This cluster centers around the transformation of knowledge through our acknowledgment of, and engagement with, bodies, the sensorium, the arts. We assume the cultural, the artistic, and the theoretical to be inextricable from the political, and interventions in these arenas offer ways to shift power relations. We draw on the capacities of the arts to transform even a sterile, institutional classroom or hotel meeting space; Kondo organized a conference panel of scholar-artists who offered incisive theoretical analysis and moving performances of drama, dance, visual art, music, spoken word. A conference participant told us, “You changed the air.” We seek to change the air of the academy, to push for scholarship to acknowledge, theorize and celebrate embodiment, emotion/ affect, mutual vulnerability and susceptibility (Deleuze, Butler). This in turn offers ways to dethrone the master subject, to expand what counts as theory, and to make the academy and the capitalist workplace more humane.

We place scholar-artists at the center of this transformative possibility and welcome critical cultural studies scholars, artists, activists, to join us in pushing conventional boundaries In the process, we hope to continue to “change the air” and to intervene in significant ways in the academy. Rather than grounding our inquiries in area-based studies, we will engage our collective energies around issues of creativity, epistemology, theory, and politics, to share experiences and knowledge across geographic, sexual, and racial boundaries. We envision an expansive cluster where students and faculty could present work-inprogress and where we could welcome scholar-artists who can inspire us. How might we use the powers of the arts and engage the body and the sensorium to move people affectively, intellectually, politically?

Adrian DeLeon (faculty)
Dorinne Kondo (faculty)
Ana Briz (graduate student)

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Department of American Studies & Ethnicity

Located in Kaprielian Hall on the University Park campus, ASE faculty, graduate students, and staff are available to assist you with information and resources about our academic programs and research specialties.


University of Southern California

3620 South Vermont Avenue

Kaprielian Hall 462

Los Angeles, California 90089-2534