University of Trash

this looks intriguing:


Keynote Speaker: Paul Butler
Saturday, July 25, 2009, 12-2PM
Sculpture Center, University of Trash
44-19 Purves Street, Queens, NY

The University of Trash at the Sculpture Center is an experiment in alternative architecture, urbanism, and pedagogy.An art exhibit made completely out of recycled and reused trash, it also functions as a temporary University, catalyzing an art space into a site of alternative pedagogy, hosting lectures, presentations and performances, from Marxist Reading Groups to discussions of the Situationist Internationale.

On July 25, The University of Trash will be hosting “Foucault Lab: Subjugated Knowledges.” Foucault’s “subjugated knowledges” are ways of thinking and doing that have been eclipsed, devalued, or rendered invisible within the dominant apparatus of power/knowledge. Foucault jettisons Enlightenment or liberal humanist platitudes such as “truth” “justice” or “liberty,” as well as the belief in a one-size-fits-all foundational universal basis for truth.  Coming out of a Nietzschean genealogy, Foucault contends that truth is that which contending interests claim in order to effect stratagems toward the amassing of power. Truth is produced by a power/knowledge apparatus, that applies norms, controls, exclusions, and renders true/false discourse possible.

We will look at Critical Race Theory as one of the few concrete applications of Foucault’s theory of subjugated knowledge. A more radical offshoot of Critical Legal Studies, Critical Race Theory is a counter-hegemonic legal movement that critiques the Constitution and the civil rights movement, and Pollyanna ideals such as “the rule of law” and “equal protection,” to be responsible for the legitimization of racial discrimination against African Americans. It argues that the traditional liberal image of law as a neutral, impersonal mediator of group conflict masks its function in producing and insulating white supremacy in the United States. Critical Race Theorists argue that by constructing “discrimination” as isolated, irrational deviations from an otherwise legitimate selection process (rather than systemic, endemic longstanding conditions), “liberal” race reform upholds the false myth of American “meritocracy.” Critical Race Theory argues that law does not passively adjudicate questions of social power, but that law is an active instance of the very power politics it purports to avoid and stand above. A type of adversarial scholarship aimed at producing what Edward Said calls “antithetical knowledge,” Critical Race Theory uncovered how law was a constructive element of race itself: in other words, how law constructed race.

We will look at Paul Butler’s concept of jury nullification, slavery reparations, the inextricable intertwining of guilt and innocence with the cultural meaning of race, Paulo Valesio’s concept of  “the rhetoric of anti-rhetoric” to demystify the purported “neutrality” of civil rights legal discourse, and the manipulation and false attribution of neutrality to notions like “color-blind society” to maintain white supremacy in the works of Paul Butler, Richard Delgado, Derrick A. Bell, Kimberle Crenshaw, Alan David Freeman, Sheila Foster, and Kendall Thomas.

Keynote Speaker: Paul Butler

Paul Butler is the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor at George Washington University Law School, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and a member of the American Law Institute. He was a former federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. His work has been published in the Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Legal Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and in the anthology Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge. He has appeared on WNYC, 60 Minutes, Politically Incorrect, Brian Lehrer Show, Donahue, and has spoken at the NAACP, Center for American Progress and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. He is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and the author of Let’s Get Free! A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice (Free Press 2009).

Other Speakers:

Jarrod Shanahan (Philosophy, New School for Social Research) has delivered a lecture on “Foucault, Genealogies, and the Articulation of Radical Thought” at the A Foucault for the 21st Century: Governmentality, Biopolitics & Discipline in the New Millennium Conference in Boston 2008, he chaired a panel at the “What Price? Surveillance Societies” Conference at Macauly Honors College, his “Fanon and the Iraqi Other” article appeared in Human Architecture, a Journal of Social Thought (Fall 2007), and he heads a weekly interdisciplinary discussion group of Foucault’s Security Territory Population, sponsored by the NY Foucault Society at CUNY Macauly Honors College.

Andrea Liu is a visual art and dance critic. She was a recipient of the Museum of Fine Arts at Houston CORE Program Critical Studies fellowship, the Atlantic Center for the Arts residency, Wildacres residency, Vermont Studio Center Visual Art criticism residency, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Criticism fellowship, Chez Bushwick Commissioned Writer, and a New Museum Nightschool Core Participant. She has written for the ArtUS, Postmodern Culture, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, and Movement Research Journal. She has given talks at Society for Dance History Scholars Banff Centre conference, Triangle Arts Workshop in DUMBO, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Archetime Conference. She is the founder of Foucault Lab and was a literature major at Yale (BA).

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