Candidates’ Statements for 2022 Election

This summer ASAP will run its annual election to fill positions on its Executive Committee. There are two positions up for election: Second Vice President and Member-at-Large. The candidates’ biographies and nomination statements appear below.

Second Vice President Candidates

JENNIFER DOYLE is a curator and scholar based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a professor of English at UC Riverside and the author of Campus Sex/Campus SecurityHold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art, and Sex Objects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire. She is a member of the Board of Directors at Human Resources, Los Angeles, a non-profit, interdisciplinary arts space in Chinatown. Her curatorial projects include: Tip of Her Tongue (The Broad in Los Angeles, 2015-2017); Nao Bustamante: Soldadera (Vincent Price Art Museum, 2015); I Feel Different (LACE, 2009), and Aqui No Hay Virgenes (curated with Raquel Gutiérrez, The Advocate Gallery, 2007).

Statement: I am honored to run for this position. I will bring to this office my history of administrative leadership within Human Resources Los Angeles (like ASAP, an arts-centered volunteer organization) as well my years of service at UC Riverside. I continue to learn from the team of artists, musicians, programmers and curators who volunteer their time to HRLA. ASAP is a particularly important space for the growing community of people whose practices traverse categories that like “creative expression” and “scholarly research” (to invoke my academic institution’s language). This organization’s conferences and its publications are vital spaces of recognition and support for those of us working in the arts and in arts-based research. The conference provides a much-needed sense of community for people driven by passionate attachments and a need to be fully present to the crises of this moment. I am running for this office out of a desire to contribute to the cultivation of ASAP as a place of refuge, point of connection and source of inspiration for especially emerging artists and scholars who are experimenting with what their work can be and do.

SARAH DOWLING is a poet and a scholar of contemporary poetry, language politics, and settler colonialism. Sarah has published three books of poetry, the most recent of which, Entering Sappho, was a finalist for the Derek Walcott Poetry Prize. In addition, Sarah is the author of Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood under Settler Colonialism, which was a finalist for the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero First Book Prize. Sarah is currently writing a book about supine and prone bodies in contemporary writing, and teaches at the University of Toronto, in the Centre for Comparative Literature and Victoria College.  .

Statement: My involvement with ASAP began when I participated in ASAP/9, in 2017. Since then, I have published interviews with contemporary poets and book reviews in ASAP/J, and I have convened or participated in panels and seminars at several other ASAP conferences. I am grateful to be a member of a scholarly organization committed to fostering dialogue between artists and scholars, and to responding to contemporary art across its various genres and media in a spirit of reciprocal engagement and continuance. I am also grateful to be a member of a scholarly organization that takes the challenge of the contemporary so seriously: not only does the contemporary raise intellectual questions; there are also the social and political challenges that affect us as we live in and through our current moment. I have been heartened to see how seriously the current leadership of ASAP has taken the challenges posed by the pandemic, and I have appreciated the creativity with which these challenges have been addressed. If elected to the presidential line, I hope to build on the established strengths of the organization, and to focus particularly on sustaining relationships between creative artists and scholar-critics—after all, these separate identities are often held by single individuals! In my experience, ASAP has been an intellectual home for “odd ducks” of various kinds. It is important to me to maintain the organization as a space where experimentation is encouraged, where the institutionally-unaffiliated are fully integrated, and where unusual approaches are prioritized.

Member-At-Large Candidates

NIJAH CUNNINGHAM is an assistant professor of English at Hunter College, CUNY. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and was a Cotsen Fellow at the Princeton University Society of Fellows (2016-2019). His teaching and research focus on African American and African diaspora literatures and culture. Through a transnational approach to black literary studies and a critical archival approach, his current book project, “Quiet Dawn,” argues for a renewed consideration of Pan-Africanism as practice. His writing has appeared in platforms such as Art JournalSmall Axe, the New InquiryWomen and PerformanceCurrent AnthropologyASAP/J, and PMLA. He is also the author of numerous catalogue essays on the works by artists such as Charles White, Oliver Jackson, Jennie C. Jones, Samuel Levi Jones, and Florine Démosthène. He is the curator of Hold: A Meditation on Black Aesthetics (Princeton University Art Museum, 2018) and, alongside David Scott and Erica M. James, co-curator of Caribbean Queer Visualities (The Small Axe Project, 2016), and The Visual Life of Social Affliction (The Small Axe Project, 2019-2020). He was the former editorial assistance and managing editor of Small Axe and program coordinator for the Small Axe Project.

Statement: ASAP has become a space for creative artists and scholar-critics to gather around the open question of the contemporary. My vision for ASAP is grounded in the present’s inertia and seeks to excavate insights and revelations forged through the world’s uneven experience of catastrophe. Rather than a stuck-ness, how might we think of this inertia as the distribution of something that is innate to the contemporary? What if there is a motion that can only be measured in relation to what could have been? What if today’s unchanging or, perhaps more accurately, worsening conditions were the frame of reference an indiscernible potential that is already at hand? Can we imagine a (field) theory of the contemporary?

I hope to extend the association’s continued mission of cultivating of new approaches by focusing on how we live with concepts and theories. That is to ask what has theory witnessed? This is not a call for the return to original meanings. Instead, I hope to initiate programming and foster discussions that explore the affects and expectations that cling on to recent conceptual turns and theoretical innovations in relation to the here-and-now. The various attitudes and orientations that theoretical concepts have embodied in the recent past are useful points of reference for analyzing the present. How might we reimagine the hope for the world’s end that structures the concept of anti-blackness within the purview of its incorporation into rights discourse and diversity and inclusion spaces? Can the right to opacity grieve for substantive due process?

JASMINE JAMILLAH MAHMOUD is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies at the University of Washington, with an affiliate appointment in Art History. Mahmoud’s research engages experimental performance, visual culture, Black aesthetics, critical race studies, feminist and queer of color critique, public policy, and geography. Her writing appears in Performance ResearchTDR: The Drama Review, and Women & Performance. She co-edited Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theater and Perforamnce (Northwestern UP). She has curated three exhibitions centering Black artists: Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis; Northwest Black; and After the Quiet: On Black Figures and Folds. A public scholar, Mahmoud has writing in Art Forum, ASAP/JCanadian Art ReviewCommon ReaderHowlroundHyperallergicLitHubSouth Seattle Emerald, and Variable West; in 2022, she was project co-editor of Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies Series.

Statement: I am thrilled to run for a Member-At-Large position of ASAP’s Motherboard. I aim to strengthen connections between members and arts communities where conferences are held, sustain ASAP archives, and bolster bridges between ASAP member scholarship, practice, and pedagogy. Trained in performance studies and housed in a theater department and with an affiliation in art history, I find ASAP as a homecoming routing my scholarship, pedagogy, and practice – all of which centers contemporary artistic practices, race, public policy, and geography. I am deeply drawn to the questions ASAP asks across geography, genre, publics, duration, ecology, and reciprocity — as well as the scholars and artists the organization brings together. I have found ASAP intellectually nourishing. I published scholarship on ASAP/J — an interview with the 2019 Portland Biennial curators, and a collaborative retrospective on Abstractions of Black Citizenship, an exhibition I curated. For the 2021 ASAP conference, I co-organized “Shifting Curatorial Ethics: on Pedagogy, Relation, and Publics,” bringing together scholars – who curate – across art history, critical race studies, ethnic studies, and performance studies. I appreciated the community within the session across panelists and audience members. I aim to bring my gratitude, enthusiasm, and organizational skills to the role.