Cogut Institute for the Humanities


The Cogut Institute for the Humanities at Brown University advances collaborative research and curricular innovation in the humanities and across the University.

Our annual fellowship program brings together faculty, postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate fellows to explore work-in-progress in a dynamic workshop setting. We offer the Doctoral Certificate in Collaborative Humanities, featuring team-taught seminars on transdisciplinary topics, and provide cutting-edge research seminars for undergraduates. A rich array of programming — conferences, lecture series, and colloquia — enhances the institute’s core research and curricular mission, creating a lively space of inquiry and dialogue that draws in faculty, students, and members of the larger Providence community.

The Cogut Institute for the Humanities is a member of the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) and the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI).

From climate change to racial inequity, the students, faculty, and researchers of the Cogut Institute are tackling the biggest issues of our time—and proving why the humanities are more important than ever.
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Founded in the fall of 2003 as the Brown Humanities Center, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities was named in 2005 for Craig (’75) and Deborah Cogut in recognition of their generous support.

Amanda Anderson, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and English, is the director of the institute since 2015. Her predecessors include Mary Ann Doane and Carolyn Dean as interim directors of the Brown Humanities Center and Michael P. Steinberg as director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities from 2005 to 2015. Timothy Bewes served as interim director in the 2019–20 academic year.

In 2006, the institute launched its weekly fellows’ seminar, welcoming an inaugural cohort of Faculty Fellows and Distinguished Visiting Fellows. The seminar has hosted Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Fellows since 2006–2007, International Humanities Postdoctoral Fellows since 2007–2008, and Undergraduate Fellows since 2008–2009.

Exterior view of Pembroke Hall
Pembroke Hall, renovated by architect Toshiko Mori and rededicated in October 2008, was the shared home of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women until 2024.

In 2008 and 2009, the institute started offering undergraduate and graduate seminars that expand and complement the humanities curriculum by featuring interdisciplinary topics and faculty research projects. The institute has also played an active role in undergraduate and graduate education through grant programs that support student research on and off campus. Since 2007, the institute has taken part in the sponsored participant program of the School of Criticism and Theory, an international summer course of study in critical theory.

In 2010, the institute began administering Brown University’s Humanities Initiative. Scholars are appointed on the basis of high-profile research and commitment to cross-disciplinary teaching and collaborations.

In 2017, The Cogut Center became an institute to reflect its expanded mission and scope. A $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported the launch of the Doctoral Certificate in Collaborative Humanities. Programming initiated that same year in the environmental humanities led to the establishment in 2024 of the Center for Environmental Humanities at Brown. In 2019, the institute became home to the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. The Center for Digital Scholarship and the institute have partnered since 2022 to offer the Doctoral Certificate in Digital Humanities.

The institute has enriched the practice of the humanities on campus through conferences, workshops, lectures, seminars, exhibits, and performances. Lecture series hosted at the institute have included the Hannah Arendt Seminars (2006–2014), the Creative Medicine lecture Series (2010–2019), the Romanticism Workshop (2014–2018), PITH – Politics in the Humanities (2015–2020), Film-Thinking (since 2019) as well as the Sarah Cutts Frerichs Lecture in Victorian Studies (named for Sarah Cutts Frerichs AM'49 PhD'74 and inaugurated in 2008) and the Greg and Julie Flynn Cogut Institute Speaker Series (named for Gregory G. Flynn '86, P'20, P'20 and Julie A. Flynn P'20, P'20 and inaugurated in 2018).

As a research hub on campus, the institute sponsors broad multi-year initiatives and projects that promote active dialogue on the most challenging questions facing humanities scholars. The institute has worked with partners both on and off campus, including in Cuba, New York, Milan, Berlin, Nazareth, and Nanjing. It collaborated on several occasions with the Daniel Barenboim Foundation and West-Eastern Divan Institute between 2006 and 2011. The institute is a partner in the Nanjing/Brown Joint Program in Gender Studies and Humanities founded in 2007. It housed the French Center of Excellence (2017–2024) and Black Visualities Initiative (2019–2022). Current initiatives feature Collaborative Humanities, Disability Studies, Economies of Aesthetics, Humanities in the World, and Political Concepts.

In 2024, the Cogut Institute moved from Pembroke Hall, also home to the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, to Andrews House, newly renovated and restored by Goody Clancy.