Category Archives: doctoral colloquium

CFP : M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021-2022 (due OCT-25-2021)


The Program in Media+Modernity will once again be hosting it’s Doctoral Colloquium in SPRING 2022 [update], a lively interdisciplinary forum for graduate students at Princeton University to present work-in-progress from their dissertations.

The colloquium is an exciting opportunity for Ph.D. candidates to share their research and receive feedback from faculty and colleagues across a wide range of departments.

We write today to solicit graduate student presentations for the Doctoral Colloquium which will take place in the SPRING SEMESTER 2022 [final date tbd].

Graduate students at Princeton University (unfortunately, external applications cannot be accepted) who wish to present in the colloquium should have already passed their generals and defended their dissertation proposals. The individual work-in-progress presentations should last about 20 minutes. Colloquium sessions will feature work by two or three Ph.D. candidates (ideally on topics that speak to one another in terms of shared research territories and/or methods) followed by responses and open discussion.

Student proposals should be submitted by email to by October 25, 2021 (EoD) and should include the following:

a) name, department, and primary contact email

b) presentation title

c) 2-3 paragraph description of the topic

d) 1-3 images for reference

e) a short bio of the presenter (including G-year, department, advisor)

f)  a brief endorsement letter/email by the dissertation adviser.

Direct any related questions to the M+M program manager Clemens Finkelstein at

We look forward to receiving your proposals.

Beatriz Colomina & Devin Fore

MAR 30 | M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session II

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session II
with Andy Alfonso, Ruo Jia, Benjamin Murphy, and Bart-Jan Polman
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

The colloquium is an exciting opportunity for Ph.D. candidates to share their research and receive feedback from faculty and colleagues across a wide range of departments.

Andy Alfonso (Spanish / Portuguese)
Punctum Dolens, or a Matter of Reparation: Infrastructures of Death in 1960s Cuba
This presentation focuses on the system of labor camps established in Cuba from 1965 to 1968. Often referred to as UMAP, for its acronym in Spanish, these Military Units to Aid the Production served as “re-education” centers for some personae non gratae, who were forced into unfree labor in service of economic progress. Through an exploration of testimonies penned by survivors and witnesses, I contend that the UMAP constitute ground zero for the performance of processes of dispossession, conversion, and extraction, identification, litigation, and memorialization, all rooted in a matrix of violence imbued with affect. To that extent, this talk will examine the ways in which infrastructure and the distribution of space, in conjunction with the aesthetic reinventions of the spatial order, have informed practices of oppression and insurgency in contemporary Cuba.
[Dissertation — Un/exceptional Shadowlands: Space, Memory, and Archives in the Wake of the Cuban Revolution]

Ruo Jia (Architecture)
From “Objective Architecture” to “Earth and Wood”: Reimagining a Chinese Experimental Space
This paper reexamines Chinese Experimental Architecture from the 1990s and early 2000s, by closely reading at the proposal of an “Objective Architecture” by Yungho Chang in his article “Literature and Architecture” (1997). It traces and unpacks the intellectual debt and mutations of Chang’s “Objective Architecture” from Roland Barthes’ literary critique of Robbe-Grillet in the late 1950s, for example, “Objective literature (1954).” Moreover, it points to such interdisciplinary translation’s further critical repercussion in the group of architects’ envisioning of a new identity of “architecture” in the midst of the country’s identity reformation. The “Objective Architecture” would see its extensions and reformulations in terms such as “Ying Zao [bricolage]” (2000) “Jian Zao [construction]” (2000) and “Tu Mu [Earth and Wood]” (2002), all intended as replacement of “Jian Zhu [architecture]”— the normalized term in mandarin for “architecture.” 
[Dissertation — Different Shades of the Concrete: French Poststructuralist Theory or Chinese Experimental Architecture]

Benjamin Murphy (Art & Archaeology)
Video on Paper: Picturing Politics in Latin America, 1974-77
Beginning in the early 1970s, video emerged in Latin America as a novel tool of artistic experimentation uniquely suited to exploring modes of regional connectivity. With its capacity for instant, mass transmission, the medium promised to configure an alternative network of artistic production and reception centered in the Global South, a network toward which many of Latin America’s first generation of video artists oriented their work. It is thus quite ironic, given this historical enthusiasm for video’s technological specificity, that much of the work produced by these artists today appears only on paper through various documentary traces. Engaging contemporaneous debates in Latin American sociology and political science regarding the representation of political processes through various media apparatuses, this presentation considers the paradox of video’s representation on paper as a heuristic through which to approach discussions of dictatorship and dependency that animated Latin American social analysis during the 1970s.
[Dissertation — Fieldwork: Problems of Observation and Archive in Latin American Video]

