The participants in the CTW/ATC 2016 include students, faculty and independent researchers from approximately 12 disciplines or areas of study and 10 different cultural backgrounds. Please find their bios below:
Asma Abbas is an associate professor of politics and philosophy at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and a founding member of Hic Rosa, an art, education, and politics collective. Her project for CTW’16 is the conclusion to her manuscript-in-progress titled Another Love: A Politics of the Unrequited which examines the imperatives of love—and not hope—as an anticolonial, anti-fascist, and materialist double of human suffering. She studies the history and poetics of forms of materiality, and is committed to decolonial and transdisciplinary refigurings of subjects who, in being “problems” for dominant thought and practice, retain the possibility of politics in the face of erasure, enclosure, and settlement.
Eric Aldieri is an undergraduate Philosophy student at Villanova University. The project he will be working on at the Critical Theory Workshop is a continuation of his Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and is entitled “The Politics of Normcore and DIY Music: Identity and Authenticity within Late American Capitalism.” While interviewing Philadelphia and Brooklyn-based musicians, the project utilizes the works of Benjamin, Graeber, Berlant, and others to explore the ways in which DIY music communities and normcore fashion may subvert pervasive capitalist social organization. The project will form the foundation for his undergraduate honors thesis next spring.
Julia Alekseyeva is an author-illustrator and PhD candidate at Harvard University’s Department of Comparative Literature. Her dissertation, entitled “Kino-Eye, Kino-Bayonet: Vertov’s Legacy in the French and Japanese New Wave,” explores an alternative avant-garde film history focused on an ethics of estrangement and play. Her project for CTW 2016 is a dissertation chapter that analyzes Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin’s Dziga Vertov Group films and their misapprehension of Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov’s playful experimentation in favor of Brechtian techniques.
Reeda Alji is an undergraduate in Media Studies. Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop, “The Destructive Character and Modernity,” addresses social injustice in modern societies by analyzing Walter Benjamin’s text, The Destructive Character, and linking it to György Lukács’ text, History and Class Consciousness. The project seeks to clarify how modernity destroys the interactions between people and between themselves as well. It also seeks to clarify how modernity leads people to become the figure that knows nothing, but destruction.
Emily Bingeman is a PhD student in philosophy at Dalhousie University. She is a member of Fish-WIKS, a national Canadian research collective which explores ways to productively integrate Western and Indigenous knowledge in marine management policy. Emily’s main area of interest is the ethics and politics of epistemic practice. In particular, she is interested in identifying structural barriers to proper epistemic credit attributions in testimony reception, and in exploring strategies for addressing these barriers. While at the Critical Theory Workshop, Emily will be developing her dissertation proposal.
Kristal Bivona is a PhD student in Hispanic Language and Literatures at UCLA. She holds an M.A. in Portuguese (UCLA) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (Dartmouth College). Her CTW project is a chapter from her dissertation, “Writing for Revolution: Resistance in Argentinian and Brazilian Literature,” which focuses on the role of the artist or intellectual in the context of dictatorship and the relationship between politics and the way that literature is produced and consumed.
Rahman Bouzari studied philosophy and currently works as a journalist for Shargh Newspaper. His CTW project is concerned with the recent attention paid to the Commune, particularly Kristin Ross’s Communal Luxury (2015), from the vantage point of present struggles. It aims to identify the socio-political pitfalls in regards to the Iranian attempt at emancipation, reconsidering Peter Watkins’s ambitious undertaking to represent/re-enact the Commune.
Christopher Carlton, a writer, American, will be reading key texts in structuralist linguistics against the theory of language that passed between Benjamin and Adorno so as to find the limit of de Saussure’s assertion of the arbitrary, unmotivated nature of the sign. Poetic and communicative language will be distinguished by looking to the differing relations between expression and meaning in each. This research is at the meeting point of two broad inquiries: (1) a study of how images are formed in French and English-language poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries; and (2) a study of the reshaping of space and time, subjectively and objectively, in the modern era. At this meeting point, the study of language demands equally the study of social domination.
Melany Cruz is a Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. The project presented for the CTW/ATC is framed in terms of her Ph.D. proposal entitled “On violence in Latin America: a critical understanding of public lynching in Mexico,” which explores the political meanings of lynching as one of the less studied forms of violence in Latin America. For this, she approaches the notion of criminal violence through Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon, whose theories challenge the traditional definitions of crime and violence developed in criminology and studies of political violence.
Catharina Gabrielsson holds a PhD in architecture and is associate professor in urban theory at the School of Architecture, KTH (Stockholm). Her research combines creative academic writing, critical theory and fieldwork operations to explore the intersections between architecture and the city, bridging across aesthetics, politics and economics. Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop is the initial chapter of The Architecture of Deregulations: Politics and Postmodernism in Swedish Building 1975-1995 (with Helena Mattsson, forthcoming 2017).
