English Department Faculty Lounge, 135 Fisher-Bennett Hall
Kandice Chuh, Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center
"Thinking Difference Differently"
It is by now a critical commonplace that “difference” has been flattened into “diversity” in university life. In this talk, Kandice Chuh suggests that bringing together aesthetic theories and philosophies with U.S. minority discourses, reinvigorates difference as such. Thinking through and alongside the work of artists Sarah Sze and Allan DeSouza, Chuh shows how such an encounter elicits institutional arrangements and knowledge practices capable of sustaining and proliferating subjects “in difference.” She shows, in other words, that the difference aesthetics makes may act as a generative point of entry into the articulation of materializing practices that result in more capacious and richer understandings of life, culture, and politics, than prevalent liberal and neoliberal ideologies make available.
Kandice Chuh joined the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010 as a professor in the PhD program in English, and as a core member of the Mellon Committee on Globalization and Social Change. With Duncan Faherty (Assoc. Prof, Queens/GC, English), Chuh is also responsible for the Revolutionizing American Studies Initiative launched at the Graduate Center in spring 2011. From 1996-2010, she was a faculty member in the English Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was affiliated to the American Studies Department and the Asian American Studies Program. The author of Imagine Otherwise: on Asian Americanist Critique (2003), which won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Book Award, Chuh is the co-editor, with Karen Shimakawa, of Orientations: Mapping Studies in the Asian Diaspora (2001), and has published in such venues as Public Culture, American Literary History, and the Journal of Asian American Studies. Her current book project, The Difference Aesthetics Makes, brings together aesthetic philosophies and theories, minority discourse, and analysis of globalization’s impact on modern sociopolitical subjectivity. Chuh is broadly interested in the relationship between intellectual work and the political sphere; disciplinarity and difference; and U.S. culture and politics as matrices of power and knowledge.