Courses for Spring 2019

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

  • 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
    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
    Primary Instructor
  • Islam in America: A Global History

    This course explores the history of Muslims in the United States—and American discourses about Islam—from colonial times to the present. Organized chronologically and thematically, we follow major questions and debates in American relations with the so-called “Muslim world”—from Columbus’s fateful 1492 voyage to Morocco’s recognition of the United States in 1777; and Muslim slaves and migrants in the Antebellum South to President Obama’s historic Cairo speech. As a broadly conceived transregional history, the seminar explores the diverse social, political, and economic processes connecting Africa, the Mideast, South Asia, and North America from the fifteenth to twenty-first centuries.
    HMAN 1973N S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Neurodiversity: Science, Politics, Culture

    This interdisciplinary seminar will investigate the emerging concepts of neurodiversity and neurodivergence—terms originally developed by autistic activists and self-advocates seeking to depathologize autism and other forms of neurological, mental, and cognitive difference. Course materials will incorporate perspectives from disability studies, the history of science, cultural studies, and feminist and queer theory. We will consider how neurodivergence enters aesthetic representation by examining cultural texts including novels, memoirs, films, and performance and visual art. We will also ask how social movements such as neurodiversity and mad pride have contested and reformulated dominant representations of mental disability and difference.
    HMAN 1973P S01
    Instructor permission is required to register for this course.
    Primary Instructor
  • Is That A Fact? On the Function of Interpretation at the Present Time

    The status of the fact seems threatened. We argue: “you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts” to distinguish facts from merely personal, subjective or partisan views. Yet debates rage over the "factuality" of deficit projections, scientific observations, and historical legacies. In the university, questions of academic freedom, First Amendment rights, constructing canons, and the fact’s relation to belief are increasingly fraught. This course examines theories of interpretation and critique alongside popular accounts of reading, interpretative authority, and spin, to illuminate the processes of mediation that establish, confirm, dispute, and constitute facts.
    HMAN 1973R S01
    Instructor's permission is required for enrollment in this course. Please contact the instructor for an override code.
    Primary Instructor
  • God's Law: Religion, Spirituality, and Legality

    Many people today think that religion and law are, or should be, concerned with distinct dimensions of human experience: religion with subjective faith, law with social regulation. Many religious traditions around the world, however, have elaborated complex legal systems concerned with every aspect of life: personal and collective relationships to God, as well as social, economic, and political relationships. This class will focus on how Jews and Christians (with some attention to Muslims and Hindus) have discussed, justified, and theorized the purpose of religious law.
    HMAN 1973S S01
    Primary Instructor
  • How to do things with Maps: Cartography, Power, and Political Imagination, from Gilgamesh to Google

    Maps do not merely represent reality; they both create and exceed it. This course critically examines the history and future of cartography, devoting particular attention to the role that maps and map-making have played in the emergence and persistence of social power and political imagination. Among other topics, we consider how maps have shaped property and class relations; state sovereignty and royal authority; colonialism and imperialism; national and ethnic identities; migration and citizenship; and the relationship between humankind and nature, earth and the cosmos. Classes include visits to historic map collections and experimentation with critical mapping techniques. Creative final project.
    HMAN 1973V S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Rhythm and Silence: A Creative Writing Workshop (HISP 1700B)

  • Ammianus Marcellinus (LATN 1930B)

  • Cinema and Imperialism (MCM 1505S)

  • Southeast Asia’s Entangled Pasts: Excavated, Curated, and Contested (ARCH 1494)

  • Dawnland Voices: Exploring Native New England (AMST 1902S)

  • Avicenna (PHIL 1002)

  • Independent Study

    HMAN 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Environmental Humanities

    We live in an age of immense, intersecting environmental problems that pose deep challenges to democratic life. How are we to respond to ecological crises that interweave race, class, ethnicity, and gender/sexuality; humans and the non-human; and politics, economy, religion, and culture? This collaborative seminar explores a range of contemporary and historical work in environmental humanities, with a focus on radical imaginaries of ecological democracy. The readings reflect a diversity of normative commitments and methodological approaches, and include such authors as Wollstencraft, Emerson, Thoreau, Du Bois, Silko, Wendell Berry, Jane Bennett, Donna Haraway, Jacques Derrida, Rob Nixon, and Glenn Coulthard.
    HMAN 2400I S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Theories of Affect: Poetics of Expression Through and Beyond Identity (ENGL 2761N)

  • Philosophy and Architecture

    One of the most ancient human practices, answering to the need for shelter, architecture also counts as a fine art in modern times. Is there tension between the functionality of architecture and the disinterested contemplation seen as the hallmark of aesthetic experience? Taught by a philosopher and an architectural historian, the course is interdisciplinary and collaborative. Students work in multi-disciplinary teams to prepare seminar presentations and papers. Case studies will draw on texts and buildings from a diversity of sources, historical periods, and geographical regions.
    HMAN 2400M S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Care of the World, Between Politics and Theology

    Arendt’s “care for the world,” inspired by Augustine, resonates with Foucault’s "care for the self." Both are secularized versions of theological ideas. This seminar explores “care for the world,” at the intersection of politics and theology, in Arendt and Foucault, with texts from the Bible, Mishna, Marx, Fanon, Augustine, Winnicott, and Houria Bouteldja. Attending to genre — Arendt’s and Foucault's essays (on refugees) and journalism (the Eichmann trial and the Iranian revolution) — we will work collaboratively through a series of exemplary figures — the revolutionary, journalist, activist, environmentalist, therapist—to ask what care for the world means in theory and practice.
    HMAN 2400N S01
    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. This seminar is the capstone course for the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Humanities. More information can be found at
    HMAN 2500 S01
    Primary Instructor
  • Latin in America (LATN 2080F)