Leah M. Ashe: “I have followed two thematic lines of work in my postdoctoral research: on one hand, a consideration of the concretized relationships among knowledge, violence, and subjectivity in the contemporary world, particularly in the domain of medicine; and, on the other, the practices of technological surveillance that are everywhere increasingly present but also everywhere culturally and socially specific. Disciplinarily, I have drawn on work in science studies (STS, feminist philosophy of science), medical anthropology (especially auto/ethnographies of the doctor/patient or medicine/patient encounter), and contemporary philosophy (especially non-dominant ethical stances such as Dussel’s ethics of liberation, the Levinasian ethics of the face, and the Illichian ethics of encounter). Methodologically, I have labored to combine anthropology’s traditions of auto/ethnography with commitments in contemporary philosophy to epistemic justice and theory grounded in praxis. In September, I begin a major new project (2020-2023) as an MSCA-IF fellow hosted by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya: “FIOLENCE: Opening a new research space at the Food/Violence intersection,” in which (in addition to its thematic development), I aim to create an original fusion of methods from (anthropology’s) autoethnographic inquiry with (philosophy’s) radical, decolonial, and feminist critique. I will use this to study my own disabling at the hands of medicine, a nine-month descent that began with medicine’s expert diagnosis of my skinny woman’s body as “anorexic.” All of “this” content – theme, discipline, and method – shares one trait: it is intently critical (and tending radical). That’s why I’m excited about this Workshop: it will open up new possibilities for reading, reflection, writing, and (good!) conversations with all of you about texts, theories, and stances that I have not (until now) entered formally or deeply. I’m a big believer in “the ongoing conversation,” and I welcome all contacts and “conversations,” now or later. You can find me an Academia, LinkedIn, and at email@example.com.
Mina Baginova is a researcher at FATIGUE (Horizon 2020) research project under the umbrella of University College London, and a PhD candidate at Charles University Prague. With the background in social anthropology and social movements research, her work focuses on contemporary feminist movements in East Central Europe, ethnography of social movements, and transnational networks of feminist activist cultures. Her previous work includes research in Latin America, Turkey, and Greece.
Ivanna Berríos is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania completing a Bachelors in Comparative Literature. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, their research is focused on bringing a Marxist critique of post dictatorial human rights discourse to bear on the Peruvian Civil War and the case of Sendero Luminoso. In particular, Ivanna is interested in the temporal paradigms and aesthetic tropes that human rights discourse mobilizes to define ‘periods’ of violence, remain compatible with neoliberal capitalism and elide the centrality of class struggle. At the CTW, Ivanna hopes to explore how injunctions against insurrectionary violence motivate art and aesthetics in Peru’s state-sanctioned memory museums and how artistic interventions from radical artists across the Andes bring labor, territory, and class struggle redefine violence.
William (Billy) Borstell was born and raised in the city of New Orleans. He attended Dillard University there. After he completed a MA in Sociology from the New School for Social Research. In 2019, he attended the Democracy and Diversity Institute held by the Trans-regional Institute for Democratic Studies in Wroclaw. Currently he is attending the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is pursuing a PhD in Criminology, Law, and Society along with a multi-disciplinary concentration in Black Studies. His major academic focus is on the United States’ War on Drugs. Specifically with the way it structures the medicalization of addiction and its treatment.
Scott Branson is a queer/trans anarchist, writer, translator, community organizer, and teacher, based in western North Carolina. Scott’s work focuses on radical queer movements, black feminism, prison abolition/transformative justice, anarchism, and science fiction. Scott received a PhD in comparative literature from Emory University, analyzing the institutionalization of literature and the incorporation/neutralizing of queer style. Recently, Scott taught a Mellon/JEC-funded course at Davidson College, “Queering Transformative Justice,” as part of a schoolwide effort to implement different approaches to harm on campus. Scott has been a major organizer of the last two UNC Asheville Queer Studies Conferences: “Towards a Queer/Trans Prison Abolition Movement” and “Queer (In)Visibilities and the Perils of Conclusion.” Scott is preparing an edited volume of essays inspired by these conferences to be published with PM Press in Fall 2021. Scott is currently completing a translation for AK Press of the recent book by longtime French prison abolitionist, Jacques Lesage de la Haye, Prison Abolition. A translation of Guy Hocquenghem’s second book dealing with the aftermath of May ’68 and gay liberation is due out next year from Duke University Press. For CTW, Scott is developing a new book project stemming from the critical introduction they wrote to this translation, dealing with the institutionalization of queerness.
