Cogut Institute Events


September 15
"Coming to Terms with the Sacred in Popular Culture"
Pembroke Hall 305
9:00am - 6:00pm

Can the very suggestion of the existence of sacred spaces within popular culture constitute an insoluble challenge? Or does the idea offer novel possibilities for the exploration of an inevitable coexistence whose critical examination promises to advance our understanding of life, religion and culture in India and Pakistan?  This colloquium seeks to explore the themes of the sacred and popular culture through the medium of film.

Speakers include Faisal Devji, St. Antony's College/Oxford University, and Rachel Dwyer, University of London, and Brown graduate students Andrea Wright, Anthropology; Suvaid Yaseen, History; Brian Horton, Anthropology; and Abhilash Medhi, History.

Program schedule.

October 4
Creative Medicine Lecture
"Storytelling Medicine"
Pembroke Hall 305
5:30 - 7:00pm

Professional storyteller, Valerie Tutson '87, MA '90, offers an exploration of the power of storytelling, story listening, and the imagination to enchant and empower on the journey to healing.  Valerie Tutson is a founding member and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers, and Festival Director of FUNDA FEST: An Annual Celebration of Black Storytelling.

October 6
"A Conversation with Étienne Balibar and Peter Szendy"
3:00 - 4:00pm

Étienne Balibar, Professor emeritus, University of Paris X-Nanterre and
Visiting Professor, Columbia University; and
Peter Szendy, David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature, Brown University in conversation. The readings include Kant's "Idea of a Universal History" and "Perpetual Peace" and Lecture 11 in Foucault's Security, Territory, Population. 

Seating is limited to graduate students only.  Registration is required.  You must be logged into your Brown email to register.  Seminar location will accompany pre-circulated reading material.

October 20
Romanticism Workshop
"Dallying with Romantic Surmise"
12:00 - 2:00pm

For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
(Milton, "Lycidas")

"Was it for this . . . ?" "Was I deceived . . . ?" "If this be but a vain belief . . ." "Do I wake or sleep. . . ?"  This is the language of the surmise, a peculiar topos of Romantic writing which variously denominates both mode (lyric interrogation, temporal manipulation, the adjudication of competing truth claims) and mood (querulousness, doubt, conjecture, melancholy).  Speaker Charles Mahoney, University of Connecticut, offers that never merely one or the other, the Romantic surmise stages a moment of choice (however tenuous, between one alternative and another) in a protracted moment of deliberation and (more often than not) consolation.  The surmise may be considered as a peculiarly poetic way of proceeding, of sporting with possibility and multiplying a poem's moods, as the poet appears to indulge in fanciful inference and extravagant contrivance.  More comprehensively, surmise may be said to name not merely an isolated imaginative conjecture but more comprehensively the free play of the poetic intelligence itself, as it deliberates which "perhaps" to pursue.  Understood as an imaginative conception neither supported by knowledge nor finally in need of such certainly, the Romantic surmise asks to be read as a topos of twinned illusions, as a formal, poetic space in which a poem makes the time the sport with its fondest dreams, all the while revealing its deliberate and calculating nature as a fiction. 

Attendance by registration only.  You must be logged into your Brown email to register.  Seminar location will accompany pre-circulated reading material.

October 27
"Europe After Europe (After Patocka)"
3:00 - 4:15pm

Special lecture by Rodolphe Gasché, Eugenio Donato Chair of Comparative Literature, State University of New York/Buffalo

Registration is required. Lecture location will accompany pre-circulated reading material. Read more >

October 27-28
"Reclaiming the 'Workshop' as a Collaborative Pedagogy"
Pembroke Hall 305
October 27:  1:00 - 6:00pm
October 28:  9:00am - 12:00pm

This colloquium will bring together interdisciplinary scholars, educators, artists, activists and community organizers to participate in a pedagogic experiment using the 'workshop' as a site of exchange.  Participants will explore an ecologically grounded humanistic pedagogy that deploys entry points of the everyday –memories and languages, food and health, art and performance, livelihood and dwelling.  Speakers include:  Amanda Anderson, Brown University; Thomas Asher, Social Science Research Council (SSRC); Ariella Azoulay, Brown University; Debjani Bhattacharyya, Drexel University ; Yoko Inoue, Bennington College; Gaye Theresa Johnson, University of California/Los Angeles; Aarti Kawlra, International Institute for Asian Studies; Trica Keaton, Dartmouth College; Philippe Peycam, International Institute for Asian Studies; Frank Leon Roberts, New York University; Tricia Rose, Brown University; Tharaphi Than, North Illinois University/Dekalb; Françoise Vergès, Visiting Professor of Humanities, Cogut Institute, and Global South(s), Collège d'études mondiales/Paris.

Program schedule

November 2
"The Co-lab Box"
Pembroke Hall Lower Level
172 Meeting Street
6:30 - 8:00pm

Exhibit reception and open discussion with photographers Wendy Ewald and Susan Meiselas, and professors Ariella Azoulay and Laura WexlerRead more>

November 3
Film Pre-Release Screening with Q&A
"Symbiotic Earth" (2017, 144 mins., in English)
Life Sciences Building, Marcuvitz Auditorium
185 Meeting Street
4:00 - 7:00pm

"Symbiotic Earth" explores the life and ideas of Lynn Margulis, a brilliant and radical scientist, whose unconventional theories challenged the male-dominated scientific community and are today fundamentally changing how we look at our selves, evolution, and the environment.  This film examines the worldview that has led to climate change and extreme capitalism and offers a new approach to understanding life that encourages a sustainable and symbiotic lifestyle.

