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2023 SIAH

A Black Sense: Time, Art, and Being

June 20 – Aug. 18, 2023

Our starting point in the 2023 Summer Institute in Arts and Humanities is a question of knowledge: In which ways is reality and existence knowable? What factors mediate between us and the world, and determine how we experience and comprehend what exists outside of ourselves? How does a sense of what exists move between individual and collective experience, and how do our senses shape what we can know, imagine, and do? How does the frame of Black studies – and a Black sense – as a particular intellectual and political project further animate these questions? How do we sense and pay attention in Black studies?


The 2023 Summer Institute in Arts and Humanities will interrogate “sense,” which includes feeling as a way of knowing, perception, sensorium (across sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell), embodiment, and movement. “Sense” is the route to capacious registers of understanding in Black historiographies, art and aesthetics, critical theory, and futures. Using “sense” as a throughline, this course will explore Black studies across freedom and liberation movements (including abolition), visuality, music, the literary imagination, feminist and queer theater and performance practices, protest, and geographies. Across this course, students will learn research methods to produce a final project such as an essay, curatorial project, or creative assignment. Students will engage the questions raised in this course through their own commitments, concerns, and interests.

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Teaching Team

Habiba Ibrahim

English, Professor

Habiba Ibrahim is Professor and Associate Chair of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her scholarship engages African American literary and cultural studies, the theoretical traditions of Black studies, Black feminist thought, and gender studies. To account for histories of the present, she studies modern formations of blackness by examining social and literary forms of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She is the author of Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism (2012) and Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life (2021). Black Age received the honorable mention for the Harry Shaw and Katrina Hazzard-Donald Award for Outstanding Work in African-American Popular Culture Studies, given by the Popular Culture Association in 2022. She co-edited the January 2022 special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly entitled, “Black Temporality in Times of Crisis.” Among other venues, Ibrahim’s work appears in African American Review, American Literary History, and Keywords for African American Studies. Recent publications include the essay, “Caliban, His Woman, and the Gendered (In)humanism of Wild Seed” in the November 2022 special issue of Anthropology and Humanism entitled, “The Ordinariness of Cross-Time Relations: Anthropology, Literature, and the Science Fictional.”

Jasmine Mahmoud

School of Drama, Assistant Professor

Jasmine Mahmoud is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies at the University of Washington, with an affiliate appointment in Art History. Her research and teaching engage contemporary performance and art practices, and their relationships with critical race studies, feminist and queer of color critique, public policy, and geography. She focuses particularly on performance theory, minoritarian aesthetics, performance ethnography, cultural policy, racial capitalism, and processes of urbanism. She is co-editor of Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theater and Performance (Northwestern University Press 2021) with Megan Geigner and Stuart Hecht, which was awarded the 2020 ASTR Collaborative Research Award. Her current book project is Avant-Garde Geographies: Race, Public Policy, and Experimentation in the Urban Frontier. This critical cultural history investigates the trend of experimental art practices — such as avant-garde theater, experimental dance, and social practice works — taking space in urban margins (often called “frontiers”) in early 21st century New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Seattle. Mahmoud has arts writing in Art Forum, ASAP/J Online, Canadian Art Review, Common Reader, Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies project, Howlround, Hyperallergic, LitHub, South Seattle Emerald, and Variable West. She has curated three exhibitions — Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis; Northwest Black; and After the Quiet: On Black Figures and Folds — with attention to Black aesthetics.

