Cogut Institute for the Humanities

These courses are taught by recipients of the Collaborative Humanities Course Award. They pair one humanities faculty member and one faculty member from the social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, biology & medicine, or public health, among other disciplines, and typically also include forms of group work or collaborative projects by student teams.

Spring 2021

Happiness in Psychology and Philosophy

Humanities and Life Sciences | 2018 Collaborative Humanities Course Award

CLPS 0710 (Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences), PHIL 0650 (Philosophy), HMAN 0700B (Cogut Institute)

Joachim Krueger, Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences
Bernard Reginster, Professor of Philosophy

This course promotes an encounter between distinct approaches to happiness in two disciplines. In philosophy, the question of happiness is essentially a normative question about how one should live. In psychology, it is an experiential question linked to a descriptive science. The course brings philosophical frameworks to bear on psychology and psychological findings to bear on philosophical assumptions. Students begin by writing short essays conforming to the demands of each discipline before collaborating on an interdisciplinary project.

Fall 2020

Loss, Political Activism and Public Feelings: Between Fact and Affect

Humanities and Social Sciences | 2019 Collaborative Humanities Course Award 

Juliet Hooker, Professor of Political Science
Emily Owens, Assistant Professor of 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.

Spring 2020

Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences

Humanities and Life Sciences | 2018 Collaborative Humanities Course Award

CLPS 0540 (Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences), ITAL 0701 (Italian Studies), HMAN 0700A (Cogut Institute)

Fulvio Domini, Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences
Massimo Riva, Professor of Italian Studies, Director of the Virtual Humanities Lab, and Affiliated Professor of Modern Culture and Media

Can an experimental approach enhance our critical and historical understanding of immersive experiences? The seminar explores the long history of 3D vision, from such pre-digital optical devices as the camerae obscurae, magic lanterns, panoramas, and stereoscopes, to contemporary VR, AR, or XR experiences designed for education and entertainment. Through a series of collaborative activities and experiments, the seminar explores themes of virtual travel, social surveillance, and utopian imagination—and the intersecting desires to intensify the experience of reality and to escape reality altogether.

Spring 2020 Student Projects


With the COVID-19 pandemic, student presentations for "Simulating Reality" morphed into what could be defined as a simulation of a real seminar.

Fall 2019

Brazilian Democracy in Literature and History

Humanities and Social Sciences | 2018 Collaborative Humanities Course Award

POBS 0711 (Portuguese and Brazilian Studies), HIST 0980M (History), HMAN 0701A (Cogut Institute), LACA 0711 (Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies)

James Green, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Professor of Modern Latin American History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Director of the Brazil Initiative
Leila Lehnen, Associate Professor and Chair of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

This course examines the concepts and practices of democracy through the history of its origins and transformations in Brazil from the twilight of slavery in the 1870s to the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro. The seminar, taking a cross-disciplinary approach to historical documents, historians’ narratives, literary texts, and cultural productions, explores how different intellectuals and political actors have understood the notions of democracy, both in theory and in practice. Students will engage with a variety of genres including film and collaborate on the production of short podcasts. Read the syllabus.