Courses for Spring 2021

A complete list of courses offered by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, including full descriptions and cross-listings, is available via Courses @ Brown.

  • Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences (ITAL 0701)

  • Psychology and Philosophy of Happiness (PHIL 0650)

  • Mural Painting in Mexico (HIAA 0632)

  • The Cogut Institute for the Humanities Research Seminar

    This seminar involves reading and discussing in-progress research by the annual fellows of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, an interdisciplinary group of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates engaged in extended research on a major project or honors thesis. Students read a wide range of works-in-progress, prepare questions and participate in seminar discussions, intervene as first questioners for specific sessions assigned to them in advance, and present their own work twice during the year. Admission to the course requires that students have received the Cogut Institute Undergraduate Fellowship for the year in which they enroll.
    HMAN 1000B S01
    This seminar is for Cogut Undergraduate Fellows only.
    Primary Instructor
  • Introduction to iPhone/iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons

    Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie. Limited to junior, senior and graduate students.
    HMAN 1971S S01
    During the first 4 weeks of the Fall 2020 term, ALL students will have required 1:1 meetings with the instructor, who will arrange these meeting(s) via Canvas/Zoom at time(s) convenient for the student. Beginning on Week 5, once students' locations and skill sets have been established, willing students might be organized into small groups by the instructor.
    Primary Instructor
  • Theo-Politics: Political Readings of the Hebrew Bible

    The seminar presents the Hebrew Bible as a primary source for political theory. It offers readings of some highly charged theo-political episodes through which some key political concepts are explicated and problematized. Special attention is given to systemic violence, states of exception, the politics of plagues, and resistance. The readings are guided by (mostly) contemporary thinkers who contributed to the study of these concepts in non-biblical contexts. Reconstructing God’s multiple political personae and several types of biblical theocracies, the seminar questions the gap separating our putatively modern, secular political imagination from that of the political cultures documented in the Bible.
    HMAN 1974P S01
    This course will have occasional IN-PERSON discussion sections on a project-by-project basis held during the regularly scheduled seminar time. In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, students will be assigned groups by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.
    Primary Instructor
  • Humans, Animals, and Machines

    This course examines the invocation of animals and machines to illuminate the meanings and limits of the human in modern American thought and culture. Our objects of analysis will range from medical experiments to popular films, primatology to video games, and Crispr babies to science fiction. Readings will consider the roles of animals and machines in the history of categories of race, gender, and bodily difference. Throughout we will examine the political, cultural, and epistemological stakes of the shifting boundaries of the natural and the unnatural, as well as the human and non-human.
    HMAN 1974R S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Anthropology of Infrastructure: Comparative Ethnographic Perspectives

    Basic infrastructure – e.g., electricity grids, water supply systems, roads, railroads, and the Internet – is commonly seen as a foundational requirement for and visible manifestation of modern human life. Yet inequalities in infrastructure are both causes and consequences of the profound disparities that characterize the contemporary world. This course aims at deciphering the complex interaction between infrastructure, society, politics, and human experience. Taking a comparative ethnographic approach, students will ask whether technology has produced a better world, and for whom. From economics and governance to ethics and sociality, students will explore humans’ relationship to infrastructure.
    HMAN 1974T S01
    Primary Instructor
  • God of the Greek Philosophers

    This seminar will focus on the views of Plato and Aristotle on god’s thought and human thought. Plato treats god as a craftsman who looks to unchanging forms and attempts to replicate them in recalcitrant materials. By contrast, Aristotle regards the cosmos as eternal. His god maintains the world as the relatively stable place it is and does so as an object of desire and thought. God’s own activity—thinking of thinking--is extremely simple, whereas ours is necessarily more complex and involves recognizing our place and contribution to the order of things.
    HMAN 1974V S01
    This course will occasionally meet ONLINE ONLY. More information will be shared with students at the beginning of the semester.
    Primary Instructor
  • Earth Histories: From Creation to Countdown

