"Coming to Terms with the Sacred in Popular Culture"
September 15, 2017
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 included Faisal Devji, St. Antony's College/Oxford University, and Rachel Dwyer, University of London, and Brown graduate students ; Brian Horton, Anthropology; Abhilash Medhi, History; Andrea Wright, Anthropology; and Suvaid Yaseen, History. Convened by Lina Fruzzetti, Anthropology.
April 7-8, 2017
The symposium addressed the broad and timely question of what it means to pay attention when we are told (and increasingly asked to witness the fact) that people suffer more and more from an impoverishment of attention, or from forms of divided attention. But what precisely are we doing when we are paying attention, and how do we describe its value? And how do these issues present variously across different cultural and social contexts? This conference began from the suggestion that powerful claims about attention link criticism to political and social theory and psychoanalysis. The function of criticism has long been to provoke our attention to the crucially overlooked, or to attend in new ways to what we look at all the time. And one way of defining a range of aesthetic and social theories – from recent affect theory, or the sociology of thinkers like Erving Goffman, or the psychoanalytic writing of such middle group analysts as D.W. Winnicott and Marion Milner - is by their claims for our attention. These theories address through attention the borderlines between individuals and the world. They often assume we suffer from an excessive desire for security, and seek to provoke us from it to sometimes painful new attentions, while avoiding trauma, or despair. They take us to the grounds of ethical and political engagement, through their claims about the relations, attitudes and orientations from which an ethics or politics might be built.
Speakers include: Adam Phillips, Psychoanalyst/Writer; Amanda Anderson, Brown University; Leo Bersani, University of California/Berkeley; Matt Bevis, Oxford University; Joshua Chambers-Letson, Northwestern University; Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University; Sergio Delgado, Harvard University; Rita Felski, University of Virginia; Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania; Toril Moi, Duke University; Jeff Nunokawa, Princeton University; Minnie Scott, Tate Gallery; David Russell, Oxford University; Helen Small, Oxford University; Nancy Yousef, City University of New York.
Islam and the French: Religion and Laïcité in the Public Sphere
February 24, 2017
This is the inaugural conference of the Center of Excellence at Brown University. The speakers will examine the debates surrounding the place of Islam in French Society today. Focusing on the current polemics surrounding laïcité--a uniquely French phenomenon that differs fundamentally from other forms of secularization in that the State guarantees the private practice of religion while insisting on a strict separation of Church and State--participants will investigate the emergence of a new public visibility of Islam in the West and the anxieties it is generating. On the one hand, Islam is seen by some as a fundamentally different religion posing a new, specific threat that makes it incompatible with French identity and modernity. On the other, because it is the religion of immigrants from Muslim countries, its practice is seen as posing particular challenges to French society, as the controversies over the headscarf and halal meat testify. In the context of European integration, globalization, and migrations, recent debates over French identity have focused on Islam and are reshaping the intellectual and political place of religion and religiosity in public life.
Speakers include: John Bowen, Washington University; Ian Coller, University of California/Irvine; Naomi Davidson, University of Ottawa; Mayanthi Fernando, University of California/Santa Cruz; Ethan Katz, University of Cincinnati; and Nadia Marzouki, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS).
Panel One: Coller, Katz, Mandel (Moderator)
Panel Two: Davidson, Fernando, Schultz (Moderator)
Panel Three: Bowen, Colvin (Moderator)
Nadia Marzouki chose not to be included in the videotaping.
The goal of Political Concepts is to serve as a platform for revising, inventing, and experimenting with concepts while exploring the political dimension of their use and dissemination. Participants operate under the assumption that our era urgently needs a revised political lexicon that would help us better understand the world in which we live and act, and that the humanities at large can and should contribute toward such a revision. In the past, some of the participants revised key political concepts while others showed the political work done by terms and common nouns that are not usually considered “political.”
Speakers include: Jacques Lezra, New York University (NYU); Ellen Rooney, Modern Culture and Media/English; Jay Bernstein, New School for Social Research; Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study/Princeton; Emily Apter, NYU; Adi Ophir, Cogut Center for the Humanities/Middle East Studies; Charles Mills, City University of New York (CUNY); Bruce Robbins, Columbia University; Stathis Gourgouris, Columbia; Judith Butler, University of California/Berkeley; Patrice Maniglier, Université Paris Ouest/Nanterre; Monique David-Ménard, Université Paris VII/Diderot and Institute for Cultural Inquiry/Berlin; Ann Stoler, New School; Gary Wilder, CUNY; Michel Feher, Zone Books; Bernard Harcourt, Columbia; Peter Osborne, Kingston University/London; and Étienne Balibar, Université Paris Ouest/Nanterre and Columbia.
