Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Center of Excellence

Directed by Lewis Seifert, Professor of French and Francophone Studies

The Center of Excellence seeks to foster interdisciplinary research and collaboration with scholars who work across the university on topics related to France and the French-speaking world or involving cooperation with French educational institutions.

It aims to engage students, scholars, and the general public through lectures, conferences, colloquia, and other events on campus. Board members represent a wide variety of schools and departments across the university, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, including the Watson Institute and the Brown Arts Initiative.

Established in 2016, the center is supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States as part of its Centers of Excellence network and through a generous gift from Pierre Sorel '92 and Mary Ann Sorel '92. The center is housed at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

The center can submit one project proposal to the French Embassy each year. Four projects have been awarded and funded in part by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy: "Islam and the French: Religion and Laïcité in the Public Sphere" (2017), "Paysagisme" (2018), "Theatre Without Borders" (2019), and "New Perspectives on New France" (2023).

Governing Board

Past Directors

  • Ourida Mostefai

    Professor of Comparative Literature and French and Francophone Studies, Past Director of the Center of Excellence (2017–2022)