Arthur Ivan Bravo is an educator and writer/journalist based in New York City. His academic background consists of undergraduate studies in Studio Art, Art History, and the Humanities at San Jose State University and California State Northridge, an MA in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research, an MS in Education from Long Island University, and Americorps and New York City Teaching Fellowships, the latter of which is near completion. During his studies in the social sciences, Arthur’s former arts background led him to develop research interests in revisiting outdated concepts revolving around the traditional discourse of aesthetics – such as beauty, judgment, and taste – in light of developments in and criticism of art from the late 19th century onwards, as well as the writings of Robert C. Solomon, Albert O. Hirschman, Norbert Elias, Johan Huizinga, and C. Wright Mills, among others. For the last nine years, Arthur’s writing and journalism has covered pop culture, but has particularly focused on contemporary art criticism.
Thomas Buchanan is an MA student in the department of English at Arizona State University. His research interest lies at the intersections of composition studies and critical theory. In particular, he is interested in feminism, Marxism, and critical Black studies as they have been / are being imported into the teaching of writing. His work at the CTW/ATC centers upon the political documents of the New Associationists Movement (Osaka 2000-2003). The documents are read through Massimilliano Tomba’s and Eduoard Glissant’s historical and theoretical work in order to understand the anti-capitalist, internationalist possibilities put forth by the Movement.
Cibele Burke is a Ph.D. student in Musicology at Cornell University. She works at the intersection of ethnomusicology, musicology, and performance studies, exploring questions of culture through the metaphors of text, language, and music. Her research interests center on the transnational circulation of Afro-diasporic sounds in the Americas and the position of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music within each culture’s racial, social, and post-colonial complexities. At the 2020 Critical Theory Workshop, she will investigate the significance of Marxist thought in shaping interpretations of culture and aesthetics in Cuba. By focusing in the work of prominent figures like Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969), Argeliers León (1918-1991), and Victoria Elí (b. 1945), she will explore how Cuban (ethno)musicologists have adapted specific strands of Marxist theories within the mercurial political history of Cuba since 1959. Burke demonstrates how these intellectuals contributed to the establishment and naturalization of a canonical repertory representative of Cubanidad, which primarily acknowledges the influences of African and Spanish heritage to the detriment of indigenous cultures.
Isabel Ruiz Cano is an undergraduate student at Smith College working on her B.A. in Art History with a concentration in Museum Studies. Her academic interests lay in the social and political aesthetics of the Americas. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, during the CTW she will be completing research for her undergraduate capstone, focusing on visual analysis of the contemporary Mexican print collective Escuela de Cultura Popular Mártires del 68. This research engages with the legacy of ’68 thought, decoloniality, theories of collectivism, and radical ecology.
Esteban Céspedes is a research associate at the Valparaíso Complex Systems Institute and at Valparaíso University, Chile. During the last years, his work has been focused on philosophical issues regarding the notions of causality, emergence, open systems, representation and context.
Noella Chye is a philosophy MA student at the University of Chicago working on developing dialogues between philosophical and critical race perspectives on perception —especially of the body — and the role that perception plays in ontologies of self vs world. At CTW, she hopes to develop a working paper on the idea of a Kleinian ‘paranoid stance’ towards perception in transcendental idealist thought (focusing on Kant and Schopenhauer), and positioning critical-race-theoretical perspectives against this. She is also working on a number of projects on how poetry — especially contemporary poetry in translation — can challenge and inform orthodox, Western philosophies of language.
Ian Davies (he/they) is a student at Bucks County Community College, majoring in English, and planning to pursue his B.A. in the same field. His academic interests lay in exploring the intersections of Marxist and poststructuralist thought, especially as through varying epistemological and ontological theorizations of the body, 18th and 19th century American literature, gender and queer theory, and critical cultural and media studies. While at the CTW this summer, he plans on engaging in a writing project which will critically examine the proliferation and significance of the phenomenon of “copaganda,” and the relationships and roles of the nexuses of meaning-making and power within which such media is proliferated, and through which such media is read.
