Pratt Institute's Liberal Arts B.A. Major


Monday, September 26, 2011

On 9:43 AM by B. Ricardo Brown, Ph.D. in , ,
Dear SLAS students:   Welcome back to school!  By now I am sure that you have settled into the new semester and that your studies are going well.  

Perhaps not all of you know that I am the new Dean for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Pratt.  I began on 1 July 2011 and since then I have been meeting with all of the constituency at Pratt to get a better understanding of Pratt's mission, the role of SLAS in the institution's goals, and the direction the faculty would like to see SLAS move in the next five years or so.  I would also like to get a better sense of Pratt from students, especially students majoring in CritViz or Writing. 

So, I have organized a Town Hall Meeting for SLAS majors on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 from 12:30 - 1:45 in Dekalb 206.  I will be serving lunch.  The town hall is a casual event that will give you a chance to tell me about your experiences thus far at Pratt, to tell me what is working well, and to advise me on how we might do things better. 

Please join me on Tuesday the 4th.  

Andrew W. Barnes, Ph.D.
School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Pratt Institute
200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On 7:26 PM by B. Ricardo Brown, Ph.D. in , ,
 May Joseph, Professor of Globalization and founder of the Harmattan Theater sends this invitation to a series of events that she is participating in called "Art in Odd Places: Ceremony, Habituation, Myth, Obsession, Superstition, Liturgy."

Art in Odd Places 2011: RITUAL features a wide variety of actions, participatory performances, theatrical presentations, public installations, and small and large-scale interventions all of which revolve around the concept of ritual.

A ritual is generally defined as a series of established actions that are carried out in private or public spaces, by individuals or by groups, for their spiritual, social, or political significance. Tapping into the everyday significance of these habits, the artists in AiOP 2011: RITUAL continuously integrate these practices in their work to explore a broad range of issues in contemporary life such as politics, culture, religious beliefs, notions of individuality and community, the endurance of the body and the fragility of life, the relationship with nature, among many others.

The collective character of the public setting offered by one of the busiest New York City arteries as the context for the festival has opened up the possibilities for the ritualistic interactions between artists, objects and people along 14th Street. The street’s daily environment will be transformed by secular and sacred activities and the relationship and reaction of the people attracted by the festival’s ephemeral events. A new sense of place and time, inherent to the concept of ritual, will confront passersby as they flow through the sidewalks, subway stations and storefronts during their everyday commutes or their spontaneous visits to the neighborhood.

The work will be performed and made available along the east-west corridor of 14th Street. The projects may be different each time as they are informed by the varying interpretations of the spectators and their nomadic qualities as they travel through the street. Artists creating pilgrimages will bring new importance to particular places, shrines will be created as sites of worship, and the public will witness miracles. Reenactments of past events based on the collections of oral history, the use of symbols, the exploration of traditions and myths, and the use of magic and astrology are key to some of the artists’ work. Another group of artists create impermanent situations that are reminiscent of childhood and familiar events; worldly rituals that refer to identity politics, queer culture, dominance and submission, are experienced as organic and transcendental happenings.

The use of the body is central to artists that touch upon life and death, real and spiritual borders, love affairs, human relationships and the connection to nature. Through music and dance, walks, palm reading and the use of masks, wigs, and spraying perfumes and scattering ashes, some artists evoke mundane obsessions, venerate popular icons and reject and criticize certain aspects of today’s social values.

From kissing trees to making wishes, from healing souls to dreaming in a park, from washing feet to praying to the sky, the artists transcend the borders of the everyday space. By ritualizing actions and highlighting the different realities that coexist, the projects of AiOP 2011: RITUAL manipulate impressions, satisfy emotions, create effects, and most importantly transform - not only the surroundings in which they position their work, but also the audiences they engage, and who will become fundamental to the ritual itself.

- Kalia Brooks & Trinidad Fombella, Guest Curators

RITUAL Panel Discussion
Date: October 4, 2011
Time: 6-8PM
Where: Pratt Institute, Room 213

Dr.Stephen Hazan Arnoff Executive Director 14th St Y
Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff has served as Executive Director of the 14th Street Y since 2007, overseeing a doubling of the size of the Y’s core programs and membership, major renovations throughout the building, and the founding of LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture. Previously, he was Director of Artists Networks and Programming at the Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y and Managing Editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture ( Stephen was a Wexner Graduate Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary (2000-04), where he is currently a doctoral candidate, earning an MA in Midrash and serving as Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics as well as a Jerusalem Fellow (2005-07) at the Mandel Leadership Institute. Winner of a Rockower Jewish Press Award for Arts and Criticism, he publishes, lectures, and teaches on art, religion, music, and Jewish life widely. Most recently, he contributed a chapter on Bruce Springsteen and the Bible to Reading the Boss: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Works of Bruce Springsteen (Lexington Books).

