Cogut Institute for the Humanities

2020-21 Courses

The Cogut Institute fosters curricular innovation through its faculty and postdoctoral fellowships, the Collaborative Humanities Initiative, and the Humanities Initiative Scholars. The institute also hosts U.S. and international visiting faculty. Courses offered by the institute contribute to Brown University's cross-disciplinary curricular designators.

“ I loved the creative assignments, diverse class structures, guest lectures, and discussion dynamic. Class never felt boring. ”

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1400A / HIST 1972I | Loss, Political Activism, and Public Feelings: Between Fact and Affect
Juliet Hooker (Political Science) and Emily Owens (History)
Why do political actors deploy quantitative approaches when dealing with catastrophe, while personal experiences of grief draw heavily on affective resources? Juxtaposing texts from public health, public policy, empirical political science, and law, alongside cultural and artistic responses that focus on public feelings of mourning, rage, and defiance, this co-taught course examines political action between fact and affect. Case studies will include the long afterlife of transatlantic slavery, anti-lynching campaigns, the enshrining of the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement in national memory, and political movements such as ACT UP and the Movement for Black Lives. (REM)

Spring 2021 | HMAN 0700A / CLPS 0540 / ITAL 0701 | Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences
Fulvio Domini (Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences) and Massimo Riva (Italian Studies)
Can an experimental approach enhance our critical-historical understanding of immersive experiences? We will look at the history of 3D vision from an interdisciplinary perspective combining the science of perception and the cultural history of technology. Through a series of collaborative activities and team experiments, we will learn how popular, pre-digital optical devices (such as camerae obscurae, magic lanterns, panoramas or stereoscopes) foreshadow contemporary VR, AR, or XR experiences designed for education and entertainment. Among the themes explored: virtual travel, social voyeurism and surveillance, utopian and dystopian imagination. (COEX)

Spring 2021 | HMAN 0700B / CLPS 0710 / PHIL 0650 | Psychology and Philosophy of Happiness
Joachim Krueger (Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences) and Bernard Reginster (Philosophy)
The course explores four fundamental questions about happiness: What is happiness — pleasure, life satisfaction, something else? How is happiness achieved — what are the myths and realities about what conduces to happiness? Can happiness be achieved — are we naturally well suited to be happy? Why pursue happiness — is it sufficient, or even necessary, for a good life? The course examines classic contributions from philosophy and psychology, the two disciplines that have studied happiness most extensively. Team-taught by professors from both philosophy and psychology, it invites students to compare and combine both approaches. (REM)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 2400I | Environmental Humanities
Lukas Rieppel (History) and Bathsheba Demuth (History)
We live in a time of immense global change and ecological rupture that poses a foundational challenge for modern society. How are we to respond to environmental crises that take place on a geological scale without papering over complex issues of social inequality, racial difference, and powerful gender norms? How might we promote the flourishing of sustainable communities that include both human and non-human, present and future beings? This collaborative seminar will address deep philosophical questions like these by exploring a range of work in environmental humanities. The readings reflect a diversity of disciplinary commitments and methodological approaches ranging from History, Anthropology, and Philosophy to Indigenous Studies and Science Studies.

Fall 2020 | HMAN 2400Y / ENGL 2901N / RELS 2110C | Suspicion and Its Others
Amanda Anderson (Cogut Institute and English) and Thomas A. Lewis (Religious Studies)
From the hermeneutics of suspicion to post-critique, a range of thinkers and theories have positioned suspicion as a central critical disposition of the modern age. In this collaborative seminar we will explore the concept and practice of suspicion both in relation to the classic objects over against which it emerged — morality, religion, and tradition — and through the lens of other modes of engagement more recently proposed, including charity, reconstruction, attunement, quiet, resonance, and reparative practices of reading. Readings will be drawn from philosophy, critical theory, race and ethnicity studies, gender and sexuality studies, and literary theory and criticism.

Fall 2020 | HMAN 2400Z | Instruments and Instrumentalities
Emily Dolan (Music) and Jonathan Sterne (McGill University)
What is an instrument? Today, in a variety of fields, the definitions of instrument and instrumentality are transforming. While retaining its older connotations of delegation, means to ends, and tool-use, the “instrument” now also implies bigger, messier complexes of technologies, bodies, and rationalities. In this seminar, we will think transversally across categories and contexts to consider the form and meaning of musical instruments, technical instruments, and ideas of instrumentality. Readings will draw from music, media studies, science and technology studies, sound studies, cultural studies, and related fields. This is a distributed seminar, collaboratively taught between Brown and McGill Universities.

