Being Together in Turbulence

Conveners: Karen Shimakawa and Joshua Chambers-Letson

This working group will consider political, aesthetic and everyday performances that refuse framings of collectivity as equivalent to consensus. As Rancière suggests, different social components do not become one through consensus (which reduces political space) but in dissensus, a dispute over the very terms of our being-with, whose stakes are the perceptibility of various senses of the world. We will consider how multiple singular senses of the world are mediated through the aesthetic, understanding friction, strangeness, and discomfort not as obstacles, but as useful paths towards a notion of plurality that holds on to the singular.


Karen Shimakawa is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Performance Studies Department at NYU, an Adjunct Instructor at the NYU School of Law and the author of National Abjection: The Asian American Body Onstage (on racialization, citizenship, and performance). Her new project is on discomfort in U.S. performance and race politics.

Joshua Chambers-Letson is assistant professor in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern. He is the author of A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America (NYU Press, 2013) and is currently working on a book titled The Free Sea: The Oceanic Imaginary and Asian American Art.


Alan Wong
Ana Chavez
Bretton White
Cynthia Francica
Ethan Philbrick
Ivan Ramos
Josh Chambers Letson
Joshua Javier Guzmán
Karen Shimakawa
Louis Jargow
Megan Bailon
Milton Loayza
River Bullock
Ryan Conrad
Summer Kim Lee