Conferences and Symposia

Upcoming Events

Details of future events will be displayed soon.

Previous Events

  • May
    8

    Virtual event on May 8 and 9, 2020

    The 2020 Collaborative Public Workshop featured twelve interventions on a variety of topics including, among others, African American and Black history, deforestation and the environment, settler colonialism, the history and theory of political emancipation, ethical and political claims of aesthetic practices, and experiences of life under duress. The speakers are graduate students in Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, German Studies, Music and Multimedia Composition, Political Science, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and Religious Studies. Each panel included commentaries from guests Stephen Best (University of California, Berkeley) and Jeremy Gilbert (University of East London) and from Brown University faculty members Andre Willis (Religious Studies) and Patricia Ybarra (Theatre Arts and Performance Studies), as well as a Q&A period.

    Schedule, speaker bios, and presentation abstracts.

    The Collaborative Public Workshop concluded the capstone seminar of the Doctoral Certificate in Collaborative Humanities. Participants developed and workshopped a paper over the course of the semester while studying a number of collateral academic roles: they nominated and introduced a text to the seminar that was formative for their scholarly development; they served as first questioners for papers workshopped by others; and they interviewed one of their peers and prepared an introduction to his or her work. By providing training and preparation for roles that are crucial to the practice and fabric of academic life, yet are seldom the object of formal study and reflection, the course reimagined the conditions and extended the limits of an interdisciplinary and collaborative research space.

    This virtual event was co-organized and moderated by Timothy Bewes, Professor of English and Interim Director of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and Brian Meeks, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Brown University.

    Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Conference, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Dec
    6
    All Day

    Conference • “Political Concepts: Retouch”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    December 6 and 7, 2019

    The 2019 conference of the Political Concepts Initiative , subtitled “Retouch,” addressed questions related to structures of imperialism, racial capitalism, and gender violence catalyzed by movements such as Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests, food sovereignty, and #MeToo. Speakers engaged with concepts through which these crimes and the indispensability of reparations can be described, explained, and analyzed. The conference explored modalities and initiatives of redress, redistribution, and resurgence through which, once these crimes are acknowledged, different worlds can be reimagined and retouched.

    “Retouch” was co-organized by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (Brown University), Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brown University), Leela Gandhi (Brown University), and Vazira Zamindar (Brown University).

    Friday, December 6, 2019
    8:45 AM – 9:15 AM Gathering & Morning Coffee
    9:15 AM – 9:30 AM Greetings and Opening Remarks
    Timothy Bewes (Cogut Institute for the Humanities)
    9:30 AM – 11:20 AM Keisha-Khan Y. Perry (Brown University) • Occupation
    Jasmine Johnston (University of Pennsylvania) • Choreography
    Moderator: Patsy Lewis (Brown University)
    11:20 AM – 11:40 AM Coffee Break
    11:40 AM – 1:30 PM Dixa Ramírez D’Oleo (Brown University) • Indolence
    Poulomi Saha (University of California, Berkeley) • Contingency
    Moderator: Paula Gaetano-Adi (Rhode Island School of Design)
    1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Lunch Break
    3:00 PM – 4:50 PM Emily Owens  (Brown University) • Violence
    Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (Brown University) • Errata
    Moderator: Leora Maltz-Leca (Rhode Island School of Design)
    4:50 PM – 5:10 PM Coffee Break
    5:10 PM – 7:00 PM Vazira Zamindar (Brown University) • Waiting
    Tina Campt (Brown University) • Adjacency
    Moderator: Naoko Shibusawa (Brown University)
       
    Saturday, December 7, 2019
    8:45 AM – 9:10 AM Morning Coffee
    9:10 AM – 11:00 AM Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brown University) • Regard
    Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning) • Resurgence
    Moderator: Itohan Osayimwese (Brown University)
    11:00 AM – 11:20 AM Coffee Break
    11:20 AM – 1:10 PM Imani Perry (Princeton University) • Mother
    Thangam Ravindranathan (Brown University) • Elephant
    Moderator: Vazira Zamindar (Brown University)
    1:10 PM – 2:40 PM Lunch Break
    2:40 PM – 4:30 PM Ainsley LeSure  (Brown University) • Equality
    Patricia Ybarra (Brown University) • Debt
    Moderator: Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (Brown University)

    Co-sponsored by the Charles K. Colver Lectureships and Publications, Cogut Institute for the Humanities, Humanities Initiative Programming Fund, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Culture and Media Studies, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Departments of Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, English, History, History of Art and Architecture, Literary Arts, and Modern Culture and Media.

    Conference, Humanities, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Theatre Without Borders/Théâtre sans frontières
    Translating, Circulating and Performing Early Modern Drama

    The conference explored the work of Corneille in the context of European theatre and the circulation of early modern drama through both translation and performance, from the 17th to the 20th century.

    Friday, September 27, 2019
    Conveners: Karen Newman, Owen F. Walker ’33 Professor of Humanities, and Lewis Seifert, Professor of French Studies
    9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Coffee and Pastries
    9:30 AM – 9:45 AM Welcome
    9:45 AM – 10:45 AM Jennifer Row (University of Minnesota) • Corneille’s Queer Temporalities
    10:45AM – 11:45 AM Christian Biet (Université Paris Nanterre) • La Place Royale, ou l’urbanisme moderne : les lieux de la nouvelle comédie
    11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Break
    12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Katherine Ibbett (Trinity College, Oxford) • Andromaque in Translation: Foreignness and Refuge
    1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch
    2:30 PM – 3:30 PM François Lecercle (Université de Paris-Sorbonne) • Corneille’s Comedies and the Rise of Theatrophobia
    3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Coffee Break
    4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Michael Moon (Emory University) • Corneille, Racine, Molière, and New York Queer Theater in the 1960s and After
    5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Reception

    This conference was presented by the French Center of Excellence and the Department of Comparative Literature with the support of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services, and was co-sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the Department of French Studies, and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.

