Humanities Events at NYU | October 1 – 12, 2018

A selection of upcoming events at NYU within the humanities

Capturing the Flag presents Defending Democracy

October 1, 6:30 – 8:00  PM
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 

The Department of Undergraduate Film and Television at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, together with The Center for Media, Culture, and History at NYU College of Arts and Sciences, invite students from around the greater NYC area to attend Defending Democracy, an evening with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Capturing The Flag, a new documentary by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Anne de Mare.

Note: There is a 2 ticket limit. Reservation does not guarantee a ticket. Tickets can be picked up at the NYU Box Office starting 2 hours prior to the event. We encourage you to arrive early as this event is general admission and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Aesthetics Through the Penal Hole

October 1, 6:30-8:00 PM
CSGS, 285 Mercer Street, 4th Floor

The talk will focus on art making and aesthetic practices of incarcerated people held in solitary confinement and other types of isolation units. To make art in solitary confinement is to deliberately engage the sensory deprivation that occurs in isolation cells as a mode of assault. With solitary confinement, the carceral state attempts a totalizing control over the bodies and minds of imprisoned people, largely through structuring their sensory experiences with excruciating detail and calculated indifference to their suffering. How do such restrictive mobility, sensory control, and lack of human contact impact the aesthetic experiences and practices of prisoners in solitary confinement?

Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; Contemporary Art Research Collective; Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture; and the Prison Education Program.

The New Image in Italy, 1932-1960

Sept 6 – Dec 8 2018, Daily 
Grey Art Gallery NYU 100 Washington Square East, NYC

“NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932–1960” portrays life in Italy before, during, and after World War II through the lens of photography. While neorealism has largely been associated with literary and cinematic depictions of dire postwar economic conditions, this exhibition draws attention to the period’s many photographers. “NeoRealismo” features approximately 175 photographs—primarily vintage prints—by over 60 Italian artists. Many of the works are paired with the original format in which they appeared—illustrated magazines, photobooks, and exhibition catalogues. In addition, “NeoRealismo” includes significant books and essays that influenced the era, and references landmark films via excerpts and movie posters. Organized by Admira and curated by Enrica Viganò, the exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated publication.

Hosted The NYU Grey Art Gallery.

From Anita Hill to Christine Blasey Ford: Looking Back and Looking Forward

October 3, 12:45 – 2:00 PM
Lipton Hall, D’Agostino Hall 110 West 3rd Street

The Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network (BWLN); the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law invite you to “From Anita Hill to Christine Blasey Ford: Looking Back and Looking Forward,” a conversation between Professor Melissa Murray, co-faculty director of the BWLN, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and Professor Kim Taylor-Thompson, who was a member of Anita Hill’s legal team during the Clarence Thomas hearings.

Professors Murray and Taylor-Thompson will share their personal experiences in these confirmation proceedings and will reflect on how much has changed — or stayed the same — in the 27 years between Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford.

The event will be livestreamed, and overflow seating will be available in Vanderbilt Hall 210. The livestream information and password will be distributed on Wednesday morning to anyone who has registered to attend.

A complimentary bagged lunch will be available for students.

Spiritual Madness: Race, Psychiatry, and African American Religions

October 3, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Jurow Lecture Hall, in the NYU Silver Center, enter at 31 Washington Place

As the 19th century drew to a close, white American psychiatrists declared that mental illness among African Americans in the South had reached alarming proportions. They argued that, in a notable percentage of these cases, “religious excitement” was the key precipitating factor. This talk explores late 19th and early 20th psychiatric theories about race, religion, and the “normal mind.” It shows how the emerging specialty of psychiatry drew on works from the history of religions to make racialized claims about African Americans’ “traits of character, habit, and behavior.” This intersection between psychiatry and African American religions sheds light on how ideas about race, religion, and mental normalcy shaped African American experience in the courts and mental hospitals and the role of the racialization of religion in the history of medicine, legal history, and disability. Speaker: Judith Weisenfeld from the Department of Religion at Princeton University.

To R.S.V.P., send an email to

Presented by the NYU Religious Studies Program and co-sponsored by the Center of Religion and Media and the Dean of the College of Arts and Science.

CIT.I.ZEN.SHIP: Reflections on Rights

October 4, 2018 – January 18, 2019
Department of Photography & Imaging Galleries
721 Broadway Lobby & 8th floor

The Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in collaboration with For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative presents cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights with photographs, works on paper, writings, and video that reflect on human rights and notions of citizenship.

“To accept one’s past—one’s history,” wrote James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time, “is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.” The theme of the exhibition reminds us that our actions today will affect the future, just as the actions of courageous individuals during the Civil Rights Movement changed the world.

Conceptually and characteristically, each of the artists uses different symbolic references to visually represent the definable issues surrounding civil rights, resistance, environmental issues, immigration, race, class, gentrification, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, disability rights, prison reform, freedom of speech and more. They use documentation, process, history, and personal experience to engage the politics of this nation and pave the way for new narratives in the future.

cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights is part of the For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative, a new phase of For Freedoms programming to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections. Building off of the existing artistic infrastructure in the United States, For Freedoms has developed a network of over 300 artists and 200 institutional partners who will produce nationwide public art installations, exhibitions and local community dialogues in order to inject nuanced, artistic thinking into public discourse. Centered around the vital work of artists, For Freedoms hopes that these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.

