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Irina Aristarkhova

Professor and Acting Director, The Digital Studies Institute
Faculty Affiliate, The Departments of American Culture and Women’s Studies, LSA College
Faculty Affiliate, ESC: Center for Ethics, Society and Computing
Faculty Affiliate, Institute for Research on Women & Gender
Faculty Affiliate, The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSAS)


Photograph of Irina Aristarkhova


Curriculum Vitae
  • PhD, Social Theory, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 1999
  • MA, Sociology, Social Theory, University of Warwick, UK1995
  • BA, Philosophy, Sociology, Moscow State University, 1992

Irina Aristarkhova was born in Moscow in 1969. She writes on and lectures in comparative feminist theory and contemporary aesthetics. She joined the School of Art & Design faculty as an Associate Professor in 2012. She has held faculty positions at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park), National University of Singapore (where she directed Cyberarts Research Initiative, 2001-2005), and Lasalle College of the Arts.

Aristarkhova’s book Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture (2012) is available from Columbia University Press. More recent articles, "Hospitality and the Maternal" and "Though Shall Not Harm All Living Beings: Feminism, Jainism and Animals," are published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (27.1 and 27.3, 2012). Ana Prvacki collaborated with Irina Aristarkhova on an art book in 2011. Their "100 Notes – 100 Thoughts No. 043: The Greeting Committee Reports..." is part of Documenta 13 publication series, and can be ordered from Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Aristarkhova studied philosophy and sociology at Moscow State University, and did her Master’s Degree at the University of Warwick, UK. She completed her PhD in Contemporary French Psychoanalytic Theory at the Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences. She edited and contributed to a volume Woman Does Not Exist: Contemporary Studies of Sexual Difference (1999), and the Russian translation of Luce Irigaray’s An Ethics of Sexual Difference (2005).

Her net-art work "Virtual Chora" was selected and developed for Cyberarts Exhibition, part of NOKIA / Singapore Art festival, and exhibited at Singapore Art Museum in 2001. Ideas that formed this work later became a part of her writing on hospitality, space, matrix and new media, specifically in the text "Hospitality-Chora-Matrix-Cyberspace" (Fisozofski Vestnik XXIII, 2-2002, special editor: Marina Grzinic Mauhler). In 2002, Irina Aristarkhova, together with Faith Wilding, Coco Fusco, and Maria Fernandez, started "Undercurrents" - an online discussion list about how cyberfeminism, new technologies, postcoloniality and globalization are interrelated. The fundamental relation between technology and difference (aesthetic, cultural, sexual, political, inter-disciplinarity, etc.) remains one of her main areas of interest, and was the topic of a special issue of Leonardo Electronic Almanac under her editorship - "Technology and Difference", LEA 11:10-11, available online: LEA Volume 11, Number 10 and LEA Volume 11, Number 11.

Her numerous other publications include "Ectogenesis and Mother (as) Machine" (Body and Society, 11:3), and a chapter in the volume Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination After 1945 (ed. Stimson and Sholette, Minnesota University Press, 2007).

Watch Irina Aristarkhova’s 2013 lecture "Dangerous Art: From Varvara Stepanova to Pussy Riot" on YouTube.

Aristarkhova's new book Arrested Welcome: Hospitality in Contemporary Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) is available on the Open Access Manifold Platform and in PDF form from the U-M Library.

The Stamps Gallery hosted a Virtual Book Launch for Arrested Welcome on June 29, 2020, featuring artists Ana Prvački, Faith Wilding, Lee Mingwei, Kathy High, Mithu Sen, and Ken Aptekar, with video available on YouTube.