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. Instructors, please see the guidelines on cross-listing courses and developing core courses with CAST.

View the CAST Info Flyer.


Fall 2020 CAST Offerings:

Core Course:
CAST 150B— Introduction to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (Toni Shapiro-Phim) 
How can music, theater, dance and visual and other arts contribute to community-building, coexistence, and nonviolent social change? In the aftermath of violence, how can artists help communities reconcile? Students explore these questions through interviews, case studies, and projects. Usually offered every year. [ss]

In the Fall of 2020, CAST 150b students will have a special opportunity to work directly with renowned playwright Catherine Filloux, who will visit class multiple times during the latter part of the term. Under the guidance of this award-winning author of works that address human rights and social justice the world over, students will craft a script based on the words of persons involved in international criminal proceedings, linking creative expression to transitional justice. No special writing experience or skill needed!
Capstone Practicum:

CAST 181B — Ethics of Community Engagement Capstone Practicum (Toni Shapiro-Phim) 
Prerequisite: CAST 150b and permission from the instructor. Yields half-course credit. 
Combining theory and practice, this course supports students in the CAST minor as they imagine and undertake their required capstone project or CAST course projects that require engagement beyond the campus. Capstone projects and individual courses may involve local, regional and even international collaborations, all helpful in fostering an empathetic and compassionate sense of people’s and communities’ situations, values, and choices. When this work is conducted within a non-profit organization, it is also a way to nurture future leaders and supporters of community-based and other associations aiming to constructively transform society. Ethical concerns must be at the forefront of the planning and implementation of all such endeavors. Usually offered every year.

Core Electives:

CAST 170A — Documenting the Immigrant Experience (Jenny Alexander and James Rutenbeck
Investigates documentary film as a genre, and explores the potential of the medium for engaging students with immigrant communities in Waltham through hands-on production experiences. Through the process of exchanging narratives with community members, students generate raw material for a film documentary. Usually offered every third year. [ss]

AAAS 124A — After the Dance: Performing Sovereignty in the Caribbean (Faith Smith)
Utilizing short fiction, essays, plays, poetry, and the visual arts, this class theorizes movement and/as freedom in the spectacular or mundane movements of the region, including annual Carnival and Hosay celebrations. Usually offered every third year. [hum oc ss]

ANTH 130B — Visuality and Culture (Patricia Alvarez Astacio)
Introduces students to the study of visual, aural, and artistic media through an ethnographic lens. Course combines written and creative assignments to understand how culture shapes how we make meaning out of images and develop media literacy. Topics include ethnographic/documentary film, advertising, popular culture, viral videos and special effects, photography, art worlds, and the technological development of scientific images. Usually offered every second year. [dl ss]

ANTH 159A — Museums and Public Memory (Ellen Schattschneider)
Explores the social and political organization of public memory, including museums, cultural villages, and memorial sites. Who has the right to determine the content and form of such institutions? Working with local community members, students will develop a collaborative exhibition project. Usually offered every second year. [oc ss]

ENG 139A — Publishing Workshop: Literary Editing and Publishing (Elizabeth Bradfield)
Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Students will be selected after the submission of an introductory letter including student's major, writing/editing experience, why publishing is of interest to them, any experimental literary publications/performances they've experienced. This course fulfills a workshop requirement for the Creative Writing major and minor. Please refer to the Schedule of Classes for submission formats and deadlines within the Registration periods.
Editing and publishing a literary journal -- either digital, print, or in more experimental forms -- can be an important component of a writer's creative life and sense of literary citizenship. This experiential learning course will engage students with theoretical and historical reading as well as provide practical hands-on tools for literary publishing. Broadsided Press (www.broadsidedpress.org) will be used as a case study. A group publishing project will be part of the coursework, and this can be tied into journals already being published on campus. By the end of the semester, students will have a fuller sense of the work, mindset, difficulties, strategies, and values of a literary publisher. Usually offered every second year. [dl hum oc wi]

