies, The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. She is a member of Contemporary French Civilization and Diversite, Ville, Ecole, Integration reviews’ scientific committee. She contributes to public debates on migrations and discriminations issues, ethnic and racial statistical categories, gender and sexism. She has taken part for the past five years in an international research called Children Crossing Borders. She is a board member of the TERRA network.

Victoria Hesford is an assistant professor in the Women’s Studies Program at SUNY Stony Brook. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University, and her training at both the undergraduate and graduate level has been in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Her fields of interest include feminist cultural studies, American feminist histories and theory, queer histories and theory, media studies, and post-1945 English and American literature. She is currently at work on two book projects. Feminism and Its Ghosts: the Second Wave Women’s Movement and the Specter of the Feminist-as-Lesbian analyzes how the conjuncture of media and feminist representations of feminism during the emergent moments of the Second Wave Movement produced some of the cultural forms through which the movement has since become part of a collective cultural memory. The second project, Feminist Time against Nation Time, co-edited with Lisa Diedrich, explores the tensions between feminism and nationalism in historical as well as contemporary times of war. In a related project, Hesford looks at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and conceptions of citizenship and nationness during the Cold War era, particularly through the work of Patricia Highsmith.

Rana Jaleel is a Ph.D. student in the American Studies Program at NYU. Prior to attending NYU, Rana earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. Her dissertation tracks the institutionalization of feminist activisms on rape and sexual violence into international humanitarian and human rights law.

James McBride teaches in NYU’s Liberal Studies Program. He holds a B.A. in the Humanities from Johns Hopkins, M.A. in Religion from the University of Chicago, Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from Graduate Theological Union/University of California at Berkeley, and J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Prior to teaching at NYU, he practiced law as a securities attorney for eight years in New York City and held a tenured position as an Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Fordham University. He specializes in the study of religion, law and gender and authored War, Battering and Other Sports: The Gulf Between American Men and Women.

Robert Reid-Pharr is Professor of English and American Studies at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. His first book, Conjugal Union: The Body, The House, and the Black American, is a study of nationhood, domesticity, the black body, and gender in antebellum African-American literature and culture. His second book, Black Gay Man: Essays, explores his own emotional and intellectual confrontations with the modern world. Most recently, he published Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and the Black American Intellectual, a study of African-American cultural and intellectual history in late twentieth-century America. He received his Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University and has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Catharine R. Stimpson is Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and Professor of English at New York University. Dean Stimpson’s many publications include the book Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces and the Library of America’s Gertrude Stein: Writings 1903-1932. The author of a novel, Class Notes, she is the editor of seven books and has published over 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews in the Transatlantic Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, Critical Inquiry, boundary 2, and others. She was the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society for the University of Chicago Press. Stimpson has received a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship and has also been a Fulbright Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Institute, the Lilly Foundation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Exxon Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

This conference is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, USA, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.


October 20, Tuesday
7 to 9 PM

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, Room 9204-05
between 34th and 35th Streets

Directed by K. P. Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro
2007, 56 min., India
Tamil with English Subtitles

Set in Tamilnadu, India, Our Family weaves together excerpts from Nirvanam, a solo theatrical performance by Pritham K. Chakravarthy, and the lives of three generations of transgendered females. Aasha, Seetha and Dhana, a family bound together by ties of adoption, belong to the community of Aravanis (also known as hijras in some parts of India). The performance by Chakravarthy and the daily lives of the three family members bear witness to the tumultuous journey towards a reinvented selfhood, a journey fraught with violence, exploitation, affection, and courage. This award-winning film allows the viewer to reinterpret Nirvanam, a Sanskrit term with religious connotations, as an act of liberation and transformation—from male to female.

Post-screening discussion with the filmmakers.

K.P. Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro are professors at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

For more information about the film visit: http://ourfamily2007.wordpress.com/

Co-sponsored by the CUNY Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS).




Elizabeth Freeman, English, University of California, Davis

Elizabeth Freeman is Associate Professor of English at University of California, Davis. She began her teaching career at Sarah Lawrence College, joining the faculty of UC Davis in 2000. She specializes in American literature and gender/sexuality/queer studies, and her articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals. Her first book was entitled The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (Duke UP, 2002). A new book, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. She also edited a special double issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on the topic of “Queer Temporalities.”

Developmentalist accounts of psychological and bodily becoming plot the “growth” and “maturation” of both individual subjects and populations in ways that reduce what counts as a viable social formation or a livable life. Taking issue with the straightjacket of this way of telling time, Elizabeth Freeman instead argues for an “erotohistoriography”: to wit, a politics of unpredictable, deeply embodied pleasures that might counter the neo-liberal demand to narrate time in one direction only. This talk is part of a larger book project that seeks to offer a revised history of sexuality by centering queer pleasures and proposing the body as site of historical encounter–in and across time. Through these encounters across time, we might get a glimpse of historically specific pleasures and ways of organizing a life that exceed the current cramped politics of same-sex marriage as end game of sexual liberation.

