2022 TASS-AOS Programs

2022 TASS-AOS Programs

Our TASS-AOS programs will be held in 2022, between June 26 and August 6.

You can read about the 2022 seminars by clicking on the tabs below.

Cornell – AOS (Junior)

Imagining Better Futures

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

June 26 – August 6, 2022

Faculty: Greg Londe, Cornell University, and William Bridges, University of Rochester

Factotums: TBA


Seminar Description: This seminar invites students to imagine better futures.  “There is,” Octavia Butler tells us, “nothing new under the sun.  But there are new suns.”  In light of Butler’s insight, this course searches for “new suns,” or the infinite possibilities for creating futures brighter than our pasts and presents.

The search for better futures, however, encounters a self-evident difficulty.  Karl Marx writes that “social revolution…can draw its poetry only from the future, not from the past.”  But how can we study (or, in Marx’s words, “draw poetry”) from the future, which, technically, does not yet exist?  

In order to answer this question—and, ultimately, to hone our capacity to plan and dream the actions today that will make possible better tomorrows—this seminar introduces the dynamic field of futures studies.  With its foundational interest in re-imagining better and more just futures, futures studies scholarship allows us to pose practically minded questions about how we get where we want to go.

The field of futures studies, however, has not paid enough attention to how the legacies and reverberations of racial injustice continue to contour the possibilities and impossibilities before us.  And so we pair readings in futures studies with capacious reading of Afro-futurist science fiction, poetry, and visual art, Native-futurist short films, coding projects, comics, and readings from fields ranging from law to sociology to physics.

The seminar begins by taking an inventory of your personal images of possible futures.  From here, we imagine preferable (and cataclysmic) futures alongside futurists and creatives such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell, Joshua Whitehead, Skawennati, and Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.  Our conversation culminates in the creation and curation of a museum from the future.

Maryland – AOS (Sophomore)

Art at the End of the World: Crisis and Creation in the 1990s

University of Maryland, College Park

June 26 – August 6, 2022

Faculty: Jakeya Caruthers, Drexel University, and Isaiah Wooden, Brandeis University

Factotums: TBA


Seminar Description: Situated between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the War on Terror, the 1990s were an especially fecund and catalytic time in art-making. Fueled by innovations in technology and new media forms, increasing multiculturalism and globalization, and a pervasive concern about “the end”—of the century, of the millennium, of the world—artists across mediums and genres began developing and perfecting new aesthetic approaches and practices that better accounted for and grappled with their lived realities and a rapidly-changing world. The significant artistic, cultural, social, and political transformations the decade gave rise to are only now starting to garner robust critical attention. In this course, we will build on some of the recent efforts to explore the not-so-distant-past of the 1990s, sharpening particular focus on the ways that art, culture, politics, and various theoretical movements converged during the decade to produce new ways of knowing, understanding, and creating. We will explore artworks that span genres—theater, visual art, film, and television, among them—and that speak to some of the major aesthetic, cultural, and political changes within and across the period. Simultaneously, we will take up critical questions about globalization, technology, citizenship, sociality, the body, race, gender, and feeling.

Michigan – AOS (Junior)

Race and the Limits of Law in America

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

June 26 – August 6, 2022

Faculty: Vincent Lloyd and Dana Lloyd, Villanova University

Factotums: TBA


Seminar Description: The struggle with racial difference has defined the United States. From slavery and segregation to settlers’ relations with Native Americans and the racialization of immigrants, questions of racial identity and American identity have been deeply interwoven. The way Americans argue about these issues is often through law: laws that define racial categories, lawsuits that contest discrimination, and appeals to a law of nature higher than the law of the land. Law would seem to manage conflict; justice would seem to be colorblind. But lawmakers and even judges can be motivated by personal or cultural biases. Law can create and perpetuate racial injustices. This course examines how law has served as a primary battleground in struggles for racial justice in the United States, and how law sometimes turns out to be inadequate. The stories of lives defined by race often cannot be contained in the law. 

To examine law and its limits, we will explore six sites of racial contest in the United States: slavery, segregation, indigenous rights, immigrant rights, mass incarceration, and affirmative action. For each topic, we will read a key decision by the US Supreme Court: an attempt to make law speak to racialized lives. For each topic, we will also read a literary work that grapples with the same questions of race addressed in the law. Reading law and literature together, we will hone our skills at critically analyzing each. We will explore the way legal arguments work, and the way that they depend on modes of understanding beyond the law. We will also explore how literature can highlight the injustices of law, questioning the apparent truths of racial experience.