LGLS 129A — Global Justice and Societies in Transition (Melissa Stimell)
Introduces transitional justice, a set of practices that arise following a period of conflict that aim directly at confronting past violations of human rights. This course will focus on criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, and the contributions of art and culture. Usually offered every second year. [djw ss]
Electives in Creative Arts:
CA 125A — Provocative Art: Outside the Comfort Zone (Gannit Ankori and Mark Brimhall-Vargas)
All students, including those on the wait list who need consent codes, must attend the first class.
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. Usually offered every second year. [ca]

FA 4A 1— Sculpture Foundation: 3-D Design I (Tory Fair and Christopher Frost)
Beginning-level course. Preference to first-year students and sophomores. May be repeated once for credit if taught by different instructors. Studio fee: $75 per semester.
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. Assignments are based on abstract thought and problem solving. The intent of this course is to give students a rich studio experience and promote a fresh and meaningful approach to visual concepts. Usually offered every fall. [ca]

FA 4A 3— Sculpture Foundation: 3-D Design I (Catherine Della Lucia)
Beginning-level course. Preference to first-year students and sophomores. May be repeated once for credit if taught by different instructors. Studio fee: $75 per semester.
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. Assignments are based on abstract thought and problem solving. The intent of this course is to give students a rich studio experience and promote a fresh and meaningful approach to visual concepts. Usually offered every fall. [ca]

FA 33B — Islamic Art and Architecture (Muna Guvenc)
Through case studies of cities, sites, and monuments, the course presents an overview of the art and the architecture of the Islamic world beginning from the seventh century up to the present. Some of the themes include, but are not limited to, Islamic material culture, orientalist imaginations, systems of governance and the colonial present, search for the local identity, urban modernity and nationalism, and globalization. Usually offered every second year. [ca nw]

MUS 86A — Improv Collective (Thomas Hall)
Instructor's Signature Required. Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Yields half-course credit. Placement auditions will be held at the start of the semester. A maximum of four course credits will be allowed for all enrollments in Ensemble (80a,b – 88a,b) alone or Private Instruction and Ensemble together. May be undertaken as an extracurricular, noncredit activity by registering in the XC section.
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. Usually offered every semester. 

MUS 87A — Music and Dance from Ghana (Benjamin Paulding)
Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Yields half-course credit. A maximum of four course credits will be allowed for all enrollments in Ensemble (80a,b – 88a,b) alone or Private Instruction and Ensemble together. Instruments will be supplied by instructor.
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. Usually offered every year. [ ca ]

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 construct and deconstruct the idea of performance space both theatrical and site-specific. How do we create the psychological landscape of a story? What can an architectural detail tell us about character? What can we learn from objects? 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. Of interest to designers, actors, directors, film-makers, fine artists, and anyone interested in the process of creating a visual story line. Usually offered every year. [ca]

THA 144B — Black Theater and Performance (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. Usually offered every second year. [ca deis-us]

THA 150A — Global Theater: 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. Usually offered every second year. [ca djw nw wi]

Electives in Humanities:

AAAS 155B — Hip Hop History and Culture (Chad Williams)
Examines the history of hip hop culture, in the broader context of U.S., African American and African diaspora history, from the 1960s to the present. Explores key developments, debates and themes shaping hip hop's evolution and contemporary global significance. Usually offered every second year. [ss]

ENG 20A — Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre, and Society (Ulka Anjaria)
An introduction to popular Hindi cinema through a survey of the most important Bollywood films from the 1950s until today. Topics include melodrama, song and dance, love and sex, stardom, nationalism, religion, diasporic migration, and globalization. Usually offered every third year. [djw hum nw]

ENG 28A — Environmental Literature in an Age of Extinction (Caren Irr)
Explores literature’s role in shaping modern understandings of environmental change and damage, as well as the possibility of ecological restoration. Works include environmental classics by Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson as well as contemporary genres including dystopia, the thriller, and climate fiction. Usually offered every third year. [deis-us dl hum]

