The Arts of Critique

A workshop of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs
Campus Expandido, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Mexico City, Mexico
September 6-8, 2018

This workshop seeks to prompt anew the question on the dialectic of art and criticism from the standpoint of social and political exigencies of our times. It attempts to address the transformative capacity of contemporary art and art criticism to inscribe in and actively condition or mobilize collective imaginaries and struggles contesting domination. The “contemporary” here does not only refer to contemporary artistic forms and productions but, more widely, to art that, in its afterlives and futurity, is signified and contextualized as contemporary. We would like to explore art as a mode of political performativity and embodied critical engagement with the geopolitics of injustice, normalized anesthesia, fascism, destructive violences of displacement, and occupation, as well as contemporary forms of dissent, protest and rearticulations of democracy. As the risks of aestheticization continue to contentiously engage art, art theory, and critical theory, the old but persistent question of the affirmative and/or deconstructive relationship of critique to its objects gains new currency in discussions of critical theory and art criticism today. The questions we would like to address and thematize include: How do different genres of art and humanities alert us to the intimate publics that are formed and deformed in times of loss and crisis? How do feminist, queer, postcolonial/decolonial, postnational perspectives and interventions call attention to, and reclaim, the political implications of art as critique beyond Eurocentric ramifications of critical discourse? What kinds of (un)belongings and displacement, figured through tropes of gendered, sexualized, ethnicized and racialized vulnerability, could allow us to think (with) the limits and the resistant potential of art? What sorts of epistemic violence, infrastructural claims and institutional commitments are at work in art as critique in the age of global capital, border securitization, and neocolonial governmentality? While we pay attention to new critical imagination and political discourses emerging in tandem with and in response to art, we are also interested in the unending and newly-configured questions regarding regimes of censorious power and the normative codes of public permissibility. In all, this workshop seeks to trace the ways in which critical theory and the arts affect –and are affected by- one another, as this political alliance can provide the means to critically imagine the contemporary.


Natalia Brizuela
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Elena Tzelepis
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece


Meltem Ahiska, Professor of Sociology, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Athena Athanasiou, Professor of Social Anthropology, Panteion University, Greece
Mariana Botey, Associate Professor in Latin American Modern/Contemporary Art History, UC, San Diego, USA
Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor, Film & Media and Spanish & Portuguese, UC Berkeley, USA
Victoria Collis-Buthelezi, Senior Lecturer, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Irmgard Emmelhainz, Independent writer, scholar, and translator, Mexico City, Mexico
Alfonso Fierro, Graduate Student, Department of Spanish & Portuguese and Program in Critical Theory, UC Berkeley, USA
María Antonia González Valerio, Professor of Philosophy, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico
Banu Karaca, Mercator-IPC Fellow, Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University, Turkey
Rosaura Martínez, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico
Pedro J. Rolón Machado, Graduate Student in Department of Comparative Literature and Program in Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley; Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, USA
Leticia Sabsay, Assistant Professor of Gender and Contemporary Culture, LSE Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Research Associate, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Elena Tzelepis, Assistant Professor, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Françoise Vergès, Global South(s) Chair, Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, France

International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) Team 

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and Program in Critical Theory; Co-Director, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, UC Berkeley, USA
Penelope Deutscher, Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor, Department of Philosophy; Associate Director of Critical Theory Cluster; Co-Director, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, Northwestern University, USA
Breana George, Project Manager, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs; Managing Editor, Critical Times,  UC Berkeley, USA
Ramsey McGlazer, Postdoctoral Scholar, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs; Associate Editor, Critical Times,  UC Berkeley, USA
Katharine Wallerstein, Graduate Student Researcher, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs; Associate Editor, Critical Times,  UC Berkeley, USA

Campus Expandido Team 

Amanda de la Garza, Associate Curator, MUAC, Mexico
Alejandra Labastida, Associate Curator, MUAC, Mexico
Eliza Mizrahi, Academic Curator, MUAC, Mexico


Thursday, September 6
11:00 – 11:15 AM | Workshop Introduction
Natalia Brizuela and Elena Tzelepis, Co-conveners
11:15 – 11:30 AM | Brief Self-Introductions of Everyone Present
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM | Session 1
At the Borders of Democracy: Bodies, Counter-Hegemony, and the Art of Disobedience
Leticia Sabsay
Arguably, one of the features that characterizes our contemporary transnational times is a concern with renewed struggles for the meaning of democracy. In this post-democratic moment (Mouffe, 2014), political and cultural practices, mobilizations, and demands have been exceeding, and ultimately questioned, some of representative democracies’ core conventions: from the massive feminist demonstrations and strikes, to the rise of populist politics both in Europe and in the Americas. Importantly, none of these struggles abandons the idea of democracy, but rather, they reclaim it in new ways, foregrounding the embodied dimension of politics and its affective domain. In this presentation, I interrogate some of the limits, but also the emancipatory potential that the signifier “democracy” enacts within these struggles, focusing on the current investment in cultural activism and counter-hegemonic uses of artistic media vis-à-vis the effort to circumscribe bodily life along gendered, sexualized, and racialized lines.
