Student symposia


Spring 2018


Instructor: Amin Husain
Tuesday, 5–6:50 PM
2 Credits

This is an interdisciplinary class that will invite you to explore what “activism” and “decolonization” look like after Occupy Wall Street. Weaving in and out of Surrealism politics and poetics and Situationists cities, we collectively consider what time is it on the clock of the world, imagining what follows. What if, when we speak of activism after Occupy, we put “activism” under erasure? What if, we strike activism to liberate it from itself? Not to end activism, but to unleash the powers of affirmation and radical imagination. We revitalize real life by making it surreal. This surreal spirit is less that of Breton's European vanguardism than Suzanne Cesaire's freedom dream, informed as it is by the ongoing histories of slavery, imperialism, and debt. Such activism can defamiliarize life, asking us: how do we live? and why do we live this way? It challenges us to respond with direct action as we simultaneously acknowledge that we, ourselves, are responsible for freedom and oppression, rather than any pre­existing institution or ideology. And, what if,  as we act, we imagine a refugee camp collaged into the symbolic heart of finance capital. We imagine a self­organized commons installed at the ground zero of an empire, or an empty minimalist plaza flooded with bodies and voices and cameras, a de­occupation of New York City, and a never­ending process of experimentation, learning and undoing, resisting and building in the unexplored terrain of an historic rupture. 


Instructor: Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
Friday, 10–11:50 AM
2 Credits

This course is a collective inquiry into invisibility as a creative and political strategy. Through the study of undergrounds, marronnages, and disappearances, we will trace the way political actors across history and artists across genres have disrupted and refused representation as a reliable source of power. In an age of hypervisibility and self-disclosure through social media and increasing state surveillance, encryption, illegibility and unmarked-ness beckon. Further detours will have us encounter the invisible as it reigns in belief and speculative writings. Class time will be divided between readings, discussion and writing prompts.

Fall 2017

The Arab Apocalypse: Etel Adnan

WR 500S 08
Riggs, Sarah

In this in-depth approach to the writing and art practices of the extraordinary Etel Adnan, born in Beirut in 1925 and currently painting and writing in Paris, students will be asked to engage their lives as fully through a notebook or web platform that grapples with issues she raises of places, politics, genders, and forms.

Flip the Script

WR 500S 02
Hannaham, James                                                                          

In an age where social media, theater, performance, viral video, reality TV, and epic television coexist, sometimes uncomfortably, the meaning and significance of scripting is constantly changing. What is a script, why do we use one, when do we use it, and what working methods and artistic practices have been invented or are yet to be invented that bridge the various gaps between stylized authorial imprints and spontaneous utterances.

Small Press Publishing

WR 500S 12
Grinell, Tracy

This course will familiarize students with the history of small publishing projects, zines, magazines, and journals, and will be essential for any student looking to start their own journal, zine, or small press. 

Intro to Letterpress

WR 500S 05
Mazorra, Martin

This seminar is an introductory course to the techniques and applications of letterpress printmaking. Students composed with movable lead and wooden type. These are then printed on a partially automated Vandercook letterpress. Using handset type this class will explore the pragmatic, as well as the conceptual possibilities of printed forms that utilize the individual students authored text. It is structured so that discussions of the topic of text and image and class demonstrations on printing techniques are applied to group and individual assignments.