In the borderland between human suffering and human possibility we find artists, cultural workers, justice-seekers and peace-builders acting with courage, beauty, compassion and power. The Brandeis minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) will engage you in interdisciplinary exploration of the stories, the people, the actions and the artworks that animate this boundary.
Twenty-first century leaders will be called upon to engage creatively with the large-scale inter-related environmental, political and economic challenges that will confront communities around the world. Through courses where you can explore theory and practice at the nexus of the arts, creativity, social justice and peace, the CAST minor will challenge and support you to develop the capacity for resilience for "bouncing back" intellectually, culturally, ethically, emotionally and spiritually.
By joining CAST's community of inquiry, and by taking courses in the humanities, the arts, and social sciences, you will become prepared for careers and vocations that link your talents and interests in creativity and the arts with your concerns for the needs of communities, and for social justice and peace.
CAST Commitments, in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
The interdisciplinary program in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) condemns white supremacy, anti-Black violence, police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the many additional everyday violences against Black people through which individuals, groups, and institutions in the United States perpetuate the legacy of slavery and benefit from doing so.
We commit to work toward repairing the racial, gender, economic, and environmental injustices, health disparities, and erasure of heritage that continue to situate Black lives as less valuable and more disposable than white lives.
Black lives matter. Black flourishing matters.
We renew our commitment to centering and advancing the knowledges, creativity, languages, and vision of our Black students and colleagues.
We renew our commitment to fostering antiracist, decolonizing, Indigenous, and intersectional perspectives and values in our teaching and learning. We commit to exploring our own biases, as teachers and researchers, and encourage our students to join us in this vulnerability. We will continue to offer trainings and resources to aid our colleagues in the decolonization of their teaching practice. We will also continue to develop core CAST electives analyzing structural inequalities and oppression and case studies of attempts to transform these. We will reflect on our roles as artists, researchers, and change agents in combating forms of oppression, including violent policing. We will create forums for the discussion of intersectionality through our events, exhibitions, design labs, and academic work. We will host student-centered events and art installations in the 2020-21 academic year that actively tackle issues of racism and internalized bias and center the creativity and perspectives of Black students.
We acknowledge that as researchers, artists, and change agents we stand on the traditional land of the
We commit to using our privileges and resources as a predominantly white program, one that has itself benefited from a legacy of white supremacy, to create space for our students and colleagues with fewer privileges to do their own work, ask their own questions, and advance their own conclusions.
We ask our white colleagues and students to reflect on their privileges and inherent biases, and to use their privilege and resources to support, listen to, and amplify the leadership, knowledge, and demands of their Black, brown, and Indigenous peers. We commit to providing opportunities for our Black, brown, and Indigenous peers, students, and colleagues to create beauty and joy.
We celebrate the courage, resistance, creativity, wisdom, and hope of our students and colleagues who, protesting and struggling against white supremacy and racist violence, at the same time affirm that Black, brown, and Indigenous voices are vital.
We understand these statements as governing how we, as instructors and learners, develop and teach CAST-designated courses and how we review courses for cross-listing with CAST.
We will utilize our time together to hold each other to these commitments and ensure accountability.
Anna Cass, Undergraduate Departmental Representative
Aviva Davis, Undergraduate Departmental Representative
Thomas A. King, Co-chair
Toni Shapiro-Phim, Co-chair
Movement for Black Lives Policy Demands (please scroll down to list of demands)
Joint letter from Diverse Brandeis Scholars and Black Graduate Student Association
Philip V. McHarris and Thenjiwe McHarris, “No More Money for the Police. Redirect it to emergency response programs that don’t kill black people” (Opinion), The New York Times (May 30, 2020)
Ashanté Reese and SA Smythe, Resources for learning about police and prison abolition (Google doc)
Campaign Zero’s Policy Solutions for ending police violence
Reclaim the Block’s Resources and Downloads page
AYNI Institute’s Resources for Building Emotional Resilience
Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, Anti-racism resources for white people (May 2020, Google doc)
Take Project Implicit’s test for implicit bias. (project implicit )
Activist Calendar (Boston, MA) (Facebook)
The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention Statement on George Floyd, Racism, and Structural Violence
WBUR’s The ARTery, “5 Podcasts to Listen to if You Really Want to Know About Race in America”
Race Forward’s video series, “What is Systemic Racism?”
Book: White Fragility by Robin Di'Angelo
CAST Student News: Richard Quinn Weiner selected as Schiff Undergraduate Fellow
CAST minor Richard Quinn Weiner '21 (they/them/theirs) was selected in May 2020 to receive one of the ten Schiff Undergraduate Fellowships for the 2020-2021 Brandeis University academic year for their project "Generations of Impactful Scholarship" with their faculty mentor, Tom King.
As Quinn describes, "For my Schiff Fellowship project, I am expanding upon my English senior honors thesis, within which I am studying the way the phrase 'gender identity' takes on different meanings and uses among various academic and lay populations..."
CAST Faculty News: Achievements
In November 2019, poet Elizabeth Bradfield and artist Antonia Contro collaborated to publish Theorem, a hand-made, letterpressed art book in an edition of 30. Candor Arts, of Chicago, were the publishers.
Emilie Diouf and Faith Smith
CAST affiliated faculty members Emilie Diouf (English) and Faith Smith (English and AAAS) were recipients of the 2020-2021 Mandel Faculty Grants in the Humanities. Diouf was awarded a grant for her work “Errant Voices: Traumatic Text and the Making of African Women Refugees” and Smith was awarded a grant for her work “Silk Roads and Highways: Imagining ‘China’ in the Caribbean Today.”
Toni's article, "Embodying the Pain and Cruelty of Others," was just published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice. Read the abstract.
Haia R'nana Bchiri '20 - Haia's CAST experience culminated with a book of poetry and recipes titled "Comfort: Food," and she will be continuing to engage with the values of CAST as she pursues her PhD in Theatre at UC San Diego.
Rasheed Peters '20 - The CAST minor helped Rasheed tell the stories of BIPOC in the US and from around the world who were often overlooked. Rasheed produced "At the Heart of it All," a film reflecting on his work as a storyteller, for his capstone project.
Zoë Rose '20 - Zoë's CAST experience culminated in her production and performance of the one-woman show, "Zoë Rose Spills Her Guts.”