Who is Silencing Whom? Censorship, Self Censorship and Charlie Hebdo

ASSUMING BOYCOTT: RESISTANCE, AGENCY, AND CULTURAL PRODUCTION Mon 23 Feb 2015 5.00PM-9.00PM The New School, Theresa Lang Community & Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
New York City

Free admission; Participants are strongly encouraged to make use of the event Resource Guide.
  • åCalendar
  • ,Map
  • Y Share
  • * 0Vote
The fifth in a series of seminars investigating political engagement through various artistic and cultural practices, in particular dis-engagement, boycotts, or other modes of withdrawal, Who Is Silencing Whom? looks at how non-participation can be, and often is, construed as involuntary censorship, by oneself or others. Among a wide range of instruments for political engagement, the refusal to engage is increasingly exercised by individuals and institutions as they seek alternative ways to account for political conflicts in the fields they're working in. Who are the censors when cultural producers decide not to engage? When does self-censorship become a legitimate concern for a community, and when does it represent compliance with powers beyond or outside of a community? When is silence unacceptable?

In this lively debate, curators, scholars and artists deconstruct the term of censorship to arrive at a more nuanced and politically effective approach to not speaking, or not speaking directly. In particular, this event addresses persistent arguments that a cultural boycott silences – or isolates – those it is meant to support, that it butts against freedom of speech. Among the speakers are Jennifer Camper, Marguerite Dabaie, Chelsea Haines, Ben Katchor, Svetlana Mintcheva, Eddy Portnoy, Rhoda Rosen , Ari Roth, Bayeté Ross Smith, and Madiha Tahir.

The provocative and fearless work of the French journal Charlie Hebdo launches the evening as participants debate violence, self-censorship and cultural sensitivities.

5:00–6:30 pm
Part 1: Charlie Hebdo
With Jennifer Camper, Marguerite Dabaie, Eddy Portnoy, and Madiha Tahir
Ben Katchor, moderator

7–8:30 pm
Part 2: Self-censorship
With Chelsea Haines, Rhoda Rosen, Ari Roth, and Bayete Ross Smith
Svetlana Mintcheva, moderator

8:30-9:00 pm


Cartoonist Jennifer Camper's books include Rude Girls and Dangerous Women and subGURLZ, and she is the editor of two Juicy Mother comics anthologies. Her cartoons and illustrations have appeared in magazines, newspapers, comic books and anthologies, and have been exhibited internationally. She's the creator and organizer of the Queers & Comics Conference (May, 2015) presented by CLAGS, CUNY Grad Center, NYC.

Marguerite Dabaie is an illustrator, cartoonist, and editor based in Brooklyn. Born in San Francisco, Marguerite moved to New York City in order to attend the School of Visual Arts, where she earned her BFA in cartooning. While there, she was awarded two grants for her comic, The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories, an autobiography about Palestinian-Americans. She is currently working on a new comic, A Voyage to Panjikant, a work of historical-fiction about Central Asians during the height of the Silk Road. This body of work exemplifies her desire to combine comic art with academia. Her MFA thesis that she wrote while at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Women in Middle-Eastern Comics, exemplifies her academic side. She was awarded the Master of Fine Arts Medal during her time at FIT. Marguerite has contributed to multiple comics anthologies throughout the years. Once a year, she co-hosts Pete's Mini Zine Fest, the fest-in-a-bar, in Brooklyn. She regularly teaches art to clients at Visiting Nurse Services, New York, as a form of therapy. She has also taught comic workshops for children and adults at various schools and libraries in the tri-state area.

Chelsea Haines is a curator and writer based in New York. Since 2009, she has organized programs and exhibitions for institutions such as Independent Curators International, Portland State University, the Shanghai Biennial, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. Haines is currently a PhD student in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is a Presidential Research Fellow at The Center for the Humanities. She has held curatorial residencies and research fellowships at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), Residency Unlimited, and Artport Tel Aviv. Haines is currently a contributing editor of Guernica and editor-at-large of The Exhibitionist. She writes regularly for publications including Mousse, BOMB Magazine, Journal of Curatorial Studies, and the online edition of Artforum.

Ben Katchor's picture-stories include Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, Hotel & Farm, The Jew of New York, The Cardboard Valise, and Shoehorn Technique. He produces a monthly strip for Metropolis magazine. His latest book, Hand-Drying in America and other stories (Pantheon) was published in 2013. He's collaborated with composer Mark Mulcahy on six music-theater shows, most recently The Imaginary War Crimes Tribunal (2014). He was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. He is an Associate Professor at Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City.

Svetlana Mintcheva is NCAC's Director of Programs. She joined NCAC after years of academic teaching and research on post World War II art and literature. Having spent a large part of her academic career analyzing provocative art and its socio-political contexts, she is happy to be on the front lines protecting the coexistence of a diversity of voices in the cultural sphere. Svetlana has published and presented multiple papers on contemporary art and writing — most recently, she co-edited Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (2006, The New Press). She curated the 2007 exhibition Filth, Treason, Blasphemy?: Museums and Censorship, at the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago, IL and conceived Exposing the Censor Within, a traveling interactive public art installation, which opened in California in March of 2007. An academic and an activist, Mintcheva has taught literature and critical theory at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and at Duke University, from which she received her Ph.D. in critical theory in 1999. She currently teaches part-time at New York University. Her academic research and writing focus on postmodern literature and aesthetic provocations as well as issues in censorship and ethics.

