Critical Encounters Series
Conceived and organized by Anne A. Cheng. Jointly sponsored by the Department of English and the Center for African American Studies.
Critical Encounters brings together like minds from unlike disciplines in a series of open dialogue before an audience of campus community and the public. The series promotes reflections and debates concerning race, cross-cultural translation, and issues of social justice at the intersection of art, theory, culture, and politics. In bringing together artists and thinkers from disciplines that do not traditionally talk to one another who nonetheless share similar preoccupations, this series of dialogues aims to provide opportunities for unexpected, synergistic exchanges. It also aims to engage departments and units across campus in cross-disciplinary collaborations.
This series represents the drive, on behalf of the Department of English and the Program in African American Studies, to contribute to the development of comparative race and transnational studies at Princeton. It is the assumption of this series that the most engaging and productive way to introduce race studies to Princeton students and the community at large is to foreground the ways in which thinkers, writers, and artists of color are already engaged with larger cultural discourses in the diverse fields of art, cinema, politics, law, philosophy, history, and popular culture. We hope to expand the notion of racial debate beyond black and white and to introduce artists and thinkers of color in cross-cultural, cross-genre, and cross-national contexts. The highly interdisciplinary nature of Critical Encounters aims to offer a crucial framework for re-imagining of what is and how to conduct race studies today and how to think about the Humanities’s potential contribution to social justice.
This series also hopes to make a significant contribution to the University’s commitment to the arts by offering a forum that bridges the gap between scholarship and the creative arts, as well as between theory and practice. The artists, filmmakers, lawyers, philosophers, and scholars featured in these dialogues demonstrate the intimate and productive relationship that can exist between modes of research and creativity.
The series is co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Program in African American Studies, with special sponsorship for each event from other departments and programs across the campus.
List of Programs
February 22, 2007: Fictions of the Archive
Novelist/poet Yvette Christian and literary scholar Saidiya Hartman discuss the role of the archive in the making of artistic and scholarly knowledge, especially the challenges of facing an incomplete or missing archive.
Co-sponsored by the Program in Creative Writing.
April 5, 2007: The Uncovered Self in Law and Literature
Legal scholar Kenji Yoshino converses with Prof. Anne A. Cheng on how the politics of “covering” and assimilation challenge the legal terms of our civil rights.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Human Values.
September 24, 2007: Gender, Memory, and the Making of French Anti-Discrimination Law
Historian Joan Scott and legal scholar Julie Suk compare American and French legal formulations of anti-discriminatory law.
April 3, 2008: Possessive Used as Drink (Me): a lecture on pronouns in the form of 15 sonnets Poet and scholar Anne Carson collaborate with three dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in a performance of words and movements.
Co-sponsored by the Program in Theatre and Dance and the Center for Human Values.
October 16, 2008: Science: Fact and Friction
A debate between With Editor-in-Chief of Nature magazine Philip Campbell and scholar Charis Thompson on the ethics of biopolitics .
Co-sponsored by the Center for Human Values and Princeton Environmental institute.
April 29, 2009: Theatre and the Politics of the New Media
Founder of The Builders Association Marianne Weems meets theater scholar Shannon Jackson in a discussion about the role of new media in contemporary theater.
September 16, 2010: U.S. Constitution in a Time of War: The Minoru Yasui Trial
A dramatic reenactment of the historic trial, performed by Princeton undergraduates and written by the Honorable Judge Denny Chin, US Court of Appeals. Followed by comments from and conversation with the judge on the legal legacy of the Yasui Trial for constitutional debates today.
Co-sponsored by Program in American Studies and Program in Law and Public Affairs.
November 17, 2010: Isaac Julien: Electric Shadows
A presentation of two new film installations by renown filmmaker Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves and Western Union, followed by a conversation between Julien and literary scholar Eduardo Cadava.
Co-sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Creative Arts.
April 28, 2011: The Afterlife of Radical Subjects
Avant-garde filmmaker Silvia Kolbowski converses with feminist/psychoanalytic critic Emily Apter on the confluences of trauma, human rights, and the politics of aesthetics.
Co-sponsored by the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
April 3, 2012: “Enabling Violations”: Race, Theatre, and Experimentation
A cross-ethnic dialogue on the challenges of negotiating racial politics in experimental arts between Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, playwright and the founder and artistic director of the Fulcrum Theater, and Young Jean Lee, playwright, founder and Artistic Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company.
Co-sponsored by the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
October 4, 2012: The Life and Times of Chang and Eng: On Love That Binds
A dramatic reading, directed by Prof. Robert Sandberg and featuring Princeton undergraduates, of the new play by master playwright Philip Kan Gotanda. The play explores the extraordinary lives of the Bunker Twins, the original “Siamese Twins.” The reading was followed by a conversation with the playwright himself. (Please look for link to a video recording of the event soon to come.)
Co-sponsored by the Program in American Studies and the Program in Theater.