2019 – 2020
Writing Matters: Animating Ideas and Reaching Diverse Readerships
Stéphane Gerson, Professor, Institute of French Studies / Department of French, Faculty of Arts & Science
Melanie Bavaria, Doctoral Student, Department of History / Institute of French Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Writing is central to the academic enterprise, especially in the humanities, and yet it receives short shrift in graduate education. Seldom do departments build in writing instruction into their doctoral curricula, or even encourage students and faculty to enhance their skills. To remedy this situation, this Working Group diverges somewhat from the usual format in that it does not revolve around a specific scholarly question or a collective research project. The Working Group will begin with a round table bringing together faculty, students, writers, and editors, and then follow up with a series of eight workshops spaced out over the year, with four held each semester. The goal is to help attendees make concrete the ideas that animate their work and then communicate them to diverse readerships.
2018 – 2020
New Radical Archives
Stefanos Geroulanos, Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
Ellen Noonan, Professor; Interim Director of the Archives and Public History Program, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
Zeb Tortorici, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Arts & Science
Katherine McLeod, PhD Student, Department of History, Graduate School of Arts & Science
Sam Prendergast, PhD Student, Department of History, Graduate School of Arts & Science
2017 – 2019
Ismail Fajrie Alatas, Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Marion Katz, Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Sarah Pearce, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Faculty of Arts & Science
The Interdisciplinary Working Group on Islamic Studies seeks to mobilize, connect and coordinate the considerable scholarly resources in the study of Islam that are dispersed across multiple departments and units within NYU, and to stimulate scholarly conversation across boundaries of chronology, geography and discipline. In addition, by facilitating a meta-discussion of the current shape and objectives of our field and of the broad theoretical and conceptual trends currently emerging within it, we hope to reimagine and reinvigorate our Islamic studies curriculum (as centered in MEIS, but enriched by faculty and resources across the campus) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Artist Archives Initiative — Joan Jonas
Deena Engel, Clinical Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts & Science
Glenn Wharton, Clinical Associate Professor, Program in Museum Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
The Artist Archives Initiative was founded at New York University to promote research and disseminate knowledge about the display and care of contemporary art. The initiative responds to a growing need for art world professionals and academic researchers to work with artists in building information resources to aid future exhibition and re-activation of their work. In addition to creating artist-specific resources, our aim is to stimulate discussion about variability and authenticity in the display of contemporary art through symposia, workshops, and publications. The Working Group will create a resource containing information about the work of Joan Jonas that will benefit curators, conservators, and researchers interested in her work. We are working directly with the artist, her archive, and people who are familiar with her artistic production. Our initial plan is to launch the Joan Jonas Knowledge Base in May 2019 at the annual Artist Archives Initiative symposium at New York University.
Patricia Crain, Associate Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science
Anne DeWitt, Clinical Assistant Professor, Writing Program, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Charlotte Priddle, Librarian, Printed Books; Assistant Curator, Fales Library & Special Collections
Greg Vargo, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science; Gallatin School of Individualized Study
The Working Research Group on Print Culture seeks to provide a forum to facilitate dialogue and exchange between faculty and graduate students from a variety of disciplines, working on distinct geographic and temporal areas, who share a common commitment to treating writing as embedded in material reality and social systems. “Print culture” encompasses a diverse range of fields: book history, periodical studies, the history of reading and reception, descriptive bibliography, media studies, and the history of technology. The research collaborative will take up such topics as historical conceptions of authorship and reading; conflicts about copyright and intellectual property; questions of translation and international markets; the relationship between oral, visual and print cultures; the impact of electronic formats on reading and of digitization on scholarship; the role of different agents in the book trade, including publishers, booksellers and critics; and pedagogical issues and challenges raised by print culture methodologies. Our meetings bring together scholars from different schools and departments within NYU, providing a space for us to engage the field more broadly.
2016 – 2018
Dark Matters: Afro-pessimism, Black Feminism, Post-structuralism and the Making of the (Un)human
Manthia Diawara, Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Allen Feldman, Professor, Department of Media Culture and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
Kelli Moore, Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
Rather than the 2008 promise of a post racial America, the ensuing period signaled the growing dysfunction of the civil rights era of legislated and reparative racial recognition. This two year workshop turns to alternative etiologies of racial dereliction seeking a shift in diagnostic vocabularies consistent with the precepts of transitional justice and historical reparation that speak to the theft and ongoing denial of “civil dignity’ by the Middle Passage which inaugurated our political-economic modernity and sustains the latter in its historical and structural afterlife. Through collective readings, guest lectures, film screenings and faculty/student presentations we will interface the Afro-pessimist, Black feminist and poststructuralist-posthumanist thinking on embodiment, (de)subjectification, violence, human and inhuman development and liberal democracy. We will articulate these outlying schools of thought to engage post-civil and posthuman rights emergency zones exemplified by the violent policing of internally excommunicated and/or externally dislocated bodies traversing the concussed topologies of Ferguson-style policing, the war on terror and the xenophobic treatment of asylum seekers. Part and parcel of rethinking race after civil rights is excavating the cultural and political archaeology of slavocracy in the aforementioned internal and external emergency zones.