Fall 2020 | HMAN 2401 / ENGL 2761R / FREN 2620K | Metaphor/Matter/Time: Literature and the Changing Earth
Thangam Ravindranathan (French and Francophone Studies) and Ada Smailbegović (English)
In this collaborative seminar we will consider the flickering edge between metaphor and materiality in the shadow of the Anthropocene. Weekly discussions will be built around a series of “threshold sites” — including Sea, Sun, Silk, Plastic, Forest, Photograph, Shell, Horse, Whale — in which “matter” and “figure” may be seen to be simultaneously in relation and at odds. We will endeavor to think metaphoricity as the imbrication of materiality and semiosis, and in its relationship to ecological time, through readings from Lucretius, Melville, Coleridge, Ponge, Moore, Bervin, Barad, Haraway, Derrida, Ricoeur, among others. (REM)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 2401A / ENGL 2901M | Bakhtin and the Political Present: Literature, Anthropology, Dialogue
Tim Bewes (English) and Paja Faudree (Anthropology)
This collaborative humanities graduate seminar explores the revolutionary ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin, considering their influence in two disciplines, literary studies and linguistic anthropology. The primary historical context of the course is our own political present, characterized by linguistic homogeneity, the unification of power, and the rise of authoritarian governments. How effective are Bakhtin’s theories of dialogue, polyphony and carnival as principles of resistance to the challenges of the current moment?

Spring 2021 | HMAN 2401B | Thinking Breath: An Inquiry Across Literature, Performance, and Philosophy
Leela Gandhi (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and English) and Peter Szendy (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and Comparative Literature)
This collaborative seminar proposes an interdisciplinary and inter-cultural inquiry into breath as the shared figment of philosophical, spiritual, therapeutic, athletic, musical, and environmental practices, among others. How does breath travel across disparate traditions, bodies, and technologies? Is it vital or metaphysical? Is it restricted to particular genres? Does it have a history? Topics include punctuation and phrasing; climate change and the crisis of oxygen; circular breathing and “breathy” vocalization in musical traditions; the notion of “ruh” in Sufism, “pneuma” in ancient Greek thought, “qì” in ancient Chinese thought, and “breath” as a synonym for “self” in ancient Indian philosophy

Spring 2021 | HMAN 2401C | Inscribing the Event: Poetics and Politics of the Date
Marc Redfield (Comparative Literature and English) and Gerhard Richter (German Studies and Comparative Literature)
What is a date? How does it relate to our understanding of historical time? How can the idea of a date be represented in words and images? What does it mean to commemorate the anniversary of a date? When it comes to a date, what is the relation between repeatability and singularity? This seminar will devote itself to the vexing question of the date in literature, the arts, critical thought, and cultural theory. Texts to include Marx, Benjamin, Faulkner, Adorno, Derrida, Celan, among others. Graduate students from diverse fields welcome. Final collaborative seminar project required.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 2401D / MCM 2100Z / AMST 2220U2401A | The Fugitivity of Slowness, Stillness, and Stasis
Tina Campt (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and Modern Culture and Media) and Dixa Ramírez D’Oleo (American Studies and English)
Slowness, stillness, stasis – these terms signal diminished velocity, extended duration, delayed development or reduced exertion. But what if we understand them as an intensification, rather than a reduction, of forces? How do slowness, stillness, and stasis animate fugitivity in various bodies of thought? What if slowness, stillness, and stasis instantiate modes of anti-colonial practice and thought, or imagine/realize a world nonsensical to much of dominant western thought? This collaborative humanities seminar will explore practices of slowness, stillness, and stasis in literature, theory, performance and art, and the ways in which they unsettle our understanding of fugitive social practices of refusal.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 2500 | Project Development Workshop
Amanda Anderson (Cogut Institute and English) and Tamara Chin (Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies)
In this capstone course, students completing the Doctoral Certificate in Collaborative Humanities pursue individual or collaborative projects, such as a dissertation prospectus, a dissertation chapter, or a methodological/theoretical exercise relating to their field of interest. Weekly sessions are devoted to work-in-progress and discussion of key texts addressing method and theory in and beyond the humanities. At the end of the semester, participants present in a Collaborative Public Workshop. Admission to the seminar requires a formal application process and the completion of two HMAN 2400 seminars.

