Life and Death on the NY Dance Floor: Tim Lawrence, Tavia Nyong'o, Ricardo Montez

OCT 07, 2016 | 6:30 PM

Book cover: Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016


9100: Skylight Room


October 07, 2016: 6:30 PM




Intellectual Publics


Please join Intellectual Publics for "Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83" featuring Tim Lawrence in conversation with Tavia Nyong'o and Ricardo Montez. This event is part of the Intellectual Publics programming series, convened by Ken Wissoker.
Continuing his analysis of the New York City party scene, Tim Lawrence focuses on the early 1980s, a largely neglected period that was characterized by its creativity, intensity and integration. He outlines how the period witnessed the discreet sounds of disco, punk, rock, rap and dub-reggae give way to an array of mutant combinations. He also explores how the city’s party venues became multi-sensory hubs that regularly combined DJing, live performance, performance art, art, video, film and immersive happenings. What were the economic and social conditions that gave rise to this era of hybrid activity and how did changing circumstances augur its premature end?
This event will be live-streamed at:

Tim Lawrence is the author of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83, as well as Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92. He is a professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London, and a co-founder of the Centre of Cultural Studies Research and Lucky Cloud Sound System. More info:

Tavia Nyong'o is Professor of American Studies and Theatre Studies at Yale University. He writes on art, music, politics, culture, and theory. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies. He is completing a study of fabulation in black aesthetics and embarking on another on queer wildness. Nyong’o has published in venues such as Radical History Review, CriticismGLQ, TDR, Women & Performance, WSQ, The NationTriple CanopyThe New Inquiry, and n+1. He is co-editor of the journal Social Text and the Sexual Cultures book series at New York University press. He regularly blogs at Bully Bloggers.

Ricardo Montez is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at the New School for Public Engagement where he developed and chaired the curricular programs in Race and Ethnicity and Gender and Sexuality.  He is currently completing a monograph on the artist Keith Haring titled Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire. His follow up project, inspired by 1980s downtown NYC video artist Nelson Sullivan, examines the queer hand in contemporary visual art practice.