Oct 10, 2017, 6PM

Race and Form: A Dialogue, with Dorothy Wang, John Keene, Meg Onli, and Julia Bloch


In conversation with the Institute of Contemporary Art’s fall 2017 exhibition Speech/Acts, this panel will address a number of issues related to race and aesthetics across a variety of artistic forms, including but not limited to poetry and visual art.

This event is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania (3805 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA).

DOROTHY J. WANG is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Program and a Faculty Affiliate in the English Department at Williams College. Her book Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013) won the Association for Asian American Studies’ 2016 award for best book of literary criticism and Honorable Mention in the Poetry Foundation’s inaugural Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. Thinking Its Presence also made The New Yorker’s list of “The Books We Loved in 2016.” Since 2014, a conference on race and creative writing founded by the poet Prageeta Sharma and named after the book has been held annually. Wang is currently an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellow at the CUNY-Graduate Center’s English Department.

JOHN R. KEENE was born in St. Louis in 1965. He graduated from the St. Louis Priory School; Harvard College, where he was a member of the Art Board of the Harvard Advocate and Harvard Black Community and Student Theater (C.A.S.T.); and New York University, where he was a New York Times Foundation Fellow. His new book, Counternarratives, a collection of stories and novellas, was published by New Directions in 2015. His poetry, fiction, translations, and essays have appeared widely.

MEG ONLI is a curator and writer whose work attends to the intricacies of race and the production of space. Prior to joining Institute of Contemporary Art she was the Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. While at the Graham Foundation she worked on the exhibitions Architecture of Independence: African Modernism and Barbara Kasten: Stages. In 2010 she created the website Black Visual Archive for which she was awarded a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2014 she was the recipient of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the collaborative project Remaking the Black Metropolis: Contemporary Art, Urbanity, and Blackness in America with curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Onli holds a Master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has appeared in Art21, Daily Serving, and Art Papers.

JULIA BLOCH received a BA in political philosophy at Carleton College, an MFA in creative writing/poetry at Mills College, and an MA and PhD in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests in twentieth-century poetry and poetics include the North American long poem; formal hybridity; subjectivity; gender and sexuality; and genre theory. Her current book project, “Lyric after Epic: Gender and the Postwar Long Poem,” investigates generic concordance and contention in the innovative North American long poem, looking at issues of gender, ideology, and the place of the lyric. She now directs the Creative Writing Program at Penn. In 2017, she was given the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty and was also awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.