The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker John Feldman and writer Dorion Sagan. Read more >

Part of the 2017–18 Environmental Humanities series.

November 9
"'Burning All Illusion':  Abstraction, Black Life and the Unmaking of White Supremacy"
12:00 - 2:00pm

What are the ethics of seeing and viewing black death in our contemporary moment?  When does visual representation of black death become spectacle and when does it serve efforts towards justice?  What are appropriate forms of artistic commemoration?  Many artists and movements for social justice have attempted simultaneously to assert black humanity and to critique white supremacy through the figural, or thorough visualizing the vaunted yet contested category of “the human.”  But perhaps the way to commemorate the dead and move towards a more just vision is through the genre of abstraction.  In this talk, speaker Leigh Raiford, University of California/Berkeley, focuses on the assemblage work of Samuel Levi Jones and the video work of data artist Josh Begley who each create art in memoriam to victims of police brutality that turn viewers' attention away from black bodies and the burdens of representation those bodies are made to bear.  Instead, Begley and Jones redirect us toward the systems of power that produce blackness as fungible commodity and black life as expendable. Through different though "classic" forms of abstraction-- Jones' employment of the grid and Begley's use of the map, specifically the technology of Google maps--each challenge the ways we are disciplined to "see like a state."   Read more >

Registration for this event is closed.

November 9
"The Unwritten History of the Woman of Genius:  Staël, Austen, Siddons"
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street

In the mid-Victorian period, as speaker Deidre Lynch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Harvard University, will show, a kind of genius fatigue helped push the fiction of Jane Austen into the canon. At the same time it pushed out the tradition of performing heroinism, as Ellen Moers called it, that had taken its cue from Germaine de Staël’s Corinne, ou, L’Italie (1807), story of a talented improvvisatrice doomed to unhappiness by her talents. But the inherited schemes that distance Austen from Stael or the many English poetesses who took their cue from Corinne are a problem, this lecture suggests. They have made it hard to see how often Austen shares this group’s interest in the sort of homage memory can and cannot pay to what is extemporised, immaterial, and/or evanescent--voice, dramatic performance, and conversation, that cultural arena in which, as Stael and Austen concur, women as a sex excel. This paper --on the performing heroinism of Corinne and on Austen’s 1814 novel of stage-fright Mansfield Park-- means to document that sharing and so account differently for Austen’s place in female literary history.

November 10
Romanticism Workshop
"Paper Slips:  Album, Archiving, Accident"
12:00 - 2:00pm

Exploring home-made books from the Romantic period, the remediation of the print world that occurred in their pages, and the practices of archiving, excerpting, inscribing, transcribing, clipping, and de- and re-contextualizing that underwrote them, speaker Deidre Lynch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Harvard University, offers a new picture of the media ecology in which Romantic literature came to be. Read more >

 Attendance by registration only.  You must be logged into your Brown email to register.  Seminar location will accompany pre-circulated reading material.

November 29
Creative Medicine Lecture Series
"Empowering Health, Creatively"
Pembroke Hall 305
5:30 - 7:00pm

Medicine is said to be an art. But can art be medicine, a health intervention? The short answer is 'absolutely.'  There is a body of medical literature demonstrating the impact of the arts on individuals and communities.  In Rhode Island, a statewide Arts and Health Advisory Group was convened to make evidence-based policy recommendations.  This group includes artists, researchers, physicians and policy experts.  In this panel, we'll discuss the story of this fascinating group, including the challenges and discoveries.  How artists learned basic research methods and researchers began to look at their work differently.  This group represents an innovative approach to understanding and improving the health of our communities in Rhode Island, with artists as essential members of the healthcare team.  Speakers include Rachel Balaban, Artists and Scientists as Partners (ASaP); Steven Boudreau, State of Rhode Island Department of Health; Sherilyn Brown, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA); and Stacey Springs, Brown University School of Public Health.  Be part of the conversation! 

December 1-2
"Political Concepts:  'The Trump Edition'"
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street

The goal of Political Concepts is to experiment with modes of concept analysis as a tool for enhancing critical questioning of the political, in the widest sense, and to create a framework for an ongoing interdisciplinary conversation in the humanities and social sciences.  The 2017–18 conference will be dedicated to analyzing and contesting the transformation of the American political system under the presidency of Donald Trump. Read more >












December 4
Mid-day Concert
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street
12:30 - 1:30pm

Pianist Benjamin Nacar '12 offers a free mid-day concert with a program including Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 and Mozart's Coronation Mass (arr. Benjamin Nacar).

December 7
Politics in the Humanities/Environmental Humanities Lecture
"Queer/Love/Bird Extinction:  Rachel Carson and the Politics of Environmental Desire"
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street

From 1954 until her death, Rachel Carson exchanged letters with her friend, Dorothy Freeman, that depict their love for each other as a wondrous multispecies achievement constituted through encounters with birds. Reading Silent Spring through the lens of these letters, speaker Lida Maxwell, Trinity College and Boston University, asks how our conceptions of love and environmentalism might be productively transformed by foregrounding the connections between inter-human affects and a vibrant multispecies world.  Read more>

2016-17 Calendar of Events

2015-16 Calendar of Events

2014-15 Calendar of Events