ASAP/15: Not a Luxury

ASAP/15 will be an in-person conference, held at the CUNY Graduate Center, the Park Avenue Armory, Hunter College, and Weeksville. We are especially pleased to be able to partner with the Park Avenue Armory, a space dedicated to supporting unconventional works in the performing and visual arts that cannot be fully realized in a traditional proscenium theater, concert hall, or white-wall gallery.


The conference theme—Not a Luxury—takes up the poet Audre Lorde’s well-known contention that “poetry is not a luxury” and uses it as a lens through which to examine the positions of the arts in contemporary culture. Lorde’s argument that beauty and pleasure are essential components of living foregrounds questions of excess, need, and access. What does luxury mean? Who is able to luxuriate? And, what does luxury or its absence mean from an economic standpoint? 

The urgency around climate change, the quickened pace of neoliberalism, and heightened conflict in many countries also prompt us to ask whether time itself has been reconfigured as a luxury no longer available amid the cascading polycrisis. In that vein, the final day of our conference—which will take place at the Armory—will be curated under the subtheme “What Time is It On the Clock of the World.” A nod to the work of writer and activist Grace Lee Boggs, who was a key figure in the Asian American, Civil Rights, and Black Power movements, this sub-theme invites participants to imagine diverse ways of characterizing the contemporary, and to insist on the luxury of daily participation in study and observation, while working toward the possibility of justice.

We invite proposals from scholars, artists, writers, curators, activists, and other practitioners whose work addresses and expands upon the study, collection, exhibition, teaching, and writing of art and culture. We invite proposals with alternative, experimental writing practices and modes of presentation, including workshops that break form with the typical conference paper, panel, or roundtable, and with the constraints and possibilities of the academic conference. We wish to explore luxury and its opposites as strategy, method, and mode of being–all of which we see to be grounded in practice. Panels and papers that consider a range of disciplines and methods, and that speak across geographies, (non)traditional institutional or intellectual divides are especially encouraged. Given the conference’s theme, we welcome submissions that rethink and revisit:

  • Explorations of excess, bling, conspicuous consumption 
  • Quiet or intangible forms of luxury and luxuriating
  • Discussions of post-work society, collective utopianisms, and dreams of luxury for all
  • Reflections on Audre Lorde, Grace Lee Boggs, and their legacies
  • Meditations on access and/or rest from the vantages of disability, borders, and languages
  • Considerations of neoliberalism’s impact on the arts
  • Invitations to consider Marxist or socialist approaches to art-making and thinking
  • Rhetorics of urgency, imminence, dailiness, and other temporal considerations
  • Relevant theories and approaches in the environmental humanities 

Panels and papers are encouraged to engage our theme, but participants are welcome to submit other proposals which contribute to our broader project of exploring the arts of the present. 

A note to prospective participants: we strongly encourage the submission of preformulated workshops, seminars, and panels, and—given our volunteer selection committee’s own needs for time and luxury—we will prioritize these over individual papers in our assessment process. When gathering participants for a panel, seminar, or workshop, please bear in mind that ASAP sessions typically represent a mix of institutions, ranks, and geographical regions, and may feature practicing artists and arts workers alongside scholars. In order to facilitate making connections with like-minded colleagues, we suggest that you use #ASAP15 on Twitter and Instagram, and/or to reach out to prior ASAP participants. You may also reach out to our communications director, Jay Shelat (), who can assist prospective participants in connecting with one another. If you are planning to submit an individual paper, we strongly recommend that you identify one of the following keywords with your proposal to help us place you on a panel: luxury, austerity, neoliberalism, Marxism, disability, access, excess, consumption, feminism, Lorde, Boggs, or environment. 

ASAP is committed to providing a convivial, diverse, and dynamic intellectual space in which all of our members and guests may participate freely. Our annual meetings are convened for the purpose of scholarly and artistic exchange. Harassment, discrimination, and other misconduct—during official, in-person events, as well as at off-site, ancillary events and unofficial social gatherings—interferes with the principle of equity on which our organization depends. We remind our members that professional ethical norms apply as standards of behavior at our meetings. We encourage our members to work proactively toward creating and maintaining an equitable and supportive environment. 

Please direct any submission questions to our conference organizing team: .