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.

CAST 150b Introduction to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (Toni Shapiro-Phim) 
May not be taken for credit by students who took PAX 250b in prior years.
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 can artists help communities reconcile? Students explore these questions through interviews, case studies, and projects. Usually offered every year.

Fall 2020 CAST Offerings

View the 2020 CAST Flyer.

CAST 181B — Ethics of Community Engagement Capstone Practicum (Toni Shapiro-Phim) 
Prerequisite: CAST 150b. Yields half-course credit. Open only to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation minors. 
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 community’s 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. [cast]

CAST 170A — Documenting the Immigrant Experience (core elective) (Jenny Alexander) 
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 fourth year. [ cast ca ss ]
Creative Arts:

FA 4A — 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 ]

MUS 86A — Improv Collective (Thomas Hall)
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. [ ca ]

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. 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 ]
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.

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 126A — Playing for Change - Community Building and Social Change on Stage (core elective) (Jennifer Cleary) 
Examines ways in which theatrical arts can create change in a variety of non-traditional situations. This course is grounded in the discussion/practice of theater activists such as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. For both theater and non-theater students, this course focuses on how and why this collaborative, useful art form can be introduced into sociological, psychological, political, cultural, educational, medical, and historical paradigms. Students will generate work surrounding social issues of importance to them. Usually offered every second 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 ]


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 ]

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. [ hum 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 or Jerome Tharaud)
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 139A — Publishing Workshop: Literary Editing and Publishing (core elective) (Elizabeth Bradfield) 
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 ( 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 ]
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.

ENG 167B — Writing the Nation: James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison
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 ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took ENG 57b in prior years.

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 ]

Social Sciences:

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. Usually offered every second year. [ djw dl nw 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. [ 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 ]