Arts + Justice – Research Workshop

Amy Elkins, The Golden State, 2017. Photo by artist. Exhibition at Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, Orange Coast College. Costa Mesa, CA

The Research Workshop Series on Arts + Justice is led by Professor Jisha Menon and Professor Aileen Robinson, as well as graduate students from departments across the School of Humanities & Sciences. The workshop will engage with scholars and artists on the far-reaching implications of justice, including the cultural terrain of law, aesthetics of resistance, practices of restorative justice, and the position of art within these fields.

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The Arts and Justice Workshop explores the relationship between the arts and justice using the arts to understand the symbiotic cultural life of law: culture shapes law and laws determine cultural practices. The arts are frequently celebrated for their capacity to evoke empathy and activate ethical responsibility. While artists have turned to forms of cultural expression to express a sense of voicelessness, this workshop cautions against romantic celebrations of arts as panacea for social suffering. Cultural productions function not only as an antidote to injustice but can also entrench dominant ideologies. Conversely, we are critical of an almost reflexive suspicion of law, which excoriates law as an a priori terrain of injustice, perpetuating existing discriminations. This workshop imagines the legal terrain as culturally constituted, suffused with its own practices, and as a powerful force shaping our subjectivity, social relations, and political institutions.

Releasing law from text and realizing it in performance provides a kinetic, dynamic mode of thinking about legal scripts activated in embodied and aesthetic form. Arts and Justice expands the frame to include exciting new work in performance studies, art history, music and sound studies, affect theory, critical race theory, new materialism, environmental humanities and queer theory.

This series is sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center with co-sponsorship from the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

More information about current Research Workshops can be found at the Stanford Humanities Center, including an edited colloquy featuring readings curated around workshop themes, published by Arcade: Literature, the Humanities & the World.

Upcoming Workshops

Past Workshop Spotlight

Originally recorded May 6, 2022

Now more than two years into the pandemic, we have seen dance floors disappear, re-appear, and, in some cases, disappear again. Moderated by Jacob Mallinson Bird, this panel featuring Kareem Khubchandani, Amanda Reid, and JLin will explore the somatic and sonic (after)lives of these disappeared/disappearing dance floors in order to ask: How can the dance floor act as a conduit for justice, belonging, or alienation? Can the dance floor (in its various literal and theoretical locations) serve as a dialogical tool in times of quarantine and epidemics? How can the sonic rupture differences between people, countries, and politics in order to create bridges for transnational belonging?

Speakers:
Kareem Khubchandani, Amanda Reid, and Jlin

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded April 14, 2022

With Dr. Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan) and Dr. Ellen Samuels (University of Wisconsin-Madison), as moderated by Dr. Roanne Kantor (Stanford University), we ask: how do racialized, gendered, and/or queer bodyminds enable us to reconceptualize pleasure? Attending to the transformative diversity of disability justice work across a variety of genres, disciplines, and forms, we ground our conversation within and hope to collectively explore the notion of pleasure as praxis, disability studies as disability justice. Of course, the two terms are not inherently equivalent: what tensions, affordances, and potential alliances might underlie the relationship between the two terms? Furthermore, in undertaking pleasure as praxis, how might disability justice relate to, challenge, and transform other movements for justice, including but of course not limited to environmental justice, racial justice, and queer liberation?

Speakers:
Petra Kuppers and Ellen Samuels

Moderator:
Roanne Kantor

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded March 11, 2022

“Critical sonic practices,” for Josh Rios, “play a significant role in the formation of real and imagined communities of solidarity and resistance, as well as communities of celebration and intersubjective co-belonging.” Networks of research and art practice oriented toward transgressing disciplinary boundaries and constituting communal subjectivities in Latinx communities are dynamic sites of critical sonic practices. Focusing on such communal practices, this conversation brings together scholar and media artist Josh Rios and the Cog.Nate Collective, a collaboration between Missael Diaz and Amy Sanchez Arteaga.

Speakers:
Josh Rios and the Cog·nate Collective

Moderator:
Alexander Feliciano Mejía

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded February 14, 2022

“Unchilding,” for Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “is the authorized eviction of children from childhood." Representations of colonial violence, police brutality, occupation, and border politics often occlude the figure of the child. Against the process of unchilding, this conversation brings together artists-scholars Jennifer Marlowe, Siwar Hasan Aslih, and Suhaila Meera to respond otherwise. Marlow​e’s There is a Field—a response to the murder of ​Palestinian ​17-year-old Asel Asaleh by Israeli police—and Meera’s Pali--a play set in the wake of South Asia's 1947 Partition— set the scene for a dialogue on process, method, and the potential for theatre to serve as a vehicle toward solidarity. Those who RSVP will received a limited-access link to view There is a Field in advance of this talk.