Mohamad Dib (1994, LB) is an independent writer and cultural practitioner based in Amsterdam. His research interests include psychoanalysis, critical theory, and media studies. His project for CTW will interpret the ongoing Lebanese uprising through a study of the notion of Iskat (إسقاط). Mohamad holds an MA in Critical Studies from the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam and a dual degree in Architecture and Art History from the American University of Beirut.
Melaine Ferdinand-King is a doctoral student in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University. As a Mellon Graduate Fellow, she is currently completing her certificate in Collaborative Humanities at the Cogut Institute. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, where she concentrated in Women’s Studies and African Diaspora & the World. Her research interests include political theory and action, Black feminisms, and visual and performance art. She is currently exploring the role of cultural production in creating new political visions and histories for marginalized groups and the impact race, gender, and sexual identity have on the operation of power and resistance. As a participant in the CTW, Melaine will be working on a project proposal examining Black female subjectivity, sites of radicalization, and decolonial aesthetics.
Constanza Filloy is a Ph.D. student of Philosophy at the University of Córdoba, Argentina. Her licentiate thesis focused on the concept of practice in Louis Althusser and it explored the contributions of the principle of the primacy of practice to critical theory. At the CTW / ATC, she intends to develop an analysis of speculative materialism from an Althusserian perspective. More specifically, she will focus on the field of debates around the concept of materialism emphasizing the role of class struggle in the ideologies that rule the levels of the social whole.
Nilay Gençer is currently studying for an M.S. degree in Political Science and International Relations at Middle East Technical University. She is interested in various subjects: Ancient Greek Political Thought, humanitarian interventions, Responsibility to Protect, Essex School of discourse analysis, and populism. At the CTW, she will focus on the new populist shift in Turkey through the inspiration of Laclau’s On Populist Reason. She will investigate the possibility of a transformation from antagonisms to agonistic pluralism drawing both from Schmitt and Mouffe.
Danielle Hanzalik is a Ph.D student in French and Francophone Studies at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She holds a B.A. in French and English from the University of California, Berkeley and has spent years in France, studying in Lyon and working in Paris and Toulon. Her research interests include contemporary questions of identity in France, specifically how the educational system and laïcité inform this identity; contemporary film, literature, and street art; and questions of memory. She is also interested in how technology, globalization, and social media influence French “identity.” The research project she will be working on during the CTW interrogates the influence that graffiti and street art in French cities has on conceptions of identity, asking questions about if and how these often-ignored art forms allow new voices and ideas to come to the fore. She will also investigate how different forms of street art interact with traditional French sites of identity (i.e. sites of national memory) and how they may perpetuate or explore ideas rooted in Marxist and postcolonial theory.
Aubrial Harrington is a PhD student in philosophy at Arizona State University. She got her BA in politics, philosophy, and law with minors in economics and classical studies, which has pushed her in the direction of trying to look at issues from a complex perspective of social inquiry. Her emphasis is on political philosophy and philosophy of economic thought. She is particularly interested in political and social discourse and how discourses can turn predatory against certain groups of people. Currently, she is working on building an understanding of critical theory in order to better grasp critique and its relationship to political and social discourse.
Lorenz Hegel is a Ph.D. student in the combined program of Film & Media and German Studies at Yale. His dissertation project attempts to conceptualize the idea of militant cinema as it emerged across the world in the legacy of the Soviet avant-garde and, partly, Brechtian theatre. The guiding thread will be militant cinema’s disruption of major paradigms of Western art and politics, and its transformation of cinema into a practice of collective aesthetic liberation. During this year’s CTW, under the working title “Militant Art: Refusal and Affirmation,” he will think about the seeming tension between revolutionary cinema in the service of an accomplished revolution (as in the Soviet Union or Cuba) in contrast to militant cinema as part of concrete struggles against various forms of oppression and hegemonic culture (as in the case of third cinema, Black cinema, or anti- and decolonial cinemas at large).
