Conferences and Symposia

Upcoming Events

  • Theatre Without Borders/Théâtre sans frontières
    Translating, Circulating and Performing Early-Modern Drama

    The conference explores 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

    The event is free and open to the public.

    This conference  is presented by the French Center of Excellence and the Department of Comparative Literature and 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, Humanities
  • Dec
    6
    All Day

    Conference • “Political Concepts: Retouch”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    December 6 and 7, 2019

    The year’s conference of the Political Concepts  Initiative is dedicated to the theme of “Retouch” and it explores different modalities and initiatives of repair and reparation, redress and restoration, recovery and renewal, redistribution, remedy and recuperation, resurgence and the retouch of shared worlds. These are impacted by lasting structures of imperialism, racial capitalism, and gender violence.

    Speakers will address questions related to lasting structures of imperialism, racial capitalism, and gender violence, catalyzed by present movements such as Black Lives Matter, DAPL, food sovereignty, and #Me Too. Participants are invited to propose and engage with concepts through which these crimes and the indispensability of reparations and retouch can be described, explained and analyzed, and a different world can be imagined once these crimes are acknowledged.

    More information about this event will be forthcoming.

    Conference, Humanities, Political Concepts Initiative
  • Apr
    3
    All Day

    Conference • “Capitalism and the Human”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    The conference theme responds to an apparent resurgence of “humanist” discourse in the face of perceived threats to human existence and autonomy posed by climate change, surveillance capitalism, and the effects of rapid techno-social change.

    More information about this event will be forthcoming.

    The conference is co-organized by Timothy Bewes , Professor of English and Acting Director of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, 2019-2020, and Jeremy Gilbert , Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London, and Visiting Professor in the Humanities at Brown University in spring 2020.

    Conference, Humanities
  • May
    1
    All Day

    Collaborative Public Workshop

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    The Collaborative Public Workshop concludes the offering of the capstone seminar for the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Humanities . The seminar, HMAN 2500: Project Development Workshop, is taught in Spring 2020 by Timothy Bewes, Professor of English, and Brian Meeks, Professor of Africana Studies.

    More information about this event will be forthcoming.

    This event, presented as part of the Collaborative Humanities Initiative , is free and open to the public.

    Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Conference, Humanities, Social Sciences

Previous Events

  • May
    9
    8:30am - 6:30pm

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

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    This conference takes 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 stages 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 are 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 concludes, 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
    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

    Free and open to the public. This event, presented as part of the Collaborative Humanities Initiative , is 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

    The Collaborative Public Workshop concludes the first offering of the capstone seminar for the Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Humanities . The seminar, HMAN 2500: Project Development Workshop, is taught this 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 have developed and workshopped a paper central to their core doctoral work. In addition, all participants have performed a number of diverse roles: they have nominated and then introduced a text that was formative for their scholarly development; they have served as first questioners for papers workshopped by others; and they have interviewed one of their peers and prepared a formal introduction of their work. The course provides 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 features 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, serve as respondents along with Rosalind Morris and Corey Robin.

    Read the full program

    This event, presented as part of the Collaborative Humanities Initiative , is free and open to the public.

     

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

    Conference • “Narratives of Debt”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    Narratives of Debt gathers 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 is 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 features scholars from a broad range of fields. Speakers include 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  available on the website of the Cogut Institute.

    The conference, presented as part of the Economies of Aesthetics Initiative , is 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. This event is free and open to the public.

    Conference, Economies of Aesthetics, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Dec
    8
    All Day

    Conference • “Political Concepts: The Science Edition”

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    The annual conference of the Political Concepts Initiative  will be dedicated to analyzing the contemporary conditions of knowledge production, with a focus on the sciences and the university. The “Science Edition” is co-organized by Timothy Bewes, Leela Gandhi, Adi Ophir, and Lukas Rieppel and brings 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 present a single concept, one that needs 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 question, 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.

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

    The event is free and open to the public.

    This conference is 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, 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  is dedicated to analyzing the contemporary conditions of knowledge production, with a focus on the sciences and the university. The “Science Edition” is co-organized by Timothy Bewes, Leela Gandhi, Adi Ophir, and Lukas Rieppel and brings 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 present a single concept, one that needs 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 question, 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

    The event is free and open to the public.