Panel One: Butler, Maniglier, David-Ménard, McLaughlin (Chair)
Panel Two: Stoler, Gourgouris, Rieppel (Chair)
Panel Three: Feher, Harcourt, Bewes (Chair)
Panel Four: Osborne, Balibar, Honig (Chair)
"Halloween Mid-day Concert"
October 31, 2016
Pianist and composer Benjamin Nacar '12 offered a program of spooky, and not-so-spooky, music, including J. S. Bach/Ferruccio Busoni, Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Paul Dukas/Benjamin Nacar, The Sorcerer's Apprentice; Frederic Chopin, Barcarolle; and Maurice Ravel, La Valse.
"Unearthing the South: Globality, Indigeneity, Community"
October 15, 2016
"Unearthing the South: Indigeneity, Globality, Community" considers knowledges from the vantage point of local experience and artistic practice in the American hemisphere. More than recounting how the nature/culture divide came about, participants will consider the ways in which both nature and civilization were differently conceived. The touchstone ideas grounding this symposium include interconnectedness, reciprocity, non-human agency, and Amerindian perspectivism.
Speakers/topics include: Heather Roller, Colgate University, "'On the Verge of Total Extinction'? Reframing Indigenous History in Nineteenth-Century Brazil"; Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino, University of São Paulo, "Amerindian Shamanism and the Politics of Things"; Lucia Sá, University of Manchester, "Metamorphosis and Ætiology: Ovid's Metamorphoses and Native Amazonian Narratives"; Pablo F. Gómez, University of Wisconsin/Madison, "A Caribbean Natural History: Blacks, Amerindians and the Creation of the New World"; Brigitte Baptiste, Instituto Humboldt/Columbia University, "From Local Knowledge to Global Ecology: Scales and Indigenous Communities"; and Gustavo Procopio Furtado, Duke University, "Reparative Mediations: Indigeneity, Documentary Video, and the Future of the Ethnographic Archive."
Organized by Camila Maroja (Colgate University), Iris Montero (Cogut Center for the Humanities), Felipe Martínez-Pinzón (Hispanic Studies) and Jennifer Lambe (History).
"Concepts of Displacement"
(Two panels - links below)
September 30, 2016
The 2016-17 Mellon Sawyer seminar series is dedicated to the concept and phenomenon of displacement. Working at the seams of the humanities, social sciences, and the natural and physical sciences, the series addresses three overarching themes: histories, displacement as a global and historially enduring phenomenon with long-term drivers; ecologies, displacement as an environmental and technological phenomenon; and subjectivities, displacement as an affective and discursive phenomenon. A common thread is a focus on displacement as formative of power relations of inclusion and exclusion.
Speakers/topics included Brown faculty Barrymore A. Bogues, Human; Tamara Chin, Contact; Beshara Doumani, Replacement; Leela Gandhi, Social Contract; Rebecca Nedostup, Emplacement; Vikramaditya Thakur, Resettlement; and Vazira Zamindar, War.
"What is a Refugee Crisis?"
March 11, 2016
This day-long workshop, along with an accompanying visual archive, will consider the question of "what is a refugee crisis?" focused on media combined with political theory. Speakers include Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, Forensic Architecture; Thomas Keenan, Bard College; Mezna Qato, Cambridge University; Paul Feigelfeld, Leuphana University; Itamar Mann, Georgetown University; Mia Charlene White, University of California/Santa Barbara; Alessandro Petti, De-colonizing Architecture Art Residency; Ayten Gundogdu, Barnard College. Brown faculty participants include: Ariella Azoulay, Comparative Literature/Modern Culture and Media; Beshara Doumani, History/Middle East Studies; Bonnie Honig, Political Science/Modern Culture and Media; Lynne Joyrich, Modern Culture and Media; Nicola Perugini, Italian Studies/Middle East Studies; Sarah Tobin, Middle East Studies; and Vazira Zamindar, History.