Christopher Hongach is a MA student in the Philosophy program at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. He received his BA in Psychology, with a minor in English, from Hunter College. Since the summer of 2019, he has been frequenting the multidisciplinary mini course offerings at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, courses which have included introductions to German Idealism, critical theory, neoliberalism, biopolitics, postmodernism, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and prison abolitionism. This summer, he will be attending Fordham University’s Pre-Law Institute, in which he will be studying a general overview of legal studies, prior to his application to law school. He is currently enrolled in undergraduate courses in political science this summer and is considering a MA in Political Science prior to law school. In addition to the topics mentioned above, he is interested in surveillance studies, legal hermeneutics, phenomenology, the triangulation of culture, ideology, and identity, rhizomatic learning, and critical psychology. He has been working on two literary pursuits: a Bildungsroman that “centers” on the dynamics between presence and absence and domesticity and un-domesticity through the aporias of collective and individual identities; and a postmodernist text on the transmissivity of textuality on culture and agency.
Danish Iqbal: “I am currently working as Assistant Professor, Department of English at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. I teach courses on Fiction, Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. My research interests lie in the questions of ‘representation’, ‘difference’ and secularism in a postcolonial democratic state like India. I am interested in exploring how the religious minority discourse (Muslim) and the abiding principle of secularism interact in a liberal democracy. It presents the challenge of unpacking the dynamism that unfolds intra-community inflecting the ‘social’ and the ‘political’ as well as the postcolonial state’s attempt at insulating its secular credentials from religious ‘perversions'(?). The emergence of critical scholarship on secularism from varied quarters of anthropology (Asad, Mahmood etc), political theory (Conolly) and the complex interactions with modernity (Partha Chatterjee, Sudipta Kaviraj etc) provide us with new perspectives on the seemingly intractable issues. At the CTW, I will explore the conceptual terrain of citizenship and secularism amid the ongoing debate regarding the proposed reformulation of citizenship on the religious grounds. I will investigate the established understanding of citizenship and its unqualified premises in a democracy while faced with a populist assertion of history and democratically mandated understanding of ’majority’ and ‘minority’. This exercise will be carried out while firmly focused on the question of secularism and its popular proclamations.”
Aitor Jimenez is an academic, lawyer, and activist. He is a visiting research scholar from Auckland University at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Aitor Jimenez is currently organising several courses on digital capitalism among other things. His current research looks at digital capitalism’s regulatory framework. His work is focused on the question of how we can communalise/socialise/nationalise the digital commons.
Anna Khimasia is an independent curator, writer and educator currently living in Los Angeles. Her current exhibition Live in Palestine will open in Montreal in the fall. Anna received her Ph.D. from the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University in Canada (2015), where she was also an adjunct in the art history department. Her current research and book project elaborate on performance in public spaces, through an engagement with the concept of trespassing —of being places one does not supposedly belong. By accentuating the politics of not belonging, she considers how these performances help us continually rethink and renegotiate political subjectivity.
Chandler Louden is a researcher at the University of Maryland: Baltimore County. His research is focused around planned cities, political ontology and subjectivity, modernity, urban design, and memory studies. The project he is currently working on for the Critical theory workshop is a historiographical study of the philosophical idea of hauntology. The goal of this project is to understand how the concept of hauntology has changed since its inception by Derrida in the 1990s Post-Soviet world. His other research project studies the planned city of Columbia, Maryland. That research examines the current challenges facing planned communities, how understandings of place do and don’t shift over time, and how stakeholders negotiate conflicting beliefs about place, contrasting the views between officials, the public and developers. Both works explore connections between the past and the present.
Jenn MacLure is an Assistant Professor of English at Kent State University, specializing in Victorian literature. Her research is located at the intersection of the (meaning of the) body, the (mythos of the) capitalism, and the cultural work of affect. She is currently completing a book project entitled “The Feeling of Letting Die: Economics and Affect in the Victorian Novel,” which explores the affective dimension of living under a necroeconomic capitalism that demands letting your fellows die in the name of market freedom. Her CTW project represents a new extension of this research into the realm of imperialism and anticolonial thought. This project focuses on Olive Schreiner’s Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland, set at the end of the nineteenth century during the for-profit imperial conquest of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by the British South Africa Company. This project uses Schreiner’s novella as a case study to examine (1) how people come to feel as real the premises and assumptions of necropolitics, and (2) how these necropolitical feelings conscript them into the work of imperialism. This is a new line of research for me and I am eager to learn from my colleagues in the Critical Theory Workshop.