At Odds with the Possible, or What Critical Theory Can (Still) Do
Athena Athanasiou
What concerns me in this presentation is the question of reckoning with the contingent circumstances of the possible in relation to a critical temporality that dislocates the normalizing division between the “here and now” and the “there and then.” It is precisely this indeterminate possibility that enables the always unprefigurable, and potentially subversive, performative politics of critical engagement. What is politically significant about the performativity of criticality is that it does not entail an absolute rupture between possibility and impossibility.
1:00 – 2:30 PM | Lunch Break
2:30 – 4:00 PM | Session 2
Imagining Spaces for Autonomous Survival against the Legacy of Modernity
Irmgard Emmelhainz
Under the current naked version of absolute capitalism, it has ceased to make sense to think about the world as divided into First and Third, North and South, East and West; rather, we are seeing modernized pockets of privilege and cultural sophistication coexist with enclaves inhabited by what I call “redundant populations.” This sector of the global population has differential access to healthcare, citizenship, debt, education and jobs; some of them inhabit “zones of sacrifice,” which, by many accounts, are the contemporary manifestation of coloniality. Cultural intervention on behalf of the redundant populations operates by offering tools of repair and hope like visibility, restitution, relocation, culture and counter-information. In doing so, (we) the very system is (are) denying that anything was ever broken in the first place.
Why Arts in a Time of Neoliberalism, Neo-Fascism, and Racial Capitalocene?
Françoise Vergès
I wish to discuss how to represent the deep destructive power of neoliberalism and racial capitalocene so that representations lead to thinking and mobilization. It think we have entered a global counter-revolution, an era of sexism, racism, and neo-fascism that has its own specificities. When dominant discourse says “there is no alternative,” how do we imagine the present? When a past of enslavement, colonization, and utter destruction is not behind but before us, how do we disrupt notions of time and space?
4:00 – 4:30 PM | Coffee Break
4:30 – 6:00 PM | Session 3
Architectural Imagination of the Future: Art, Critique, and Politics
Meltem Ahıska
Architectural shapes have always permeated philosophical discourse on modernity. This presentation attempts to problematize the metaphors of contemporary critical discourse, such as “destabilizing,” “unfixing,” or “deconstructing” the existing structures of practice and thought, which suggest “fluidity” and “open-ended movement.” The emphasis is mostly on dissolving the entrenched categories and identities. Today, critical academics in social sciences and humanities mostly decline from imaging a shape for the future, which in many accounts remain chaotic, even catastrophic. How can we alternatively imagine the future? Could there be any concrete shape and texture to this imagination? In other words, could there be an architectural modeling of the future in theory and politics? And what is the role of art in imagining futurity? By referring to some contemporary examples of artwork from Turkey, the presentation will advance some reflections and suggestions for rethinking the temporal-spatial aspects of architectural imagination and futurity.
Proletarian Cities: Urban Utopias of the Cardenismo in Mexico
Alfonso Fierro
This presentation examines the question of working class housing during the 1930s in Mexico through a discussion of a novel (José Mancisidor’s La ciudad roja) and an urban planning model for a worker’s city (Proyecto de la ciudad obrera) as a precedent of the urban developments that would characterize the following three decades.