Robin Nagle, Clinical Professor, Liberal Studies
Rosalind Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Geography and Development Studies, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
The Discard Studies Collaborative brings together faculty and students from across NYU to consider the complex and chronically perplexing issue of waste, broadly defined. Our immediate goal is to organize an inclusive, on-going conversation about waste in its many permutations and consequences. Our longer-term goal is to foster a community of students and scholars whose work helps articulate Discard Studies as a robust interdisciplinary field of inquiry. The phrase “Discard Studies,” first coined by Robin Nagle and colleagues at NYU through development of the now widely-recognized Discard Studies blog, constitutes an increasingly important area of research within a range of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and in the fields of design and architecture. It explores the sustainability of economic processes, especially as they relate to urbanism; interconnections between people and realms defined as “nature;” and the WAYS IN which social relations of difference are codified through material AND semiotic registers of waste and disposability. Despite attention to waste within diverse fields, however, these conversations remain disparate, and there is no academic center taking stock of or giving form to this growing body of work. Given NYU’s history with discard studies and its preponderance of discard scholars, as well as the wealth of scholars and practitioners working on waste in New York City, the University is poised to take a pioneering role in shaping research on this important and timely topic.
Humanities for STEM: Using Archives to Bridge the Two Cultures
Christopher Leslie, Lecturer of Media, Science and Technology Studies, Department of Technology, Culture and Society, Tandon School of Engineering
Lindsay Anderberg, Interdisciplinary Science & Technology Librarian and Poly Archivist, Bern Dibner Library, NYU Libraries
Humanities for STEM focuses on how the study of primary sources, archival research, and associated methodologies of the humanities can be used to enhance the understanding of science, technology, engineering, and medicine. This collaborative will explore the ways in which archives and special collections can support scholarship and education in the sciences, discuss the ways in which scholars in the sciences and humanities use archival collections, and expose scholars to STEM related archives, with a particular focus on collections at NYU and the NYC area. This group of scientists, humanists, archivists, and graduate students will discuss topics relating to archival outreach and access, integration of archival research into STEM education, the role of STEM collections in scholarly research, and new approaches to bridging gaps between the sciences and humanities through the use of archives.
2015 – 2017
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, Faculty of Arts & Science
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 sensematters.org.
Kelly Sullivan, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, Department of Irish Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Lori Cole, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program In Humanities and Social Thought, Faculty of Arts & Science
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, Faculty of Arts & Science
Marvin Taylor, Director, Fales Library & Special Collections, Division of Libraries
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.
2014 – 2016
Post-1945 Research Collaborative
Andrew Needham, Associate Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
Guy Ortolano, Associate Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
Kimberly Phillips-Fein, Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
George Solt, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
This Working Research Group brings together faculty and graduate students across schools and departments to consider world historical transformations since 1945. The collaborative examines topics including the rise of global institutions and the shaping of governmentality, the reshaping of local economies and ecologies by state power and mobile capital, the rise of finance and transformations of industry, the economic and ideological shift from social democracy to neo-liberalism, the effects of decolonization and post-colonialism, newly independent nations and imperial centers, global migrations of people, disease, and commodities, and the translation of ideas and culture across national lines.