    This course offers a humanistic perspective on global climate change, arguably the most pressing issue facing our species today. At the heart of this issue lies the idea that human beings have been elevated to the level of a geological force, merging geological and historical time and necessitating a critical conversation between the sciences and the humanities. To that end, we will foster a collaborative dialogue about the diverse “temporalities” that inform our thinking about the earth and its history, from creation stories to the modern idea of progress. Students will also curate a group exhibition about earth histories.
    HMAN 1974W S01
    This course will have occasional IN-PERSON discussion sections on an ad hoc basis. The instructors will provide more details at the beginning of the semester. In-person meetings will be held in Pembroke Hall 003. This course is being offered by both the Cogut Institute for the Humanities (HMAN 1974W) and History (HIST 1976J).
    Primary Instructor
    HMAN 1974W C01
    Primary Instructor
    Schedule Code
    C: Discussion Section/Conference
  • From Pancho Villa to Netflix: An Introduction to Mexican Cinema (HISP 1371I)

  • Philosophy of the Environment: Environmental Utopias (PHIL 1785)

  • Independent Study

    HMAN 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thinking Breath: An Inquiry Across Philosophy, Literature, and Performance

    This collaborative seminar proposes an interdisciplinary and inter-cultural inquiry into breath as the shared figment of philosophical, spiritual, therapeutic, athletic, musical, and environmental practices, among others. How does breath travel across disparate traditions, bodies, and technologies? Is it vital or metaphysical? Is it restricted to particular genres? Does it have a history? Topics include punctuation and phrasing; climate change and the crisis of oxygen; circular breathing and “breathy” vocalization in musical traditions; the notion of "ruh" in Sufism, pneuma in ancient Greek thought, "qì" in ancient Chinese thought, and “breath” as a synonym for “self” in ancient Indian philosophy.
    HMAN 2401B S01
    Students submitting an override request for this course should indicate whether they intend for this course to satisfy the course requirements for the doctoral certificate in collaborative humanities.
    Primary Instructor
  • Inscribing the Event: Poetics and Politics of the Date

    What is a date? How does it relate to our understanding of historical time? How can the idea of a date be represented in words and images? What does it mean to commemorate the anniversary of a date? When it comes to a date, what is the relation between repeatability and singularity? This seminar will devote itself to the vexing question of the date in literature, the arts, critical thought, and cultural theory. Texts to include Marx, Benjamin, Faulkner, Adorno, Derrida, Celan, among others. Graduate students from diverse fields welcome. Final collaborative seminar project required.
    HMAN 2401C S01
    Primary Instructor
  • The Fugitivity of Slowness, Stillness, and Stasis

    Slowness, stillness, stasis – these terms signal diminished velocity, extended duration, delayed development or reduced exertion. But what if we understand them as an intensification, rather than a reduction, of forces? How do slowness, stillness, and stasis animate fugitivity in various bodies of thought? What if slowness, stillness, and stasis instantiate modes of anti-colonial practice and thought, or imagine/realize a world nonsensical to much of dominant western thought? This collaborative humanities seminar will explore practices of slowness, stillness, and stasis in literature, theory, performance and art, and the ways in which they unsettle our understanding of fugitive social practices of refusal.
    HMAN 2401D S01
    Students submitting an override request for this course should indicate whether they intend for this course to satisfy the course requirements for the doctoral certificate in collaborative humanities.
    Primary Instructor
  • Project Development Workshop

    In this capstone course, students completing the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Humanities pursue individual or collaborative projects, such as a dissertation prospectus, a dissertation chapter, or a methodological/theoretical exercise relating to their field of interest. Weekly sessions are devoted to work-in-progress and discussion of key texts addressing method and theory in and beyond the humanities. At the end of the semester, participants present in a Collaborative Public Workshop. Admission to the seminar requires a formal application process and the completion of two HMAN 2400 seminars.
    HMAN 2500 S01
    Admission to the seminar requires a formal application process and the completion of two HMAN 2400 seminars.
    Primary Instructor