"The necessity of not having control over language, of being a foreigner in one's own tongue, in order to draw speech to oneself and bring something incomprehensible into the world."

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Jeanette “Joy” Harris

Jeanette “Joy” Harris is a Houston-based artist, and artistic researcher focused on the multi-dimensionality of performance and its intersection with philosophy. She is particularly interested in the constellations that emerge from the interdisciplinary discourse between dance, performance art, vocality, and opera in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is an adjunct at the University of Houston McGovern College of the Arts and co-authored Collaboration Among the Arts: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Kendall Hunt). She is also a founding member of Houston artist-run gallery Throughline. 

Joy’s research is rooted in Continental philosophy, strongly emphasizing phenomenology as a mode for experiencing and describing performance structures. She has presented papers at the American Political Science Association; American Society for Aesthetics; University of Cambridge, Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics; Carleton University Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies; Centre for Applied Politics, Philosophy and Ethics at the University of Brighton; Centre for Phenomenology at University of South Africa; Literary Landscapes: Forms of Knowledge in the Humanities at La Sorbonne Université; New Mexico Texas Philosophical Society; and Society for Italian Philosophy. Joy was a scholar in residence at the Hannah Arendt Institute at Bard College, is a three-time presenter at the Arendt Circle, and published a book review on Arendt and Adriana Cavarero  in  Arendt Studies journal.

Over the past 25 years, Joy has created projects that involve performance art, dance, video, photography, installation, and public engagement. She has shown creative work regionally, internationally, and internationally, including a solo show at Lawndale Art Center (Houston). She has been involved in projects in Chicago, Dallas, Helsinki, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, the Netherlands, New Orleans, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, and Venice (IT). Her performances have been published in Emergency Index Volumes 9 and 10. Joy started her creative life in dance, where she studied with a former Erick Hawkins company member, participated in a summer intensive with the Joffrey Ballet, and danced for several Texas-based ballet companies. She was also a guest choreographer for two regional ballet companies and was a social dance instructor at the University of North Texas.

Joy has been involved in a variety of performance and philosophy curatorial projects. She was commissioned by Goethe Pop-Up Houston (an arm of the Goethe Institute) to develop an interdisciplinary philosophy and immersive performance project on Hannah Arendt and friendship. She also curated a performance and politics festival and an artist speaking series. 

Joy is pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School. She completed an MscR in art history with an emphasis on performance from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in government with an emphasis in political philosophy from Texas Woman’s University. She has guest lectured at Texas Woman’s University, University of North Texas, and Houston Community College and spoken at public programs at the Glassell School of the Art, Jung Center Houston, and Houston’s public philosophy network “Philosophically Drinking.” Joy has published articles in GlasstireHyperallergicBeautiful DecaysmART Magazine, and Political Animal, among others.