Bianca Dang

History, Assistant Professor

Bianca Dang is Assistant Professor and Donald W. Logan Family Endowed Chair of American History at the University of Washington. Her research and teaching focus on the histories of Black freedom movements and state coercion in the Americas during the nineteenth century. Currently, she is working on her first book, tentatively titled: Making Meaningful Freedom: Land, Labor, and Migration in Struggles for Autonomy in Haiti and the United States after Emancipation. This project traces how Haitians and African Americans emphasized autonomy, at times individual and at other times community-based, as they worked toward making freedom more than a legal status across the nineteenth century. It focuses especially on how Black women, both Haitian and American, enacted legal, diplomatic, and religious strategies to combat racism and misogyny in such pursuits. Professor Dang’s research is rooted in the nineteenth century but speaks to recent trends in historical scholarship and, more broadly, to the ongoing struggle for a more equitable world. Her research agenda is guided by Black women’s history and Black feminist theory. In particular, she looks at the history of Black women’s activism and the intersections between gender and Black movements for freedom throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Chari Glogovac-Smith

Digital Arts and Experimental Media, Ph.D. StudentStudent

Chari Glogovac-Smith is a NY Emmy nominated composer, a performer, and digital media artist. Using an evolving mixture of traditional and experimental techniques, Chari is dynamically exploring and illustrating various counterpoints between human experience and society, presenting art works nationally and internationally. Chari’s recent works have posed questions about land and power, the archive, relational aesthetics and black art practice, machine learning and satellite technology, the technology of care, and institutional critique. As a composer, Chari is known for creating progressive experimental soundscapes, and experimental orchestral compositions. They have composed and created commissioned recent works for The Center of the Art of Performance at UCLA, Emmy nominated Black Iris Project Ballet Company (NY, USA), New Music USA, the multi-award winning independent film “Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color: As a digital media artist, Chari’s work includes video, data art, live sound processing, and systems art installations.
Chari holds a B.S. in Health Ecology from the University of Nevada, Reno, an M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in Oakland, CA, and is currently in their their year of Ph.D. studies in Experimental Arts and Digital Media at the University of Washington.

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Below are the participants in the 2023 University of Washington Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities:

Obse Dinsa

Obse smiling for the cameraMajor: Social Welfare

Minor: Human Rights

Obse Dinsa is a rising junior at the University of Washington. She is pursuing a degree in Social Welfare with a minor in Human Rights. She is a first-generation immigrant who is passionate about advocacy in the Black community and several other underserved communities. This will be her first research project. Through SIAH, she hopes to explore the various characteristics and diversity of Black immigrants in the United States. In her free time, she enjoys painting and reading.

Sofia Gerrard

Sofia posing for the cameraMajor: Art History

Minor:English, Textual Studies and Digital Humanities

Sofia is a rising senior at the University of Washington studying Art History, English, and Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. She was born and raised on Oʻahu, but now calls Seattle her home. Sofia currently serves as an Assistant Curator at the Jacob Lawerence Gallery in the UW School of Art, and enjoys spending her free time at museums or with a good book. Sofia’s academic interests primarily focus on community arts practices, circulation, and identity formation. At SIAH, Sofia hopes to research how photography and photographic album-making practices democratized or constrained traditions of self-representation in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bitaniya Giday

Bitaniya posing for the cameraMajor: Political Science

Bitaniya Giday is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. She served as the 2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. As a poet activist, she used her role to advocate for investments in youth literacy and expose issues of racial injustice within King County. Her first collection of poems, Motherland, released by Poetry Northwest, explores the oral histories of black womanhood framed by family, immigration, and history. As a community organizer, she works to dismantle internalized carcel logics through storytelling, community care, and healing to incite imaginative capacities for abolition. She is a Wa Na Wari Black Spatial Histories Institute Fellow focused on Black memory work within Seattle. She hopes to uncover reconstructive and resistance methods against erasure through SIAH by focusing on Black Women’s contradictory relationships with historical geographies.

Y’Ana Goddard

Y'Ana Smiling for the cameraMajor:Spanish

Minor:Diversity (AES)

Headed into her junior year as a Spanish Major with a Diversity Minor at UW, Y’ana is a multifaceted student, artists, and activist. She transferred from South Seattle College, where she was a student leader on the Student Association, and a peer mentor for TRIO. Throughout her work at South she developed her agency working with low-income, BIPOC, and first generation students. She believes that it is important to uplift communities by bringing awareness to their stories, struggles and successes. She is planning on using this opportunity to develop her activism work, incorporate it with her art, to create impactful research for the Black community.