"Political Concepts at Brown: A Critical Lexicon in the Making"
December 4-5, 2015
Watch this two-day conference that focuses on revising, inventing, and experimenting with concepts while exploring the political dimension of their use and dissemination. Speakers include: Branka Arsic, English/Comparative Literature, Columbia University; Ariella Azoulay, Comparative Literature/Modern Culture and Media; Anna Bialek, Religious Studies; Joan Cocks, Politics, Mt. Holyoke; Alex Gourevitch, Political Science; Joanna Howard, Literary Arts; William Keach, English; Sharon Krause, Political Science; James Kuzner, English; Thomas A. Lewis, Religious Studies; Marc Redfield, Comparative Literature; Lukas Rieppel, History; James Schmidt, Boston University; Rebecca Schneider, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Pembroke Center/Italian Studies/Comparative Literature; and Vazira Zamindar, History.
Benjamin Nacar Midday Concerts
Talented pianist and composer Benjamin Nacar '12 has been offering midday concerts and musical programs at the Cogut Center since he was an undergraduate here at Brown. Sit back and enjoy!
Beethoven-Liszt 5th Symphony mvt. 1
Tchaikovsky-Nacar 1812 Overture
Dvorak-Nacar New World Symphony mvt. 1
Dvorak-Nacar New World Symphony mvt. 2
Dvorak-Nacar New World Symphony mvt. 3
Dvorak-Nacar New World Symphony mvt. 4
Liszt-Nacar Les Preludes
Nacar Homeric Rhapsody (with violinist Maya Ramchandran)
"Political Concepts at Brown: A Critical Lexicon in the Making"(Visit the webpage for videotapes of individual sessions)
April 10-11, 2015
Watch this April 2015 two-day conference that focuses on revising, inventing, and experimenting with concepts while exploring the political dimension of their use and dissemination. Speakers include: Amanda Anderson, English; Susan Bernstein, Comparative Literature/German Studies; Timothy Bewes, English; Stephen Bush, Religious Studies; Beshara Doumani, Middle East Studies; Jacques Khalip, English; Jacques Ranciere, Philosophy, University of Paris VIII, Saint-Denis; Thangam Ravindranathan, French Studies; Gerhard Richter, German Studies/Comparative Literature; Lukas Rieppel, History; Philip Rosen, Modern Culture and Media; Michael Sawyer, Africana Studies; Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Pembroke Center/Italian Studies/Comparative Literature; Peter Szendy, Comparative Literature; Elizabeth Weed, Pembroke Center; David Wills, French Studies.
Revisit this symposium with photographer John Dugdale, Jonathan Katz, Visual Arts, SUNY/Buffalo; Douglas Nickel , History of Art and Architecture; Stuart Burrows , English; and convener Jacques Khalip, English, with their thoughts on photography as a form that continues to engage scholars in the humanistic disciplines, inflecting ethical, aesthetic, and political reflections that testify to a world subject to vision.
Watch the January 2014 taped roundtable discussionReconsidering Hannah Arendt with Ariella Azoulay, Comparative Literature; Ted Bogosian, Cogut Center; Bonnie Honig, Modern Culture and Media/ Political Science; Pamela Katz, screenwriter of Hannah Arendt; Adi Ophir, Cogut Center; and Michael Steinberg, Cogut Center.
Watch taped sessions from the two-day conference, "Political Concepts at Brown: A Critical Lexicon in the Making" held at the Cogut Center in November 2013.
Visit with members of the University of Cape Town Opera School in this moving video about how the opera program there is changing lives.
Watch this March 2013 conversation on youth, social media and the Arab Spring with hip-hop artist Deeb, and scholars Lara Dotson-Renta, Elias Muhanna and moderator Tricia Rose.
Watch this January 2013 conversation with members of the Brown community and Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Watch this conversation with Daniel Barenboim, Mariam Said, Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, and Miko Peled from this January 24, 2013 event
Watch President Christina Paxson deliver the 2012 Invitational Lecture in the Humanities on December 3, 2012
Watch former Cogut Center Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, and current Brown Anthropology professor, Sherine Hamdy talk about her new book "Our Bodies Belong to God," from a November 5, 2012 presentation.
The 2012 Sarah Cutts Frerichs Lecture in Victorian Studies by James Chandler, University of Chicago, from April 18, 2012
The 2012 Invitational Lecture in the Humanities by Erik Ehn, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, from April 10, 2012
The performance and talk with composer Mohammed Fairouz and pianist Steven Spooner from February 23, 2012
The conversation with Jacqueline Rose, Mohammed Fairouz and Michael Steinberg from February 24, 2012
includes talks by Leon Botstein, Toshiko Mori, Sebastian Ruth from November 18, 2011