Eddy Portnoy has written and lectured extensively on cartooning as it relates to ethnic identity and the Jewish experience. A specialist in Jewish popular culture, he teaches in the Judaic Studies Department at Rutgers University and also serves as the Academic Advisor at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Rhoda Rosen is an art historian and curator currently serving as adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She serves on the Advisory Council of the European Shoah Legacy Institute, incorporated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on January 20, 2010 as a follow-up to the Terezin Declaration and founded, in part, to seek systemic solutions on an international level leading to restitution of immovable property, art, Judaica, and Jewish cultural assets stolen by the Nazis. Rosen is also a research associate in the Research Centre, Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. In July 2014, Rosen spent time as a visiting artist/curator, ACRE Residency, Steuben, Wisconsin. She came to the U.S. from South Africa on a Rockefeller Institute Residency Fellowship to the Institute for Advanced Research and Study in the African Humanities at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, following which she served for more than a decade as director of Spertus Museum, Chicago. She earned her PhD from the University of Illinois in Chicago; her MA and BA from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer, and educator living in New York City. He is represented by beta pictoris gallery/Maus Contemporary. He has exhibited with the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Brooklyn Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, TEDx MidAtlantic, Duetsche Bank, Rush Arts Gallery, the Leica Gallery, the Utah MOCA, BRIC Arts Media House, the Patricia Sweetow Gallery, the Goethe Institute (Ghana), and Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Poland). His work has been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest, the Unseen Photo Fair, The Sundance Film Festival and the L.A. Film Festival. He has also been involved with the Jerome Foundation, BRIC Arts Media, The Laundromat Project, No Longer Empty, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. His photographs have been published in Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), Black: A Celebration of A Culture (2005), The Spirit Of Family (2002); SPE Exposure: The Society of Photographic Education Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Working Mother Magazine. He has worked with the International Center of Photography, New York University, Parsons, the New School for Design and the California College of the Arts. Bayeté is currently the Associate Program Director for KAVI (Kings against Violence Initiative), a violence prevention non-profit organization in New York that has a partnership with Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

Ari Roth is an American theatrical producer, playwright and educator. From 1997 to 2014 Roth served as the Artistic Director of Theater J, the professional resident company of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, building it into the largest and most respected Jewish theater in North America. Over 18 seasons, he produced more than 129 productions, 44 world and English language premieres, and created festivals including "Locally Grown: Community Supported Art," "Voices from a Changing Middle East", and Theater J's acclaimed "Beyond The Stage" and "Artistic Director's Roundtable" series. In 2010, Roth was named as one of "The Forward 50," honoring nationally prominent "men and women who are leading the American Jewish community into the 21st century. "As a playwright, works include The Born Guilty Cycle, Andy and The Shadows, Goodnight Irene, Life In Refusal, Love and Yearning in the Not for Profits, Still Waiting, and many one-acts produced in DC and across the country. He is a two time recipient of an NEA playwriting grant, four-time recipient of commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture and has taught for the University of Michigan for 18 years, currently for their "Michigan in Washington" program, as well as for Brandeis, NYU and Carnegie Mellon Universities. In December 2014, Roth was dismissed as the Artistic Director of Theater J. Immediately following his departure from Theater J, Roth founded the Mosaic Theater Company of DC in December 2014.

Madiha R. Tahir is an independent journalist and director of Wounds of Waziristan, a short documentary film that marks the first time that an extended portrayal of Pakistani survivors of drone attacks was broadcast on American television. Her work has appeared in a host of media outlets including Al Jazeera, Vice, Foreign AffairsThe National, Guernica, The New Inquiry, The Columbia Journalism Review, The Wall Street Journal, Caravan, as well as on Democracy Now!, PRI and BBC's "The World", and elsewhere. She is also the co-editor of a volume of essays, Dispatches from Pakistan, with co-editors historian Vijay Prashad and activist Qalandar Bux Memon. In 2012, Tahir co-founded Tanqeed (www.tanqeed.org), a magazine of politics and culture, with journalist Mahvish Ahmad. Tahir holds a masters degree in Near Eastern Studies from NYU and an M.S. from Columbia Journalism School. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Columbia University researching liberalism, media narratives and war in the context of drone attacks on Pakistan.
    • Charlie Hebdo Censorship And Self Censorship
      • K Resource Guide Download - pdf (135 kB)
      • K Letter from artist Michael Rakowitz to Staci Boris, then Senior Curator at Spertus Museum, ref [...] Resource Guide - Additional materials Download - pdf (52 kB)
Who Is Silencing Whom? is seminar IV of the series Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production. Other seminars in this series are

The Legacy of the Cultural Boycott in South Africa
Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel)
Monday, October 20th, 2014

Going the Distance: Cultural Work in Far-flung Political and Geographical Spheres
Monday, December 1, 2014

Considering Palestine/Israel. What Does the Boycott Mean?
Saturday, February 7, 2015

• Who Is Silencing Whom? Censorship and Self-Censorship
Monday, February 23, 2015

Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production
Saturday, April 11, 2015

The program is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics as part of the center's 2013–2015 curatorial focus on Alignment. It is curated by Carin Kuoni, director/curator, Vera List Center, and Laura Raicovich, president and executive director, Queens Museum.