Friday, September 7
11:00 AM | MUAC curators/educators share about the Campus Expandido program.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM | Session 4
Instructions on How to Build a Species
Rosaura Martínez and María Antonia González Valerio
What is an organism? How are unity and identification produced? What kind of epistemes and practices are involved in the classification of the sensible world? This project aims to build a critique of scientific models as an autonomous episteme and brings forward the different ways in which reality can be approached, from a historical point of view, to an artistic one. By this means, the project intends to explore the epistemic conditions in which the notion of “species” in the specific framework of an artificial archive written from the fern as a figure, acquires meaning. We have invented instructions to build different species of ferns following different paradigms of knowledge, that is, not only biological and botanical, but also of gardening, decorative, traditional medicine, ancient philosophy, and biotechnology, among others to come. Our expectation is that by showing and provoking the complexity according to which an organism is defined and classified as a species, the multiplicity of epistemes and agents involved in writing an archive will be exposed as something to be constantly under consideration. The re-writing of the archive is a never-ending task that asks for a continuous critique and reflection.
Ola en el Tiempo: The Liquid Opaque and the Puerto Rican Sensory Archive
Pedro Rolón
In this presentation, I hope to clarify an evolving methodology for reading Caribbean aesthetic production, one that seeks to think with the limits and possibilities of the sensorium imagined by a history of colonial and anticolonial discourses of this region. What can we gauge from tracing the sensorial histories, the sense-work, of the dialogues between Caribbean space and the aesthetic mediations that interrogate and produce it? In short, I seek to arrive at a liquid aesthetics, a genealogy that highlights the ways in which water travels through this “sensory archive” by discussing a short constellation of poetry, visual art, and political writings in Puerto Rico.
1:00 – 2:30 PM | Lunch Break
2:30 – 4:00 PM | Session 5
Robarte El Arte: A Cavalier History of the Readymade. Case Studies from Latino America, 1970s to Present
Mariana Botey
While Juan Jose Gurrola still stands as a non-assimilable reminder to an official and institutional history of contemporary art in Mexico, there is just about enough evidence in the serendipitous circulation and currency of the work of Gurrola to excuse an attempt to make his influence the missing link/referent in identifying an anti-economic principle organizing a modality of core strategies that, in fact, have distinguished a form of Renegade Aesthetics in the Mexican art practices of the 1980s and 90s. The difficulty here—the case of Gurrola as the missing piece of the puzzle—emerges from an intuition that would almost wish to protect the clandestine positioning as a sort of “trade secret” among three generations of artist and intellectuals; a refusal to the undertaking of ¨deciphering the drums¨ of the Mexican reified experience—of politics and culture of the last four decades—for the privilege of a global elite of art consumers, traders and specialists. An account of Renegade Art and actions of the 1990s in Mexico is not realized without plotting into the dismembered community of artists that traffic ciphers around the alibi-figure of Juan Jose Gurrola—a kinship flagged by a tacit disavowing of the giveaway of the objective substance informing the phantasmatic exchange-value and display-value of Mexican Contemporary Art.
In what manner and by which means does Gurrola foreshadow the making of the contemporary in the Mexican art practices of the 1980s and 90s? To some extent this question refers us to the other more general question of when, what and with whom does contemporary art begin in Mexico?  A schematic and academic argument of lineage, origin, influence and genealogy, no doubt. However, worth entertaining as the questions directs us to an economic question—one that is specific to use value and exchange value within a more or less buoyant and growing art-economy amid generalized economic devastation and destruction undermining social stability and peace since the Mexican Peso Crisis of 1994. Again, a link inscribing an inverted relation to the major crisis effect of the signing of NAFTA that inaugurates Globalization, and the consequent programatics of a regime of austerity and debt subordinated to the strict policy of the IMF, WTO, and global banking. While at the same time triggering a process superimposing the production and construction of a narrative (ideology) of the contemporary as a new form of “Displaying Mexico” in the global art circuits—with surprising and unforeseen success in visibility, development of infrastructure, and a degree of economic expansion and institutional viability. Scarcity Cum Value: could we propose a tentative and speculative reading?  Arguing that the contemporary shift in Mexican art was driven by an anti-economy? Back to Gurrola, a precedent and an illuminating correlation points to his intervention-performance-film, Robarte el Arte of 1972. Gurrola’s action-film example might function as a point of origin, as well as a remainder of a logic that is yet to be assimilated, that circumvents translation and, to a certain degree, escapes accountability.
Art, Dispossession and Imaginations of Justice
Banu Karaca
This work-in-progress brings together three interrelated sites that have been subject to critical theory to varying degrees: the entanglement of the art world in state violence and dispossession; the epistemic violence inscribed in art historical taxonomies; and aesthetic practices and art works that tend to both the erasures and redistributive processes that accompany dispossession. The presentation explores how these sites are connected or thought apart in different conceptualizations and imaginations that connect aesthetics to equality and beauty to (historical) justice by engaging the works of artists Sarkis, Dilek Winchester and Maria Eichhorn.