    Center of Excellence, Conference, Early Modern World, Humanities
  • May
    9
    8:30am - 6:30pm

    Conference • “Feeling Its Presence: Race and the Poetics of Affect”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    This conference took up the intersections between critical race theory, affect theory, and poetics as a way of exploring how the formal innovation and experimentation engaged in by poets of color is connected in complex and myriad ways to the contexts that shape their production and reception — contexts in which structures of race play a significant role. It does so by addressing the soft boundaries that connect aesthetic expressions of racialized affect found in works by poets such as Berssenbrugge and Rankine and the various theoretical frameworks of affect theory associated with thinkers like Ahmed, Deleuze, Fanon, and Tomkins. In so doing, Feeling Its Presence staged an engagement with the powerful argument that Dorothy Wang makes in her book Thinking Its Presence on behalf of a historically sensitive mode of critical formalism attuned to the relationship between poetic form and “the larger social, historical, and political contexts that produced the poet’s subjectivity.”

    The scholars presenting their work were graduate students enrolled in the collaborative humanities seminar “Theories of Affect: Poetics of Expression Through and Beyond Identity” (HMAN 2400K) taught by Daniel Kim and Ada Smailbegovic. The conference concluded, appropriately enough, with a lecture by Dorothy Wang, Professor of American Studies at Williams College and the author of Thinking its Presence: Form, Race and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2014).

    Schedule

    Thursday, May 9, 2019
    8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Morning Coffee
    9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Opening Remarks
    9:15 AM – 11:00 AM Panel 1: Migrant Orientations: Dislocation, Materiality, Transfiguration

    Thomas Dai • “Vagrant Acts: The Poetics of Jenny Xie and Kai Carlson-Wee”
    MJ Cunniff • “‘Scarlet itself is matter:’ Lyric Perceptibility in Mei-mei Berssenbrugge”
    Katey Preston • “‘Gold or Gold-Coloured:’ Transfiguration in Mercedes Eng’s Prison Industrial Complex Explodes

    11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Break
    11:15 AM – 1:00 PM Panel 2: Dictee

    Ashley Dun • “The Corpus of Exile in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Visual Texts”
    Kelsey-Yichi Ma • “Vulnerability and the Invulnerable Narrative: The Second Person in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee
    Erin Prior • “‘Stand as a run stands:’ Identity as Epistemology in Theresa Cha’s Dictee

    1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Lunch Break
    2:00 PM – 3:45 PM Panel 3: Affective Bodies

    Noah Brooksher • “Poetics, Ethics, Contingency: The Letter of the Future, or the Future as Letter”
    Mariam Abou-Kathir • “‘The Body’s Crime of Living:’ Epic Temporality and Generational Trauma in Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds
    Amber Vistein • “Stuck in the Throat: Theorizing Oral Expressivity in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric

     3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Break 
     4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Dorothy Wang • “English Poetry and the ‘Afterlife’ of Colonialism”
    5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Reception

    This event, presented as part of the Collaborative Humanities Initiative , was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Departments of American Studies, Comparative Literature, English, and Modern Culture and Media, the Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Culture and Media Studies, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.

    Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Conference, Humanities
  • Apr
    26
    8:30am - 5:45pm

    Collaborative Public Workshop

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    April 26, 2019

    The Collaborative Public Workshop concluded a capstone seminar for the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Humanities . The seminar, HMAN 2500: Project Development Workshop, was taught in spring 2019 by Amanda Anderson, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and English, and Tamara Chin, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies.

    Over the course of the semester, participants in the seminar developed and workshopped a paper central to their core doctoral work. In addition, all participants performed a number of diverse roles: they nominated and then introduced a text that was formative for their scholarly development; they served as first questioners for papers workshopped by others; and they interviewed one of their peers and prepared a formal introduction of their work. The course provided training for roles that are crucial to the form and quality of academic and public life but that are seldom an object of study and practice in themselves.

    The conference featured talks by anthropologist Rosalind Morris (Columbia University) and political scientist Corey Robin (Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center) as well as Brown University graduate students Chris DiBona (Religious Studies), Aaron Jacobs (History), Nechama Juni (Religious Studies), Irina Kalinka (Modern Culture and Media), Pedro Lopes de Almeida (Portuguese and Brazilian Studies), Stephen Marsh (English), Caleb Murray (Religious Studies), N’Kosi Oates (Africana Studies), Urszula Rutkowska (English) and Jan Tabor (German Studies).

    Brown University faculty Melvin Rogers, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Ellen Rooney, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in English and Modern Culture and Media, served as respondents along with Rosalind Morris and Corey Robin.

    Read the full program

    This event was presented as part of the Collaborative Humanities Initiative .

     

    Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Conference, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Apr
    5
    All Day

    Conference • “Narratives of Debt”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    April 5 and 6, 2019

    Narratives of Debt gathered key thinkers in contemporary critical theory to explore the question of debt in an interdisciplinary perspective, ranging from the history of slavery to psychoanalysis, from literature to financial capitalism, from philosophy to cryptocurrencies. The conference was committed to examining the various ways of narrating—witnessing—the condition of being indebted and the historical rise of indebtedness as a mode of governance (each narrative entailing decisions about justice, ethics, politics). Debt itself is also considered as a narrative, i.e., a performative fiction that organizes time by linking past, present, and future in a diegetic chain. Money, if we define it with Deleuze and Guattari as “the means for rendering the debt infinite,” constitutes the backdrop of this economic narratology.

    Co-organized by Peter Szendy (Brown University) and Emmanuel Bouju (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and Institut Universitaire de France), the conference featured scholars from a broad range of fields. Speakers included Arjun Appadurai (New York University), Jennifer Baker (New York University), Anthony Bogues (Brown University), Raphaëlle Guidée (Université de Poitiers), Bonnie Honig (Brown University), Odette Lienau (Cornell Law School), Annie McClanahan (University of California/Irvine), Florence Magnot-Ogilvy (Université de Rennes 2), Catherine Malabou (Kingston University, London and University of California/Irvine), Eric Santner (University of Chicago), and Joseph Vogl (Humboldt Universität).

