Courses

Courses for the Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation minor are from the creative arts, humanities and social sciences.

For complete information on CAST courses, see the Online University Bulletin.

CAST 150b Introduction to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation 
May not be taken for credit by students who took PAX 250b in prior years.

Spring 2020 CAST Offerings

CAST 189a – Capstone Project Design Practicum (capstone course) (Toni Shapiro-Phim)
In this two-credit practicum, held during the first half of the semester, students apply theories, skills and critical questions to an individual capstone project that engages with social transformation concerns in creative, practical and ethically-sound ways. Students who have taken CAST 150b and are interested in enrolling should contact the instructor for permission. [ca]

CAST 110b – Dance and Migration (capstone course) (Toni Shapiro-Phim) 
Through an interdisciplinary lens, we'll explore the aesthetic, political, social and spiritual potency of dance forms and practices as they travel, transform, and are accorded meaning both domestically and transnationally, especially in situations -- or in the aftermath -- of extreme violence and cultural dislocation, including in refugee camps and nightclubs, and on national stages. [ca]

Fall 2019:

How can music, theater, dance and visual and other arts contribute to community development, coexistence, and nonviolent social change? In the aftermath of violence, how do artists help communities reconcile? Students explore these questions through interviews and case studies. Usually offered every year.

Spring 2020 CAST Electives

Creative Arts:

AMST/MUS 39B – Protest Through Song: Music that Shaped America (Paula Jo Musegades)
Examines 20th and 21st century protest music to better understand the complex relationships between music and social movements. Through class discussions, reading, writing, and listening assignments, and a final performance students will discover how social, cultural, and economic protest songs helped shape American cuture. Open to music majors and non-majors.  [ca oc ss]

CA 125A – Provocative Art: Outside the Comfort Zone (Gannit Ankori and Mark Brimhall-Vargas)
Presents, analyzes and discusses art that provokes controversies, discomfort, and other strong responses. This class will focus on a broad range of artistic expressions, including visual art, theater, film, music, and literature with Brandeis faculty as well as visiting artists.  [ca]

FA 4B – Sculpture Foundation: 3-D Design II (Christopher Frost and Catherine Della Lucia)
Exploration of three-dimensional aspects of form, space, and composition utilizing a variety of materials and sculptural techniques. Emphasizes students’ inventing of images through the use of modern materials and contemporary ideas about sculpture. [ca]

FA 164A – The Re-Invention of Art (Peter Kalb)
By the 1960s, the United States was the art-world capital. Radical art, however, appeared everywhere. Examines US art of the 1960s-1970s in light of artistic production in, among other places, Germany, England, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Senegal, and Japan. [ca] 

FA 187A – Approaches to Architecture and the City (Muna Guvenc)
Trains students in developing the ability to conduct architectural and urban analysis of the build environment. Through a comparative case-study approach – based on selected readings, real spaces, and creative projects – students will better understand architectural and urban design in relation to social, cultural, human, and political aspects. [ca]

FA/NEJS 183a – Breaking Boundaries in Contemporary Israeli Culture (capstone course) (Gannit Ankori and Ilana Szobel)
Explores how the Creative Arts reflect, challenge, and reconfigure various cleavages and barriers that characterize contemporary Israeli society. This course will focus on literary, visual and cinematic artworks, organized around thematic clusters and major theoretical issues. [ca hum]

MUS 86B – Improv Collective (Thomas Hall)
Open to all Brandeis students who play an instrument or sing, regardless of skill or experience in improvising, the Improv Collective focuses on both individual creativity and group improvisation. The semester culminates with a performance in Slosberg Recital hall. 

MUS 87B – Music and Dance from Ghana (Benjamin Paulding)
Students in this course will study and perform a repertory of traditional music and dance of a variety of ethnic traditions from Ghana, West Africa. The drum ensemble includes bells, rattles and drums. The vocal music features call-and-response singing in local languages. The dances have choreographic formations as well as opportunity for individual expression. Drumming and dancing are closely intertwined; work will culminate in a final performance. 

