Monday, February 8, 2010

Forum on Forms of Seeing Call for Self-Nominations


The Graduate School of Arts and Science and the Institute of Fine Arts are pleased to invite nominations and self-nominations for a specialized interdisciplinary forum for graduate students whose work addresses modes of visual representation and their products. Focused on the ways in which cultures give form to visual experience, the Forum on Forms of Seeing aims to bring together students from a wide range of graduate programs. Applications are encouraged from students who have strong historical and/or theoretical interests in images and visuality in the broadest sense and who wish to become closely familiar with other disciplines concerned with visual representation.

Historically, the study of images has been the academic preserve of “fine arts,” as art history in America was termed in its earliest days. Over the past few decades, however, many other disciplines have become interested in “visuality,” as a wider natural and cultural phenomenon that includes not only the traditional fine arts but imaging practices of all kinds, from cinema and popular print culture to digital reality techniques and scientific modeling. Anthropology, Philosophy, History, Literary Criticism, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience have taken significant interest in the concept of the visual, and relatively young disciplines such as Cinema Studies and Visual Studies or Visual Culture put visual representation at the center of their researches. Art History itself has become more cognizant of the limitations of traditional medium-bound definitions of the image, and has taken up a more fluidly-defined visuality as one of its central problems. Reflecting the dramatic expansion of visuality as a category for scholarly inquiry, the Forum invites applications for membership from any graduate program at NYU.

How images in different periods and cultures imitate, model, render, or critique the world and our visual apprehension of it, for their makers and for their viewers, will be of central interest to the Forum. This historical and comparative approach may profitably be complemented by a philosophical understanding of the image as record of, or model for, acts of seeing. The creation, dissemination, function, signification, efficacy, duration, destruction, and demise of images will be welcome topics for the Forum.

Forum on Forms of Seeing Format

Membership in the Forum on Forms of Seeing will be for one academic year, commencing in September 2010 and ending in May 2011. All eight members will present and critique work in progress during monthly, moderated lunch sessions, scheduled on Fridays, from 12 – 3 p.m., at Washington Square and the Institute of Fine Arts. Honed papers will be presented during a one-day symposium at the Institute of Fine Arts in the spring of 2011. Members are expected to attend every session and to participate in the symposium; each will receive a stipend of $500 per semester.

Application Procedure

To apply for membership in the 2010-11 Forum on Forms of Seeing, please provide a one-page statement of your scholarly interest in visual representation and the relevance of interdisciplinary debate about visuality for your graduate work. Your application should include a current transcript (unofficial is fine), c.v., and a recommendation by a NYU faculty member. Please submit your completed application electronically by Tuesday, March 23 to Anna Antoniak at

The Forum on Forms of Seeing is supported by the Office of the Provost,
the Graduate School of Arts and Science, and the Institute of Fine Arts and its Alumni Association.

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