    Full schedule  with links to recorded talks is available on the website of the Cogut Institute.

    The conference, presented as part of the Economies of Aesthetics Initiative , was co-sponsored by the Institut Universitaire de France and the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Brown University’s Humanities Initiative Programming Fund, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Literature, English, French Studies, German Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and Philosophy.

    Conference, Economies of Aesthetics, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Dec
    7
    All Day

    Conference • “Political Concepts: The Science Edition”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    December 7 and 8, 2018

    The 2018 annual conference of the Political Concepts Initiative  was dedicated to analyzing the contemporary conditions of knowledge production, with a focus on the sciences and the university. The “Science Edition” was co-organized by Timothy Bewes, Leela Gandhi, Adi Ophir, and Lukas Rieppel and brought together scholars with a broad range of disciplinary trainings and affiliations, including for example anthropology, biology, gender studies, history of science, law, media studies, philosophy, physics, and sociology.

    Speakers presented a single concept, one that needed to be revised, deconstructed, or invented in order to understand, criticize, and, if necessary resist recent changes in the organization of scientific knowledge and academic knowledge more broadly. This concept is a tool for a critical explication of ways in which scientific knowledges have been impacted by, and integrated into, the neoliberal economy and global order, the forces that have eroded liberal democratic regimes and brought about the disintegration of the common, and the struggles for decolonization, democracy and social justice. Presentations questioned, first, the ways these processes, forces, and struggles work through the sciences and transform the inner fabric of scientific research and academic practice, and second, how science itself has been shaped as an arena of political struggle. Videos are available on YouTube.  

    Friday, December 7
    8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Greetings and Opening Remarks
    9:00 AM – 11:20 AM Stephanie Dick • Database [video ]
    Dan Hirschman • Stylized Facts [video ]
    Moderator: Adi Ophir
    11:20 AM – 11:40 AM Coffee Break
    11:40 AM – 1:30 PM Rebecca Nedostup • Practice/Praxis [video ]
    Barbara Herrnstein Smith • Scientism [video ]
    Moderator: Sharon Krause
    1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Lunch Break
    3:00 PM – 4:50 PM Alex Csiszar • Peer Review [video ]
    Kaushik Sunder Rajan • Value [video ]
    Moderator: Alka Menon
    4:50 PM – 5:10 PM Coffee Break
    5:10 PM – 7:00 PM Raphael Sassower • Scientific Progress [video ]
    Tamara Chin • Homo Geoeconomicus [video ]
    Moderator: Etienne Balibar
       
    Saturday, December 8
    9:10 AM – 11:00 AM Etienne Benson • Environment [video ]
    Joanna Radin • Future [video ]
    Moderator: Timothy Bewes
    11:00 AM – 11:20 AM Coffee Break
    11:20 AM – 1:10 PM Mara Mills • Impairment [video ]
    Iris Montero • Scala Naturae [video ]
    Moderator: Leela Gandhi
    1:10 PM – 2:40 PM Lunch Break
    2:40 PM – 4:30 PM Banu Subramaniam • Diaspora/e [video unavailable]
    Suman Seth • Race [video unavailable]
    Moderator: Lukas Rieppel
    4:30 PM – 4:50 PM Coffee Break
    4:50 PM – 6:40 PM Yarden Katz • Entrepreneurial Science [video ]
    Peter Galison and Noah Feldman • Corporatized Knowledge [video ]
    Moderator: Jacques Lezra

    This conference was funded in part by the Herbert H. Goldberger Lectureship, the CV Starr Foundation Lectureship, the Humanities Initiative Programming Fund, and the Program in Science, Technologies, and Society.

    Conference, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities, Political Concepts Initiative, Social Sciences
  • Oct
    26

    October 26 and 27, 2018

    In South Asian art, the distinction between the “secular” and the “religious,” further complicated by the “spiritual,” has been fraught with contestations. In this symposium, art historians, historians, and philosophers examined the entanglement of art history’s categories and practices with the politics of the present. The symposium positioned itself at the cusp of two dominant discourses: (i) the lingering Orientalist and nationalist projections that emphasize the “religious” nature of South Asian artistic traditions as against Western secularization; (ii) the assertion of the place of art within the modern secular life of nations, which posits the transitions of objects from earlier religious to new artistic denominations.

    Speakers and Participants: Amanda Anderson, Brown University; Ariella Azoulay, Brown University; Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University; Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University; Finbarr Barry Flood, New York University; Tapati Guha-Thakurta, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and Cogut Institute; Kajri Jain, University of Toronto; Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, San Francisco State University; Sonal Khullar, University of Washington, Seattle; Jinah Kim, Harvard University; Leora Maltz-Leca, Rhode Island School of Design; Saloni Mathur, UCLA; Sumathi Ramaswamy, Duke University; Tamara Sears, Rutgers University; Kavita Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Foad Torshizi, Rhode Island School of Design; Laura Weinstein, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Karin Zitzewitz, Michigan State University.

    Schedule, abstracts, speaker bios, and recorded talks.

    Co-organized by Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Vazira Zamindar, the symposium was presented by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities as part of its Collaborative Humanities Initiative and by the Center for Contemporary South Asia of the Watson Institute as part of Art History from the South .

    Arts, Performance, Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Conference, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities in the World, Humanities
  • In the context of current ecological crises, the environmental humanities has advanced a great number of vital and interrelated projects, both critical-diagnostic and aspirational-transformative. We aimed through this conference to promote a collective dialogue about this highly active field. 

    Full video playlist of this conference.