THA 40A – The Art of Visual Narrative and Production Design (Cameron Anderson)
Explores the process of creating visual narrative – how do we travel from idea to image to visual storytelling. We will learn to create evocative environments and visual metaphor that transport the viewer, transcend reality, and make stories. We will approach design from an interdisciplinary perspective that will challenge students to combine visual art, new media, performance, and space, in surprising and meaningful ways. [ca]

THA 126A – Playing for Change – Community Building and Social Change on Stage (capstone course)   (Jennifer Cleary)
Examines ways in which theatrical arts can create change in a variety of non-traditional ways. The course is grounded in the discussion/practice of theater activists such as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Students will generate work surrounding social issues of importance to them. [ca]

THA 150A – Global Theatre: Voices from Asia, Africa and the Americas (Isaiah Wooden)                               Explores dramatic literature and performance traditions from across the globe. Examines the ways various artists have engaged theater to express, represent, and interrogate diversity and complexity of the human condition. [ca wi]

Humanities:

COML 122B – Writing Home and Abroad: Literature by Women of Color (Harleen Singh)
Examines literature (prose, poetry, and memoirs) written by women of color across a wide spectrum of geographical and cultural sites. Literature written within the confines of the “home country” in the vernacular, as well as in English in immigrant locales, is read. The intersections of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and class as contained by the larger institutions of government, religion, nationalism, and sectarian politics are examined. [hum, nw]

ENG 107B – Literary Witnessing and the Poetics of Memory (David Sherman)
Investigation of thememorial function of modern literature as a response to historical trauma. How is the present haunted by the past; how is literature haunted by the dead? Historical contexts are primarily slavery in the Americas and European genocides. Readings will include theoretical and philosophical considerations of the role of the witness, collective memory, and historical evidence. [hum, wi]

ENG 137B – Women and War (Emilie Diouf)
Examines how African women writers and filmmakers use testimony to bear witness to mass violence. How do these writers resist political and sociocultural silencing systems that reduce traumatic experience to silence, denial, and terror? [hum]

FA/NEJS 183a – Breaking Boundaries in Contemporary Israeli Culture (capstone course) (Gannit Ankori and Ilana Szobel)
Explores how the Creative Arts reflect, challenge, and reconfigure various cleavages and barriers that characterize contemporary Israeli society. This course will focus on literary, visual and cinematic artworks, organized around thematic clusters and major theoretical issues. [ca hum]

GECS 188B – Human/Nature: European Perspectives on Climate Change (Sabine von Mering)
Introduces European attitudes towards climate change as reflected in policy, literature, film, and art, with a focus on workable future-oriented alternatives to fossil-fueled capitalism. [djw hum oc wi]

HISP 165B – The Storyteller: Short Fiction in Latin America (Fernando Rosenberg)
Through a study of Latin American short stories, some of them by consecrated writers, some of them by less well-known, we will reflect on the power of storytelling and narrative to shape subjectivity and community. We will examine topics that traverse Latin American cultures and are expressed in these stories, such tensions between literacy and oral traditions, hegemonic and minority voices, cultural diversity, ethnicity, class, migration, as well as contemporary concerns around issues of gender and sexuality, and in relation to the natural world. This class has an optional creative writing component, as students will have the chance, if so inclined, to write fiction applying concepts and themes studied in class (instead of critical/analytical assignments). [djw fl hum nw]

JAPN 130A – The Literature of Multicultural Japan (Matthew Fraleigh)                                                           “Multicultural” may not be an adjective that many associate with Japan, but as we will find in this class, Japan’s modern literary and cinematic tradition is rich with works by and about resident Koreans, Ainu, Okinawans, outcasts, and sexual and other marginalized minorities. Why then does the image of a monocultural Japan remain so resilient? [djw hum nw]

NEJS 174A – Minorities and Others in Israeli Literature and Culture (Ilana Szobel)
An exploration of poetics and identity in modern Hebrew literature. By offering a feminist and psychoanalytic reading of various Hebrew texts, this seminar explores questions of personal and national identity, otherness, visibility, and marginality in the Israeli context. Taught in Hebrew. [fl hum]

