This virtual symposium was organized by Professor Lauren McLeod Cramer (Cinema Studies Institute, U of T), who is the Bissell-Heyd Research Fellow for 2021-2022 at the Centre for the Study of the United States.


Panel I: A State of Catastrophe: Politics In and Out of Time
Bedour Alagraa, “Bad Infinities: Catastrophe and its ‘Changing Same’”
American Artist, “Art at the End of the World”
Moderated by Uahikea Maile

Panel II: The Aesthetics of Catastrophe and The Catastrophe of Aesthetics
Ladi’Sasha Jones, “Space for Play”
Tao Leigh Goffe, “Molten Black: Race, Climate, Temporality.”
Moderated by Thy Phu

Panel III: A Conversation on Catastrophe
Bedour Alagraa, American Artist, Ladi’Sasha Jones, and Tao Leigh Goffe
Moderator by Lauren McLeod Cramer and Alexandra Rahr


Tao Leigh Goffe is an award-winning writer and DJ specializing in the origin stories that emerge from histories of race, empire, climate, and technology. Dr. Goffe is the founding director of the Dark Laboratory, a collective on race and ecology where members develop stories using creative technology (VR, AR, XR, DJ’ing, film, screenwriting). Dr. Goffe is also the Executive Director of the Afro-Asia Group, an advisory organization with the mission of creating spaces of collaboration between African and Asian diasporas on futurity, solidarity, and infrastructure. Her writing has been published in Artsy, South Atlantic Quarterly, Small Axe, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, and Boston Review.

Ladi’Sasha Jones is a writer and curator from Harlem, NY. Her research-based practice explores Black cultural and spatial histories through text, design and public engagement. She has written for Aperture, Avery Review, Arts.Black, Houston Center for Photography, Art X Lagos, Temporary Art Review, Art-Agenda, The Art Momentum, and Recess among others. Her project, Black Interior Space / Spatial Thought was commissioned by THE SHED (NYC) as a part of Open Call 2021 and was the recipient of a 2021 Research and Development award from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Currently, Jones is the Artist Engagement Manager for The Laundromat Project. She held prior appointments at the Norton Museum of Art, the New Museum’s IdeasCity platform, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She holds a B.A. in African American Studies from Temple University and a M.A. in Arts Politics from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts.

Dr. Bedour Alagraa is Assistant professor of Political and Social Thought in the Department of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her PhD from the department of Africana Studies at Brown University in the Spring of 2019, and was an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow during her time at Brown. She also holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonial Studies from the London School of Economics. Her book manuscript is entitled The Interminable Catastrophe: Fatal Liberalisms, Plantation Logics, and Black Political Life in the Wake of Disaster, and charts a conceptual history of catastrophe as a political category/concept (rather than Event), via its inauguration in early modern natural science and empiricist debates, and subsequent crystallization as a concept on the plantation. She has been published in several journals, including Critical Ethnic Studies, Contemporary Political Theory, The CLR James Journal of Caribbean Philosophy, Small Axe, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. She is currently co-editor, alongside Anthony Bogues, of the ‘Black Critique’ book series at Pluto Press.

American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning with their legal name change in 2013. Their artwork primarily takes the form of sculpture, software, and video. Artist is a 2021 LACMA Art & Tech Lab Grant Recipient and a resident at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn. They are a former resident of Red Bull Arts, Abrons Art Center, Recess, EYEBEAM, Pioneer Works, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They have exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA PS1; Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Kunsthalle Basel, CH; and Nam June Paik Center, Seoul. They have had solo museum exhibitions at The Queens Museum, New York and The Museum of African Diaspora, California. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, and Huffington Post. Artist is a 2021 Regents’ Lecturer at UCLA and teaches critical theory at the School for Poetic Computation.