Setha Low
Setha Low received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She started her career as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, City and Regional Planning, and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Low is currently Professor of Environmental Psychology, Geography, Anthropology, and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Public Space Research Group at The Graduate Center, City University of New York where she teach courses and trains Ph.D. students in the anthropology of space and place, urban anthropology, culture and environment, and cultural values in historic preservation. She has been awarded a Getty Fellowship, a NEH fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship and a Guggenheim for her ethnographic research on public space in Latin America and the United States. She is widely published and lectures internationally on these issues. Her most recent books include: Politics of Public Space (2006 Routledge with Neil Smith), Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity (2005, University of Texas Press with S. Scheld and D. Taplin), Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America (2004, Routledge), The Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture (2003, Blackwell with D. Lawrence-Zuniga), On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture (2000, University of Texas), Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader (1999, Rutgers University Press), Place Attachment (1992, Plenum with I. Altman). Dr. Low was the President of the American Anthropological Association from 2007- 2009. Her current research is on the impact of private governance on New York City coop, and she is writing a book entitled Spatialzing Culture: An Anthropological Theory of Space and Place. Starting in 2009 she will be working on a collaborative project with Dolores Hayden on Spatial Methods and Public Practices funded by Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and in 2010 will be a fellow in the Center for Place, Culture and Politics

May Joseph artist
Tanzanian born Joseph is the Founder of the environmental collective Harmattan Theater. Joseph has dramaturged and directed Harmattan’s site specific outdoor productions, exploring the history of New York City through architecture, design and environmentalism. Islands, the Hudson River, riverscapes, ocean currents, sea walls, buried rivers, wetlands, bridges, and the impact of water across global urban environments are Joseph’s areas of interest. Joseph has created large scale public performances on Governors Island, numerous piers in Manhattan including Christopher Street, as well as along Fourteenth Street in Manhattan. Joseph’s artistic work includes cities in India, where she made a short film about the Yamuna River in Delhi, and is working on a site specific performance along the Fort Cochin seawall.

Joseph trained in Directing and Playwrighting at U.C. Santa Barbara’s Department of Theatre and Dance where she received a PhD in Theater. Joseph’s directorial interests lie in bringing together ritual, movement, mime, voice, images and text into dialogue with shorelines, rivers and cities. Trained as a Bharata Natyam dancer, Joseph’s work draws upon the Indian environmental dance theater traditions of the Jatra, Chautu Nadagam and Indian street theater movements, Kalaripayyati, Kathakali, Kyogen and the experimental techniques of Arianne Mnouchkine and Christo. Joseph is the author of Nomadic Identities and Co-Editor of Performing Hybridity, City Corps, Body Work and New Hybrid Identities. She teaches theater, film and visual culture at Pratt Institute, New York.

Bindi Cole artist
Bindi Cole works to expose the questions most are afraid to ask. The cathartic nature of Cole’s practice imbues her work with a gritty honesty. Her images are at times so personal the viewer’s experience can verge on voyeurism. Ever since she stepped into the South Eastern Australian Aboriginal arts scene as a portrait photographer in 2007, Bindi Cole has kept evolving her trademark style. Mixing portrait photography, painting, collage, text, weaving, film, performance, sound and projections, Cole’s work exposes the latent and unspoken power dynamics of Australian culture in the here and now. She subtly but powerfully reveals some uncomfortable truths about the fundamental disconnection between who we are - the communities and identities by which we shape our sense of self - and how the prevailing culture attempts to place and define us.

Gabriel Cwilich (moderator)
Gabriel Cwilich has a PhD in theoretical physics from Rutgers University and was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maryland and Washington University in St. Louis, and has been in the faculty of the Physics Department at Yeshiva University since 1991.He has been visiting research professor at the Université Joseph Fourier, (Grenoble, France), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, (Spain), and the CNRS at the Université de Nice, (France).Since 2008 he has been the Director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program in the liberal arts, at Yeshiva University.His main areas of interest in theoretical condensed matter physics include the physics of disordered materials, the theory of propagation of waves in random systems, quantum optics and the theory of complexity. He lectured extensively in the US and abroad, and was the organizer of various international conferences in his field.Over the past decade, he has been active at the interface between science and contemporary arts and culture. He acted as a scientific advisor in several theater productions, both in New York City and abroad; he has been a permanent consultant for the Sloan Foundation’s program for Public Understanding of Science and Technology and member of its award committee at the Tribeca Film Festival, lectured on science and the arts to groups of artists and theater professionals in several countries, and was a visiting professor at the Theater Institute of the University of Chile.

On 2:35 PM by B. Ricardo Brown, Ph.D.

Author and journalist Christian Parenti of The Nation is coming to Pratt on Monday, September 26 at 6:30PM.  He will be speaking about his latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the Future, as well as his other work.


