Visiting Speakers

Emily Ogden

Assistant Professor of English
University of Virginia

Emily Ogden (PhD, University of Pennsylvania; AB, Harvard University) is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Virginia and author of Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism (Chicago: 2018).  Her research focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Ogden's work has appeared in Critical Inquiry, American Literature, Early American Literature, and J19. As a fellow, she organized a conference on "Credulity: Enchantment and Modernity in the Nineteenth-Century U.S."  

Jeanine Oleson

Assistant Professor of Photography
The New School

Jeanine Oleson is an interdisciplinary artist working with images, materiality and language, which she forms into complex and humorous objects, images, videos and performances. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 1995), Rutgers University (MFA 2000), and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2000). Oleson has exhibited and performed at venues including: Hammer Museum, LA (2017); Commonwealth & Council, LA (2017), Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul, S. Korea (2017), Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta (2016); SculptureCenter, NY (2016); Pierogi, Brooklyn (2015), New Museum, NY (2014); Exit Art, NY (2012); Beta Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico (2012); Commonwealth & Council, CA (2012); X-Initiative, NY (2010); Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (2009); Socrates Sculpture Park, NY (2009); Diverseworks, Houston, TX (2009); L.A.C.E., Los Angeles (2006); Monya Rowe Gallery, NY (2005); Samson Projects, Boston, MA (2005); Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL; Bates College Museum of Art, ME; H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City Museum of Art, MO; Participant, Inc., NY; MoMA P.S.1, NY; Santa Fe Art Institute, NM; Pumphouse Gallery, London; White Columns, NY; and Art in General, NY. Oleson has received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant (2016), Creative Capital Artist Grant (2015), Puffin Foundation and Foundation for Contemporary Art emergency grant (2014), Franklin Furnace Fellowship and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2009); a Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Regrant (2008 and 2009); and a Professional Development Fellowship, College Art Association (1999–2000); and was in residence at the Hammer Museum (2016-2017), Macdowell Colony (2016), Smack Mellon Studio Program, NY in 2009. She also published two books about performance projects in 2012, “What?” and “The Greater New York Smudge Cleanse.” Oleson has also been a lead collaborator on the Photo Requests from Solitary project since 2012.

Jonathan Corpus Ong

Associate Professor of Global Digital Media
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The central concern of Jonathan's work is the ethics of media, which he approaches as the moral and social consequences of media and communication technologies in the everyday lives of minority groups and vulnerable communities, especially those in the global South. Two interrelated strands of research extend from this concern: 1) the first is on media witnessing and the moral responsibilities of media institutions, media workers, and media audiences to vulnerable others; 2) the second is on vulnerable communities and their uses of digital media for voice and participation, everyday sociality, and coping or healing. His research develops an ethnographic and decolonial approach that sensitively embeds media practice within rich local histories and ordinary motivations while engaging with normative debates about media justice and cosmopolitan ethics in complex multicultural societies.

Wouter Oomen

PhD Candidate
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As a PhD candidate Wouter Oomen is working on his dissertation on the imagined common humanity in charity fundraising campaigns. He received a NICA fellowship for four years for the project: Contemporary images used in charity fundraising aimed at the abolition of poverty are ingrained with a notion of a ‘common, global humanity’. This assumed shared base can be thought of in terms of shared values, universal human rights, basic human emotions or collective responsibilities. Fundraising, in short, visualizes globalization by targeting the idea of a shared human experience. This project revolves around the question how such a specific notion of a globalized world is imagined in fundraising. For this, long-term promotional activities, broadcasting events and social media campaigns will be addressed - media texts that present us with the visual culture of suffering and relief, and with narratives on grief and optimism. The project thereby aims to address imagined global unity in the face of structural inequality, in order to trace how charity fundraising proposes the idea of a common humanity. Although supposed global commonalities lie at the heart of charity fundraising, the production and reception of these campaigns is tied to local contexts. As a result of this, the alleged human experience is imagined from the perspective of those holding economic advantage and the ability to behold; bringing with it a distinction between a fortunate spectator and an unfortunate ‘other’. Interestingly, this seems at odds with the idea of a global human experience. The question whether universalism is an ethnocentric phenomenon is therefore as important as the question how universalism is defined in mediated encounters between different places.

Annelise Orleck

Professor of History
Dartmouth College

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where you can travel around the world without ever venturing more than a few miles from home. Brooklyn's amazing assortment of cultures sparked an interest in the study of history and ethnicity which continues to this day. I give it full expression in my senior seminar, History 96: Race, Ethnicity and Immigration in American History.

Lorenzo Pezzani

FA Lecturer
Goldsmiths, University of London

Lorenzo Pezzani convenes the MA stream in Forensic Architecture. An architect and a PhD graduate from the Centre, his work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography and history of the ocean. Since 2011, he has been working on Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that critically investigates the militarized border regime in the Mediterranean Sea. Together with a wide network of NGOs, scientists, journalists and activist groups, he has produced maps, visualizations and human right reports that document the violence perpetrated against migrants at sea and challenge the regime of visibility imposed by surveillance means on this contested area. 

M. NourbeSe Philip was born in Tobago. She earned a BSc from the University of the West Indies and an MA and LLB from the University of Western Ontario. Philip was a practicing lawyer for seven years before turning full-time to writing. She is the author of works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her collections of poetry include Thorns (1980); Salmon Courage(1983); She Tries Her Tongue (1989); Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988), which won a Casa de las Américas Prize for Literature; and Zong! (2008), a polyvocal, book-length poem concerning slavery and the legal system. Fred Wah has noted that Zong! “is legal poetry. This is, legally, poetry. … The poetry displays the agonizing tension of an exploration through the minute particulars and silences locked within the legal text, the precise and cautious movement that tries to not tell the story that must be told.” Like much of Philip’s work, the book asks readers to actively engage the text at the level of syllable, fragment, sound, and space.

Frances Fox Piven

Distinguished Professor of Political Science
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Frances Fox Piven is an internationally renowned social scientist, scholar, and activist whose commitments to poor and working people, and to the democratic cause have never wavered.  Piven’s professional accomplishments in the world of academia place her among the ranks of the most important social scientists of the last century.  Her groundbreaking work with Richard A. Cloward on the functions of social welfare and poor relief (Regulating the Poor, 1971) received front page coverage in the New York Times Book Review and ignited a scholarly debate that reshaped the field of social welfare policy.  Subsequent work analyzed the conditions under which the disruptive actions of the poor influenced the foundation of the modern American welfare state (Poor People’s Movements, 1977) and were necessary to the advancement of progressive social policy and political reforms (The Breaking of the American Social Compact, 1997; Challenging Authority, 2008).  Piven is the author or co-author of more than 200 articles published in academic journals, books, popular publications and journals of opinion since 1965, some of which have been republished up to a dozen times.  Her scholarship has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Norwegian and is noted for its boldness and its analytical power and clarity.  It relies on historical interpretation, and in its totality, advances sophisticated theories of power from below.