    This conference is 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
    27

    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 examine the entanglement of art history’s categories and practices with the politics of the present. The symposium positions 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.

    The symposium’s schedule as well as abstracts and speaker bios are available here .

    Co-organized by Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Vazira Zamindar, the symposium is 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
  • Oct
    26

    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 examine the entanglement of art history’s categories and practices with the politics of the present. The symposium positions 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.

    The symposium’s schedule as well as abstracts and speaker bios are available here .

    Co-organized by Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Vazira Zamindar, the symposium is 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
  • The conference convenes participants from a wide variety of fields that encompass Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, English, Gender Studies, History, New Media Arts, Philosophy, Political Theory, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences. Speakers include Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas, Arlington), Branka Arsić (Columbia University), Katherine Behar (Baruch College), Vera Candiani (Princeton University), Mark Cladis (Brown University), Gregory Cushman (University of Kansas), Amitav Ghosh (novelist and essayist), Macarena Gómez-Barris (Pratt Institute), Dale Jamieson (New York University), Sharon Krause (Brown University), Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney), Adrian Parr (University of Cincinnati), and Kyle Powys Whyte (Michigan State University).

    Conference
  • 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 is dedicated to analyzing and contesting the transformation of the American political system under the presidency of Donald Trump.

    Speakers include: Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University (“Academic Freedom”); Anthony Bogues, Brown University (“Disobedience”); Claire Brault, Brown University (“Uchronia”); John Cayley, Brown University (“Reading”); Wendy Chun, Brown University (“Authenticity”); Zahid R. Chaudhary, Princeton University (“Impunit”); Beshara Doumani, Brown University (“Academy”); Sara Guindani, Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (“Transparency”); Jack Halberstam, Columbia (“Wildness”); Lynne Joyrich, Brown University (“Television”; Lisa Lowe, Tufts University (“Migrant”); Brian Meeks, Brown University (“Hegemony”); Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University (“Love”); Paul Nahme, Brown University (“Disenchantment”); Ben Parker, Brown University (“Disruption”); Joan Scott, Institute of Advance Studies (“Trump”); and Françoise Vergès, Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison de sciences de l’homme, and the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University (“Water”).

    Conference, Political Concepts Initiative
  • This colloquium brings together interdisciplinary scholars, educators, artists, activists and community organizers to participate in a pedagogic experiment using the ‘workshop’ as a site of exchange. Participants 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.

    Conference
  • 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 ; Brian Horton, Anthropology; Abhilash Medhi, History; Andrea Wright, Anthropology; and Suvaid Yaseen, History.

    Conference
  • Apr
    21
    All Day

    Workshop • “Displacement and the Making of the Modern World”

    Watson Institute, Joukowsky Forum

    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 – is to engage an interdisciplinary commons, informed by the approaches and concerns of displacement in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Specifically, this occurs 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
  • Apr
    7

    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 begins 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.


    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; Brian Goldstone, Columbia University; Bonnie Honig, Brown University; Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania; Toril Moi, Duke University; Jeff Nunokawa, Princeton University; David Russell, Oxford University; Minnie Scott, Tate Gallery; Helen Small, Oxford University; and Nancy Yousef, City University of New York.

    Conference
  • This conference brings 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 will allow us 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, we are 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.

    Speakers include: Willoughby Britton, Brown University; Julia Cassaniti, Washington State University; Laurence Kirmayer, McGill University; Anne Klein, Rice University; Jared Lindahl, Brown University; Geoffrey Samuel, University of Sydney and Cardiff University, emeritus; Daniel Stuart, University of South Carolina; and David Treleaven, California Institute of Integral Studies.

    Conference
  • This conference 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 landscape. The goal of this conference is to achieve a better understanding of the contemporary place of religion and religiosity in public life.


    Speakers include: John R. Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis; 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).


    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 Center for the Humanities, and the Humanities Initiative.

    Center of Excellence, Conference
  • This colloquium 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, speakers consider the ways in which both nature and civilization were differently conceived. 

    Speakers include Heather F. Roller, Colgate University; Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino, Univeristy of São Paulo; Lucia Sá, University of Manchester; Pablo F. Gómez, University of Wisconsin/Madison; Brigitte Baptiste, Instituto Humboldt/Columbia University; and Gustavo Procopio Furtado, Duke University.

