Sense Matters, Matters of Sense
Tavia Nyong’o
Associate Professor
Department of Performance Studies
Tisch School of the Arts
Gayatri Gopinath
Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, FAS

Description: Sense Matters seeks to build upon the critical work of the past two decades on the concept of affect. Affect theory placed questions of feeling, emotion, and sexuality at the center of disciplines that seek to interpret and intervene within the social. From the cybernetic study of feedback within complex systems, to more psychoanalytically-inflected studies of affect’s potent place in subjectivity, affect has been highly productive in bringing scholars into cross-disciplinary conversation. But “sense” as we mean to deploy it here differs from the work “affect” did and continues to do. Sense foregrounds questions of significance, resonance, and shared meaning. It avails us of philosophical debates going back to antiquity even as it looks to how contemporary neuroscience is redefining the bounds of perception. In the first year, the group looked at the following questions: the fictive historiography of Walid Raad, synaesthesia in the Classical Era, the sense of the archive in contemporary art of the Middle East, and the political life of sensation in contemporary US politics. For recent news, please visit

Global Modernisms
Kelly Sullivan
Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow
Department of Irish Studies, CAS
Lori Cole
Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow
John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program
In Humanities and Social Thought, GSAS

Description: The Global Modernisms Group at NYU provides collaborative space for scholars to engage questions including: how can modernist studies work across disciplines in order to enrich our understanding of art, culture, or history? What is the role of modernist studies as a model for academic work in an increasingly globalized scholarly community? Through works-in-progress roundtables, lecture events, museum visits, a reading group devoted to new works in the field, and collaborative workshops on topics like teaching global art history, the Global Modernisms Group provides an interdisciplinary discussion about the expansions, challenges, and opportunities of the field.

Artist Archive Project – David Wojnarowicz
Glenn Wharton
Clinical Associate Professor
Program in Museum Studies, FAS
Marvin Taylor
Director, Fales Library & Special Collections
Division of Libraries

Description: Over the course of two years, faculty, staff, and graduate students at NYU are undertaking a pilot project to develop a model for creating digital archives relating to exhibiting and conserving contemporary art. The pilot project will focus on the technical, logistical, and ethical concerns associated with the work of David Wojnarowicz. His archive in the Fales Library Downtown Collection will serve as a principal resource for the research, in conjunction with questions raised by curators at the Whitney Museum of American Art.