Misheel Ildbataar

Misheel smiling for the cameraMajor: Law, Economy, and Public Policy

Minor: Human Rights

Misheel is a rising senior majoring in Law, Economy, and Public Policy with a minor in Human rights! She is passionate about mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and how these affect our criminal justice system and policy. She is currently researching mid-sized cities and what policies they are implementing to make them “anti-racist”. This summer, she is starting a new research project on how media, culture, and stereotypes affect the perception of African American studies and the liberation movement with funding from the Mary Gates Scholar Program. She is the President of the Law Society at UW and is passionate about law and making the study of law accessible for undergraduate students. In the future, she plans to further study and practice criminal law, and media law. She also plans on continuing my study of the impact of media and criminal law on marginalized communities.

Apollo Jean Paul

Major: Anthropology

Apollo is a rising junior majoring in Anthropology. In the SIAH program, they hope to investigate the creation of queer identities and personhood in Blackness and Black movement. They hope this research will further help them not only understand their own identities but also how others shift and interact in relation to one another.

Jai Lasker

Jai smiling for the cameraMajor:Jazz Studies; Art – Painting and Drawing

Jai Lasker is a guitarist, composer, improviser, and visual artist entering their fourth year at the University of Washington pursuing degrees in Jazz Studies and Art. As their compositional style and performance techniques have developed throughout their collegiate studies, activism, and protest have become central and essential themes of Jai’s musical pursuits. With the goal of capturing both their own experiences as a queer Black person and the collective experiences of the marginalized and persecuted communities they are a part of, Jai composes experimental works (primarily rooted in the Black American music traditions of jazz, blues, hip hop, free improvised music, electronic dance music, and rock) with space for open dialogue and discovery through improvisation. During their time with the Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities, Jai looks forward to exploring new research methods and tools while uncovering ways to utilize their research findings in their creative endeavors.

MJ Mencias

MJ posing for the cameraMajor: Law, Society, and Justice; Political Science

Mirian is an upcoming senior at the University of Washington and a Zaleous Advocate who is passionate about human rights and creating policy reform to address disparities. Mirian is dedicated and distinguished by her unwavering commitment to human rights advocacy. She brings a unique perspective as an Afro-Indigenous Latina, focusing on vital issues like food and housing security and students’ rights to quality education and funding. As a legislative intern, she made a significant impact by lobbying for bills that directly affected her community, a feat indicative of her willingness to roll up her sleeves and fight for what she believes in. Beyond the halls of academia and professional settings, Mirian is a beacon of support and mentorship. Her volunteer work as an advocate and lobbyist shows her relentless determination to use every available platform to champion the rights of students. This work, alongside her role as a mentor to students navigating challenges such as housing and food security, showcases her nurturing spirit. At home, Mirian is a loving single mother whose resilience and ambition are teaching her children the power of hard work and the beauty of dreaming big. She aspires to be a lawyer, a goal that embodies her commitment to wield her skills and knowledge in the relentless pursuit of Justice.

Kamyar Mohsenin

Kamyar posing for the cameraMajor: Educational Studies

Kamyar Mohsenin (he/him) is an award winning multimedia artist, filmmaker, and educator based in Seattle, Washington by way of Santa Cruz, California and Pāhoa, Hawaii. Teaching filmmaking, animation, and illustration, Kamyar designs holistic curriculums and inspires his students to explore creative expression and storytelling. He currently works with Coyote Central and various non profits and K-12 public/private schools in King County. Primarily self taught in traditional and digital mediums, his art reflects personal experiences of diaspora, faith, family, and cultural perspectives, as well as interests in flora, fauna, history, social justice, and antho-envrionmental systems.

