Annual Report

2018–2019 Annual Report

Cover of the 2018-19 Annual ReportFROM THE DIRECTOR
This has been a year of dynamic growth for the Cogut Institute, as we continue the vital work of integrative humanities teaching and research on the most important questions facing our global society. We launched several new initiatives and celebrated the establishment of the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. With this new Center, developed out of a longstanding program at Brown, we aim to foster deeper dialogue on the history of the humanities across the globe. Another faculty-led group, building on a 2017–2018 pilot lecture series, inaugurated Environmental Humanities at Brown, an initiative that draws in faculty and students across several disciplines to share resources, publicize courses, and host events addressing the environmental challenges facing humanity.

Two additional initiatives were launched under the directorship of Humanities Initiative Scholars working collaboratively with departments and other centers on campus. Peter Szendy, David Herlihy Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities, introduced the Economies of Aesthetics Initiative through a major international conference on Narratives of Debt. And in collaboration with the Center for Contemporary South Asia, Leela Gandhi, the John Hawkes Professor of Humanities and English, convened thought-provoking events under the aegis of the Humanities in the World Initiative.

These developments have all promoted cross-fertilization of advanced research and public discussion across campus. In doing so, they complement existing lecture series such as Creative Medicine and Politics in the Humanities. The Greg and Julie Flynn Cogut Institute Speaker Series, in particular, continues to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to converse directly with public figures in the humanities such as Mohsin Hamid, Pico Iyer, and Sarah Lewis, in both small group settings and large public venues.

We were excited this year to initiate a new undergraduate component to our Collaborative Humanities Initiative, in the form of innovative team-taught courses pairing humanities faculty with faculty in other divisions and schools of the University. Course topics align with the core emphases of Building on Distinction, Brown’s strategic plan for innovation in research, teaching, and service. By means of a competitive award process, we selected three courses that will be offered over the next two years: “Brazilian Democracy in Literature and History,” “Happiness in Psychology and Philosophy,” and “Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences.” Read more.

Past Annual Reports