Dec 1.: Below the Grid: Decolonizing the Silences, Fragments, and Shadows of Manhattan

  • 509 Knox Hall 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States

WHEN: Thursday, December 1, 2016, 6 - 8 PM

WHERE: Knox Hall, 606 W. 122nd Street, Room 509

Below the Grid is the public practice defining my current curatorial, research, and teaching work. In part it references the foundational Anglo-Dutch Protestant political culture below the 1811 city grid starting at Houston Street but it also references the compounded subaltern and subalternative intermingled lives and improvised experiences which give character to downtown's port culture, a culture far beyond simply the wealthy and the powerful.

The dialogic, shared meaning-making potential of oral historical engagement can open to a non-didactic, reflective practice of embodied historical knowing. BTG has three facets--its is an approach towards decolonizing intersected experiences, it is a reframing of what is of value, and it is a re-enlivening of everyday meanings and stakes of being here now.

John Kuo Wei Tchen is an award-winning historian and curator currently researching the ongoing impacts of eugenics on American life, Jim Crow spatiality, subaltern archives, and modern organizational design. Recent exhibitions include: “The Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office,” “The Normal,” and “In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway & the Battle for Downtown.”

Tchen is also co-author of Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear (2014) -- a study emerging from 30 years of building of research collections in NYC. He is completing a six-year arc of work on the Chinese Exclusion Act and how/why it has been invisibilized in US history and culture. This includes an exhibit with the New-York Historical Society called Chinese America: Exclusion/Inclusion, and working with Ric Burns and Li-shin Yu (Steeplechase Films) on a PBS documentary airing on The American Experience (Spring 2017), a companion book (Knopf), and teaching a NEH Summer Institute (2016) at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). Tchen co-founded MOCA in 1980. He also founded the A/P/(Asian/Pacific/American) Program & Institute at New York University in 1996.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39@columbia.edu.

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED.

NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, BUT RSVPS ON THE EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE ARE APPRECIATED TO GAUGE ATTENDANCE.