Speakers and Program

New York City is at the intersection of performance, politics, and play. The United Nations headquarters and Trump Tower call attention to the city’s inextricable links to global politics. The theaters of Broadway are renowned for their nightly shows. But performance also takes place in ballrooms and recording studios, in art galleries, as well as on city streets by activists, aspiring artists, and buskers. From Central Park to Coney Island, the city has long been associated with leisure. Reflecting the diversity of the city itself, conference events and prearranged cultural excursions will take place at a variety of different institutions

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Valerie Steele

Director @

The Museum at FIT

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Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color

Photo by Aaron Corbett

Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has personally organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset: Fashioning the Body, London Fashion, Gothic: Dark GlamourShoe ObsessionDaphne GuinnessA Queer History of Fashion, and Dance and Fashion. She is also founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies.

Steele combines serious scholarship (and a Yale Ph.D.) with a rare ability to communicate with general audiences. She is author or co-author of more than 20 books, including Fashion and Eroticism, Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset: A Cultural History, Gothic: Dark Glamour, Japan Fashion Now, The Impossible Collection Fashion, The Berg Companion to Fashion, and Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT, as well as contributing essays to publications, such as Fashion and Art and Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity. Her books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian.

As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Valerie Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. She has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Undressed: The Story of Fashion.  Described in The Washington Post as one of fashions brainiest women and by Suzy Menkes as The Freud of Fashion, she was listed among Fashions 50 Most Powerful by the Daily News and as one of The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in the Business of Fashion 500 (2014).


Christian Biet

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Social Performance, "Session" & Theatrical Heterotopia: The Impact of the Audience in the Early Modern Theaters, and Now

Christian Biet is Professor of the History and Aesthetics of Theater at Paris Ouest University Nanterre La Défense; a member of the Institut Universitaire de France; a regular Visiting Professor at New York University; a member of the editorial committee of the French theatrical reviews Théâtre/Public and Littératures classiques; and the head of the Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) – a collaboration between Paris University-West Nanterre, MIT, Harvard University, and la Comédie-Française.

A specialist of French and English Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century theater, he has written extensively on the culture, literature, theater and law of the Early Modern period.

Most recently, he is the author of Qu’est-ce que le théâtre ? (with Ch. Triau, Gallimard, 2006), Théâtre de la cruauté et récits sanglants (France XVIe-XVIIe siècle) (Laffont, 2006), Tragédies et récits de martyres (France, fin XVIe-début XVIIe siècle) (Garnier, 2009), and Le Théâtre du XVIIe siècle (L’Avant-Scène, 2009).

In his recent work Professor Biet explores the way theater and the event of theater, spectator included, have been ruled during the early modern period and is ruled today.



Final program