Tahmina Mariyam is an Assistant Professor of English at International Islamic University Chittagong. Her research interests include fictional representations, gender, religion, decoloniality, and theories from the Global South. Her project for Critical Theory Workshop intends to demonstrate the pairing of Marxism and Islam in relation to the doctrine of labor.
Jay Miller is an incoming classics M.A. student at the University of Kansas. She is interested in examining the relationship between revolt, labor, and class in oppressive systems from antiquity through a critical theorist framework. Her current research centers around the reception of the Homeric Epic in the Frankfurt school, the uptake of Marxism in francophone structuralist traditions, and the transhistorocity of psychoanalytic theories of desire observable through classical texts. She holds a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in Philosophy and Classical studies. At the CTW she will investigate the epistemic consequences of alienation under capitalism through the works of Louis Althusser and Gilles Deleuze.
Dragana Modrić is a PhD student at Postgraduate doctoral studies in Humanities at the University of Split. The topics of her research interest are socially engaged art practices, with a special focus on the ¢political¢ in art. As a curator, she has been involved in several projects which focus on socialist labour history, women labour history and postsocialist industrial heritage. At the CTW she will be working on the theoretical part of her PhD research. The starting point of her analysis are the explanations of G. Rockhill’s understanding of art’s political (social) effectiveness, the ‘politicity of art’, and J. Rancière’s notion of ‘political’. The objective of the research is to examine the viability of these concepts in the artistic projects dealing with the industrial heritage of socialism in post-socialist Yugoslav context.
Ahsan Moghul is a writer and filmmaker in Toronto, Canada. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and started his MA in Communication & Culture at York University. Ahsan’s research interests include critical theory, literature, political economy, and the Middle East. Some of his previous jobs include serving as a union steward at a grocery store, working as an editorial assistant at Iran Namag: A Quarterly in Iranian Studies, and serving as an MA Research Associate at the Infoscape Research Lab. His most recent film project was ‘The Politics of Preemption’, where he worked as a visual researcher and film-editor. During the Critical Theory Workshop he would like to work his documentary thesis which explores neoliberal subjectivity in Dubai.
Larissa Nez is of the Mud People Clan, born for the Mountain Cove People Can, her maternal grandfather is Red Running into the Water People Clan, and my paternal grandfather is Big Water People Clan. This is what makes her a Diné woman. Larissa is an MA student in Public Humanities at Brown University and an MPH student in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Program (COPHP) at the University of Washington. Her research interests include Native contemporary art, cultural resilience and heritage, repatriation, public health, traditional [ecological] knowledge, and [tribal] critical race theory. Her project for the Critical Theory Workshop will focus on Native American [Indigenous] art markets in the Southwestern U.S., with special attention given to critiquing white-feminism/saviorism/supremacy, the gendered and racialized exploitation of labor, and the appropriation of Indigenous cultures throughout the Southwest, in order to deconstruct the politics of representation and identity through an Indigenous, decolonial, and materialist feminist lens.
Trang T. T. Nguyen is a child psychotherapist and independent researcher focusing on traumatic stress in children, children of incarcerated parents, critical trauma study, and critical mental health. She is also a part-time lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Through the combination of clinical practice, research, and teaching, She hopes to develop countermeasures to the neoliberal cooptation of the mental health field. During her time at the CTW, Trang will continue developing an article on a materialist critique of self-care within the mental health industrial complex. Her long-term project is to theorise the political function of psychotherapy in our contemporary conjuncture, including problematising how forms of Western therapy may be exported to Eastern and Global South countries. Trang received her MA in Counseling from Northwestern University. She grew up in Vietnam and completed her undergraduate studies in Economics and Law in Singapore.