Bart-Jan Polman (Architecture)
Fragmenting Frameworks and Integral Integration: the Liga Nieuw Beelden and its Quest(s) for Embeddedness
In 1954, the Liga Nieuw Beelden [League of New Plastic Creation] was formed in the Netherlands. As much a lobbying group as a platform for theoretical interaction, the Liga sought to organize interdisciplinary conversations between architecture, the arts, industry and other fields. Its central tenet was a quest for ‘integration;’ a trope of the time and a term the meaning of which it failed to define properly. Mirroring contamporaneous debates ranging from techno-scientific, systems-oriented architecture to racial and politico-economic integration (the latter most notably through the creation of the European common market), discourse by actors in and around the Liga would evolve from discussions on the synthesis of the arts towards that of an integrated global marketplace triggered by the dis-integration of Empire. This presentation will focus on how such architectural discourse participated in the long-durée of what would eventually be called the neoliberal turn, including the belief, as Liga-affiliate Jaap Bakema stated, that “[t]he Euro-market for example, will also influence the form of a house in Randstad Holland.”
[Dissertation — Fragmenting Frameworks and Integral Integration: the Total Turn and Quest(s) for Embeddedness of Dutch Architecture in the Context of European and Global Markets, 1955-1979]

MAR 23 | M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session I

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session I
with Eden Consenstein, Curt Gambetta, Austin Hancock, and William Stewart
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

The colloquium is an exciting opportunity for Ph.D. candidates to share their research and receive feedback from faculty and colleagues across a wide range of departments.

Eden Consenstein (Religion)
Dry Sentiment: The Religious Politics of Midcentury Liquor Advertising
From 1947 to 1956, a vocal coalition of Protestant temperance activists advanced a series of bills that would prevent print liquor advertising from moving across state lines. They argued that liquor advertisements threatened to disorder traditional family life by enticing parents to drink. The movement took particular aim at Henry R. Luce, the editor of Time and Life magazines, who was well-known for advancing the importance of Christianity in U.S. politics and culture. Temperance organizers charged Luce with contradicting his own Christian commitments by printing advertisements for liquor, wine and beer. While Luce assumed mass media circulation could bring about a more-pious populace, temperance organizers wanted to insulate sober homes and neighborhoods from the enticements of liquor advertisers. This paper describes how the mid-century movement against liquor advertising—a revealing and understudied endeavor to gum up the works—complicates prevailing histories of Christianity, media and capitalism in the United States.
[Dissertation — Religion at Time Inc.: From the Beginning of Time to the End of Life]

Curt Gambetta (Architecture)
Image Transfers: Materials as Media in Post-Liberalization India
This paper considers the production of imitation materials for housing in India after economic liberalization in the 1980s and 90s, focusing on the production of ceramic imitations of marble in Bangalore, a megalopolis in South India, and Morbi, an industrial center in North India. It draws on ethnographic fieldwork in spaces of off brand tile production such as factories, showrooms, and urban workshops, showing how tile artists, dealers, consumers, and middlemen in India relay and translate images of imported Italian marble for consumption in regional markets in India and export markets. By tracking the circulation of printed and digital marble images between different sites in India, Italy, and China, the paper will reflect on how newly ascendant social groups in India have made use of tile printing and other media-saturated techniques of imitation to embrace and distance themselves from the material culture of globalizing elites and global value chains.
[Dissertation — Mold House, Mud House, Marble House: A Historical Anthropology of Making Do in Postcolonial India]

Austin Hancock (French / Italian)
Periodical Pugilism: Francis Picabia’s Rrose Sélavy and Boxing in Dada Magazines
My presentation centers upon Francis Picabia’s insertion of heavyweight Georges Carpentier’s portrait onto the cover of his magazine 391’s final issue, where, seizing on Carpentier’s resemblance to Marcel Duchamp, Picabia has relabeled the boxer’s likeness as that of Duchamp’s feminine alter-ego Rrose Sélavy. This piece’s origins have long been misidentified in scholarship. However, having located the postcard of Carpentier which Picabia used for this cover, I contextualize Picabia’s appropriation of the boxer’s image within Picabia’s feud with André Breton as well as a periodical arena where exchanges between avant-garde journals and boxing media were surprisingly common. Tracing such interactions from the poet-boxer Arthur Cravan’s early appearances in the sports pages up to 391’s final issue, I thus show how Dada magazines drew upon the conventions of the boxing press to interrogate divisions between print genres and gender roles, articulating a performative but nonetheless pugnacious model of male artistic identity.
[Dissertation — La Boxe Contre L’Ombre: Boxing and the Historical Avant-Garde, 1909-1939]

William Stewart (German / IHUM)
Geometric Wrappers, Stackable Chairs, Airplane Food: Packaging as Cultural Logic in Postwar Germany
Architectural critic Reyner Banham once described the postwar German school of design, the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (HfG), as “absent a characteristic style,” notable only because of the “cabinet work of Braun electronics.” Unwittingly, Banham’s lampoon identifies a primary site of the HfG’s intervention: the cabinet, the container, the shell, the formatting wrapper. Multiply characteristic, the Ulmers’ fixation on packaging serves as a key vector for the continuation and transformation of the prewar discourses around standardization and modularity. How was packaging made political at the HfG? Why would a pedagogy confronting a materially ruined postwar Europe place so much emphasis on containers? And just how far into an environment can techniques of wrapping reach? This paper explores the social, economic, and aesthetic ramifications when content and package are one and the same.
[Dissertation — Mathematik ist immer Geist: The Persistence of Mathematical Humanism and Aesthetic Rationality in Postwar Germany]