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM | Coffee Break
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM | Session 6
For Black Critique
Victoria Collis-Buthelezi
Description forthcoming.
Critical Poetics and Re-appropriations of the “Tragic”
Elena Tzelepis
If what is at stake in Antigone is the care for the beloved brother, with all the ambivalence entailed in fraternal love and duty, the concern of this work-in-progress is with how the political subjectivity of resistance is embodied in the figure of the “foreigner” within conditions of vulnerability, exile, asylum, and border securitization. At a historical moment when the rhetorical trope of the “tragic” turns into a commonplace in the discursive milieus of spectacularization and humanitarian management of displacement, Antigone becomes a performative resource of critical discourses in relation to witnessing, hierarchies of mourning, and the narrativization of the unspeakable.
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM | Collective Closing Discussion
Saturday, September 8
Half-day visit with artist Fernando Palma / Capulli Tecalco in Milpa Alta
10:00 AM | Departure from Four Points Sheraton Hotel, Av. Álvaro Obregón 38, Roma Norte
The workshop will take a field trip to visit artist Fernando Palma in the southern Mexico City community of Milpa Alta. Palma is an indigenous artist and one of the most interesting artists today in Mexico, who also runs, with his family, a community organization called Calpulli Tecalco, serving the indigenous community of Milpa Alta with reading classes, art classes, artist residencies and lessons on how to return to the sustainable agricultural form of the milpa—community-based and collectively worked indigenous practice. We will meet Fernando at the Calpulli Tecalco site where he will give us a presentation of his own work as an artist, and then we will go al campo where he will explain and show us the work of Calpulli Tecalco with the community. This opportunity will give a very rich layer to Palma’s own work as an artist, which comes from those communal practices inserted in today’s present life.

Recommended Readings 

Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. “The Problem of Speech Genres.” In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Edited by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Translated by Vern W. McGee. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986.
Boym, Svetlana. The Off-Modern. (Read especially: “History Out-of-Synch,” “Ruinophilia,” “Off-Modern Urbanism,” and “Estrangement for the World.”) New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Butler, Judith. Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
———.. “What is Critique? An Essay on Foucault’s Virtue.” 2001.
———. “Giving an Account of Oneself.” Diacritics 31, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 22-40.
Collis-Buthelezi, Victoria J. (2017) “The Case for Black Studies in South Africa.” The Black Scholar 47, no. 2, 7-21. 
———. “Caribbean Regionalism, South Africa, and Mapping New World Studies.” Small Axe 19, no. 1 (March 2015): 37-54.
Derrida, Jacques, and Prenowitz, Eric. “Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression.” Diacritics 25, no. 2 (Summer 1995): 9-63. 
Glissant, Édouard. “Concerning the Poem’s information” (81-85), “Open Circle, Lived Relation” (195-203), “The Burning Beach” (205-209). In Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.
Ramírez, Mari Carmen. “The Masses Are the Matrix: Theory and Practice of the Cinematographic Murals in Siqueiros.” In David Alfaro Siqueiros: Portrait of a Decade, 1930-40, edited by Catherine Lampert and Graciela de Reyes Retena, 66-95. Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Arte, 1997.
Riley, Denise. “Echo, Irony and the Political.” In The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.
Scarry, Elaine. On Beauty and Being Just. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Tuck, Eve, and Yang, K.Wayne. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, no. 1 (2012): 1-40.
Vergès, Françoise. “Deep in the Fire of Capitalism.” Unpublished talk, September 22, 2018. Sursock Museum, Beirut.
———. “A Museum Without Objects.” In The Postcolonial Museum: The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of History. Edited by Iain Chambers, Alessandra De Angelis, Celeste Ianniciello, Mariangela Orabona, 25-38. New York: Routledge, 2016.
——— and Marimoutou, Jean-Claude Carpanin. “Scenes of subjection: A cartography of power” (7-8), “Land of the banished and the deported” (8), “Peripheries” (8-9), “Writing histories” (9-10), “Figures of exclusion” (11), “Seascapes” (13-14), “Time-space world” (14-15), and “Indianoceanness: anchorage and moorings” (15-16). In Moorings: Indian Ocean Creolizations.” Translated by Stephen Muecke and Françoise Vergès. PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 9, no. 1 (2012).

