Invited Speakers

Éric Fassin (Université de Paris 8, Sociology/Political Science)

Éric Fassin is a professor of sociology in the Political Science Department and co-chair of the Gender Studies Department at Paris 8 University. He taught in the United States from 1987 to 1994 at Brandeis University and New York University, and at the École normale supérieure in Paris from 1994 to 2012. He is a founding member of the new Laboratoire d’études de genre et de sexualité – Research Center on Gender and Sexuality Studies (LEGS, CNRS / Paris 8 / Paris 10). His work focuses on contemporary sexual and racial politics, including immigration issues, in France, in Europe, and in the United States – often in a comparative perspective. He is frequently involved in the French public debates on issues his work addresses – from “gay marriage” and gender parity, to the politics and policies of immigration and race, as well as the evolution of the left. He has regularly written articles in English for publications such as French Politics, Culture & Society, French Historical Studies, Public Culture, differences, and Contemporary French Civilization.

Agnieszka Graff (University of Warsaw, Literature/Gender studies)

Dr. Graff is a graduate of Amherst College (1993), Oxford University (M. St., 1995), and Graduate School for Social Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science (1999). She holds a Ph.D. in English literature from University of Warsaw (1999). An assistant professor at ASC since 2000, she offers courses, lectures and MA seminars in U.S. culture, literature and film, African American studies, gender studies and women’s history. She has published extensively on gender in Polish and American public life in both scholarly journals and the mainstream press. Her three books are Świat bez kobiet (World without Women, W.A.B. 2001); Rykoszetem (Stray Bullets, W.A.B. 2008) and Magma (The Quagmire Effect, Krytyka Polityczna, 2010). Her primary research interest is the interface between gender, race and national identity; her ongoing research project concerns the rhetorical strategies of second wave U.S. feminism. She is a co-editor of The Americanist, the scholarly journal published by the ASC, as well as a member of the Krytyka Polityczna team and the Council of Polish Women’s Congress.

Sarah Green (University of Helsinki, Anthropology)

Sarah Green has been Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki since August 2012, having moved there from the University of Manchester. She has focused her research on issues relating to border dynamics and to questions of space, place and location more widely since the early 1990s. Before that, she focused on issues relating to the politics of gender and sexuality and to the relationship between new information and communications technologies and people’s everyday experiences of social location.

Sarah Green has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in the Balkan region (Greek-Albanian border area), in the Aegean, in the Peloponnese (southern Greece), as well as in London and Manchester. She is the Chair of EastBordNet, a 27-country research network studying border regions across the eastern peripheries of Europe. She has published widely on borders issues, with the most recent book, Borderwork, being a joint project between herself, a team of EastBordNet researchers and a Finnish photographer, Lena Malm.

Elayne Oliphant (New York University, Anthropology) 

Elayne Oliphant’s scholarship explores the privilege of Christianity in France and Europe and rethinks the evolutionary tale of religious to secular by examining the ongoing (and ever-transforming) dominance of Christian signs and symbols in the public sphere. From its ubiquity in the cityscape to its self-evident place in the cultural and artistic spaces of Paris, she demonstrates how Christianity is experienced and presented as a sign of secular Europe.  She has published essays exploring the privileged circulation of Christian signs in contemporary art exhibits, museum displays, and European Court of Human Rights rulings. She is currently completing her first book entitled Signs of an Unmarked Faith: Contemporary Art and Secular Catholicism in 21st Century Paris. Her current research projects include: an examination of the significant role played by real estate, insurance, and financial industries in maintaining the power and privilege of Christian heritage spaces throughout France; and a study of effects of the closure of nine Catholic churches in Manhattan, both on the cityscape and for the city’s Catholic population.

Her interest in the intermingling of the religious and secular in urban and aesthetic forms extends to contemporary artistic practices that call into question the narratives that underlie claims to privilege. In the spring of 2015 she organized an exhibition entitled “The Art of Invisibility.” The display brought together the work of seven contemporary artists who explore the complex linkages between the religious and the secular in their work.