NEJS 194B – Sufism: Mystical Traditions in Classical and Modern Islam (Suleyman Dost)
An examination of the teaching and practices of the Sufi tradition. Explores the foundations of Sufism, its relation to other aspects of Islam, the development of Sufi teachings in both poetry and prose, and the manner in which Sufism is practiced in lands as diverse as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, India, Malaysia, and Europe. [hum nw]

SAS 130A – Film and Fiction of Crisis (Harleen Singh)
Examines novels and films as a response to some pivotal crisis in South Asia: Independence and Partition, Communal Riots, Insurgency and Terrorism. We will read and analyze texts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in an effort to examine how these moments of crisis have affected literary and cinematic form while also paying close attention to how they contest or support the narrative of the unified nation. [hum nw]

Social Sciences:

AAAS/WGS 136A – Black Feminist Thought (Shoniqua Roach)
Critical examination of the historical, political, economic, and ideological factors that have shaped the lives of African-American women in the United States. Analyzing foundation theoretical texts, fiction, and film over two centuries, this class seeks to understand black women’s writing and political activism in the U.S. [ss]

AMST/MUS 39B – Protest Through Song: Music that Shaped America (Paula Jo Musegades)
Examines 20th and 21st century protest music to better understand the complex relationships between music and social movements. Through class discussions, reading, writing, and listening assignments, and a final performance students will discover how social, cultural, and economic protest songs helped shape American cuture. Open to music majors and non-majors.  [ca oc ss]

ANTH 26A – Communication and Media (Janet McIntosh)
An exploration of human communication and mass media from a cross-cultural perspective. Examines communication codes based on language and visual signs. The global impact of revolutions in media technology, including theories of cultural imperialism and indigenous uses of media is discussed.  [dl ss]

ANTH 130A – Filming Culture: Ethnographic and Documentary Filmmaking (Patricia Alvarez Astacio)
Introduces the history, theory and production of ethnographic and documentary filmmaking. This course traces how ethnographic and culturally-inflected filmmakers have sought to depict cultural difference, social organization, and lived experiences. Students will learn the basics of non-fiction film production. [ss]

ED 158B – Looking with the Learner: Practice and Inquiry (Staff)
Links theory to practice in learning through the visual arts through three types of experiences: 1) looking at art; 2) museum-based interactions with students from Stanley Elementary School in Waltham; and 3) documenting our experiences as lookers, learners, and teachers. What can we learn about art, artists, ourselves, and young learners through the processes of looking at art?  

SOC 155B – Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements (capstone course) (Gowri Vijayakumar)
Introduces major sociological theories about leadership, political context, culture, and identities in social movements in transnational perspective. Examines historical and contemporary cases of social movements through the lenses of race, gender, class, and sexuality. [deis-us ss]

Fall 2019 CAST Electives

Creative Arts:

FA 4A – Sculpture and Foundation: 3-D Design (Tony Fair, Christopher Frost)
Exploration of three-dimensional aspects of form, space, and composition utilizing a variety of materials and sculptural techniques. Emphasizes students' inventing of images through the use of modern materials and contemporary ideas about sculpture.  [ca]

FA 181A – Housing and Social Justice (a capstone course) (Muna Guvenc)
Employs housing as a lens to interrogate space and society, state and market, power and change, in relation with urban inequality and social justice. [ca, deis-us, dl, ss]

MUS 86A – Improv Collective (Thomas Hall)
Open to all Brandeis students who play an instrument or sing, regardless of skill or experience in improvising, the Improv Collective focuses on both individual creativity and group improvisation. Yields half-course credit.

MUS 87A – Music and Dance from Ghana (Benjamin Paulding)
Students in this course will study and perform a repertory of traditional music and dance of a variety of ethnic traditions from Ghana, West Africa. Yields half-course credit.