Co-sponsored by NYU’s Department of Performance Studies; Department of English; and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis; and by the Barnard Center for Research on Women.


November 9, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 PM

41-51 East 11th Street, Room 709
between University Place and Broadway

Mangalika de Silva, Visiting Scholar, CSGS

Based on prior activism as director of the NGO “Women for Peace” and on current ethnographic research on the minoritization of women and Muslims, this talk explores genealogies of formal and informal state terror. Counterinsurgency nationalism in Sri Lanka is theorized as a key component in the colonial expansion of the global “war on terror” through the proliferation of a political mythology of the “second front.”

Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series. Bring your own lunch – we’ll provide beverages!


A Roundtable discussion with:

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, UCLA Law

Lisa Duggan, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU

Chandan Reddy, University of Washington

Karen Shimakawa, Performance Studies, NYU

This forum commemorates the 20th anniversary of the enunciation and analysis of “intersectionality” by legal theorist Kimberlé W. Crenshaw in her path-breaking essays, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” (1989) and “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” (1991). Panelists explore the ongoing analytic purchase of “intersectionality” for anti-racist social critique and legal activism and also ask how the term has been transformed as it travels across different historical and disciplinary contexts.

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw is Professor of Law at the University of California Law School. She teaches Civil Rights and other courses in critical race studies and constitutional law. Her primary scholarly interests center around race and the law, and she was a founder and has been a leader in the intellectual movement called Critical Race Theory. She was elected Professor of the Year by the 1991 and 1994 graduating classes. She now splits her time each year between UCLA and the Columbia School of Law. At the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she received her LL.M., Professor Crenshaw was a William H. Hastie Fellow. She then clerked for Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Professor Crenshaw’s publications include Critical Race Theory (edited by Crenshaw, et al., 1995) and Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (with Matsuda, et al., 1993). In 2007, Professor Crenshaw was nominated the Fulbright Chair for Latin America in Brazil. In 2008, she was nominated an Alphonse Fletcher Fellow. In the same year she joined the selective group of scholars awarded with an in-residence fellowship at the Center of Advanced Behavioral Studies at Stanford. You can find out more about Professor Crenshaw’s work through her think tank, The African American Policy Forum.

Lisa Duggan is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. She is the author of Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy and Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity, co-author with Nan Hunter of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture, and co-editor with Lauren Berlant of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest.

Karen Shimakawa is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at NYU. She is the author of National Abjection: The Asian American Body Onstage and co-editor (with Kandice Chuh) of Orientations: Mapping Studies in the Asian Diaspora. Her current project, titled Somatic Citizenship, focuses on the construction and maintenance of bodily regimes of cultural identification and her research and teaching interests include critical race theory, law and performance, and Asian American Jurisprudence.

December 1, Tuesday
4 to 6:30 PM

SCA Gallery Space
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor
Bowery @ East 5th Street

Sponsored by the American Studies Program, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU.


December 7, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 PM

41-51 East 11th Street, Room 709
between University Place and Broadway

Rebecca Colesworthy, Draper Program in Humanities and Social Thought, NYU

Rebecca Colesworthy is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Literary Cultures at NYU’s John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought. She received her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from Brown University and her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Her research interests include Anglo-American and comparative modernism, gender and sexuality studies, and literary and critical theory. Her current project, “Modernism’s Gifts,” explores the relationship between modernist ethics and poetics by juxtaposing the work of Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, and Stevie Smith with theories of the gift and exchange drawn from the fields of anthropology, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. In addition to completing articles on Jean Rhys and Jacques Lacan, she looks forward to undertaking her next project, which considers the ways in which various 20th-century writers reimagine the traditionally exceptional position of the feminine subject with respect to moral laws.

This talk proposes a connection between the “modernist turn” in Anglo-American literature and the “return” of themes of the gift hailed by anthropologist Marcel Mauss in his 1924 essay, The Gift. Building on readings of novels by Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, and Stevie Smith, Colesworthy explores the ways in which theories of the gift, exchange, and subjective and symbolic “economies” help us to reevaluate the ethical and political stakes of modernism, while also suggesting that their texts make distinctively literary – and sometimes feminist – contributions to the largely androcentric interdisciplinary corpus inspired, at least in part, by Mauss’s essay. Not only do their novels demystify and enable us to think beyond the long-term limit of structuralist and psychoanalytic theories alike – that is, the “riddle of femininity” – but they also plot the conditions and conventions propitious for gifts with the potential to disrupt the social and sexual status quo, thus conjugating the challenges of literary innovation and social transformation.

Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series. Bring your own lunch – we’ll provide beverages!