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 2021 CAST Offerings:

Core Course:

CAST 150b Introduction to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation [ss]
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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T 2:00 PM–5:30 PM Toni Shapiro-Phim

Capstone Practicum:

CAST 181b Ethics of Community Engagement
Prerequisite: CAST 150b and permission from the instructor. Yields half-course credit.
Combining theory and practice, this course supports students in the Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 6:00 PM–7:30 PM Toni Shapiro-Phim.

 

NEW Course:

crowd of people holding lights, photographed from overheadCAST 180a Creative Approaches to Conflict Transformation and Sustainable Development [ca djw] [core elective]

Join a global community of inquiry in an exploration of how and why artistic and cultural initiatives are aligned with the demands of complex contemporary challenges. In the fall of 2021, we will focus on unresolved legacies of violence and oppression, and on sustainability, especially in relation to the climate crisis. We’ll discuss key concepts, review case studies, and collaboratively design new initiatives and advocate for them with policy-makers and funders. The course will be taught virtually, facilitating engagement with researchers from across the globe. Pictured: Cambodian Pchum Ben ceremony of reconciliation with the dead. Photo by Ly Daravuth.

Explores creative approaches to contemporary complex challenges, focusing on conflict transformation and sustainable development. The course introduces theories of complexity, and considers how modes of understanding and engaging through arts and culture cultivate the capacities required to constructively address complex challenges. Through the course, students will consider key concepts, review and assess case studies, collaboratively design and advocate for initiatives. Students will engage with members of a global community of inquiry making the case for arts- and culture-based approaches to complex contemporary challenges. Usually offered every year. Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.
W 2:00 PM–5:30 PM  Cynthia E. Cohen

Core Electives:

CAST 180a Creative Approaches to Conflict Transformation and Sustainable Development [ca djw]
Join a global community of inquiry in an exploration of how and why artistic and cultural initiatives are aligned with the demands of complex contemporary challenges. In the fall of 2021, we will focus on unresolved legacies of violence and oppression, and on sustainability, especially in relation to the climate crisis. We’ll discuss key concepts, review case studies, and collaboratively design new initiatives and advocate for them with policy-makers and funders. The course will be taught virtually, facilitating engagement with researchers from across the globe.

Explores creative approaches to contemporary complex challenges, focusing on conflict transformation and sustainable development. The course introduces theories of complexity, and considers how modes of understanding and engaging through arts and culture cultivate the capacities required to constructively address complex challenges. Through the course, students will consider key concepts, review and assess case studies, collaboratively design and advocate for initiatives. Students will engage with members of a global community of inquiry making the case for arts- and culture-based approaches to complex contemporary challenges. Usually offered every year. Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.
W 2:00 PM–5:30 PM Cynthia E. Cohen

COML/ENG 191a Environmental Aesthetics [ djw hum oc ]
Explores major schools of thought about nature, ecology, and art. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 10:00 AM–11:30 AM Caren Irr

ENG 161a Literature and Counterculture [ hum ]
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. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM David Sherman

ENG 169a Eco-Writing Workshop [ hum wi ]
Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Enrollment is by instructor permission after the submission of a manuscript sample. Please refer to the schedule of classes for submission information.

A creative writing workshop focused on writing essays and poems that engage with environmental and eco-justice concerns. Readings, writing assignments, and class discussions will be augmented by field trips. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T, Th 6:00-7:30PM Elizabeth Bradfield

HISP 196a Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture [ hum wi ]
Note: This course counts toward the CAST minor only when it is offered as the section "Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture."

May be repeated for credit. May be taught in English or Spanish. Topic fall 2021: Latinx Theatre: Politics, Performance, and Social Change (Taught in English.) Offers students the opportunity for in-depth study of a particular aspect of the diverse literary and cultural production of U.S. latinx. Topics will vary from year to year but may include autobiography, detective fiction, or historical fiction. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 12:00 PM–1:30 PM María Durán

LGLS 129a Global Justice and Societies in Transition [ djw ss ]
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. Not recommended for freshmen. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Melissa Stimell

NEJS/WGS 110a Sexual Violence in Film and Culture [ deis-us djw hum ]
Explores the effects of sexualized violence in society. While exploring representations of gender-based sexual violence in documentaries and features, stand-up comedy, memoirs, poetry, and visual art, this course will offer a critical discussion on Rape Culture in the 21st century, with particular attention to the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, and disability in the construction of sexual violence. Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Ilana Szobel

THA 138b Creative Pedagogy [ ca oc ]
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. We will discuss the foundation and theories behind teaching, learning, and creative expression, allowing students to ground their own work in what has and hasn't worked in the past, as well as to expand their own creative reach and risk-taking capabilities. Usually offered every second year. Instructor's Signature Required. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Jennifer Cleary

Electives in Creative Arts:
CA 125a Provocative Art: Outside the Comfort Zone [ ca ]
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 year. All students, including those on the wait list who need consent codes, must attend the first class. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. Th 2:00 PM–5:00 PM Gannit Ankori and Will Chalmus

CAST 180a Creative Approaches to Conflict Transformation and Sustainable Development [ca djw]
Join a global community of inquiry in an exploration of how and why artistic and cultural initiatives are aligned with the demands of complex contemporary challenges. In the fall of 2021, we will focus on unresolved legacies of violence and oppression, and on sustainability, especially in relation to the climate crisis. We’ll discuss key concepts, review case studies, and collaboratively design new initiatives and advocate for them with policy-makers and funders. The course will be taught virtually, facilitating engagement with researchers from across the globe.