    Conference
  • Apr
    12
    10:00am - 8:00pm

    Conference • “Crash Culture: Humanities Engagements with Economic Crisis”

    Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

    The Global Financial Crisis has radically changed the cultural landscape in the countries hit the hardest. Those countries include Spain and Greece, whose shared experience of the crisis reaches far beyond their similar-looking statistics. Both of these countries have seen a comparable efflorescence of cultural production and political engagement (especially in the form of the new populist parties Podemos and SYRIZA) born of the new economic and social realities. Although the Social Science disciplines may seem the most logical to account for the political and economic fallout of the 2008 crash, scholars in the Humanities are increasingly contributing to debates about economic crisis and political renewal, in scholarly and popular writings, news media, and activism.

    In this one-day event, invited speakers and Brown faculty will explore how the Humanities can respond to economic crisis and political change, bringing Humanists and Social Scientists into a more substantive and timely two-way dialogue.
    Featuring:
    Luis Moreno Caballud, Hispanic Studies, University of Pennsylvania
    Sebastiaan Faber, Hispanic Studies, Oberlin College
    Despina Lalaki, Social Science, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
    Konstantinos Poulis, The Press Project, Greece
    10:30-12:40: Working Groups. Separate area meetings for those working on Spain and Greece, followed by full group session. Please sign up to participate in this working group at watson/brown.edu/events.
    5:45-7:45: Presentations and Roundtable, featuring invited guests and Brown faculty. Moderated by Cornel Ban, Boston University. The respondent at the evening event is Alex Gourevitch, Political Science, Brown University ─ Joukowsky Forum (Open to the public, no sign up required)

    This event is organized by Johanna Hanink, Classics and TAPS and Sarah Thomas, Hispanic Studies, Brown University

    Sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty, Watson Institute, Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and Department of Hispanic Studies

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

    Symposium • “What is a Refugee Crisis?”

    Pembroke Hall

    This year, 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 demands 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, considers 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; 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.

    Conference
  • 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 explores how those conceptions have been modified or transformed in the multicultural environment of colonial Spanish America and reassess the far-reaching implications of those changes.

    Speakers include: Gordon Whittaker, Göttingen University; Jessica Stair, University of California/Berkeley; Laura Leon Llerena, Northwestern; and Tom Cummins, Harvard. Brown speakers: Felipe Rojas, Archaeology and the Ancient World; Andrew Laird, Classics; Nicholas Carter, Haffenreffer Museum; Iris Montero, Cogut Center for the Humanities; Kenneth Ward, John Carter Brown Library; Stephen Houston, Anthropology.

    Conference
  • “Media determine our situation,” Friedrich Kittler infamously wrote in his introduction to Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Although this dictum is certainly extreme–and media archaeology has been critiqued for being overly dramatic and focused on technological developments–it propels us to keep thinking about media as setting the terms for which we live, socialize, communicate, organize, do scholarship, etc. After all, as Kittler continued in his opening statement almost 30 years ago, our situation, “in spite or because” of media, “deserves a description.” What, then are the terms–the limits, the conditions, the periods, the relations, and the phrases–of media? And what is the relationship between these terms and determination?

    Conference
  • Sep
    25

    This symposium addresses 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 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
  • Nov
    14
    3:00pm - 5:00pm

    Panel discussion • “The Humanities in/and Asia”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    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 will be considered, as well as shifting disciplinary boundaries including those between the humanities and the social sciences.

    Speakers include: 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
  • 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 brings 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 include: 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
  • Feb
    24
    3:30pm - 5:00pm

    Panel discussion • “Music, Writing and Critique”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    This panel will open up a conversation across disciplines to think with and about music in translation. Panelists Jacqueline Rose (Queen Mary, University of London) and composer Mohammed Fairouz address 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, is being offered on February 23, 2012 in Martinos Auditorium at the Granoff Creative Arts Center.

    Conference
  • 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 will specifically aim 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 will throw 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 will be 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 include: Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins University), Lee Edelman (Tufts University), Elizabeth Fay (UMass/Boston), Jerrold Hogle (University of Arizona), Forest Pyle (University of Oregon), Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University).

    Conference
  • 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 invites 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.”

    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