ENG 62B — Contemporary African Literature, Global Perspectives (Joshua Williams)
What is "African" in African literature when the majority of writers are somehow removed from the African societies they portray? How do expatriate writers represent African subjectivities and cultures at the intersection of Diaspora and globalization? Who reads the works produced by these writers? Usually offered every third year. [hum nw]

ENG 111B — Postcolonial Theory (Joshua Williams)
Introduces students to key concepts in postcolonial theory. Traces the consequences of European colonialism for politics, culture and literature around the world, situates these within ongoing contemporary debates, and considers the usefulness of postcolonial theory for understanding the world today. Usually offered every third year. [hum]

ENG 139A — Publishing Workshop: Literary Editing and Publishing (core elective) (Elizabeth Bradfield) 
Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Students will be selected after the submission of an introductory letter including student's major, writing/editing experience, why publishing is of interest to them, any experimental literary publications/performances they've experienced. This course fulfills a workshop requirement for the Creative Writing major and minor. Please refer to the Schedule of Classes for submission formats and deadlines within the Registration periods.
Editing and publishing a literary journal -- either digital, print, or in more experimental forms -- can be an important component of a writer's creative life and sense of literary citizenship. This experiential learning course will engage students with theoretical and historical reading as well as provide practical hands-on tools for literary publishing. Broadsided Press (www.broadsidedpress.org) will be used as a case study. A group publishing project will be part of the coursework, and this can be tied into journals already being published on campus. By the end of the semester, students will have a fuller sense of the work, mindset, difficulties, strategies, and values of a literary publisher. Usually offered every second year. [dl hum oc wi]

ENG 167B — Writing the Nation: James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison (Brandon Callender) May not be taken for credit by students who took ENG 57b in prior years.
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. Usually offered every third year. [deis-us hum]

ENG 170B — Contemporary Theatre and Performance: Between Rights and the Post-Human (Thomas King)
Surveys English-language drama and performance after the innovations of Beckett and Brecht, investigating theater and performance artists' engagement of human rights, identity politics, decolonization, state, and interpersonal violence, environmental justice and climate change, and performance after the Anthropocene. Usually offered every year. [hum]

Electives in Social Sciences:

AAAS 124A — After the Dance: Performing Sovereignty in the Caribbean (core elective) (Faith Smith)
Utilizing short fiction, essays, plays, poetry, and the visual arts, this class theorizes movement and/as freedom in the spectacular or mundane movements of the region, including annual Carnival and Hosay celebrations. Usually offered every third year. [hum oc ss]

ANTH 130B — Visuality and Culture (core elective) (Patricia Alvarez Astacio)
Introduces students to the study of visual, aural, and artistic media through an ethnographic lens. Course combines written and creative assignments to understand how culture shapes how we make meaning out of images and develop media literacy. Topics include ethnographic/documentary film, advertising, popular culture, viral videos and special effects, photography, art worlds, and the technological development of scientific images. Usually offered every second year. [dl ss]

ANTH 159A — Museums and Public Memory (core elective) (Ellen Schattschneider)
Explores the social and political organization of public memory, including museums, cultural villages, and memorial sites. Who has the right to determine the content and form of such institutions? Working with local community members, students will develop a collaborative exhibition project. Usually offered every second year. [oc ss]

CAST 170A — Documenting the Immigrant Experience (core elective) (Jenny Alexander and James Rutenbeck) 
Investigates documentary film as a genre, and explores the potential of the medium for engaging students with immigrant communities in Waltham through hands-on production experiences. Through the process of exchanging narratives with community members, students generate raw material for a film documentary. Usually offered every third year. [ss]

LGLS 129A — Global Justice and Societies in Transition (core elective) (Melisa Stimell)
Introduces transitional justice, a set of practices that arise following a period of conflict that aim directly at confronting past violations of human rights. This course will focus on criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, and the contributions of art and culture. Usually offered every second year. [djw ss]

SOC 119A — Deconstructing War, Building Peace (Gordon 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. Usually offered every year. [ss]