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About the Conference

This event will be livestreamed, click here to watch.

How have scholars, activists, and artists apprehended their position in public life and their belonging in a collective? How can we make sense of the designation of public, as opposed to private, spaces, both literal and figurative? Through a series of moderated panels and a keynote lecture by the geographer Don Mitchell, this interdisciplinary, day-long conference explores the concept of the public, and the plural publics, as an analytical construct of particular importance in both scholarship and political life.

Keynote speaker: Don Mitchell, Uppsala University, Sweden


9:00-9:15 Welcome. Provost Joy Connolly, CUNY Graduate Center

9:15-10:45 Publics, Law and Governance (Amy Chazkel, CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College, moderator)

Sally Engle Merry, Anthropology NYU and NYU School of Law, "Governing by Numbers and the Seduction of the Public"

Eduardo Zimmermann, History, Universidad de San Andrés/ Columbia University, Edward Larocque Tinker Visiting Professor (Spring 2017), “Law, Governance, and the Redefinition of Private/Public in Twentieth-Century Argentina”

Clarence Taylor, History, CUNY Graduate Center and Baruch College, "The Nation of Islam Confronts Police Brutality."

Misty Crooks, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, “Gender, Race, and State Power: An Interdiscursive Take on North Carolina's Transgender Bathroom Law”

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:30 Publics and Social Movements (Dana Taplin, ActKnowledge/ Public Space Research Group, moderator)

Cecilia Salvi, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, “"En la vía pública: Repurposed Cardboard as Literary Art” Vladimir Gurewich, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, “Creditable Publics: The Formation of Counter Publics under Trump, or When Orange is the New White"

Craig Willse, Cultural Studies, George Mason University, “‘People with AIDS are Dying for Homes’: AIDS, Activism, and Housing”

12:30-1:30 Lunch (on the 8th floor)

1:30-2:30 Keynote by Don Mitchell, Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, “Taking Public Space, Making Publics" followed by discussion

2:30-4:00 Publics and Space (Setha Low, Anthropology/ Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center, moderator)

Mike Owen Benediktsson, Sociology, CUNY Hunter College, "'Conflicted Aspirations': Constructing the Public on the Brooklyn Waterfront"

Talha Issevenler, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, “Technicity, violence, political religion: limits and conditions of public space”

Carmen Rial, Anthropology, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, “Sports Mega-Events: Going Beyond National and Public Space”

4:00-5:30 Publics, the Arts and the Media (Joshua Brown, History/ American Social History Project/ Center for Media and Learning, CUNY Graduate Center, moderator)

Claire Bishop, Art History, CUNY Graduate Center, "Making Art (in) Public"

Kendra Sullivan, Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center, “Never Open, Never Closed: A Storefront on Pause and Other Layered Spaces”

Cory Tamler, Theatre Studies, CUNY Graduate Center, “Human Stories, Inhuman Landscapes”

5:30-6:00 Open discussion, concluding remarks and future plans (Setha Low and Amy

Panelists presentations are 15 minutes with ½ hour of discussion following each.

This conference is free and open to the public. Of course.

Cosponsored by Futures Initiative, Public Space Research Center, Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center, CUNY.