The Public and Publics Conference

The Public and Publics Conference

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.

Date: March 30, 2017

Location: The Segal Theater at the Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Time: 9:00 am-6:00 pm

Keynote speaker: Don Mitchell, Uppsala University, Sweden

Schedule for the day:

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, “En la vía pública,” Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, “Repurposed Cardboard as Literary Art”

Vlad Gurewich, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, “Virtual resistance”

Carmen Rial, Anthropology, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, “Following the Duck: Demonstrations Pro and Against Impeachment in Brazil”

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)

Craig Willse, Cultural Studies, George Mason University, “The Value of Homelessness”

Mike 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”

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 Chazkel)

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

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

For more information: or

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

Original post here.

Photo by Marc Ganzglass. Still from Infrared Video (J20 Protest, Washington D.C., 2017).


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