Alix Lindsey Olson is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University (Oxford College). She holds a PhD in Political Science and a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alix has published in a variety of journals including The Journal for a New Political Science, Contemporary Political Theory, and Wagadu- and in Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn’s Legacies and the Future of Activism. Dr. Olson’s book manuscript The Promise(s) of Resilience: Governance and Resistance in Complex Times offers a critical examination of the rise and circulation of the concept of “resilience” within 21stCentury political life and the ways it is fundamentally re-ordering peoples’ understanding of themselves, the world, and possibilities of action. Prior to Olson’s academic life, she toured internationally for over a decade as a spoken word artist, regularly appearing in media outlets like HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Air America (with Rachel Maddow), NPR, and WXPN. Olson has published widely within popular media including cover stories in Ms. and Curve Magazines, co-authoring Burning Down The House (Soft Skull Press, 2002), and editing the first U.S. all-women’s spoken word anthology Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007) which bell hooks calls an anthology “to resurrect you.”
Zvezdana Ostojic is a PhD candidate in French Literature at the Johns Hopkins University. She received her BA in French Language and Literature at the University of Belgrade and her MA in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, where she specialized in translating to and from English, French, and Italian. In her dissertation provisionally entitled “Fatal Encounters: Crime Fiction Codes and Intertextual Confrontations in Contemporary French Literature”, she examines the intertextual dialogue between contemporary French novels and several great classics of modern literature. These contemporary novels borrow crime fiction codes and structures to stage the rewriting, continuation, or remakes of the canonical texts, or to evoke the supposedly tutelary literary figures who penned them. She is also interested in Oulipian texts and writing methods and in the translation of constrained literature.
Alex Paparella is an adjunct professor in the Philadelphia area with a MA degree in Philosophy. His research has focused on questions of authenticity and self-knowledge related to social-political challenges. At the CTW, he will seek to emulate the analytical treatment critical theorists levied upon mainstream religions. He hopes by applying the same analysis to neopagan and “spiritualist” movements he can investigate whether these novel modes can overcome the structural flaws, like those raised by feminist scholars, which are present in more common practices. This work seeks to offer a third, more pluralistic, path beyond those who claim either atheism or reform is the right path towards collective liberation.
William Pate (he/him) is a writer in Austin, Texas, USA. He’s published writing and various other projects online at inadequate.net since 1998. Professionally, he works with the Texas Freedom Network (tfn.org) on fighting the religious right in Texas and is the marketing department for a national legal technology managed service provider. On the side, he edits and publishes San Antonio Review, a literary, arts and ideas journal (sa-review.org). He graduated summa cum laude in 2006 from St. Edward’s University in Austin with a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in Political Science and has conducted graduate work in Composition and Rhetoric and Mental Health Counseling. His previous work has included an examination of neoliberalism and student debt in the Socialist Economist. William will use the CTC/ATW workshop to continue learning and integrate the knowledge and experiences gained in developing new forms and methods of social change and resistance organizationally and via information sharing.
Eli Portella is a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Oregon. Her dissertation, “Universal History as Global Critique: From German Critical Theory to the Anti-Colonial Tradition,” draws together resources from Marxism as a global tradition to argue for the revival of materialist philosophy of history as a critique of capitalist imperialism and to critically examine the existing terrain of historically-situated critique in contemporary political theory, decolonial and postcolonial thought, and ‘third generation’ critical theory. More broadly, her research interests also concern the critique of ideology, Marxist and materialist feminism, and critical theory more generally. In 2017, she was a Tinker Field Research Grantee, where she was funded to conduct archival research in Havana, Cuba on internationalismo, research which is the basis for her second book-length project. From January 2019 to March 2020, she served as the Editorial Assistant and Social Media Editor for Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Her work appears in Philosophy Today, Rethinking Marxism, Journal of the Philosophy of History, and Chiasma.
Rebecca van der Post is a concert violinist who has long specialized in the development and performance of contemporary solo and chamber music, appearing internationally with artists such as Thomas Adès, Oliver Knussen and Siegfried Palm. She also holds an MA in philosophy from Ryerson University where she wrote her thesis on Marx’s early account of subjectivity and its influence on the critical aesthetics of Marcuse. Now pursuing her PhD in interdisciplinary humanities at Concordia University in Montreal, under the primary supervision of Dr Matthias Fritsch, her doctoral project is investigating questions that arise from immersive sensory and aesthetic experience. Drawing from her life in performance, her research focuses in particular on the dynamics of subject/object relations and the distribution of agency in order to explore the political, social and environmental significance of modal shifts in our state of being that are catalysed by the creative working process.