I love the collaboration and interdisciplinarity—it really contributed to my thinking about my dissertation and helped me grow in ways that years in my own discipline did not. I wish I could take it once a year.

student course evaluation for the Project Development Workshop

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1974Q | England without a Monarchy, Regicide and Republic, 1649-1660
Tim Harris (History)
This course examines England’s mid-seventeenth century revolution, looking at high and low politics, the rise of popular radicalism, and the conflict in the empire. Themes explored include: the trial of Charles I; the commonwealth, 1649-53; the Ranters and the sexual revolution; the Digger commune at St. George’s Hill; Oliver Cromwell’s war crimes in Ireland; Cromwell as Lord protector, 1653-58; the social and gender egalitarianism of the Baptists, Quakers, and Fifth Monarchists; the revolutions in the Caribbean and Atlantic; and the Western Design and capture of Jamaica. (WRIT)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1974U / CLAS 1430 | The Cultures of Roman Imperialism
Joseph Reed (Classics and Comparative Literature)
“The Cultures of Roman Imperialism” explores the cultural feedback loops between capital and provinces in the ancient Roman world, studying the literature (and some material culture) not only of expansionist Rome, but of the populations subject to Rome (including Greek, Egyptian, and Judaic). How did Rome appropriate local cultural forms to legitimize its own power? How did local cultures push back with their own appropriations? We will find new ways to study an ancient empire that has subsequently been a model not only for governance, whether enlightened or oppressive, but also for dialogue and interchange, however fraught.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1974R | Humans, Animals, and Machines
Debbie Weinstein (American Studies)
This course examines the invocation of animals and machines to illuminate the meanings and limits of the human in modern American thought and culture. Our objects of analysis will range from medical experiments to popular films, primatology to video games, and Crispr babies to science fiction. Readings will consider the roles of animals and machines in the history of categories of race, gender, and bodily difference. Throughout we will examine the political, cultural, and epistemological stakes of the shifting boundaries of the natural and the unnatural, as well as the human and non-human. (DIAP)

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1974T | Anthropology of Infrastructure: Comparative Ethnographic Perspectives
Daniel Smith (Anthropology)
Basic infrastructure – e.g., electricity grids, water supply systems, roads, railroads, and the Internet – is commonly seen as a foundational requirement for and visible manifestation of modern human life. Yet inequalities in infrastructure are both causes and consequences of the profound disparities that characterize the contemporary world. This course aims at deciphering the complex interaction between infrastructure, society, politics, and human experience. Taking a comparative ethnographic approach, students will ask whether technology has produced a better world, and for whom. From economics and governance to ethics and sociality, students will explore humans’ relationship to infrastructure.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1974V | God of the Greek Philosophers
Mary-Louise Gill (Classics and Philosophy)
This seminar will focus on the views of Plato and Aristotle on god’s thought and human thought. Plato treats god as a craftsman who looks to unchanging forms and attempts to replicate them in recalcitrant materials. By contrast, Aristotle regards the cosmos as eternal. His god maintains the world as the relatively stable place it is and does so as an object of desire and thought. God’s own activity — thinking of thinking--is extremely simple, whereas ours is necessarily more complex and involves recognizing our place and contribution to the order of things.

Fall 2020 | HMAN 0800B | The Art of International Relations
Damien Mahiet (Cogut Institute)
From the ritual handshakes of country leaders to iconic photographs of migrants and refugees, from the use of music in combat and torture to the mobilization of art to make a better world, aesthetics informs the way international actors present themselves, portray the world, perceive others, and conceive of peace, conflict, and war. At the intersection of the humanities and social sciences, this course explores cultural practices constitutive of the diplomatic stage, international society, transnational networks, globalization, and post-coloniality in the 20th and 21st centuries. These include theatre, literature, music, dance, images, film, television, and social media. This course may be counted as a track elective in the security track of the international and public affairs concentrations. (FYS, WRIT)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1971S / ARTS 1700 | Introduction to iPhone /iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons
Theodore Bogosian (Cogut Institute)
Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie.

