Faculty » Susan Ossman
Office: 1303 Watkins Hall
Susan Ossman has studied media, mobility, aesthetics, gender and politics in sites across North Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Her innovative designs for fieldwork and collaborative research are related to her life of international migration and her practice as an artist, curator and director of multiple international scholarly and artistic collaborations. She is currently writing a book about how politics of movement and policies of migration are produce emerging forms of social and cultural differences. This work builds on the concepts and methods she develops in Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration (Stanford 2013), a book that also sparked the creation of The Moving Matters Traveling Workshop, a mobile collective of serial migrant artists and scholars.
The MMTW is an experiment in anthropological fieldwork design, forms of collaboration and multi-modal modes of thinking. Participants draw on their common experience of multiple migrations to develop works of art, exhibitions, performances and public interventions in changing locations. Since 2013 the MMTW has met in California, Paris, Amsterdam and Bucharest; plans for 2017 include Berlin and Barcelona. Susan’s concepts of serial migration and political choreography also inspired the ovation award winning Son of Semele Theater Ensemble (SOSE) to create “Sea Seed,” a collaboratively written play that explores how divergent experiences of migration influence family relationships. Along with MMTW participants, Susan is producing a multi-media, digital book about these projects.
Since her 2012 Fabric of Fieldwork exhibition with WESSIE LING at the Brunei gallery in London, Susan has also curated programs that highlight interfaces of art and anthropology to reflect on gender, work, class and culture. On the Line started with a solo exhibition of Susan’s work then brought dozens of artists to Riverside to engage diverse audiences in On the Line: A Second Look, Hanging Out, and three outdoor exhibitions in 2016. UCR students, the Riverside Arts Council and the Riverside Public Libraries contributed to the program which is the topic of an article in Critical Arts and a film by Rashaun Richardson.
Susan studied painting and continues to work in that medium while developing installations, performances and digital art. Recent projects like My Mediterranean Archeology, Gather Wood, Gather Words, and In the Arms of Morpheus draw on past fieldwork, while Lifeworks are the result of new research with individuals. An article La vie des idées follows the interplay of art and anthropology in her work. A June 2017 exhibition with Claire Lambe at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin will take the institute for advanced research as an object of study, examining the social and material underpinnings of knowledge production.
Susan directed the UCR Global Studies Program from 2008 to 2016. Before coming to UCR she convened the MA in Transnational and Global Media at Goldsmith's College. She previously taught at Rice University, Georgetown University, The American University of Paris and the CELSA-Sorbonne. She founded the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain in Rabat (now the Centre Jacques Berque) where she was research fellow and director from 1992-1996. Her awards include grants from the CNRS (France), the British Academy and the US National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship.
- Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration. Stanford : Stanford University Press, 2013.
- Three Faces of Beauty: Casablanca, Paris, Cairo. Durham:Duke University Press, 2002.
- Picturing Casablanca: Portraits of Power in a Modern City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. [Introduction translated in Maghreb et sciences sociales, June-July 2009.]
- The Places We Share: Migration, Subjectivity and Global Mobility. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2007.
- Mimesis. Imiter, Representer, Circuler.
- Miroirs Maghrébins, Itinéraires de soi et Paysages de Rencontre (Maghrebian Mirrors: Itineraries of Self and Landscapes for Encounters). Paris: CNRS Editions, 1998.
- On the Line: a report on shifting collaborations around clotheslines
- Anthropologie visuelle
- Making Matrice: Intersubjectivity in Ethnography and Art, (with Juliann Allison)
- Not Your Grandmother’s Immigrants: Susan Ossman on Serial Migration
- Artists and Scientists Doing Things Together
- ANN Talks: Featuring Susan Ossman
Exhibitions can be viewed here