Weiyi Qin

Weiyi smiling for the cameraMajor: Communication; Sociology

Weiyi Qin is an upcoming senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Communication and Sociology. Her academic journey has been driven by a deep passion for exploring the influence of media representation on marginalized communities, particularly the impact on Black community. Throughout her time at UW, Weiyi has dedicated herself to understanding the construction of stereotypical images and how they are perpetuated through popular media and art forms. With a focus on the intersection of communication and sociology, she are seeking to learn the ways in which these portrayals shape societal perceptions and contribute to systemic inequalities through research and study with SIAH. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, baking, and listening to music.

Jamie Stout

Jamie smiling with for the cameraMajor: English; Sociology

A rising sophomore in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, Jamie Stout plans to pursue degrees in English and Sociology. Within SIAH, her first research endeavor at the University of Washington, she hopes to explore the theatrical arts as a site of modern and historic resistance both as performance and literary writing along with the influence of social media on perception. In tandem, these topics combine fascinations from her two areas of study as she intends to continue in her pursuit of overlaps and interconnections within and between the humanities and social sciences. Outside of the classroom, Jamie enjoys attending and acting in theatrical productions, reading memoirs, attempting new recipes, wandering farmers markets, and traveling both near and far. She is beyond grateful to the teaching team and her cohort for this incredible opportunity and is looking forward to the knowledge, ideas, and relationships that bloom from this experience.

Saara Uthmaan

Saara smiling for the cameraMajor: Creative Writing; Informatics

Minor: Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS)

Saara Uthmaan, an upcoming junior at the University of Washington, is a vibrant and passionate individual. She is pursuing a major in creative writing and informatics with a minor in DXARTS. With a deep love for reading novels and manga, as well as engaging in activities like badminton, archery, and roller skating, she embraces a diverse range of interests.
Born in the heart of Seattle and raised in Saudi Arabia, Saara’s cultural background provides a rich tapestry of experiences and a unique perspective. Her goal within the program is to unearth the hidden history of Black people and give voice to their untold stories through digital art. Being one of eleven children, Saara understands the value of a strong sense of community. With her interdisciplinary background and unwavering dedication, she is poised to make a meaningful impact in exploring the intersections of time, art, and being during the 2023 SIAH.

Kyra Wolfenbarger

Kyra smiling for the cameraMajor: Art

Minor: Business

Kyra “Wolf” Wolfenbarger is a rising Junior at UW with an undying passion for understanding and improving the human experience through storytelling. Whether it be through marketing, creative writing, or visual art, Wolf finds that the intersection of mediums can open up infinite possibilities when it comes to further understanding and researching our day-to-day lives. Wolf finds storytelling through visual art and creative writing especially pertinent when one is researching topics that are difficult to convey or understand using traditional research methods. Such topics that Wolf has researched and will continue to research include, the black experience in America, being, self perception, time, and subtle self-harm. Outside of their work, Wolf enjoys video-games, drawing, reading, music, and exploring.

Maya Zigler

Maya smiling for the cameraMajor: Comparative History of Ideas (CHID); Scandinavian Studies

Minor: Theatre Studies; Swedish

Maya Zigler is a rising senior in the CHID and Scandinavian Studies departments, with a minor in Theatre Studies. Throughout these varied disciplines, they have focused on studying how art and storytelling interact with systems of oppression, whether that means reflecting and manifesting these systems, or rejecting and deconstructing them. This focus has been guided by their time at the University of Washington and Uppsala University in Sweden, as well as their work in dramaturgy and anti-imperialist organizing outside of their studies. This summer they hope to guide their research on principles of abolitionist thinking and the power of art for revolutionary thought and future-building, focusing most closely on Black Queer Theatre and how the intersection of black struggle and queer struggle can strengthen both movements.

Kiera Brooks

Major: English Language and Literature

Ava Finn

Major: Sociology; History

Fal Iyoab

Major: English

Minnah Tanzeen

Major: Pre-Sciences

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