Participant Bios

Meltem Ahiska is Professor of Sociology at Boğaziçi University. She has written and edited a number of books, including Occidentalism in Turkey: Questions of Modernity and National Identity in Turkish Radio Broadcasting. Her articles and essays on Occidentalism, social memory, monuments, national identity, gender, and feminism have appeared in various journals and edited volumes. She has been in the editorial collectives of Akıntıya Karşı, Zemin, Defter, Pazartesi journals. She is a member of the editorial board of the e-journal Red Thread.
Athena Athanasiou is Professor of Social Anthropology and Gender Theory at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece. Among her publications are the books: Agonistic Mourning: Political Dissidence and the Women in Black (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); Life at the Limit: Essays on Gender, Body and Biopolitics (Athens, 2007); Crisis as a ‘State of Exception’ (Athens, 2012); and (with Judith Butler) Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (Polity Press, 2013). She co-edited (with Elena Tzelepis) Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and ‘the Greeks’ (SUNY Press, 2010). Her publications include also articles and collective volumes on feminist/queer theory, biopolitics, corporealities, memory, the politics of dissent, criticality, and radical democracy. She is currently working on a manuscript on criticality and politics as the art of the im/possible. Athanasiou has been a fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, at Columbia University. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the journals Critical Times and Feminist Formations.
Mariana Botey is an art historian, curator, and artist born in Mexico City. She is an Associate Professor in Latin American Modern/Contemporary Art History in the Visual Arts Department of University of California, San Diego. She received her MFA in Studio Art and Ph.D. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine. She also obtained an MFA from the Studio Art Program at the same institution and a B.A.H. from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London. Her book Zonas de Disturbio: Espectros del México Indígena en la Modernidad is published by Siglo XXI Editores. From 2009-2011 she was academic director for the graduate theory seminar Zonas de Disturbio at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), and a research fellow at the CENIDIAP-INBA (National Center for Research, Information and Documentation of Fine Arts). Botey was also part of the Juan José Gurrola’s theatre company, “Teatro Estudio G”, where she worked as an actress, participated in workshops, wrote and constructed the play for five years; accordingly, her artwork has a strong reference to Gurrola theater. Her experimental films and documentaries have shown at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Reina Sofia, Madrid; The San Diego Museum of Art; El Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Anthology Film Archives, New York; among many other museums, galleries, and festivals. Since 2009 she is a founding member of the editorial and curatorial committee of The Red Specter, and since 2011, of Zona Crítica, an editorial collaboration between Siglo XXI Editores, UNAM, and UAM. Other publications include Estética y Emancipación: Fantasma, Fetiche, Fantasmagoría (Siglo XXI Editores, 2014) and MEX/LA: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985 (HATJECANTZ, 2012). She lives and works in San Diego, California and Mexico City.
Natalia Brizuela is Associate Professor in the departments of Film & Media and Spanish & Portuguese at UC Berkeley, where she is also associated with the Programs in Critical Theory and in Gender and Women’s Studies. She is the Director of Berkeley’s Arts Research Center (2018-2019). Her work focuses on photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics from Latin America and the Global South. Brizuela is the author of three books on photography: Photography and Empire; After Photography; and The Matter of Photography in the Americas. She is also the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (2015) on photographers Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, and of a book of essays on experimental writer Osvaldo Lamborghini (2008). She has recently completed editing a book of essays on Brazilian documentary filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, and is currently at work on a study of time as critique in contemporary audio-visual practices from the Global South. She is co-editor of the book series Critical South (Polity). She has curated a number of exhibitions in the United States and Argentina, among them The Matter of Photography in the Americas (Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, 2018) and No sé (El templo del sol) (Parque de la Memoria, Buenos Aires, 2014).
Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program in Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Founding Director of the Program in Critical Theory. She is the author of: Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth- Century France (1987); Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990); Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993); The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (1997); Excitable Speech (1997); Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000); Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning (2004); Undoing Gender (2004); Who Sings the Nation-State?: Language, Politics, Belonging (with Gayatri Spivak, 2008); Frames of War: When Is LifeGrievable? (2009); Is Critique Secular? (with Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Saba Mahmood, 2009); and Sois Mon Corps (with Catherine Malabou, 2011). Her most recent books include: Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012); Dispossessions: The Performative in the Political (with Athena Athanasiou, 2013); Senses of the Subject (2015); and Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015). Butler is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Andrew W. Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities (2009-2013). With Penelope Deutscher, she co-directs the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.
Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi is Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Johannesburg. Over the last three years she held a joint appointment at PARI (Public Affairs Research Institute) and WiSER, dividing her time between both Institutes. She has taught at the University of Cape Town and was inaugural Director of the South African program of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity, in partnership with Columbia University and Atlantic Philanthropies to bring together scholars, activists and artists whose work shares a commitment to disrupting and dismantling anti-Black racism, with fellows coming from the United States and South Africa. Victoria co-convenes the National Institute of the Humanities (NIHSS) Catalytic Project (2016-2018) entitled “Other Universals,” which focuses on intellectual connections across India, the Caribbean and Africa and the recently awarded Mellon supranational iteration of “Other Universals.” Her current book project, Before Nation: Black Solidarity Before the Rise of Anti-Colonial Nationalism, excavates Black globalism in Cape Town at the dawn of the 20th century and its investments in empire thinking. She has published in Small AxeCallaloo, and guest edited The Black Scholar. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
Penelope Deutscher is Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University and Associate Director of Northwestern’s Critical Theory Cluster. She specializes in gender and sexuality studies, and in twentieth century and contemporary French philosophy. Her publications include The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Ambiguity, Conversion, Resistance (Cambridge Universiyt Press, 2008), How to Read Derrida (Granta/Norton 2005), A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray (Cornell University Press, 2002) and Yielding Gender: Feminism, Deconstruction and the History of Philosophy (Routledge 1997). She co-edited (with Françoise Collin) Repenser le politique: l’apport du féminisme (Campagne première/Les Cahiers du Grif, 2004) and (with Kelly Oliver) Enigmas: Essays on Sarah Kofman, (Cornell University Press, 1999). Most recently she is co-editor (with Olivia Custer and Samir Haddad) of Foucault/Derrida Fifty Years Later: The Futures of Deconstruction, Genealogy, and Politics and of Critical Theory in Critical Times(co-edited with Cristina Lafont) and author of Foucault’s Futures: A Critique of Reproductive Reason, which are forthcoming with Columbia University Press in 2016 –2017. With Judith Butler, she co-directs the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.
Irmgard Emmelhainz is an independent translator, writer and researcher based in Mexico City. Her work about film, the Palestine Question, art, culture and neoliberalism has been translated to Chinese, German, Italian, Norwegian, French, English, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew and Serbian and has been published in an array of international publications. She has presented it at an array of international venues including the Graduate School of Design at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2014) the March Meeting at Sharjah, the Walter Benjamin in Palestine Conference (2015), the New School and Americas Society (2016), SBC Gallery, Montreal (2016),  University of California in San Diego, ArtBo, Bogotá, School of Visual Arts, New York, Curatorial Summit (2017), University of Texas at Dallas (2018), and The Munch Museum (Oslo, 2018). Her book in Spanish, The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico’s Neoliberal Conversion, came out in 2016 with a preface by Franco (Bifo) Berardi. The Sky is Incomplete: Travel Chronicles in Palestine was published by Taurus Mexico last year, and Jean-Luc Godard’s Political Filmmaking is forthcoming next Fall with Palgrave Macmillan.
Alfonso Fierro is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Program in Critical Theory. He studies modern literature, urbanism, and culture in Latin America. His current project focuses on urban utopias in postrevolutionary Mexico (1920s-1960s). He has published articles in academic and non-academic journals such as Discurso Visual, Arquine, Tierra Adentro, and Cuadrivio. In 2018, he published the novel Una línea que cae y se deshace (Camelot América).
Amanda de la Garza Mata is a curator, art historian and poet who lives and works in Mexico City. She has published poems, interviews, reviews and academic articles in local and international publications on subjects such as poetry, documentary photography, urban studies, and contemporary art. She is interested in interdisciplinary practices in contemporary art that involve poetry, cinema, social sciences, archival research, and contemporary dance, with a particular focus in Latin America and the Global South.
