Courses for Fall 2018

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

  • 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
    Primary Instructor
  • Race, Sexuality, and Mental Disability History (AFRI 1060Z)

  • Bureaucracy: A Modern History

    How did the office emerge as the quintessentially modern workspace? This seminar will explore the material history of the office, especially paperwork and other information technologies, as well as office management and design. We will also examine how bureaucratic forms of authority were enacted and put into practice, using the material history of the office as a means to ask broader questions about managerial oversight, governmentality, and institutional control, all in an attempt to understand how modern ideas about rationality and efficiency were leveraged to govern what seemed like an unruly world.
    HMAN 1973K S01
    Primary Instructor
  • After Blackness: Framing Contemporary African American Literature

    It is no exaggeration to say that there has been a renaissance in African American literary art since the 1980s. This seminar assesses the remarkable range of black writing during this era in relation to influential theoretical and historical accounts that address such frameworks as postnationalism, postmodernism, post-segregation, and post-soul. By staging the interplay between these scholarly accounts and literature the course offers a broad overview of thought about contemporary black culture. Includes literary works by Colson Whitehead, Paul Beatty, Suzan-Lori-Parks, and Claudia Rankine.
    HMAN 1973L S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Art, Secrecy, and Invisibility in Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt is well known for having produced large and eminently visible art and architecture. But a persistent theme in Egyptian visual culture is that of invisibility, of art made and then deliberately hidden or destroyed. The range of examples is vast and varied, suggesting a complex relationship between visibility and meaning. This seminar will explore how unseeable art intersects with themes of audience, agency, and time in ancient Egypt, utilizing examples from other cultures - including our own - to examine the meanings of the invisible.
    HMAN 1973M S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Geoaesthetics and the Environmental Humanities

    This seminar critically examines the ecological turn in the humanities. Proceeding from close examination of historically-specific artistic practices, it excavates the predispositions and assumptions embodied in particular “geoaesthetics,” and situates these aesthetics in the long history of human efforts to make sense of the earth. Moving from the immanent rocks of Tiantai Buddhism and the thinking forests of the Amazonian Runa to the nature writing of Emerson and the formation of modern geological science, it considers the challenge of a deep history of geo-thinking to recent theorizations of hyperobjects, Gaia, and the Anthropocene.
    HMAN 1973Q S01
    Primary Instructor
  • The Politics of Chinese Cinema (MCM 1204D)

  • Art for an Undivided Earth: Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Activism and Art (ENGL 1711J)

  • Indigenous Politics in Hawai'i: Resurgence and Decolonization (POLS 1820I)

  • Independent Study

    HMAN 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • It’s About Time: Temporalities of Waiting in Theory, Literature, and Film

    This is a seminar on four forms of temporality: suspension, rupture, heterochronia, and coming to an end. These forms will be explored as pertaining to politics, theology, and experience. Agamben’s reading of Paul (The Time That Remains) provides us with a conceptual grid, and “waiting for the Messiah” will be one of the modes of temporalization examined. Kafka’s staging of delay in The Castle, Fritz Lang’s invention of the filmic countdown, and the “checkpoint” in occupied Palestine will constitute major counterpoints. Students will work on collaborative assignments defined collectively and focusing on a specific event, text, or film.
    HMAN 2400G S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Art History from the South: Circulations, Simulations, Transfigurations

    Addressing history and art history, this collaborative seminar will look at the colonial and postcolonial circuits of movement, transaction and replication that have shaped not just the destinies of art, archaeological and architectural objects but equally the structures of institutions and disciplines that govern these object-worlds. This will involve thinking through critiques of a Eurocentric aesthetics and art history and engaging with practices such as theft, fugitivity, replication, mimicry, and free adaptations. While drawing on South Asia for its primary lines of enquiry, the "south" of South Asia in this seminar will serve more broadly as an epistemic pull.
    HMAN 2400H S01
    This course is being co-taught by Vazira Zamindar and visiting professor Tapati Guha-Thakurta.
    Primary Instructor
  • Archives: Imperial and Non-Imperial Histories, Practices and Theories

    The seminar explores some theoretical, historical, material, practical, methodological and curatorial aspects of archives. Special attention will be given to archives’ modes of operation in dis/placing people and objects, and the roles “documents” play in the co-constitution of “well-documented-objects” and "un-documented people." Students will be asked to work collaboratively in and with archives as sources and tools, and to experiment with creating archives of their own. The seminar involves one trip to Yale and some irregular hours, which are noted in the syllabus.
    HMAN 2400J S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Religion and Internationalism

    Scholarly debates across many disciplines and political upheavals around the globe demonstrate the continued urgency of the struggle between the “secular” and the “religious.” This collaborative seminar traces the intertwined genealogies of the three key terms in this conundrum: religion, secularity, and the international. These terms have been continually subject to theoretical and practical contestation and reconfiguration, from early modern Europe, through the histories of colonialism and anti-colonialism, to post-Cold War turmoil. Readings include judicial decisions from the United States, Europe, and India, as well as authors such as Saba Mahmood, Ashis Nandi, J.Z. Smith, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Winnifred Sullivan.
    HMAN 2400L S01
    Primary Instructor