Gustavo Quintero is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cogut Institute at Brown University. He received his Ph.D. in Romance Studies from Cornell University. His research examines the cultural legacies of revolutionary processes in the Caribbean, Colombia, and Mexico. In his first monograph, he studies how literature and visual culture in Latin America have been a critical tool for insurrectionary movements to delineate possible futures of transnational solidarity and collective action. He argues that the formation of a collective subject depends on the shared perspective of radical futures that profoundly modify the existing tensions of migration and settlement in Latin America. In the CTW/ATC 2020, he will write a book proposal about his first monograph.
Eden Reff-Presco is a Doctor of Liberal Studies Candidate at Georgetown University with an interest in researching race, identity structures, and agency in visual art. Her dissertation examines artistic narratives in Black art of the African Diaspora with specificity on resistance, oppression, and the projection of whiteness onto Black artists in art criticism and curation. Eden is a writer, educator, and artist. She holds an MA in Art Education from New York University and a BFA in visual art at Howard University. Eden has a twenty year career in art education with a specialization in art history, ceramics, sculpture, and visual culture.
Jacob G. Ring recently graduated from the University of New Mexico. He obtained multiple degrees in Philosophy, English Literature, and Psychology with a minor in Economics and a designation in Interdisciplinary Studies. He is interested in the intersection between post-Kantian German Idealism and Psychoanalytic theory in relation to twentieth-century materialisms; continental philosophy of language; postmetaphysical traditions; and feminist, postcolonial, and queer theories. His philosophy honors thesis under Adrian Johnston investigates the ontological foundations of language and his English honors thesis considers American Marxian poetics. His project for the CTW/ATC is titled “A Materialist Geschichte: Benjamin’s Hegelian-Marxian Conception of Temporality and Modality.”
Jamie Ritzo is a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Iowa, where she is also earning a graduate certificate in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. Her areas of research interest include social and political philosophy and feminist ethics. Her dissertation analyzes gendered social expectations of ‘niceness’ and its disempowering effects. During the Critical Theory Workshop, she will focus on developing a chapter of the dissertation that draws on a Marxist, anti-racist, feminist analysis of race and class. This chapter will examine the parallels between coerced niceness and oppression and argue that, ultimately, niceness works to perpetuate inequality within a capitalist, racist, patriarchal society.
Shaunna Rodrigues is a PhD Candidate in Intellectual History and Political Theory at Columbia University with research interests in theories of empire and imperialism, religion and pluralism, Islam and constitutionalism, epistemic injustice and caste violence, and South Asian intellectual history. Her Ph.D. dissertation studies Islamic justifications of constitutionalism in India to understand and critique how a right to justification for minority imaginaries of the political is constructed, defended, attacked and reforged in deeply diverse polities. Her current research engages with the political thought and praxis of Abul Kalam Azad and Bhim Rao Ambedkar as they challenged imperial political frameworks, critiqued the inherently unstable and limiting nationalism of 20th century India, and employed global shifts in Islam and liberalism to conceptualize radical democracy and politically mobilize counter or insurgent universalisms to the world constituting forces of modern imperialism. She also holds a double Masters in Political Studies from JNU, New Delhi and in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies from Columbia University, New York.
Melissa E. Sanchez is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Core Faculty of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. She has recently begun writing a book that argues for the ethical and political value of assuming—both accepting and presuming—guilt. Scholars working in race, gender, and sexuality studies have embraced pride, shame, rage, irony, and earnestness as theoretically and politically productive affects; guilt, by contrast, is more usually attributed to others rather assumed by the self. Sanchez asks how our scholarly projects and political investments might look different if we assumed guilt—in the sense of both culpability and contrition—not as a cynical dismissal of intellectual consistency or social justice, but as a consciousness of how easily and often we fall short of these goals. To this end, this book will examine philosophical, psychoanalytic, feminist, queer, and trans writing that speaks from an assumption of failure, complicity, and compromise rather than one of moral authority.