Fall 2020 | LATN 1120G | Reading Humanist Latin Texts
Andrew Laird (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute, Classics, and Hispanic Studies)
The course will explore in depth some important Renaissance or ‘early modern’ works of Latin literature, many of which have not been translated into English. As well as opening up a new field of Latin writing, the course will extend general knowledge of classical literature by involving some less commonly studied ancient sources. It will also introduce some early imprints, enabling you to consider texts directly in the original form in which they first appeared. (REM)

Fall 2020 | GNSS 2010N | Narrating Debt
Peter Szendy (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and Comparative Literature)
There have been many approaches to the problem of debt — a problem that has grown more urgent in the light of the central role played by indebtedness in neoliberal, financialized capitalism. There have been global histories of debt, claims for reparations in postcolonial debates, legal arguments about “odious debt,” psychoanalytical readings of debtor characters, inquiries into specific types of debt, critical studies dedicated to gender/race in the micropolitics of debt. The guiding hypothesis of our seminar is that all these approaches, diverse as they may be, presuppose a more fundamental tie between indebtedness and narrativity, or the possibility of narration. (REM)

Fall 2020 | CLAS 2011 | Critical Approaches to Classical Texts: Theory and Methods
Andrew Laird (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute, Classics, and Hispanic Studies)
These seminars will examine categories fundamental to the study of ancient literature and historiography, highlighting the relevance of ancient philosophy, rhetoric and poetics to modern critical/theoretical approaches. Topics can include text, author, context, literature, genre, representation, emulation, narrative, historiography, commentary, reception. Contradictions in the idea of ‘classics’ can also be considered, in connection with questions of diversity and ethical approaches to Greco-Roman texts. The course aims to draw on participants’ needs and experiences to offer firm and constructive guidelines for professional academic writing, eliminating common errors and misconceptions (intentional and biographical fallacies, confusion between allusion and intertextuality, ‘topoi and ‘tropes’.) (REM)

Fall 2020 | ENGL 2900X | Postcolonial Theory
Leela Gandhi (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and English)
In this introduction to postcolonial theory we will consider key Western sources (Hegel, Marx, Lacan, Levi Strauss, Emmanuel Levinas); anticolonial manifestos (Gandhi, Fanon, Césaire, Memmi); political and ethical practices (civil disobedience, armed struggle, friendship). In addition to canonical critics (Said, Bhabha, Spivak), the course will review new interests in the field (transnationalism, non-western imperialisms, the environmental turn). (REM)

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1000B | The Cogut Institute for the Humanities Research Seminar
Amanda Anderson (Cogut Institute and English)
This seminar involves reading and discussing in-progress research by the annual fellows of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, an interdisciplinary group of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates engaged in extended research on a major project or honors thesis. Students read a wide range of works-in-progress, prepare questions and participate in seminar discussions, intervene as first questioners for specific sessions assigned to them in advance, and present their own work twice during the year. Admission to the course requires that students have received the Cogut Institute Undergraduate Fellowship for the year in which they enroll.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1971S | Introduction to iPhone /iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons
Theodore Bogosian (Cogut Institute)
Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1974P | Theo-Politics: Political Readings of the Hebrew Bible
Adi Ophir (Cogut Institute and Middle East Studies)
The seminar presents the Hebrew Bible as a primary source for political theory. It offers readings of some highly charged theo-political episodes through which some key political concepts are explicated and problematized. Special attention is given to systemic violence, states of exception, the politics of plagues, and resistance. The readings are guided by (mostly) contemporary thinkers who contributed to the study of these concepts in non-biblical contexts. Reconstructing God’s multiple political personae and several types of biblical theocracies, the seminar questions the gap separating our putatively modern, secular political imagination from that of the political cultures documented in the Bible.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1974W / HIST 1976J | Earth Histories: From Creation to Countdown
Lukas Rieppel (History) and Adi Ophir (Cogut Institute and Middle East Studies)
This course offers a humanistic perspective on global climate change, arguably the most pressing issue facing our species today. At the heart of this issue lies the idea that human beings have been elevated to the level of a geological force, merging geological and historical time and necessitating a critical conversation between the sciences and the humanities. To that end, we will foster a collaborative dialogue about the diverse “temporalities” that inform our thinking about the earth and its history, from creation stories to the modern idea of progress. Students will also curate a group exhibition about earth histories.