    Friday, April 6, 2018

    Welcome and Introduction [Video]
    Amanda Anderson, Brown University
    Claire Brault, Brown University
    Iris Montero, Brown University

    Beyond the Human I: Suffering and Respect [Video]
    Moderator: Tamara Chin, Brown University
    Sharon Krause, Brown University • Political Respect for Nature
    Branka Arsić, Columbia University • Marvelous Extinctions: Melville on Animal Suffering

    Beyond the Human II: Sense-Making and Justice [Video]
    Moderator: Jeffrey Moser, Brown University
    Mark Cladis, Brown University • Racial and Environmental Justice in the Wild
    Katherine Behar, Baruch College, City University of New York • What Makes Sense? Environmental Sensing and Nonhuman Sense

    Blue Ecologies I [Video]
    Moderator: Brian Lander, Brown University
    Macarena Gómez-Barris, Pratt Institute • Disappearing Archipelagos
    Astrida Neimanis, University of Sydney • 2067: The Sea and the Breathing

    Introduction: Leela Gandhi, Brown University
    Amitav Ghosh, Writer • Embattled Earth: Commodities, Conflict and Climate Change in the Indian Ocean Region
    Presented as part of the OP Jindal Distinguished Lecture Series of the Center for Contemporary South Asia

    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    Exploring Methods I [Video]
    Moderator: Iris Montero, Brown University
    Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University • Indigenous Science (Fiction) for the Anthropocene: Ancestral Dystopias and Settler Fantasies
    Vera Candiani, Princeton University • The Costs of Environmental History: A View from Latin America

    Blue Ecologies II [Video]
    Moderator: Claire Brault, Brown University
    Stacy Alaimo, University of Texas at Arlington • Composing Blue Ecologies: Science, Aesthetics, and the Creatures of the Abyss
    Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University • Whales, Whalers, and Thinking the Ocean through Cetacean Labor

    Exploring Methods II [Video]
    Moderator: J. Timmons Roberts, Brown University
    Dale Jamieson, New York University • Environmental Humanities: Problems and Prospects
    Gregory Cushman, University of Kansas • How to Make the Environmental Humanities Central to Teaching Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies from the Start: A Case Study

    Conference, Environmental Humanities
  • Dec
    1

    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. It offers a platform for exploring the political dimensions of the way concepts work, are used, and disseminated. The 2017-18 conference was dedicated to analyzing and contesting the transformation of the American political system under the presidency of Donald Trump. View full video playlist.

    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Session 1 [Video]
    Joan Scott (Institute of Advanced Studies) • Trump
    Zahid R. Chaudhary (Princeton University) • Impunity
    Moderator: Amanda Anderson (Brown University)

    Session 2 [Video]
    Brian Meeks (Brown University) • Hegemony
    Lisa Lowe (Tufts University) • Migrant
    Moderator: Ann Stoler (The New School)

    Session 3 [Video]
    Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University) • Academic Freedom
    Beshara Doumani (Brown University) • Academy
    Moderator: Elizabeth Weed (Brown University)

    Session 4 [Video]
    Benjamin Parker (Brown University) • Disruption
    Anthony Bogues (Brown University) • Disobedience
    Moderator: Leela Gandhi (Brown University)

    Saturday, December 2, 2017

    Session 5 [Video]
    Wendy Chun (Brown University) • Authenticity
    Sara Guindani (Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme) • Transparency
    Moderator: Rebecca Schneider (Brown University)

    Session 6 [Video]
    John Cayley (Brown University) • Reading
    Lynne Joyrich (Brown University) • Television
    Moderator: Timothy Bewes (Brown University)

    Session 7 [Video]
    Nick Mirzoeff (New York University) • Love
    Jack Halberstam (Columbia University) • Wildness
    Moderator: Lingzhen Wang (Brown University

    Session 8 [Video]
    Claire Brault (Brown University) • Uchronia
    Françoise Vergès (Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme) • Water
    Moderator: Susan Buck-Morss (The Graduate Center/City University of New York)

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • October 27 and 28, 2017

    This colloquium brought together interdisciplinary scholars, educators, artists, activists and community organizers to participate in a pedagogic experiment using the ‘workshop’ as a site of exchange. Participants explored an ecologically grounded humanistic pedagogy that deployed entry points of the everyday –memories and languages, food and health, art and performance, livelihood and dwelling.

    Speakers included: 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.

    Conference, Humanities
  • Sep
    15
    9:00am - 6:00pm

    Colloquium • “Coming to Terms with the Sacred in Popular Culture”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    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 explored themes of the sacred and popular culture through the medium of film. 

    Session 1 [Video]
    “Iqbal’s Political Theology”
    Faisal Devji, St. Antony’s College/Oxford University
    Moderator: Shahzad Bashir, Religious Studies/Middle East Studies

    Session 2 [Video]
    “Bhagwan se baat kare ka communication system ye gola ka … total lul ho chuka hai (This planet’s communication system for talking to God is totally useless): Coming to Terms with the Sacred in Indian Cinema”
    Rachel Dwyer, University of London
    Moderator: Ákos Östör, Wesleyan University, emeritus

    Session 3 - Graduate Student Panel
    “Sacred Bodies: Intimate Labor and Race in Bangalore, India”
    Andrea Wright, Anthropology

    “Death of a Gharana? Queer Inclusion between Social Reproduction and Decay”
    Brian Horton, Anthropology

    “Locating the Numinous Within the Insurgent on the Indo-Afghan Frontier”
    Abhilash Medhi, History

    “The Graveyards of Paradise: Memorialization in Kashmir’s Present”
    Suvaid Yaseen, History

    Moderators: Lina Fruzzetti, Anthropology
    and Anani Dzidzienyo, Africana Studies

    Session 4 [Video]
    Final Roundtable/Panel Moderators: Lina Fruzzetti, Anthropology
    and Anani Dzidzienyo, Africana Studies

    Co-sponsored by Anthropology, Pembroke Center, Graduate School, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Africana Studies, Religious Studies, the Heimark Fund, Watson Institute, Office of International Programs, Office of Global Engagement, South Asian Center, Office of Campus and Student Life, and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

    Conference, Humanities
  • April 21, 2017

    The modern world can be seen as a triumph of enlightenment thought, of scientific progress, and of collective endeavor for the betterment of human kind. The modern world is also a result of massive displacement of populations, a phenomenon that is historically unprecedented in scale, violence, and longevity. This phenomenon began with the “discovery” of the New World and the near eradication of its inhabitants who constituted roughly a third of the world’s population in 1500. This seismic encounter unleashed waves of displacements across the globe over the next few centuries powered by European colonial expansion, the slave trade, the creation of new ecological environments through the exchange of plants and microbes, introduction of new agricultural systems, and the dislocations of industrialization. The encounter also shaped core knowledge regimes and generated classificatory categories about the human, society, economy, and nature that informed political cultures and social relations.