Speakers: Jen Marlowe, Siwar Hasan Aslih and Suhaila Meera, as joined by the cast of Pali/Altaf

Moderator: Vaughn Rasberry

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded January 28, 2022

Bongani Ndodana-Breen's new musical composition, 'Do not fear the past', renders Zuhura Seng'enge's poem of the same title in a setting for soprano solo and string quartet. It anchors a program that explores and questions the nature of remembrance and reconciliation amid tragedy. The result of a commission, his 'Do not fear the past' is an oblique response to the death of Stanford alumna, Amy Biehl (1967-93) during her stint as Fulbright fellow in Cape Town, South Africa, in the lead-up to that country's first democratic election. It will be performed at the Bing Concert Hall (Studio) in April 2022. This event is an opportunity to discuss aesthetic, ethical and political dimensions of the work and its genesis.

Speakers: Grant Parker and Bongani Ndodana-Breen

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded October 8, 2021

This panel discussion focusing on the connections between rap, the law, and Critical Race Theory will feature co-authors of Rap on Trial Andrea L. Dennis and Erik Nielson, and artist and scholar A.D. Carson. With the increased visibility of demands for change in U.S. policing and carceral systems as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement among other activists, questions over the impact of the U.S. legal system on Black and Brown communities and individuals have also fostered both increased interest in Critical Race Theory, and reactionary backlash against it. Moderated by Director of The University of Virginia’s Sound Justice Lab, Nomi Dave, this panel will specifically address the ways in which race and the law meet at the intersection of rap music.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded May 27, 2021

A panel discussion on the Environmental Humanities and environmental justice featuring ethnomusicologist Nadia Chana, artist-theorist Elaine Gan, and scholar-activist Pavithra Vasudevan. Centering themes of temporality, corporeality, and race, our panelists come together to discuss the un/making of bodies, corporeal archives, and sounding praxes of environmental justice as they intersect with one another.  In the age of the Anthropocene, such conversations demonstrating the interdisciplinarity and generative potentialities of Environmental Humanities research are urgently necessary. This panel discussion was moderated by Stanford Mellon Fellow in English, Carlos Alonso Nugent.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded May 13, 2021

How do we imagine pleasure in the aftermath of racial and sexual violence? Join scholars and artists to discuss the intersections of race, consent, and kink in Jeremy O. Harris’s play Slave Play, the most Tony Award-nominated production in American theater history. We’ll speak with the artists who choreographed intimacy for this production and discuss the strengths and limitations of consent for advancing sexual justice.

Originally recorded March 5, 2021

Please join us for a cross-cutting poetry reading and panel discussion featuring Layli Long Soldier, author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection WHEREAS, a response to the failures of the 2009 Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Americans, and Ann Tweedy, award-winning poet and legal scholar specializing in tribal jurisdiction and tribal civil rights law. Presenting recent and forthcoming poetry and scholarship, Long Soldier and Tweedy will shine a light on the violence sanctioned by American legal language and structures against Native American tribes and peoples, even as their work demonstrates a commitment to reclaiming those forms toward alternative ends. Stanford Jones lecturer and poet Monica Sok will moderate this essential conversation at the intersection of poetry, indigeneity, injustice, and the law. A complimentary copy of either Ann Tweedy’s or Layli Long Soldier’s book will be provided to the first 15 to RSVP.

Originally recorded February 19, 2021

Join us as the acclaimed composer Jonathan Berger (Stanford), powerful visual artist Enrico Riley (Dartmouth), and award-winning artistic director Niegel Smith (The Flea) come together for a roundtable discussion on their artistic roles on The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist, a multimedia song cycle and community meditation and ritual on the death of Eric Garner. This piece, and their reflections on the on-going process of creation and collaboration, draws forth themes of atonement, resistance, witnessing, activism, and togetherness, relying on the sonic, the visual, the theatrical and the textual to convey its message. Co-commissioned in 2019 by Stanford Live and the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, this performance is forthcoming when theaters return with live audiences.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded January 21, 2021

How does law transform the narratives we tell, and how can narratives reshape the law? This conversation brings together scholars and playwrights whose work intersects with the legal profession. From an artistic and critical perspective, we’ll investigate how performance can help us understand the law and imagine Native sovereignty and queer futurity beyond its limits. The panel includes Mary Kathryn Nagle, Ann Pellegrini and Eleanor Wong. Moderated by Kari Barclay.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Originally recorded November 5, 2020

In this final fall quarter installment of the Arts + Justice Research Workshop Series, our panel interrogated the future directions of Law and Literature. As we approach the 50th year of Law and Literature as an established field and arrive at the 20th anniversary of Robert Weisberg + Guyora Binder’s seminal text, Literary Criticisms of Law, a discussion of this field and its importance is perhaps more prescient than ever. Watch this panel recording of scholars Guyora Binder, Bernadette Meyler, Austin D. Sarat, and Robert Weisberg discuss a discipline at the intersectional crux of arts and justice, legal studies and the humanities. Moderated by Aishwary Kumar.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Cosponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Speakers