Dylan Shaul is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His research interests include the history of philosophy from Kant and German Idealism (especially Hegel) to 19th and 20th century European philosophy—phenomenology, existentialism, psychoanalysis, and critical theory. His project this summer will investigate Hegel’s concept of reconciliation, and its critical reception by Marx and Adorno. He previously earned an MA in Philosophy at The New School for Social Research and MSc in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford, with theses on Derrida.
Naomi Simmons-Thorne is a philosopher, researcher, social theorist, and preservice teacher. She is a May 2020 graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she completed dual Bachelor degrees in the fields of philosophy and sociology. In August, Naomi will resume her graduate studies at Carolina working towards a Masters in Secondary Education and Graduate Certificates in Qualitative Research and Women and Gender Studies. Naomi’s philosophical interests include Africana, feminist, continental, and critical theory traditions of philosophy. Naomi identifies as a transdisciplinary scholar who draws upon methods and modes of inquiry spanning across the humanities and social sciences. She is a 2019-2020 fellow at the Research Institute For Scholars of Equity, a research training institute for education researchers. Naomi’s academic specialization is in the philosophy and sociology of education. She builds on methods developed in neo-Marxism, semiotics, critical social theory, cultural studies, and postmodernism for generating radical critiques and visions for U.S. schooling. During the Critical Theory Workshop, Naomi will be working to complete a paper entitled “To Mould People into a Common Intellectual Pattern”: Power/Knowledge and the Curriculum Culture Wars, a Foucauldian analysis that links the history of conservative-progressive struggles over U.S. school curriculum to questions of power and cultural hegemony.
Jackson B. Smith is a PhD candidate in the department of French and Italian at Princeton University. He earned a B.A. from Bard College and a master’s degree from the Université Paris 8. His research primarily considers the relationship between time, narrative and memory in 20th- and 21st-century French cinematic, literary and theoretical creation. His dissertation will explore the relationship between ideology and narrative form in representations of the Algerian War of Independence. During the CTW, he plans to advance and refine the dissertation’s methodological frame, which draws from and synthesizes the perspectives of different theoretical strands that inform the relationship between ideology and the representation of memory and time. This hybrid lens looks to consider how marxian analyses of structural social domination (Althusser, Balibar, Postone) can be informed or transformed by combining them with analyses of subjective processes of memory and temporalization (Derrida, Ricœur). A particular emphasis will be placed on how these narratives of memory distinguish themselves from traditional historical narrative (looking notably to Walter Benjamin, Hayden White) and how this distinction upsets rooted ideological tendencies, opening up possibilities for identifying the mechanisms of imperialist social domination.
Alec Wood is a PhD student in musicology at Yale University. He holds a B.A. in French and Music from Grinnell College. Alec is interested in rhythm as a cross-disciplinary analytical category, particularly at the intersection of aesthetics, politics, sound studies, and the philosophy of time. His current research explores the emergence of a “rhythmic episteme” in late imperial Russia and its continuation in revolutionary culture and the total(itarian) artwork of the Stalinist state. This summer at the CTW, he plans to explore not only how rhythm can serve as an historiographical method, but also generate emancipatory aesthetico-political and temporal paradigms.
Alexis Zanghi is a writer based in Minneapolis. Her reporting and criticism appears or is forthcoming in Mn Artists, InReview, Full Stop, the Collagist, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Point, the Millions, Guernica Daily, CityLab, Jacobin, the Atlantic, and the Believer. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships by the Wassaic Project, Fulbright, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she earned an MFA in fiction. She is currently doing a PhD in the department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the U of M. www.alexiszanghi.com
Chenrui Zhao is a Ph.D. student in English at Binghamton University with a theoretical focus on Decolonial Feminism and Neoliberal Racialization. Her research traces the racializing technologies and their uses in the formation of the racial others in the twenty-first century United States and China. Working with women of color and indigenous philosophers, her methodologies of critique centers women and queer of color feminism and interrogates the circulation and marketization of racializing logic on the transnational level through the lenses of (Neo)Marxist Theory and Oppositional Politics. In CTW, she intends to further her project that specifically focuses on constructing coalitional standpoints and spaces that resist neoliberal biopolitics through artworks, performances, and literature.