    During the Twentieth century, systematic forced displacement through ethnic cleansing and genocide reached an industrial scale as states engaged in world wars, imposed partition plans, ruthlessly engineered societies, and undertook large-scale infrastructural projects such as dams and mines. Climate change as well as the construction of vast systems of barriers and surveillance to control the movement of undesirable persons along the seams of national, ethnic, sectarian, and class boundaries are creating new forms of displacement whose consequences are as of yet not clear. Contested claims over resources and transformation of social values too have played their role in the forced movement of people.

    These themes suggest that displacement can best understood as a long-term generative process that is fundamental to the very structures of modernity – to its political forms, to its institutions, to its advances in science and technology, and to its literary and aesthetic experience.

    The central aim of this conference – as the flagship event in the 2016-2017 Sawyer Seminar – was to engage an interdisciplinary commons, informed by the approaches and concerns of displacement in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Specifically, it occurred under three overarching themes that invite disparate studies of displacement into a single intellectual arena that can be generative of new lines of inquiry:

    • Histories: Displacement as a global and historically enduring phenomenon.
    • Ecologies: Displacement as an ecological and technological phenomenon.
    • Subjectivities: Displacement as a discursive phenomenon.
    Conference, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Apr
    7
    All Day

    Conference • “Provoking Attention”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    Are we paying enough attention? Or the right kinds of attention? We are told that people suffer more than ever from deficits of attention (a word often thought about in economic metaphors) and from an impoverishment of its range and richness. But what are we doing when we are paying attention, and how do we describe its value? This conference started from the suggestions that powerful claims about attention link criticism to political and social theory and psychoanalysis and from the speculation that the conjunction of these disciplines yield new insights into the stakes of our attentions. View full video playlist.

    FRIDAY, April 7, 2017

    Panel 1 [Video]
    Leo Bersani, University of California/Berkeley • “The Choreographed Cure”
    Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University • “Creating and Dissolving: Attention, Stillness, and the Ephemeral in Ritual Life”
    Moderator: Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Brown University

    Panel 2 [Video]
    David Russell,Oxford University • “Ruskin’s Vision”
    Sergio Delgado, Harvard University • “Lygia Clark, At Home with Objects”
    Moderator: Ourida Mostefai, Brown University

    Panel 3 [Video]
    Toril Moi, Duke University • “Language and Attention: Morality and Literature after Wittgenstein”
    Nancy YousefCity University of New York • “Unresolved: Attention and Form in Eliot and Wittgenstein”
    Helen Small, Oxford University • “Particular Attention”
    Moderator: Timothy Bewes, Brown University

    Adam Phillips, Psychoanalyst/Writer • “On ‘Vacancies of Attention’” [Video]

    SATURDAY, April 8, 2017

    Panel 4 [Video]
    Rita Felski, University of Virginia • “Getting It: Art and Attunement”
    Matthew Bevis, Oxford University  • “On Distraction”
    Moderator: Leela Gandhi, Brown University

    Panel 5 [Video]
    Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania • “The Natural History of Attention”
    Amanda Anderson, Brown University • “The Scale of Attention”
    Moderator: Jacques Khalip, Brown University

    Panel 6 [Video]
    Bonnie Honig, Brown University • “‘ATTENTION!’ Or, Postures of Refusal: ‘Walking,’ Antigone, and The Bacchae
    Joshua Chambers-Letson, Northwestern University • “A Tension: White Deficit, Blackness and Disorder”
    Moderator: Andre Willis, Brown University

    Panel 7 [Video]
    Minnie Scott, Tate Gallery • “Regimes of Attention in the Contemporary Art Museum”
    Jeff Nunokawa, Princeton University • “Stopping in the Woods of a Blurry Newsfeed—Getting Attention on Social Media When What You Have to Offer Isn’t Pictures of Puppies or Porn”
    Moderator: Benjamin Parker, Brown University

    This conference was co-organized by Amanda Anderson (Brown University) and David Russel (Oxford University), and co-sponsored by the Columbia University Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Brown in the World/The World at Brown, and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

    Conference, Humanities
  • March 3, 2017

    This conference brought together scientists, clinicians, meditation teachers, and scholars from various academic disciplines to explore somatic and affective changes associated with Buddhist meditation. Situating the practice of meditation in multiple cultural contexts in Asia and the West allowed the speakers to examine how experiences are appraised in relationship to varying and occasionally conflicting sets of expectations, goals, and conceptual frameworks. Given the increasingly widespread application of Buddhist-based practices such as “mindfulness meditation” in the West, speakers were particularly interested in seeing how unexpected, challenging, or difficult meditation experiences are situated in relation to religious, scientific, and biomedical epistemologies, as well as the role of various social agents–practitioners, teachers, scientists, and chilicians–in ascribing meaning and value to particular experiences.

    Panel 1
    Daniel Stuart, University of South Carolina • The Place of the Body in Vipassana: Perspectives from India and the US
    Julia Cassiniti, Washington State University • Questioning the Modern in the Bodily and Affective Practices of Southeast Asian Mindfulness Meditation

    Panel 2
    Willoughby Britton, Brown University • Mechanisms of Mindfulness and Trauma: Embodiment and Dissociation
    David Treleaven, California Institute of Integral Studies • Approaches to Trauma in Somatic Experiencing and the Western Vipassana Movement

    Panel 3
    Geoffrey Samuel, University of Sydney and Cardiff University, emeritusRelaxation, Arousal, Mindfulness, and Tantric Practice: How Different is Vajrayana Meditation?
    Anne Klein, Rice University • Body, Mind, and Bodhicitta: Dualism and Wholeness in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism
    Jared Lindahl, Brown University • Bodily Energies and Emotional Traumas: Practice-Related Challenges Reported by Vajrayāna Buddhists in the West

    Concluding Presentation and Discussion
    Laurence Kirmayer, McGill University • Cultural Neurophenomenology and the Politics of Meditative Experience

    This conference was convened by Professors Willoughby Britton and Jared Lindahl, Brown University, and was supported by a collaborative research grant from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies and the American Council for Learned Societies.

