Alexis Boylan

Publishing NOW: Gita Manaktala of MIT Press

Poster for Publishing NOW with Gita Manaktala of MIT Press in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan. December 2, 2020, 11:00am. Live. Online. Registration Required. With headshot of Manaktala.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute presents:

Publishing NOW!

With Gita Manaktala of MIT Press in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan.

December 2, 2020, 11:00am–12:00pm

An online webinar. Event registration is required for attendance.

Gita Manaktala is the Editorial Director of the MIT Press, a publisher of scholarship at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and technology. Known for intellectual daring and distinctive design, MIT Press books push the boundaries of knowledge in fields from contemporary art and architecture to the life sciences, computing, economics, philosophy, cognitive science, environmental studies, linguistics, media studies, and STS. Gita’s own acquisitions are in the areas of information science and communication. Until 2009, she served as the press’s marketing director with responsibility for worldwide promotion and sales. In this role, she helped to develop CISnet, an online collection of the Press’s computer and information science titles, now on the IEEE Explore platform. She has served on the board of directors of the Association of American University Presses and co-chaired its first diversity and inclusion task force, which led to a standing committee dedicated to Equity, Justice, and Inclusion, which she also co-chaired. She is a regular speaker on topics in scholarly communication and publishing.

Alexis L. Boylan is the acting director of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and the Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Visual Culture (MIT Press, 2020), Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), co-author of Furious Feminisms: Alternate Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road (University of Minnesota, 2020), editor ofThomas Kinkade, The Artist in the Mall (Duke University Press, 2017), and editor of the forthcoming Ellen Emmet Rand: Gender, Art, and Business (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). She has published in American Art, Archives of American Art Journal, Boston Review, Journal of Curatorial Studies, and Public Books. Her next book focuses on the art created for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City and how art and science antagonize and inspire cultural dialogues about truth and knowledge.

UCHI Presents André Leon Talley

Poster for André Leon Talley talk. A picture of Talley in a red sweater and straw boater hat. The text beside the image reads: UCHI and the Africana Studies Institute present fashion critic/scholar, activist, and author of the recently published The Chiffon Trenches, André Leon Talley, in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan and Melina Pappademos. Live, online, registration required. November 12, 2020, 6:00pm.

Fashion journalist and former Vogue editor-at-large

André Leon Talley

in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan and Melina Pappademos

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm (Online—Register here).

Cosponsored by the Africana Studies Institute.

André Leon Talley is a fashion critic/scholar, activist, and the author of the recently published memoir The Chiffon Trenches.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Alexis Boylan Lead Author of New Book on Feminism and Mad Max

University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, is the lead author of a new book entitled Furious Feminisms: Alternative Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). The book uses the feminist credentials of George Miller’s 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road film to ask “what is possible, desirable, or damaging in theorizing feminism in the contested landscape of the twenty-first century.” The authors tackle this issue from four different disciplinary angles: art history, American literature, disability studies, and sociology. Other authors of the book are Anna Mae Duane,  associate professor of English at UConn and a UCHI Class of 2016-2017 Fellow; Michael Gill, an associate professor of disability studies in the department of Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University; and Barbara Gurr, associate professor in residence in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at UConn. 

 

Cover the book surrounded by the headshots of the authors: Alexis Boylan, Anna Mae Duane, Michael Gill, and Barbara Gurr

 

Alexis Boylan Reviews Two Books on Art, Creativity, and AI

BoylanUniversity of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, is the author of a recent article in the Boston Review that examines two new books on creativity, innovation, and artificial intelligence: The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI (Belknap Press) by Marcus du Sautoy and The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI_Powered Creativity (MIT Press) by Arthur I. Miller. These books “contend that AI is nothing to fear because humans are so much better at being creative than are machines.” Boylan, also an associate professor of art and art history at UConn, emphasizes both books’ failure to transcend hegemonic ideas of human artistic expression. Both books center their argument on a largely white and male definition of creativity and genius, dismissing altogether the contribution of feminist and black aesthetics, for example, to the totality of the human artistic potential and output:

Both books share a kind of a priori acceptance…, that computers and machines have already displaced a certain kind of person from labor, society, and community. That’s not a question, it is the reality that these books start from. It’s also not what they see to be the problem: the problem for the authors only arises when AI threatens those who have historically controlled capital and historical narratives, and whose ideas of creativity, genius, innovation, and evolution have reigned supreme. These fears about AI, therefore, stand in for the dread of a certain cultural elite, who have weaponized creativity in a broader neoliberal narrative about human worth—and who now fear the same will be done to them. Perhaps then we should be forced to watch AI blossom and shine; maybe we deserve to be taken over with another kind of creativity.”

 

 

UCHI Awarded Luce Foundation Grant for “Seeing Truth’ Exhibit

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to be the recipient of a $275,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the programming of an exhibition entitled “Seeing Truth: Art, Science, and Making Knowledge (1750-2023).” This exhibition will be presented at the William Benton Museum of Art during the 2023 academic year in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History. UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas made the announcement at the reception marking the 19th season of UCHI’s fellowships. The grant, whose principle investigator is UCHI Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, will bring together various scientific, cultural, and educational artifacts to challenge our notions and ideas of what counts as a “scientific” object or a work of “art.” Seeing Truth is one part of UCHI’s larger upcoming initiative entitled The Future of Truth. To learn more about Seeing Truth, visit a UConn Today article on the grant.  

New Book by UCHI Associate Director Alexis L. Boylan.

"Six men, all artists, find their way to New York City at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and find friendship and love. They are also crushed emotionally and creatively by capitalism."

Arriving in New York City in the first decade of the twentieth century, six painters-Robert Henri, John Sloan, Everett Shinn, Glackens, George Luks, and George Bellows, subsequently known as the Ashcan Circle-faced a visual culture that depicted the urban man as a diseased body under assault. Ashcan artists countered this narrative, manipulating the bodies of construction workers, tramps, entertainers, and office workers to stand in visual opposition to popular, political, and commercial cultures. They did so by repeatedly positioning white male bodies as having no cleverness, no moral authority, no style, and no particular charisma, crafting with consistency an unspectacular man. This was an attempt, both radical and deeply insidious, to make the white male body stand outside visual systems of knowledge, to resist the disciplining powers of commercial capitalism, and to simply be with no justification or rationale. Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man maps how Ashcan artists reconfigured urban masculinity for national audiences and reimagined the possibility and privilege of the unremarkable white, male body thus shaping dialogues about modernity, gender, and race that shifted visual culture in the United States. -
 

The Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Alexis L. Boylan as New Associate Director

Alexis L. Boylan, Associate Professor, (Art & Art History and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies).

Professor Boylan’s research focus is on American art from the colonial to the contemporary periods, with particular emphasis on race and gender. She is succeeding Brendan Kane, Associate Professor (History) who is completing his term as Associate Director.