Explores creative approaches to contemporary complex challenges, focusing on conflict transformation and sustainable development. The course introduces theories of complexity, and considers how modes of understanding and engaging through arts and culture cultivate the capacities required to constructively address complex challenges. Through the course, students will consider key concepts, review and assess case studies, collaboratively design and advocate for initiatives. Students will engage with members of a global community of inquiry making the case for arts- and culture-based approaches to complex contemporary challenges. Usually offered every year. Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.
W 2:00 PM–5:30 PM Cynthia E. Cohen

FA 4a Sculpture Foundation: 3-D Design I [ ca ]
Beginning-level course. Preference to first-year students and sophomores. May be repeated once for credit if taught by different instructors.

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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. 2 sections: T,Th 8:00 AM–9:45 AM with Tory Fair and M,W 10:00 AM–11:45 AM with Christopher Frost

FA 33b Islamic Art and Architecture [ ca nw ]
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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person.
M,W 6:00 PM–7:30 PM Muna Guvenc

FA 61a History of Photography [ ca ]
The history of photography from its invention in 1839 to the present, with an emphasis on developments in America. Photography is studied as a documentary and an artistic medium. Topics include Alfred Stieglitz and the photo-secession, Depression-era documentary, Robert Frank and street photography, and postmodern photography. Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 12:00 PM–1:30 PM Peter Kalb

MUS 86a Improv Collective
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. Two semester hour credits. Limit of combined sections is 30. Instructor's Signature Required. Students should contact the instructor, Tom Hall, at tomhall@freeimprovisation.com. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T 6:30 PM–9:20 PM Thomas Hall

MUS 87a Music and Dance from Ghana
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. Instructor's Signature Required. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Benjamin Paulding

THA 138b Creative Pedagogy [ ca oc ] [core elective]
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. We will discuss the foundation and theories behind teaching, learning, and creative expression, allowing students to ground their own work in what has and hasn't worked in the past, as well as to expand their own creative reach and risk-taking capabilities. Usually offered every second year. Instructor's Signature Required. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Jennifer Cleary

THA 144b Black Theater and Performance [ ca deis-us ]
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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Isaiah Wooden
Electives in Humanities:

AAAS 79b African American Literature of the Twentieth Century [ hum ss ]
An introduction to the essential themes, aesthetic concerns, and textual strategies that characterize African American writing of this century. Examines those influences that have shaped the poetry, fiction, and prose nonfiction of representative writers. Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Brandon Callender

COML/ENG 191a Environmental Aesthetics [ djw hum oc ] [core elective]
Explores major schools of thought about nature, ecology, and art. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 10:00 AM–11:30 AM Caren Irr

ENG 62b Contemporary African Literature, Global Perspectives [ djw dl hum nw oc ]
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. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Joshua Williams

ENG 151a Queer Studies [ hum ]
Recommended preparation: An introductory course in gender/sexuality and/or a course in critical theory. Historical, literary, and theoretical perspectives on the construction and performance of queer subjectivities. How do queer bodies and queer representations challenge heteronormativity? How might we imagine public spaces and queer citizenship? Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Thomas King

ENG 161a Literature and Counterculture [ hum ] [core elective]
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. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM David Sherman

ENG 169a Eco-Writing Workshop [ hum wi ] [core elective]
Offered exclusively on a credit/no credit basis. Enrollment is by instructor permission after the submission of a manuscript sample. Please refer to the schedule of classes for submission information.

A creative writing workshop focused on writing essays and poems that engage with environmental and eco-justice concerns. Readings, writing assignments, and class discussions will be augmented by field trips. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T, Th 6:00-7:30PM Elizabeth Bradfield

GECS 188b Human/Nature: European Perspectives on Climate Change [ djw hum oc wi ]
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. Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. M,W 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Sabine von Mering

HISP 196a Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture [ hum wi ]
Note: This course counts toward the CAST minor only when it is offered as the section "Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture."

May be repeated for credit. May be taught in English or Spanish. Topic fall 2021: Latinx Theatre: Politics, Performance, and Social Change (Taught in English.) Offers students the opportunity for in-depth study of a particular aspect of the diverse literary and cultural production of U.S. latinx. Topics will vary from year to year but may include autobiography, detective fiction, or historical fiction. Usually offered every third year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 12:00 PM–1:30 PM María Durán

NEJS 136a Israeli Popular Culture: Language, Gender, and Politics [ hum ]
Ever wondered why Israeli television is all over Netflix, or why Sabra hummus came to dominate your supermarket shelves? In this course, we will examine multiple forms of popular culture, including television, music, cookbooks, social media, fashion, and more, to understand contemporary Israeli society, with a focus on debates over language, gender, and politics in a global context. Special attention will be paid to cultural production from Israel’s minorities, including Israeli Palestinians, Orthodox Jews, and Mizrahim (Jews from Arab and Islamic lands.) Course readings will combine theory, primary sources, and popular criticism. No previous knowledge of Israel, Judaism, or the Middle East is required, and all materials will be provided in English translation. Usually offered every second year. M,W 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Shayna Weiss

NEJS/WGS 110a Sexual Violence in Film and Culture [ deis-us djw hum ] [core elective]
Explores the effects of sexualized violence in society. While exploring representations of gender-based sexual violence in documentaries and features, stand-up comedy, memoirs, poetry, and visual art, this course will offer a critical discussion on Rape Culture in the 21st century, with particular attention to the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, and disability in the construction of sexual violence. Usually offered every second year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Ilana Szobel

Electives in Social Sciences:

LGLS 129a Global Justice and Societies in Transition [ djw ss ] [core elective]
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. Not recommended for freshmen. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. T,Th 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Melissa Stimell