Kyle Abraham; choreographer and MacArthur Fellow

Samer Al-Saber; Stanford University, Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies

Subini Ancy Annamma; Stanford University, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education

Siwar Hasan Aslih; Stanford University, PhD Candidate in Social and Political Psychology

Andrew Aydin; #1 New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award winner, a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Honoree

Jonathan Berger; Stanford University, Professor in Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics

Guyora Binder; State University of New York, Distinguished Professor; Hodgson Russ Faculty Scholar

A.D. Carson; University of Virginia, Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South

Joshua Chambers-Letson; Northwestern University, Professor of Performance Studies

Nadia Chana; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology

Hillary Chute; Northeastern University, Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design

Cognate Collective

Nomi Dave; University of Virginia, Associate Professor of Critical & Comparative Studies in Music

Thomas DeFrantz; Northwestern University, Professor of Performance Studies, Communications

Andrea L. Dennis; University of Georgia School of Law, Associate Dean for Faculty Development & John Byrd Martin Chair of Law

Teniece Divya Johnson; certified intimacy coordinator and intimacy director for television, film and stage

Richard Ford; Stanford University, George E. Osborne Professor of Law

Elaine Gan; New York University, XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement

Antero Garcia; Stanford University, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education

Gina Hernandez; Stanford University, Lecturer, Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, Director of Community-Engaged Learning at Stanford Arts Institute

Jlin; electronic musician and DJ

Kareem Khubchandani; Tufts University, Assistant Professor, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Assistant Professor, Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora

Petra Kuppers; Univeristy of Michigan, Professor of English

Layli Long Soldier; Oglala Lakota poet, writer, feminist, artist, and activist

Jen Marlowe; Donkey Saddle Projects, Founder

Suhaila Meera; Stanford University, PhD Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies

Bernadette Meyler; Stanford University, Carl and Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law, Professor, by courtesy, English

Amber Jamilla Musser; George Washington University, Professor of American Studies

Mary Kathryn Nagle; Executive Director of Yale University’s Indigenous Performing Arts Program

Jennifer Nash; Duke University, Jean Fox O'Barr Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Bongani Ndodana-Breen; Rhodes University, PhD in Music Composition

Rashaad Newsome; Stanford University, Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Visiting Artist

Erik Nielson; Univeristy of Richmond, Professor of Liberal Arts

Mark Oshirao; award-winning author of ANGER IS A GIFT (2019 Schneider Family Book Award) and EACH OF US A DESERT

Grant Parker; Stanford University, Associate Professor of Classics

Ann Pellegrini; New York University, Professor of Performance Studies and Social and Cultural Analysis

Amanda Reid; Stanford University, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Enrico Riley; Dartmouth, Professor of Studio Art

Josh Rios; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Assistant Professor, Adjunct Contemporary Practices

Avgi Saketopoulou; New York University, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Ellen Samuels; University of Wisconsin, Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies

Austin Sarat; Amherst College, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science; Associate Provost and Associate Dean of the Faculty

Hadiya Sewer; Stanford University, Research Fellow, African and African American Studies

Dashka Slater; journalist, novelist, and children's book author, author of the New York Times best-selling young-adult true crime narrative The 57 Bus

Niegel Smith; Artistic Director of NYC's Obie-Award winning theater, The Flea

Stephanie Syjuco; UC Berkeley, Associate Professor of Sculpture

Amara Tabor-Smith; Stanford Univeristy, Artistic Director of Committee on Black Performing Arts and Artist-in-Residence for Institute for Diversity in the Arts

Ann Tweedy; University of South Dakota, Associate Professor of Law

Jennifer Tyburczy; UC Santa Barbara, Department of Theater and Dance, Feminist Studies

Pavithra Vasudevan; University of Texas-Austin, Assistant Professor of Women's & Gender Studies and African & African Diaspora Studies

Claire Warden; Curriculum Development Coordinator of Intimacy Director and Coordinators

Robert Weisberg; Stanford University, Edwin E. Huddleson, Jr. Professor of Law, Faculty Co-Director Stanford Criminal Justice Center

Amelia Winger-Bearskin; Stanford University, Quarterly Hanitchak Lecturer hosted by Stanford's American Indian Staff Forum and the Native American Cultural Center

Eleanor Wong; National University of Singapore, Associate Professor of Law

Graduate students who have contributed to this workshop include: Kari Barclay, Emma Brush, Jamie Fine, Timothy Jones, Anna Jayne Kimmel, Alexander Mejía, Westley Montgomery, Umniya Najaer and Christine Xiong

Anna Kimmel headshot

Contact:

Anna Kimmel
Ph.D. Candidate Performance Studies
ajkimmel@stanford.edu