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Beyond Words: Gender and the Aesthetics of Communication - presented by the Radcliffe Institute

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge MA

 “Beyond Words” will explore the aesthetics of communication, focusing particularly on how we communicate through the body—how we make ourselves look and smell, move and sound.

 Spotlighting topics as diverse as sign language and dance, tattoos and perfumes, the songs of birds and the voices of robots, the conference will blend talks, performances, and demonstrations to probe how bodily communication engages the senses in ways that are often profoundly gendered.


  • Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and codirector of the Center for Future Storytelling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; founder and chief scientist, Jibo, Inc.

  • Chandler Burr, author, The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession and The Perfect Scent: A Year inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York; former perfume critic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

  • Ayodele Casel, dancer and choreographer; 2018–2019 artist-in-residence, Harvard University

  • Jacqueline Emmart, nationally certified ASL interpreter; health access advocate

  • Elena Leah Glassman, Stanley A. Marks and William H. Marks Assistant Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; assistant professor of computer science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • Dominique Holmes, tattoo artist; author, The Painted Lady: The Art of Tattooing the Female Body 

  • Antoine Hunter, founder and artistic director, Urban Jazz Dance Company and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival; former president, Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates

  • Shigehisa Kuriyama, faculty director of the humanities program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

  • Jill Johnson, senior lecturer in Theater, Dance & Media, dance director of the Harvard Dance Center, and artistic director of the Harvard Dance Project, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

  • Noelle LaCharite, lead of developer experience for applied AI, Microsoft

  • Zarin Machanda, assistant professor of anthropology, Tufts University

  • Aniruddh D. Patel, 2018–2019 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; professor of psychology, Tufts University

  • John Durham Peters: María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film & Media Studies, Yale University

  • Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University

  • Diana Sorensen RI ’11, James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and professor of comparative literature, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

  • Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

  • Amy Szarkowski, attending psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

 The conference includes an arts event and discussion on Thursday, February 28, about experiencing gender through a spectrum of drag culture. Artists and audience will explore questions of gender performance, identity, and expression; examine cultural assumptions; and witness real-time drag transformation.

 To register, visit

 The event is free and open to the public. We encourage you to share this invitation with people you know who may be interested.

Earlier Event: February 17
Chicago Chapter presents ART & WINE pARTy