Christa Graf is a violinist that has spent the past year studying early music in France and taarab music in Zanzibar. She holds a BFA in music performance from the California Institute of the Arts and a MA in philosophy from Claremont Graduate University. She has worked in the fields of linguistics (literacy & second language acquisition for refugee populations), education, and music. Her Critical Theory Workshop project is entitled, “Race, Ethnicity and Identity in Arts Programs for Refugee Populations: the performance of cultural oppression and affirmation.”
Amanda Holmes is a PhD student in Philosophy at Villanova University and is currently a visiting Doctoral Student at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her dissertation, “As I Appear to Myself: Philosophy of Imagination in Kant and Lacan,” establishes the central importance of Kantian critical philosophy for psychoanalytic theory, focusing on the role of imagination (Einbildungskraft) as central to a theory of the subject. Her Critical Theory Workshop project contributes to the finalization of her dissertation proposal.
Katherine Kurtz is a doctoral student in philosophy at Villanova University. She works at the intersection of philosophy of art, aesthetics, feminist theory, and queer theory. Her Critical Theory Workshop project, “The Monster-as-Actor, ‘Woman’ as Role,” will be a chapter in a forthcoming anthology on monsters and the monstrous. This project will contribute to her dissertation, which focuses on the ways that monstrosity invites us to reflect on social practices of reading bodies, especially “deviant” bodies.
Gabriella Lindsay is a third-year PhD student in a Joint program between the French department and the Institute of French Studies at New York University. In the Workshop, she will be working on refining her dissertation prospectus, focused on the notion of the self in twentieth-century French and Francophone autobiography.
Lakshmi Luthra is an artist and Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2009. At the Critical Theory Workshop her research will center around her ongoing performance Interior Castle. In this piece a synthesizer mimics the cadences of the artist’s voice as she question the listener, leads a sadistic guided meditation, recounts the ecstatic visions of Saint Teresa of Ávila, describes mythic mating rituals and tells a dirty joke. This work addresses themes of desire and technological mediation, in particular the power of the erotic to initiate us into subjectivity and the social order. Through the erotic we come up against others, against nature and against God. Her performance probes the violence and dysfunction of these encounters, ending with an account of suspended coitus. At the Critical Theory Workshop she will read Black Sun by Julia Kristeva and Commodified Bodies by Oliver Decker, along side Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.
Dave Mesing is a doctoral student in philosophy at Villanova University. In his project for the workshop, “Strategic Frameworks,” he will concentrate on recent texts in what could be labeled Red Spinozism, especially those by Yves Citton, Frédéric Lordon, and Chantal Jacquet. These texts will be incorporated into his dissertation project on strategy in philosophy and politics, which also has components involving Italian operaismo, Gramsci, and the Black Panthers. He is part of the editorial collective at Viewpoint Magazine; for more information about his academic work, click here.
Katherine Morton is a PhD candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the department of Sociology. Her research focuses on Indigenous issues in Canada including the residential schools project and missing and murdered Indigenous women. Her current project entitled, “Remembrance and Erasure: Ruins of Colonial Violence and Memorialization,” focuses on the meaning-making role of ruins of residential schools in contemporary Canada, with a focus on how memory, trauma and space intersect. Her work, by bridging between ruins and erasure and deliberate political acts of memorialization, will seek to tease out how grief and disappearance are performative in carving out a national sense of self for settler-colonial states.
Charles Prusik is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at Villanova University. He is working on the Frankfurt School and is writing a dissertation on the work of Theodor W. Adorno and the political-economy of neoliberalism. His project for the Critical Theory Workshop corresponds to a chapter of his dissertation, “Neoliberal Economics as Natural-History,” which draws from Adorno’s “Idea of Natural-History” as a dialectical framework for a critique of the ideological consequences of neoliberal economic discourse throughout the 20th century.
Wassim Rustom is a student of English and American Literature, currently pursuing a M.A. at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is in the early stages of developing a proposal for doctoral research. His project aims to explore the conceptual possibilities or freedoms made available by what Jacques Rancière calls the “aesthetic regime of art”—the dominant poetics in the West since the late 18th century—through a focus on the relation between contemplation and action, literary and practical discourse, knowledge and utility, art and life… in 19th- and early 20th-century Anglophone literature and criticism.
Andrea Dionne Warmack (she/her they/their/them) is completing her undergraduate degree at Hunter College where she is majoring in philosophy. Her current philosophical interests are bodies (specifically the ways bodies are raced, sexed, gendered, and classed), their relationships to power, formulations of subjectivity, and sites of resistance (with a focus on interiority). Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop, “The Body Electric,” will explore the thickness of power relations in the interplay between human interiority and the human body, and the process of subject and identity formation.
Morey Williams is a Doctoral Candidate in the Philosophy Department at Villanova University. In her project, “The Carceral,” she will compare Michel Foucault’s work on carceral technologies to practices deployed against female bodies incarcerated within the United States. This project will constitute a chapter of her dissertation, “Zones of the Flesh and the Unlived Bodies of Confined Women,” which applies the philosophies of Michel Foucault and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to the contemporary context of American state correctional facilities for women.