LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of English will host acclaimed artist and scholar May Joseph to present the 2016 John F. Eberhardt Memorial Lecture, “Archipelago Aesthetics.”
The event will take place 7-8:30 p.m. April 18 in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union.
May Joseph is founder of Harmattan Theater Inc., an environmental theater company based in New York City, and professor of global studies in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, New York. She has written widely on globalization, urbanism, performance, film and visual culture, including “Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination” (Duke University Press, 2013); “Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship” (Minnesota, 1999) and has served as co-editor of “Performing Hybridity” (Minnesota, 1999), “City Corps” (Journal of Space and Culture), “New Hybrid Identities” (Women and Performance, 1995) and “Bodywork” (Women and Performance, 1999). She is currently completing a book about maritime flows and Indian Ocean cities.
As both a scholar and dramatist, Joseph has an ongoing interest in island cities, coastal areas, and archipelagoes, in particular the junctures among coastal communities, citizenship and water politics. “Archipelago Aesthetics” focuses on how water shapes the ways we imagine urban futures, looking in particular at how, in New York City, this impending reality, shaped by storm surge and Hurricane Sandy, has heighted a sense of the city as an archipelago.
Coastal redesign and the sense of being a coastal community have brought to the fore the “island-ness” of New York’s landscape, and with it questions like "What does it mean to live by the sea? How can artists and writers engage with this question?" Joseph’s talk will explore some of the resulting discourses emerging around the idea of island cities and archipelagoes, as cities like New York re-invent their own ecologies.