    Conference, Humanities
  • February 24, 2017

    This conference will examined 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 investigated 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 landscape. The goal of this conference was to achieve a better understanding of the contemporary place of religion and religiosity in public life. View full video playlist.

    Panel 1 [Video]
    Ian Coller, University of California, Irvine • Islam before Laïcité: The French Revolution and the Muslim Citizen
    Ethan Katz, University of Cincinnati • Under Every Hijab Can be a Kippah: The Uncertain Place of Jews in Contemporary Debates about Islam in France
    Moderator: Maud Mandel, Brown University

    Panel 2 [Video]
    Naomi Davidson, University of Ottawa • “Je veux que l’islam brille au coeur de la République”: Making Islam Public in 20th-Century France
    Mayanthi L. Fernando, University of California, Santa Cruz • Sex and Secularism: The Embodied Politics of Public/Private
    Moderator: Gretchen Schultz, Brown University

    Panel 3 [Video]
    John Bowen, Washington University • The Specificity of Scandal: Halal, Handshakes and Sociability in France and the Netherlands
    Nadia Marzouki, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) • Academic Freedom in the Context of the French “War on Terror”
    Moderator: Kelly Colvin, Brown University

    Concluding Roundtable Discussion with all participants [Video]
    Moderator: Ourida Mostefai, Brown University

    This conference was convened by Lewis Seifert, Brown University, and co-sponsored by the French Embassy in the United States, Pierre and Mary Ann Sorel ’92, Dean of the College, Department of French Studies, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Humanities Initiative.

    Center of Excellence, Conference
  • Dec
    2
    All Day

    Conference • “Political Concepts: The Balibar Edition”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    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.” View full video playlist.

    Friday, December 2, 2016

    Session 1 [Video]
    Jacques Lezra (New York University) • Relation
    Ellen Rooney (Brown University) • Trope
    Moderator: Amanda Anderson (Brown University)

    Session 2 [Video]
    Jay Bernstein (New School for Social Research) • Rights
    Didier Fassin (Institute for Advanced Study/Princeton) • Punishment
    Moderator: Sharon Krause (Brown University)

    Session 3 [Video]
    Emily Apter (New York University) • Equaliberty
    Adi Ophir (Brown University) • Political
    Moderator: Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg (Brown University)

    Session 4 [Video]
    Charles Mills (City University of New York) • Race
    Gary Wilder (City University of New York) • Solidarity
    Bruce Robbins (Columbia University) • Anthropological
    Moderator: Susan Buck-Morss (City University of New York)

    Saturday, December 3, 2016

    Session 5 [Video]
    Judith Butler (University of California/Berkeley) • Religion
    Patrice Maniglier (Université Paris Ouest/Nanterre) • Materialism
    Monique David-Ménard (Université Paris VII; Institute for Cultural Inquiry) • Conversion
    Moderator: Kevin McLaughlin (Brown University)

    Session 6 [Video]
    Ann Stoler (New School for Social Research) • Interior Frontier
    Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia University) • Border
    Moderator: Lukas Rieppel (Brown University)

    Session 7 [Video]
    Michel Feher (Zone Books) • Investee
    Bernard Harcourt (Columbia University) • Contre/Counter
    Moderator: Timothy Bewes (Brown University)

    Session 8 [Video]
    Peter Osborne (Kingston University) • Subject
    Étienne Balibar (Université Paris Ouest/Nanterre; Columbia University) • Concept
    Moderator: Bonnie Honig (Brown University)

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Oct
    15

    October 15, 2016

    This colloquium considered 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, speakers considered the ways in which both nature and civilization were differently conceived. View full video playlist.

    Panel 1 [Video]
    Heather F. 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
    Respondent: Dana Graef, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities, Anthropology

    Panel 2 [Video]
    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
    Respondent: Joshua Tucker, Music Faculty

    Panel 3 [Video]
    Brigitte Baptiste, Instituto Humboldt/Columbia University • From Local Knowledge to Global Ecology: Scales and Indigenous Communities
    Gustavo Procopio Furtado, Duke University • Reparative Mediations: Indigeneity, Documentary Video, and the Future of the Ethnographic Archive
    Respondent: James Green, History Faculty

    This colloquium was co-sponsored by History of Art and Architecture, Brazil Initiative, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Hispanic Studies, Comparative Literature, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Humanities Initiative, Arts Initiative, Watson Collaboration Grant, Anthropology, CV Starr Foundation Lectureship, Science and Technology Studies, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

    Conference, Humanities
  • Mar
    11
    10:00am - 6:00pm

    Symposium • “What is a Refugee Crisis?”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    March 11, 2016

    In 2015/2016 events in the Middle East, Africa and Europe have led to popular movements that have been described as the largest refugee crisis since WWII. This demanded a response, and how this crisis is defined, mediated, and understood is central to the responses (global and local, personal and political, affective and activist) that can be generated. This day-long workshop, along with an accompanying visual archive, considered the question of “what is a refugee crisis?” focused on media combined with political theory.

    Speakers included Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, Forensic Architecture; Thomas Keenan, Bard College; Mezna Qato, Cambridge University; Paul Feigelfeld, Leuphana University; Itamar Mann, Georgetown University; Alessandro Petti, De-colonizing Architecture Art Residency; Ayten Gundogdu, Barnard College. Brown faculty participants included 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.

    Watch recorded sessions of this symposium on YouTube.

