Conference Program


9:30 – 9:45 am

Opening Remarks

Jane Tylus, Director, Humanities Initiative at NYU.

Elena Bellina, Department of Italian Studies, 2009-2010 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

John Melillo, Department of English, 2009-10 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

9:45 – 11:15 am

Roundtable #1: Urban Spaces

What do urban spaces do to sense? Georg Simmel talked of the alienating effects of city life—its deadening of the senses through over-stimulation—but in what ways does the city, broadly conceived as a space of dense social, cultural, and infrastructural relationships, generate new processes of making and new ways of redefining and appropriating space? What does the aesthetic condensation of the density of urban experience—especially in New York City—look, sound, and feel like?


Cyrus Patell, Department of English, 2007-2008 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

Mosette Broderick, Department of Art History, NYU. Ara Merjian, Department of Italian Studies, NYU.

Moderator: Peter Valenti, Liberal Studies, 2009-2010 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

11:15 – 11:30 am

Coffee Break

11:30am – 1:00 pm

Roundtable #2: Cinematic Vistas

At what point do images tell us we are out of place? What landscapes of imagination open up when we enter new imagistic territories? How do unknown and unexpected masses of ambient imagery affect the making of pictures? How, then, does ambience frame the vision of photographers and movie-makers before they themselves attempt to bring the world into frame? What happens when sudden shifts in culture, place, and external stimuli make these ways of seeing apparent? Where are our imaginations located?


Jessie Morgan Owens, Department of English, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore),2008-2009 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

Zhen Zhang, Department of Cinema Studies, 2009-10 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

Sukhdev Sandhu, Department of English, NYU.

Moderator: Hala Halim, Departments of Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, 2008-2009 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Lunch Break

2:00 – 3:30pm

Roundtable #3: Ambient Poetics

Noises and voices surround us in every moment of our lives. What do poets and other sound artists do when these ambient waves of sound speak to them? And how, then, do they themselves speak these ambiences? How does the sound that is language describe or, rather, transcribe the background noise of life? How do different artists and thinkers rearrange their ways of making in relation to these floating atmospheres of experience?


Eugene Ostashevsky, Liberal Studies, 2010-2011 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

Allen Weiss, Performance Studies and Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

Jacques Lezra, Department of Comparative Literature, NYU.

Moderator:John Melillo, Department of English, 2009-10 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

4:00 – 5:30 pm

Keynote’s Address

Prof. Geoffrey Harpham

President and Director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC.

5:30 pm: Wine and Cheese Reception


10:00 – 11:30 am


Eugene Ostashevsky, Liberal Studies, 2010-2011 Humanities Initiative Fellow, NYU.

Christian Hawkey, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.

Lytle Shaw, Department of English, NYU.

11:30 – 11:45 am

Coffee Break

11:45 – 1:15 pm


Rob Fitterman, Liberal Studies, NYU.

Genya Turovskaya,

Brandon Dowing

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Lunch Break

2:15 – 3:45 pm


Ellie Ga

Anna Moschovakis

Jen Bervin


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