THA 138B – Creative Pedagogy (a capstone course) (Jennifer A. Cleary)
Focuses on creativity in pedagogy from a theatrical lens and is meant for anyone who wishes to teach anyone just about anything! This course will focus on the building of community and confidence that takes place within any learning environment that utilizes creative and theatrical arts as a modality. [ca, oc]

THA 144B – Black Theater and Performance: New! (Isaiah Wooden)
Explores aesthetic innovations and transformations in African American theater and performance and examines the crucial role the stage has played in shaping perceptions and understandings of blackness. [ca, deis-us]

Humanities:

AAAS/ENG 80A – Black Looks: The Promise and Perils of Photography (Faith Smith)
Explores photography and Africans, African-Americans and Caribbean people, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. This course will examine fiction that refers to the photograph; various photographic archives; and theorists on photography and looking. [deis-us, djw, hum, wi]

ENG 52A – Refugee Stories, Refugee Lives (Emilie Diouf)
Examines the functions of storytelling in the refugee crisis. Its main objective is to further students understanding of the political dimensions of storytelling. The course explores how reworking of reality enable people to question State and social structures. [hum, nw]

ENG 58A – Literature and Medicine (David Sherman)
How has literature grappled with illness, healing, and the patient-doctor encounter? How can poetry and storytelling communicate with experience of bodily pain--and how does the body seek to communicate its suffering without language? [dl, hum, wi]

ENG 143A – The History of Mediascapes and Critical Maker Culture (Dorothy Kim)
To decolonize book history and "maker culture," the class examines colonial erasure, colonial knowledge production, race, gender, disability, neurodiversity, sexuality in making an alternative book history that includes khipu, the girdle book, the wampum, pamphlets, zines, and wearable media technology. [deis-us, dl, hum, oc]

ENG 151B – Performance Studies (a capstone course) (Tom King)
Explores paradigms for making performance inside and outside of institutionalized theater spaces, with an emphasis on the performance of everyday life. Students read theories of theater and performance against paradigmatic dramatic texts and documents of social performance. Combining theory with practice, students explore and make site-specific and online performances. Note: In fall 2019, we will focus on performative responses to climate change. [hum]

ENG 161A – Literature and Counterculture (a capstone course) (David Sherman)
Explores alternative, subversive publics created through literature and art. Readings into avant-garde movements and their legacies, with a focus on creative political engagements with public spheres. We'll consider writing, experimental theater, visual art, and musical performance at the cultural edges and outsides. This is creative expression that plays with textual circulation and political subversion.

ENG 167B – Writing the Nation: James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison (Gabrielle Everett)
An in-depth study of three major American authors of the twentieth century. Highlights the contributions of each author to the American literary canon and to its diversity. Explores how these novelists narrate cross-racial, cross-gendered, cross-regional, and cross-cultural contact and conflict in the United States. [deis-us, hum]

ENG 172B – African Literature and Human Rights (Emilie Diouf)
Human rights have been central to thinking about Africa. What do we mean when we speak of human rights? Are we asserting a natural and universal equality among all people, regardless of race, class, gender, or geography?  [hum, nw]

HISP 196A – Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture New! (Muria J. Duran)
Topic for fall 2019: Latinx Theatre: Politics, Performance, and Social Change. This course examines Latinx theatre as a creative and political force for social change in the United States from the 1960s to the present. We will examine Latinx theatre’s politics, cultural practices, and artistic expressions. We will read representative works by Latinx playwrights while integrating supplementary texts including performance reviews, critical analyses, and theoretical studies. Plays will be studied using various modes of inquiry including linguistic, performance studies, gender studies, and borderlands theory. [hum, wi]

Social Sciences:

SOC 119A – Deconstructing War, Building Peace (Gordie Fellman)
Ponders the possibility of a major "paradigm shift" under way from adversarialism and war to mutuality and peace. Examines war culture and peace culture and points in between, with emphases on the role of imagination in social change, growing global interdependence, and political, economic, gender, social class, and social psychological aspects of war and peace. [ss]

Read more about Fall 2019 CAST elective courses and events!