Autism: Exploring Interdisciplinary Approaches to A Positive Life-Trajectory
Christina Reuterskiold, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorder, School of Medicine
Kristie Patten Koenig, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine
The current project represents a collaborative effort between the Department of Communicative Sciences (Speech-Language Pathology, SLP) and the Department of Occupational Therapy with a focus on the development of interdisciplinary courses, student mentoring, generation of collaborative student and faculty projects involving research in the area of communication and education in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The prevalence of ASD has increased over the past two decades, rising from 2 per 10,000 in 1990 to between 1 in 50 and 1 in 88 children, according to reports from the U.S. Centers for Dis¬ease Control and Prevention. Meetings involve faculty from several disciplines across the university, who are active in research and teaching on ASD. Meetings include research presentations from participants, discussions, student presentations, guest visitis and planning of interdisciplinary initiatives in research and teaching. The two co-directors of the Research Collaborative are Dr. Christina Reuterskiold and Dr. Kristie Patten Koenig. Dr. Christina Reuterskiold is associate professor and chair in the Department of Communicative Science and Disorders. Her expertise is language and literacy disorders in children. Dr. Kristie Patten Koenig is associate professor and chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy and Principal Investigator of the ASD Nest Support Project at METRO Center. The ASD Nest Support Project supports New York City’s Department of Education ASD Nest Program, educating students with autism in their neighborhood schools with interdisciplinary supports.
2013 – 2015
Cultures of War and the Post-War
Bill Blake, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science
Patrick Deer, Associate Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science
A.B. Huber, Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
This Research Collaborative has two main objectives. The first is to define the role of scholars in the humanities in pursuing a rigorous theoretical, historical, and ethical account of modern war cultures across various disciplines. The second goal is to reflect on cultural policy outcomes that might address the profound social, economic and psychic challenges confronting contemporary citizens entering post-war societies. In the process of exploring these, the group will ponder questions of gender, technology and political economy. The group aims to contribute to the debate of cultures of war and to produce some concrete outcomes on post-war cultural policies which bridge the divides between academia, veterans, the military, activists, and creative artists in today’s challenging global climate.
New York Scapes
Thomas Augst, Acting Director of Digital Humanities; Associate Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science
Peter Wosh, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
NewYorkScapes is a research community exploring the application of concepts, tools, and resources in the digital humanities to the study of urban space. Through conversation and collaboration among scholars, archivists, artists, and activists, it seeks to facilitate the development of projects related to interpretation, curation, and communication of the documentary record of New York City, and projects engaging with the aesthetics, art, literature, design and other experiences of the city. What new opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration do digital tools afford scholars working in these areas? How might new digital tools make the art, culture and history of New York visible in new ways, to new publics? How might multidisciplinary inquiry into the city’s evolving cultural geographies foster critical engagement with institutions, media, spaces, and performances that continue to shape urban experience and humanist practices in the 21st century?
Nina Cornyetz, Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Jacques Lezra, Professor, Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, and Comparative Literature, Faculty of Arts & Science
Psychoanalysis in its earliest incarnation was practiced more by scholars of literature, philosophy, law, and other humanities’ disciplines than those in the medical fields proper. The proposed working group in “The Psychoanalytic Humanities” will seek to reinvigorate an exploration of the spirit of psychoanalytic theory in productive relation to literature, philosophy, and the arts in general, and away from any clinical or psychiatric focus on therapy. It has as its concrete goal the establishment of an undergraduate minor program in housed at either the Gallatin School or the College of Arts and Sciences Comparative Literature Department. More specifically, the group will collaborate on designing a curriculum of required core courses and an equal number of revolving elective courses. In addition, we plan to bring one top ranking scholar of psychoanalytic humanities to give a talk each semester of the two-year working group. We expect to begin offering the minor in the year immediately following the research years. If our minor program is as successful as we hope, we anticipate reconvening in the future to consider the development of a program and/or a center in the psychoanalytic humanities, along with a visiting scholar and graduate student program to participate in the teaching of courses and inter-university discourse on the intellectual project.
2012 – 2014
Contemplating Voice: New Approaches to Voice-Based Research, Pedagogy and Art
Douglas D. Cook, Assistant Professor of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi
J. Martin Daughtry, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts & Science
Brian Gill, Assistant Professor of Vocal Performance; Associate Director of Vocal Pedagogy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
The Contemplating Voice Research Collaborative is organized around the concept of the human voice and vocal production. The group’s overarching goal will be to set the conditions for the creation of new voice-centered research, pedagogy, and art. The group will take advantage of the large number of faculty and graduate students within and outside the humanities who are currently working on a wide range of issues related to the human voice. The question of wide interdisciplinarity among scholars of voice could not be more timely or acute. Recently, under the leadership of Brian Gill, members of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; the NYU Langone Medical Center, and the Faculty of Arts and Science have begun active work towards the establishment of a Global Institute of Voice Studies at NYU. One of the primary tasks of this working research group will be to continue this work, and to do so in a way that positions scholars within the humanities, arts, and social sciences as equally-vested partners in a collaborative relationship with the scientists, medical personnel, and vocal coaches who will be working on vocal habilitation and rehabilitation and empirical research.