Breana George is project manager of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs at the University of California, Berkeley. She also serves as the managing editor of the Consortium’s journal Critical Times.  She has worked for over a decade managing and developing interdisciplinary programs for academic and research organizations in the humanities and social sciences. From 2012 to 2015, she was research coordinator for the Center for Migration Studies of New York and managing editor of The Journal on Migration and Human Security, a refereed publication devoted to U.S. and international policy debates on migration. She holds a Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Feminist Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
María Antonia González Valerio is Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature and teaches in the postgraduate programs in Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Art History and Fine Arts at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is head of the research group Arte+Ciencia which brings together artists, humanists, and scientists to produce educational forums, specialized theoretical research, artistic creation, and exhibitions. She is the author of the books Cabe los límites. Escritos sobre filosofía natural desde la ontología estética (México: UNAM/Herder, 2016), Un tratado de ficción (México: Herder, 2010) and El arte develado (México: Herder, 2005). She has coordinated several edited volumes, most recently Sin origen/Sin semilla (México: UNAM/Bonilla editores, 2016) and Pròs Bíon: Reflexiones naturales sobre arte, ciencia y filosofía (México: UNAM, 2015). González coordinates the artistic collective “BIOS Ex machinA: Taller de fabricación de lo humano y lo no humano,” whose work on transgenic and biotechnological art has exhibited in Mexico, Portugal and Belgium. She has curated many exhibitions, including “Sin origen/Sin semilla (Without origin/Without Seed),” the first transgenic and biotech art exhibition in Mexico (MUAC-MUCA Roma, 2012), and “Bioartefactos: Desgranar lentamente un maíz,” on the subject of transgenic and criollo maize (MACO, Oaxaca, 2014).
Banu Karaca is an anthropologist working at the intersection of political anthropology, art and aesthetics, nationalism and cultural policy, museums and commemorative practices. She is currently a Mercator-IPC Fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center (Sabanci University, Istanbul). Her manuscript The National Frame: State Violence and Aesthetic Practice in Turkey and Germany examines the entrenchment of the art world in state violence. Banu’s ongoing research centers on how “lost,” dispossessed, and misattributed artworks have shaped the practice of writing art history in Turkey. Some of her recent publications interrogate freedom of expression in the arts, the visualization of gendered memories of war and political violence, visual literacy, and the legacies of Nazi-looted art in German arts institutions. She is the co-founder of Siyah Bant, a research platform that researches and documents censorship in the arts in Turkey.
Alejandra Labastida is associate curator at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico City where she has worked since 2008. She holds a B.A degree in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana as well as an M.A in Art History from UNAM. In 2013 she received the ICI/SAHA Research Award and in 2012 she was the winner of the Akbank Sanat International Curatorial Competition in Istanbul. Labastida was assistant curator at the Mexican Pavilion during the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale. She has published in numerous catalogues and art magazines. Her most recent curatorial projects include Teresa Margolles. Sutura; Chto Delat. When We Thought We Had All The Answers, Life Changed The Questions; Cevdet Erek. A Long Distance Relationship; Camel Collective. The Distance from Pontresina to Zermatt is the same as from Zermatt to Pontresina; Jill Magid: A Letter Always Reaches Its Destination. The Barragán Archives; and Mladen Stilinović: 1+2=.
Rosaura Martínez Ruiz is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is a member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico (SNI) and serves as the coordinator of the research project, “Philosophers after Freud” (UNAM, 2013-2016). She is the author of Eros: más allá de la pulsión de muerte (2018), Freud y Derrida: escritura y psique (2013) and the editor of Filósofos después de Freud (2016). She has published several articles on the intersections between psychoanalysis and deconstruction, which include “Deconstrucción como acción política: el imperativo del másallá del másallá” Debates y combates 2(4) (2012), “Freud and Derrida: writing and speculation (or when the future irrupts in the present)” Filozofskivestnik 36 (2015), and “The Freudian Psychic Apparatus: A Bio-politics of resistance and alteration” The Undecidable Unconscious.  A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Deconstruction 2 (2015). In 2016, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Program in Critical Theory of the University of California, Berkeley and in 2017 she received the award for research in the humanities by the Mexican Science Academy. She also serves on the Board of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.
Ramsey McGlazer is a Lecturer in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs. He completed a Ph.D. in comparative literature and critical theory at UC Berkeley in 2015, and in 2015-2016 he was the Artemis A. W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. In 2016, he was co-winner of the American Comparative Literature Association’s Charles Bernheimer Prize. He is currently an Associate Editor of Critical Times and, with Lorenzo Fabbri, Co-Editor of Italian Culture. Ramsey studies comparative modernisms, critical theory, poetry and poetics, postwar Italian film, and theories of gender, sexuality, and subjectivity. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in differencesModernism/modernity, and Postmodern Culture, among other publications. His first book is forthcoming in 2019 in the Lit Z series at Fordham University Press.
