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Prof. Dr. Stefano Harney

Professor für Transversale Ästhetik
+49 221 20189 – 355

Die Transversaler Ästhetik beschäftigt sich mit Formen der Kunst und des Studierens, die sich etablierten gesellschaftlichen Strukturen entziehen und dabei Individuum und Institution kritisch hinterfragen. Einen wichtigen Grundstein für ein Konzept von transversaler Ästhetik avant la lettre legte der amerikanische Gelehrte und Wissenschaftler Cedric Robinson (1940-2016) mit dem, was er als schwarze radikale Tradition, als „the black radical tradition“ bezeichnete. Es handelt sich dabei um eine vierhundert Jahre alte Tradition, die Ästhetik als Grundlage für ein widerständiges Leben begreift. Permanent mit den Grausamkeiten eines rassistischen Kapitalismus konfrontiert, entwickelt sie Formen von Kunst, die diesem System transversal begegnet, also quer zu seinen Machtstrukturen verläuft. Im Mittelpunkt stehen dabei Unterschiede und Differenzen, die in gemeinschaftlichem und kollaborativem Handeln gelebt werden. Die Transversale Ästhetik greift diese Qualitäten auf und macht sie für eine kritische Studienpraxis fruchtbar.

Stefano Harney (*1962) ist ein Dozent und Autor, der im Unterricht, in der Forschung und in der sozialen Praxis kollaborativ und kollektiv arbeitet. Er ist als Wissenschaftler spezialisiert auf Black Studies und hat in den Bereichen Anthropologie, Soziologie, Kunstkritik, Amerikanistik sowie Wirtschaft und Management gelehrt. Stefano war an der Pace University und am CUNY in den USA, an der University of Leicester und der Queen Mary University of London im Vereinigten Königreich, an der Gadjah Mada University in Indonesien, an der Ton Duc Thang University in Vietnam und an der Singapore Management University in Singapur tätig. In den Jahren 2020-2021 war er Hayden Fellow und Gastkritiker an der School of Art der Yale University und Honorarprofessor am Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice an der University of British Columbia.

Stefano ist Co-Autor mit Fred Moten von The Undercommons: fugitive planning and black study (2013) und von All Incomplete (2021), beide bei Minor Compositions/Autonomedia Press erschienen. Er ist außerdem Co-Autor von The Liberal Arts and Management Education (2020), zusammen mit Howard Thomas, erschienen bei Cambridge University Press, von State Work: Public Administration and Mass Intellectuality (2002), erschienen bei Duke University Press, und von Nationalism and Identity in a Caribbean Diaspora (1996), das gemeinsam von Zed Books und der University of the West Indies Press veröffentlicht wurde.

Stefano Harney studierte an der Harvard University (BA), der New York University (MA) und promovierte an der University of Cambridge (PhD).

Current Research Projects

Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective

Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective came together to play music publicly, talk about that music, and to solicit further requests for music selections and comments in open forums. The work of the Collective is based on an idea that music can be studied together as an embodied form of theorizing, and as an insurgent tradition of social and aesthetic communication.

Ground Provisions
Ground Provisions is a collective animated by the partnership of Stefano Harney and Tonika Sealy Thompson. The collective hosts reading camps where reading is deprivatized. Participants read together, read aloud, and share readings. These camps have been held in Barbados, Singapore, and Brazil. Ground Provisions allows the reading camps to generate further projects including film curation, public talks, and food and musical gatherings.

Pilgrims of the Undercommons

Based on a forty-year partnership with Fred Moten, Pilgrims of the Undercommons is also a practice of studying with others that takes the form of teaching, public speaking, seminars with students, and ‘renewing our habits of assembly’ as the theorist Manolo Callahan puts it. The project also involves conversations on translation and on local and global conditions as our published work has gone through collective and collaborative translations into Spanish, German, Swedish, Italian, Thai, French, and Portuguese.

freethought / BAK Fellowship / Bergen Assembly

freethought is a collective of curators and critics that came together to offer theory-based programmes amidst traditional arts institutions and festivals. The idea has been to enact study at the centre of these events and invite others to join or form other collectives of reading and thinking as integral not to the preparation of events but to the programmes themselves.

freethought has been in residency and contributed to the Former West project at the House of World Culture (HWK) in Berlin, Germany and at BAK in Utrecht, Netherlands. With HWK freethought held several small study sessions culminating in a pair of formal presentations. With BAK, freethought is planning to conduct a series of study sessions with the regular Fellows at BAK over the next two years.

Shipping and the Shipped is an exhibition co-curated with the Mumbai-based artist Ranjit Kandalgaonkar as part of freethought’s commission to co-direct the 2016 Bergen Assembly Triennial in Bergen, Norway. The exhibition is a meditation on the history of those who were shipped and those who shipped out and includes work from the artists and theorists Wu Tsang and Fred Moten, Arjuna Neuman and Denise Ferreira da Silva, and from Ranjit Kandalgaonkar.

Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy / Universidad de la Tierra

The Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy (CCRA) is a grassroots collective dedicated to exploring the intersections between collective pedagogies, convivial research, and local capacity-building. The CCRA’s investment in co-learning spaces and grassroots research projects makes available critical analytical skills, research tools, facilitation techniques, and community service strategies that address the intersections of environmental regeneration, community well-being, food sovereignty, and community safety. The CCRA facilitates several interconnected co-learning spaces that convene culture-bearers, de-professionalized intellectuals, community-based scholars, and convivial researchers to celebrate diverse knowledges, share movement building resources from within the local community, and promote democratic practices toward community empowerment. One of CCRA's principal projects, Universidad de la Tierra Califas, claims several active grassroots learning spaces that work together to contribute to the regeneration of community: reclaiming commons, facilitating intercultural and intergenerational dialogues, and reconstructing a social infrastructure of convivial spaces.

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