Climate Change Event with Christian Parenti, 9/26
Christian Parenti 
Tropic of Chaos
Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

Special Event sponsored by the Pratt Faculty Union (UFCT 1460)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Alumni Reading Room, 3rd Floor, Pratt Library

Please join the Pratt Faculty Union (UFCT 1460) for a special presentation by Christian Parenti, investigative journalist, contributing editor at The Nation, Puffin Foundation Writing Scholar at The Nation Institute, and visiting scholar at the Brooklyn College Sociology Department.  He is also the author of Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2000); The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America (2003); and The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (2004).

The world’s developed nations currently face a political, social, and ethical dilemma: how will they react to the ravages of climate change that are affecting undeveloped nations in the global south right now?  These same developed nations must also come to terms with the ways their neo-liberal, neo-colonial policies have helped turn these undeveloped nations into “failed states” that are more vulnerable and less able to respond to climate change.  Parenti’s latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (New York: Nation Books, 2011), deftly looks to the past and to the future in an effort to come to grips with the new world order that climate change is bringing about.

In Tropic of Chaos, Parenti argues that the effects of climate change are at the root of violent conflicts breaking out throughout the global south.  He shows how areas in the “tropic of chaos”—East Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, and Pakistan—have been made especially vulnerable to climate change due to the effects of both Cold War proxy conflicts and neo-liberal economic restructuring and privatization, and how the West is already preparing for these conflicts through developing the techniques and arsenal associated with counter-insurgency warfare.

For more information, please contact Kye Carbone ( or Suzanne Verderber (

Sponsored by Local 1460 of the United Federation of College Teachers, the Pratt Faculty Union

Friday, September 16, 2011

On 5:03 PM by B. Ricardo Brown, Ph.D. in , , ,
Renowned artist Kara Walker will speak on her work and career at Pratt Institute at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 19, in Memorial Hall Auditorium on Pratt's Brooklyn Campus. The event is free and open to the public, however, seating priority will be given to Pratt students and faculty members with valid ID at 5:30 p.m. Members of the public will be admitted at 5:50 p.m. if seating is available. The talk will be presented by Pratt Institute's Writing Program, and its Departments of Humanities and Media Studies and Social Science and Cultural Studies, which are housed in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and its Department of History of Art and Design, which is housed within the School of Art and Design.

Walker is known for her candid investigation of race, gender, sexuality, and violence throughout life-sized silhouetted figures that have appeared in exhibitions worldwide. Her work was most recently on view as part of two solo joint exhibitions at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. and Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York. Sikkema Jenkins & Co. presented new graphite drawings and hand-printed texts on paper that explore themes of transition and migration that run throughout the African American experience in the 20th century as part of an exhibition titled "Dust Jackets for the Niggerati -- and Supporting Dissertations, Drawings Submitted Ruefully by Dr. Kara E. Walker." Lehmann Maupin Gallery presented an exhibition titled, "Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi's Blue Tale," which comprised three new video works drawing on Walker's experience in the Mississippi Delta.

Walker's major survey show, titled "Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love," premiered at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 2007 before traveling to ARC/ Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Other recent solo exhibitions have taken place at CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain, and MDD -- Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium, both in 2008. Walker participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and was the United States representative to the 25th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil in 2002.

Walker is the recipient of many awards including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award in 1997, the Deutsche Bank Prize in 2000, and United States Artists Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship in 2008. Her work is included in numerous museums and public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome; and Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt.

Walker was born in Stockton, California, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and received her master of fine arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. She lives and works in New York City. Image: Kara Walker's Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as it Occurred between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart [detail], 1994. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On 7:17 PM by B. Ricardo Brown, Ph.D. in , ,
The Reading Odyssey is a great project in public education.  They sponsor reading groups with noted scholars, lecture series accessible live, podcasts and the unique SLOW ART DAY at a museum near you. Last year they did a nice series of lectures on Darwin and this year the topic has been the Battle of Marathon.
"The Reading Odyssey (, a non-profit, aims to reignite curiosity and lifelong learning - or - as Aristotle might way, we are helping people to practice the habit of wisdom.  We run phone, web and live events such as reading groups, lectures, conferences and the global arts celebration, Slow Art Day."

Final Marathon2500 lecture on the *2,500* year anniversary

Commemorate the *actual* 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Marathon with us via live webinar/conference call Wednesday, September 21 at 1pm New York time, 6pm Cambridge time. *Free* registration (and toll-free numbers) are here:

We'd love to have you join us during the middle of the U.S. workday (or evening for Europe) for this commemoration of the actual Marathon 2,500 year anniversary. Would you like to attend yourself? Would you be willing to help us spread the word about this final program of the yearlong Marathon2500 series? Please join us if you can - and either way, please consider spreading the word (and the registration link) on Facebook, Twitter, to friends, colleagues, students and others. 

For more information: Phil Terry, Marathon2500 Director Founder, Reading Odyssey On behalf of Professor Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Chair of Greek Culture, Cambridge University P.S. The previous lectures are all available via podcast here: - the podcasts include lectures by Paul Cartledge, Peter Krentz, Victor Davis Hanson, Thomas Harrison, Robert Strassler, Thomas Scanlon and John Marincola.