This past weekend SCI-Arc was pleased to welcome distinguished scholar Sianne Ngai, Professor of English at Stanford University, to lead its third Masterclass series. A specialist in American literature, literary and cultural theory, and feminist studies, Ngai met with undergraduate and graduate students to discuss the equivocal aesthetic categories of the cute, interesting, and zany in relation to social processes of late capitalism and postmodern cultural production. The discussions were moderated by Liberal Arts Coordinator Jake Matatyaou and Art History instructor Kavior Moon and joined by faculty members Jackilin Bloom, Florencia Pita, Ramiro Diaz-Granados, and David Freeland.
"Each faculty member brought their own unique perspective on Professor Ngai's work, provoking a reconsideration of aesthetics and politics, along with a deep questioning of genre,style, taste and judgment as they relate to our aestheticsensibilities and norms of reception. These provocations and speculations helped frame a series of focused conversations between Professor Ngai and the students," says Matatyaou. Last Monday evening, the Masterclass concluded with a public lecture by Ngai on her current project, which looks at the “gimmick” as an attractive yet repulsive capitalist device that encodes a contradictory relation to labor and time.