Sciences of Empire/Post-Colonial States

October 4, 7:00 PM
La Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews (at University Place)

Robyn d’Avignon is Assistant Professor of History at NYU. She is a historian and anthropologist of West Africa, with interests in natural resource extraction, scientific research, and state formation. Her book project—Shadow Geology: The Search for Subterranean Knowledge in West Africa—explores the precolonial and colonial roots of ongoing debates over the rights of agrarian households to mine gold. Drawing on research conducted in Senegal, Guinea, and France, the project documents how colonial and post-colonial states profited from the mineral discoveries of their citizens and subjects, while simultaneously degrading African extractive practices as wasteful, primitive, and criminal.

Justin Izzo is Assistant Professor of French Studies at Brown University. He was trained in both literary studies and cultural anthropology, completing field research in Paris and Réunion Island. He is particularly interested in the history of French anthropology and its relationship to fiction; literature and film from the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Indian Ocean; and representations of race in the novel. He has recently completed his first book, titled Experiments with Empire: Anthropology and Fiction in the French Atlantic(under contract with Duke University Press).

Co-sponsored by the Institute of French Studies and the Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture

Robby Cohen – Howard Zinn’s Souther Diary: Sit-ins, Civil Rights, and Black Women’s Student Activism

October 9, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Bobst Library 70 Washington Square South, Room: 10-03

Robby Cohen will discuss his book Howard Zinn’s Southern Diary: Sit-ins, Civil Rights, and Black Women’s Student Activism (University of Georgia Press, 2018) on Tuesday, October 9 (4:30 PM) at the Tamiment Library. A reception with wine and cheese will follow the lecture. This event is sponsored by the Frederic Ewen Center.

Robert Cohen is a professor of social studies and history at NYU. His most recent books include Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s; The Essential Mario Savio: Speeches and Writings That Changed America. He is currently an inaugural fellow of the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, writing a study of the Berkeley free speech crises of the Trump era. He is also writing (with Sonia Murrow) a history of the impact of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States on historical teaching and leaning in the US.

Presented by the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives 

ARCE Lecture: Understanding Ancient Egyptian Comics

October 11, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU
15 East 84th Street New York, NY 10028

Since Egyptian hieroglyphs could first be read again in the modern era, it has been recognized that texts recorded on tomb walls include conversations, speeches, songs, and exclamations. The discovery of the tomb of Paheri at El Kab by the French expedition in 1799 was followed by the recognition by Champollion as early as 1828 that a “Song of the Threshers” might be recognized amidst the other texts accompanying the agricultural scenes, an identification that was met at first with skepticism. A series of other songs, speeches and conversations are featured in the scenes illustrating the seasons of Planting and Harvest on the west wall of Paheri’s burial chamber, and form a revival in the earliest New Kingdom of an important aspect of Old and Middle Kingdom tomb decoration. With their relatively straightforward sequences of tilling, sowing, harvesting, and processing, agricultural scenes have often productively been used in analyses of sequence in Egyptian visual narrative, and the recognition that speech captions function together with these scenes has led comics scholars (e.g. Scott McCloud) and some Egyptologists (Babcock, Angenot) to claim that Egyptian visual narratives may be seen as some of the earliest precursors to modern comics. A fresh look at some of the scenes and texts in Paheri’s tomb attempts to specifically address the aptness of the comparison between Egyptian visual strategies and comics, within the broader project of a re- examination of Egyptian narrative art at the dawn of the New Kingdom.

Sponsored by the Institute for the Student of the Ancient World.

Sexual Politics in a Transnational Frame 

October 11, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Center for the Student of Gender and Sexuality
285 Mercer Street, 4th Floor

Taxonomies of identity and histories of activism in the U.S and Europe cannot be seamlessly mapped onto other societies. To think of sexual politics, broadly, is to suspend the rubrics of feminist, LGBT, and queer activism, in our attempt to understand how gender and sexuality get politicized both as categories of identity, and as categories of analysis in a particular society. This panel is an invitation to think comparatively about sexual subcultures across South Asia and the Middle East (and specifically in India, Turkey, Israel/Palestine, and Lebanon), which we will examine in their opposition to formal authority, their coalitional politics, their redefinition of social stigmas in political terms, and their re-orientation of the individual towards the social and the collective.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute; Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies; and South Asia @NYU

Epidermal Forensics: Coloring Law, War, Borders, and the Police

October 12,  4:00 – 8:00 PM
239 Greene Street, Floor 8

Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance in Kingston Jamaica: Screening of Four Days in May 
Prof. Deborah Thomas, Anthropology and Experimental Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania.
Keynote: Film Screening and Talk

Fugitive Aesthesis: Sojourning as Anti-Fascist Action
Prof. Erin Gray, NYU-Steinhardt Dean’s Fellow, Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU

El Muro | The Wall (2017)
Ramon Resendiz, PhD candidate, Media, Culture and Communication, NYU
Prof. Rosalya Resendiz, Criminal Justice Dept., University of Texas Rio Grande
Screening and Talk

The Production of Intra/-national War, Ungrievable Death and Sovereignty in Trinidad and Tobago
Leniquenca Annah Welcome, ABD, Anthropology Department, University of Pennsylvania

Image from NYU’ SKirball via Events Page.