Spring 2021 | LATN 2080I | Latin Atlantic Epic
Andrew Laird (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute, Classics, and Hispanic Studies)
This course will involve study of Latin epics produced in Europe and the Americas (1500-1780) which addressed themes particular to the discovery, conquest and colonization of the New World. A range of texts of will be introduced, but the class will probably focus on two or three works in particular over the course of the semester. The historical conditions in which these epics will be considered as well as the poets’ classical models and their sources in early modern Latin and vernacular writing. (REM)

Summer 2021 | HMAN 1975H / MES 1244 | Orientalism and the Question of Palestine: Theory, History, Literature
Adi Ophir (Cogut Institute and Middle East Studies)
Edward Said’s ground breaking work, Orientalism, was published in 1978 and soon became a founding moment for the field of postcolonial theory and a pivotal point of return within it. A year later, Said published The Question of Palestine. This was one of the first comprehensive accounts of the Palestinian condition as a stateless nation. The book’s explicit goal was to present the Palestinian story and cause to an American and European audience, with a special effort to reach out to Jewish American intellectuals. The seminar first task will be to highlight and explore explicit and tacit links and divergences between the two books. The goal is to identify two, not entirely compatible frames for studying “Palestine,” as a piece of land, a homeland, and above all a set of historically changing conditions of Jewish-Palestinian co-existence and co-habitation. (DIAP, WRIT)

The Cogut seminar is an amazing opportunity! All rising seniors pursuing an honors thesis should apply for the fellowship!

2020-21 undergraduate fellow

Fall 2020 | HMAN 0900E / HISP 0730 | Encounters: Latin America in Its Literature and Culture
Gustavo Quintero Lozano, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Hispanic Studies)
An introduction to major authors, movements, and themes of Spanish American literature from the Discovery to the present. This course also aims to develop students’ oral and written expression in Spanish. Students are expected to engage in close reading and discussion of texts, as well as to revise their papers. (REM, DIAP, WRIT)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 0900F / AFRI 0850 | The Politics of Gender in the Caribbean Novel
Dadland Maye, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Africana Studies)
This course will examine 20th-century Caribbean Literature as a genre, which poses challenges to colonialism and raises profound questions of sovereignty. It will examine how Contemporary Caribbean Literature contributes to the world of literature in general. (REM, DIAP)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1974X / HIST 1978D | Contested Histories of Colonial Indochina: Culture, Power, Change
Cindy Nguyen, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (History)
This seminar explores the history of French colonial Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) from 1858 to 1945. Challenging Euro-centric narratives of colonialism, we will critically analyze the colonial encounter as complex exchanges, geographically diverse, and socially uneven. Rather than position colonialism as an external agent of change, this seminar dedicates attention to local agency, and social and cultural transformations. Key historical and theoretical debates addressed include the mechanisms of the colonial state, production and legacies of colonial knowledge, construction of modernity and civilization, development of civil societies, transformations of religious communities, and articulations of identities around gender, class, revolution, and nation. (REM, DIAP, WRIT)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1974Z / TAPS 1280B | The Creative Ensemble: Poetry in/to Performance
Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, Mellon Gateway Postdoctoral Fellow (Music) and Kym Moore (Theatre Arts and Performance Studies)
Creative Ensemble: Poetry in/to Performance is an Interdisciplinary Arts course designed to develop skills in acting, improvisation, directing, design, visual storytelling, and writing. Professor Kym Moore (TAPS) and Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo (Music) are exploring the multiple dimension of Poetry: visual, aural, and sonic. Drawing on Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo’s expertise as a rap lyricist and performer, students will also examine the ways in which the incorporation of hip-hop poetics can shape a performance. Through research, experimentation, performance, participants will engage in a creative process that will culminate in an Ensemble-based final performance for the public. Application and Override Required. (REM)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1975A / ANTH 1760 | Disability and Culture in the Past and Present
Aviva Cormier, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Anthropology)
Like gender and race, disability is a cultural and social formation that identifies particular bodies and minds as different, regularly as undesirable, and rarely as extraordinary. This course introduces the theoretical, cultural, and political models of disability and explores the lived experiences of persons with disabilities across time and within different social contexts. Through a discussion of scholarly readings, literature, film, photography, art, and archaeology, this seminar considers disability in relation to identity; impairment; stigma; monstrosity; marginalization; discrimination; beauty; power; media representations; activism; intersectionality; and gender and sexuality. (REM, DIAP)

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1975B / HIAA 1631 | Authority, Identity, and Visual Culture in Colonial America
Jessica Stair, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Early Modern World and History of Art and Architecture)
After the Spanish invasion, indigenous cultures of the Americas endured profound changes including the suppression of religious practices and reconfiguration of socio-political systems. During the succeeding centuries of colonial rule, diverse members of a highly stratified society relied upon cultural objects to contend for social, economic, political, and religious authority. This course considers the ways in which objects of visual culture in Mexico and Peru functioned as leveraging tools, means to assert authority and identity, ways to maintain the status quo, and forms of resistance with emphasis on the roles various participants played in artistic production and reception.