Eliza Mizrahi is an academic curator who lives and works in Mexico. Her fields are philosophy, art history, and literature. She has published reviews and academic articles on subjects such as contemporary art, philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. Mizrahi teaches philosophy and art history at UNAM and Universidad Iberoamericana. She is interested in interdisciplinary practices in contemporary art.
Pedro J. Rolón (B.A. in Literature, Yale University, 2014) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Comparative Literature department and the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley. He is a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. Rolón is interested in the history and transformation of the senses, postcolonial sensoriums, liquid poetics, and, more broadly, the relationship between aesthetic experiences and the epistemological fields opened up by poetic, visual and auditory experiments. Recently, he has been reading poetry and other aesthetic objects of the 19th through 21st centuries in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean to think about the ways in which particular aesthetic relations to matter (to water, islands, geography, geology, mangroves) grant a form––a sense––to the discursive organization and emergence of possible political life.
Leticia Sabsay is Assistant Professor of Gender and Contemporary Culture at the LSE Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK and Research Associate at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Prior to this appointment, she held a lectureship at the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, and was a research associate at the Department of Politics and International Studies, The Open University, appointed to the European Research Council Project, “Citizenship after Orientalism.” Prior to her experience in the UK, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Freie Universität in Berlin (Germany), and was a lecturer at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina). She has published extensively in English and Spanish on issues of sexual citizenship, sexual diversity and the politics of recognition, sex work, transnational processes of sexual democratization, cultural translation and imaginaries of sexual justice, performativity and visual culture, including essays in Citizenship Studies, Cultural Studies, and popular journals such as Open Democracy. Sabsay is author of The Sexual Imaginary of Freedom (Palgrave, 2016), and has co-edited with Judith Butler and Zeynep Gambetti, Vulnerability in Resistance (Duke, f2016). In Spanish, she authored two books, the last of which, Fronteras Sexuales: Espacio Urbano, Cuerpos y Ciudadanía (Paidos, 2011), was widely recognized as a key contribution to gender studies in Latin America. She is a member of the Gino Germani Research Institute for Social Sciences (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina). She is an active member of many editorial boards, including Debates y Combates (Buenos Aires), Comment s’en Sortir, Revue de la Société Internationale de Philosophie Féministe et de Théorie Queer (Paris VIII, France) Debate Feminista (PUEG-UNAM, Mexico). She is a series editor for Palgrave’s Thinking Gender in Transnational Times. With Natalia Brizuela, she co-chairs the Polity Press book series, Critical South, of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.
Elena Tzelepis completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York. She is Assistant Professor at the University of Thessaly, Volos. She works on critique and social change, on the intersections of ethics, politics and art, and the politics of difference. Tzelepis’ publications include Antigone’s Antinomies: Critical Readings of the Political (edited, 2014, in Greek) and Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and “the Greeks” (co-edited with Athena Athanasiou, SUNY Press, 2010). She has taught at Columbia University, New York, and held visiting positions at the American University in Cairo, Cairo, and the Public University system of Greece. She has held research positions at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London. 
Françoise Vergès, from Réunion Island, is a feminist and antiracist activist, who received her Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of California, Berkeley. She holds the Global South(s) Chair at the Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris. Vergès who has written on the living memories of slavery and colonialism, Fanon and Césaire, on republican coloniality, racial politics on Black women’s wombs, antiracist political feminism, and served as president of the Committee for the Memory of Slavery in France. She has curated exhibitions and workshops with artists, and organizes visits in French museums around colonial history. Vergès has directed two films on Caribbean authors. She is a member of Humanities Across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World, a research program of the International Institute for Asian Studies funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Katharine Wallerstein is finishing a Ph.D. in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She holds an MA in Rhetoric From UC Berkeley, and an MA in History from Duke University. Her research is on French modernity; aesthetics; the self and subjectivity; the body, gender, sexuality, and feminist theory. She has published articles in Common KnowledgeDebate Feminista, and Fashion Theory. She works as part of the core team of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs at UC Berkeley, and is Associate Editor of the journal Critical Times. Over the past two decades, she has initiated and directed arts and cultural initiatives, programs, centers, and non-profits in the United States and in France.