    Conference
  • February 12, 2016

    European conceptions of alphabetic letters, and their relation by parallel and analogy to pictures and to methods of recording and remembering, were principally derived from classical grammatical and rhetorical theory. This symposium explored how those conceptions have been modified or transformed in the multicultural environment of colonial Spanish America and reassessed the far-reaching implications of those changes.

    Panel 1 – Contexts and Comparisons
    John Bodel, Brown University, Chair
    Felipe Rojas, Brown University • At the Margins of Script: Interaction with Unknown Scripts before Decipherment
    Andrew Laird, Brown University • Transatlantic Transformations of Letters and Mnemotechnics
    Respondent: Nicholas Carter, Haffenreffer/Peabody Museum

    Panel 2 – From Pictogram to Letter
    Iris Montero Sobrevilla, Brown University, Chair
    Gordon Whittaker, Göttingen University • How to Write Spanish in Aztec Hieroglyphs: A 16th Century Mesoamerican Response to a European Alphabet
    Jessica Stair, University of California/Berkeley • Textual-Pictorial Literacies in the Techialoyan Manuscripts of New Spain Respondent
    Respondent: Kenneth Ward, Brown University

    Panel 3 – Alphabets and Alphabetisation
    Jeffrey Muller, Brown University, Chair
    Laura Leon Llerena, Northwestern University • The Illegible as a Clue: Indigenous Appropriation and Transformation of Alphabetic Writing in Colonial Peru
    Thomas Cummins, Harvard University • The Pretty-Letter: The Aesthetic Alphabet and the Rest of the World
    Respondent: Parker Van Valkenburgh, Brown University

    Conference, Humanities
  • 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.”

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    Session 1 [Video]
    Sharon Krause, Brown University • Agency
    James Schmidt, Boston University • Publicity
    Moderator: Amanda Anderson, Brown University

    Session 2 [Video]
    Alex Gourevitch, Brown University • Strike
    Thomas A. Lewis, Brown University • Formation
    Moderator: Nathaniel Berman, Brown University

    Session 3 [Video]
    Joan Cocks, Mount Holyoke College • Disappearance
    Branka Arsic, Columbia University • Desert
    Moderator: Bonnie Honig, Brown University

    Session 4 [Video]
    Marc Redfield, Brown University • Shibboleth
    Vazira Zamindar, Brown University • Minority
    Moderator: Adi Ophir, Brown University

    Saturday, December 5, 2015

    Session 5 [Video]
    Joanna Howard, Brown University • Possession
    William Keach, Brown University • Property
    Moderator: Tim Bewes, Brown University

    Session 6 [Video]
    Lukas Rieppel, Brown University • Nature
    Anna Bialek, Brown University • Indeterminacy
    Moderator: Stephen Bush, Brown University

    Session 7 [Video ]
    Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Brown University • Abiura
    Rebecca Schneider, Brown University • Gesture
    Moderator: Gerhard Richter, Brown University

    Session 8 [Video]
    Ariella Azoulay, Brown University • Sovereignty
    James Kuzner, Brown University • Bondage
    Moderator: Thangam Ravindranathan, Brown University

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Sep
    25
    9:30am - 5:30pm

    Symposium • “Violence, Terror, and the Image”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    September 25, 2015

    This symposium addressed the question of the power of images over thought in the context of recent concerns over terrorism, and the challenge it poses for criticism and critique. Is there an aesthetics of terror? How is satire implicated in the politics of the spectacle? And what is the relationship between theological traditions of iconoclasm and secular commitments to think outside the sphere of recycled images?

    Speakers included: Sadia Abbas, Rutgers University; Ariella Azoulay, Brown University; Faisal Devji, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford; Rosalind Morris, Columbia University; Bruce Robbins, Columbia University; and David Wills, Brown University.

    Conference, Humanities
  • 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.”

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Session 1 [Video]
    Elizabeth Weed • Reality
    Thangam Ravindranathan • Missing
    Moderator: Bonnie Honig

    Session 2 [Video]
    Beshara Doumani • Region
    Lukas Rieppel • Organization
    Moderator: Adi Ophir

    Session 3 [Video]
    Susan Bernstein • Synaesthesia
    Philip Rosen • Cinematic
    Moderator: Lynne Joyrich

    Session 4 [Video]
    Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg • Reclamation
    Gerhard Richter •Inheritance
    Moderator: Joan Copjec

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Session 5 [Video]
    Jacques Khalip • Triumph
    Peter Szendy • Katechon
    Moderator: Marc Redfield

    Session 6 [Video]
    Stephen Bush • Ecstasy
    Michael Sawyer • Sacrifice
    Moderator: Ravit Reichman

    Session 7 [Video]
    Timothy Bewes • Free indirect
    Amanda Anderson • Character
    Moderator: Rebecca Schneider

    Session 8 [Video]
    David Wills • Blood
    Jacques Rancière • Occupation
    Moderator: Michael Steinberg

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Nov
    14
    3:00pm - 5:00pm

    Panel discussion • “The Humanities in/and Asia”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    November 14, 2014

    An informal conversation about transformations and opportunities for the humanities both within Asia as well as in the context of transcontinental university relations. China, India, and Japan were considered, as well as shifting disciplinary boundaries including those between the humanities and the social sciences.

    Speakers included Ping-Chen Hsiung, Chinese University of Hong Kong; James Chandler, University of Chicago; Alan Tansman, University of California/Berkeley; and Leela Gandhi, Brown University.

    Conference, Humanities
  • October 17, 2014

    There is now a critical mass of innovative scholars in the US, Europe, and the Arab world who argue that the formation of the Modern West was influenced by Islamic civilization. The field has grown quantitatively and qualitatively, with new lines of inquiry pushing in several new directions simultaneously. This colloquium brought together scholars in an informal setting to take stock of research trends, identify promising new questions and sources, exchange experiences and insights, and set the stage for more symposiums and conferences on the topic.

