Book Talk: The Empty Room

NYU Tisch

17 March 2021, 6:00-7:30pm ET

Join the Department of Performance Studies in conversation about Sadia Abbas's novel, The Empty Room. Abbas will be joined by poet, fiction writer, critic, and translator John Keene and artist Shahzia Sikander.

This conversation will be moderated by Professor Fred Moten.

Sadia Abbas is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University – Newark. She grew up in Singapore and Karachi, Pakistan, with brief stints in Lahore and Peshawar. Abbas specializes in postcolonial literature and theory, the culture and politics of Islam in modernity, early modern English literature—especially the literature of religious strife—and the history of 20th-century criticism. This is the North American edition of The Empty Room, she has two additional essays forthcoming with Quattro books later this year. Her first book, At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament (2014), won an MLA First Book Prize. 

John Keene  is Professor and Chair in the Department of African American and African Studies and Professor in the Department of English at Rugers University - Newark. A member of the Dark Room Collective and a graduate fellow of Cave Canem, Keene is the author of a novel, Annotations (1995), the short fiction collection Counternarratives (2015). In addition to his novels, he has published two collaborative volumes of poetry, Seismosis (2006) and GRIND (2016), a chapbook of poems, Playland (2016), and translated Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer, from Portuguese. He is a 2018 Macarthur Fellow. 

MacArthur award (2006) winning artist Shahzia Sikander is widely celebrated for expanding and subverting pre-modern and classical Central and South-Asian miniature painting traditions and launching the form known today as neo-miniature. By bringing traditional and historical practice into dialogue with contemporary international art practices, Sikander’s multivalent and investigative work examines colonial archives to readdress orientalist narratives in western art history. Shahzia Sikander will be the subject of a traveling exhibition titled Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities. The exhibition will open at The Morgan Library, New York in June 2021 followed by the RISD Museum, Rhode Island in November 2021, and MFA Houston, Texas in Spring 2022. The accompanying monograph published by Hirmer is co-edited by Sadia Abbas and Jan Howard.

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