Fall 2020 | HMAN 1975D / PHIL 1900 | Philosophy of Biology
David Frank, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Philosophy)
This course introduces philosophy of biology through engagement with historical and contemporary philosophical and scientific texts. We will ask epistemological questions about evolutionary biology that seek a broader understanding of the status of biology as a science, and about fundamental concepts and categories of biological theory. We will ask whether and how biological knowledge (e.g. about health, “human nature,” or ecosystems) might be relevant to philosophical or ethical claims. Relatedly, we will ask questions about the roles of social values in biology. For example: How have concepts of ‘race’ and racial difference been theorized in philosophy and biology, and how has scientific racism mischaracterized human diversity? Students will leave the course with an appreciation for the relevance and importance of philosophical debates both within and about the life sciences.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 0900G / HIAA 0632 | Mural Painting in Mexico
Jessica Stair, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Early Modern World and History of Art and Architecture)
Before Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros were lauded as heroes of the 20th-century muralismo movement, artists had been painting on walls throughout Mexico for centuries for both public and private audiences. We will consider how murals were sites for elite consumption and religious contemplation, political tools, agents for social change, and nexuses of collective identity. We will examine Mexican wall painting through time from Pre-Columbian dwellings and ceremonial spaces, to the painted interiors of Spanish colonial residences and churches, to public displays uniting post-Revolutionary Mexico, ending with the Chicano mural movement and vibrant community spaces of contemporary Mexico and the U.S. (REM)

Spring 2021 | ANTH 0310 | Human Evolution
Aviva Cormier, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Anthropology)
Examination of theory and evidence on human evolution in the past, present and future. Topics include evolution and adaptation, biocultural adaptation, fossil evidence, behavioral evolution in primates, human genetic variation and contemporary human biological variation.(REM)

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1975E / PHIL 1785 | Philosophy of the Environment: Environmental Utopias
David Frank, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Philosophy)
Environmentalists have often faced criticism for wallowing in pessimistic, even apocalyptic, “doom and gloom.” This seminar in environmental philosophy will explore a variety of more-or-less optimistic, more-or-less “utopian,” possible human-environmental futures, exploring a variety of questions about political economy, environmental justice, and the conservation of non-human nature. We will draw on multiple philosophical and scholarly traditions, as well as science fiction and popular literature, to imagine this plurality of “ecotopias,” considering ideas like the Green New Deal, ecosocialism, degrowth, decolonization, reparations for environmental injustice, interspecies democracy, and rewilding. Along the way we will examine issues in environmental and political philosophy about the relationships between environmental degradation and dominant political-economic and social-cultural systems.

Spring 2021 | HMAN 1975C / HISP 1371I | From Pancho Villa to Netflix: An Introduction to Mexican Cinema
Gustavo Quintero Lozano, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies (Hispanic Studies)
This course is an introductory overview to Mexican cinema, its prominent themes, and its historical eras. We will begin with the silent films of the national period in the 1930s and conclude with the transition to streaming platforms in the 2010s. We will pay attention to three interrelated questions: 1) What is the relation between cinema and political projects? 2) How does national cinema approach gender? 3) What is the role of neoliberal market in reshaping Mexican films? This approach will be useful to see how the production of cinema is related to major political and social processes in Mexico.

Summer 2021 | HMAN 1975I / AFRI 1600 | History, Nation, Popular Culture, and Caribbean Politics
Dadland Maye, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Africana Studies)
Examines Jamaican popular music as an ideological site of resistance to Creole nationalist versions of Caribbean history and politics. It grapples with the meanings of race, history, and nation-state as contested notions in Jamaican/Caribbean society tracing an alternative genealogy of Caribbean history and politics. (DIAP)

[The course] fosters a stimulating, engaging and welcoming environment, through which you explore some of the most pressing issues that affect the world as it is.

student course evaluation