    Some questions addressed by the speakers: What were the influences on the modern west of Islamic civilization? Why has mainstream scholarship been slow and/or resistant to embrace research on these Islamic influences as a core part of the history of philosophy, social theory and science in the modern world? What could and should be done to develop this area of research and to extend its broader academic and public influence and impact?

    Speakers included: Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Science Program, York University; Karla Mallette, Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan/Ann Arbor; Jamil Ragep, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University; and Shaden Tageldin, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota/Twin Cities.

    Convened by Cogut Institute Postdoctoral Fellows in International Humanities Mayssun Succarie (Middle East Studies) and Rafael Nájera (Philosophy).

    Conference, Humanities
  • An ongoing project, “Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon” takes as its goal to serve as a platform for revising, inventing, and experimenting with concepts while exploring the political dimension of their use and dissemination. The project’s 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.”

    Scholars from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences were invited to re-think and re-articulate concepts they are working with or to construct new ones that seem necessary for their work.

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Session 1 [Video]
    Étienne Balibar, Columbia University and Université de Paris X • Exploitation
    Andreas Kalyvas, The New School • Statelessness
    Moderator: Michael Steinberg, Brown University

    Session 2
    Ellen Rooney, Brown University • Reading
    Linda Quiquivix, Brown University • Map
    Moderator: Susan Bernstein, Brown University

    Session 3 [Video]
    A. Kiarina Kordela, Macalester College • Horror
    Nathaniel Berman, Brown University • Demonization
    Moderator: Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Brown University

    Session 4 [Video]
    Kevin McLaughlin, Brown University • Raison d’État
    Adi Ophir, Brown University • Concept (ii)
    Moderator: Jay Bernstein, The New School

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Session 5 [Video]
    Elias Muhanna, Brown University • Vernacular
    Jacques Lezra, New York University • Like
    Moderator: Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University

    Session 6 [Video]
    Eduardo Cadava, Princeton University • Trees
    Bonnie Honig, Brown University • Resilience
    Moderator: Barrymore A. Bogues, Brown University

    Session 7 [Video]
    Ariella Azoulay, Brown University • Human Rights
    Federico Finchelstein, The New School • Populism
    Moderator: Stathis Gourgouris, Columbia University

    Session 8 [Video]
    Roundtable with Jay Bernstein, Akeel Bilgrami, Stathis Gourgouris, Adi Ophir, and Ann Stoler (Chair and Participant)

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Feb
    24
    3:30pm - 5:00pm

    Panel discussion • “Music, Writing and Critique”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    February 24, 2012

    This panel opened a conversation across disciplines to think with and about music in translation. Panelists Jacqueline Rose (Queen Mary, University of London) and composer Mohammed Fairouz addressed questions including: How does engagement with classical genres and forms (the symphony and the sonata) inform a contemporary musical agenda? How does it inform a political agenda? How does instrumental music engage literary and critical texts, including States of Fantasy and The Last Resistance? 

    “The Last Resistance,” a program of Fairouz’s piano music inspired by the writings of Jacqueline Rose and Edward Said, was offered on February 23, 2012 in Martinos Auditorium at the Granoff Creative Arts Center. 

    Watch the recording of this program on Vimeo.

    Conference, Humanities
  • Feb
    17
    9:00am - 5:30pm

    Colloquium • “Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    February 17, 2012

    The concept of the “contemporary” has haunted romantic writers and philosophers, and has often been a vexed starting point for discussions of innovation, nostalgia, historical situatedness, presentism, and futurity. Indeed, what romanticism appears to signal, as a complex—or what Forest Pyle has called a “constellation”—of aesthetic, political, moral, and social considerations, often translates into discussions of its own conceptual afterlife. In other words, romanticism as irreducible to periodization, and more of a movement of thought that continues to saturate our contemporary and future moments. As a call for interdisciplinarity, romanticism just as often shatters the linkages it presumes to make between genres, forms, and fields. This symposium specifically aimed to assemble both romantic specialists and scholars from outside the field in order to create dialogues and projects around the particularity and portability of “romanticism.” It threw into relief the refractions, theoretical linkages, and intermedial permutations of romanticism throughout contemporary culture and aesthetics, as well as trace its enduring remains. The objective was to locate instances where texts, films, paintings, and theoretical interventions sustain an engagement with romantic literature and thought, and offer new perspectives on a romanticism that never settles for the present, but is always motile and evocative of something yet to come.

    Speakers included: Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins University), Lee Edelman (Tufts University), Elizabeth Fay (UMass/Boston), Jerrold Hogle (University of Arizona), Forest Pyle (University of Oregon), and Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University).

    This colloquium was convened by Jacques Khalip, Professor of English at Brown University.

    Conference, Humanities
  • Feb
    26

    February 26, 2010

    It has been twenty-five years since the death of Michel Foucault, one of the last century’s most crucial philosophers, as well as twenty-five years since the publication of the final two volumes of Histoire de la Sexualité. Since then, an extraordinary body of interdisciplinary scholarship has emerged around the work of Foucault, with much attention recently focused on his writings on ethics, governmentality, biopolitics, and war. Future Foucault invited six distinguished scholars to address the timeliness of these topics, and to reflect upon the abiding presence of Foucault in their own critical thought.

    Speakers:
    Tim Dean, SUNY/Buffalo, “Why is Pleasure ‘a Very Difficult Behavior’?”
    Anne F. Garréta, Duke University, “Self or Subject? Technology or Hermeneutics? Care or knowledge?”
    Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, “Governmentality Today?: The Example of Governance Feminism”
    Mark Hansen, Duke University, “Individuation, Disindividuation, Transindividuation”
    William Haver, Binghamton University/SUNY, “Reading Foucault’s Genet Lectures”
    Elizabeth Povinelli, Columbia University, “Ethical Substance and Endurance in Late Liberalism”

    This conference was convened by Jacques Khalip, Professor of English at Brown University. It was co-sponsored by the Departments of French Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, English, Modern Culture and Media, the Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, as well as the Consulate General of France in Boston.

    Conference, Humanities