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.


Spring 2021 CAST Offerings:

New Course:

women protestors marching around maypole with flagsCAST 125A — Confronting Gender-Based Violence (core elective) (Toni Shapiro-Phim) Engaging with multiple forms of creative expression and several different social change frameworks as they address and counter various aspects of gender-based violence in discrete cultural and historical contexts, this course explores gender-based violence as a grave violation of human rights, and the creative, innovative and meaningful methods through which particular communities and individuals counter such violation, including as it intersects with race and socioeconomic status. These methods might range from art installations in galleries or public spaces to formal theatrical productions, from the choreography of street protests to graffiti, films, pop-up concerts and podcasts, many involving survivors of gender-based violence in the creative process. We’ll focus in particular on the experiences of those who identify as women, have been assigned to or perceived of as members of that category, or who identity and present as femme. Usually offered every third year. [ca deis-us djw] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely. (Pictured: Taking to the streets in Mexico City to protest violence against women.)

Capstone Practicum:
CAST 189A — Capstone Project Design Practicum (2-credit capstone practicum) (Toni Shapiro-Phim) Prerequisite: CAST 150b. Yields half-course credit. Instructor permission required. Students apply theories, skills, information and critical questions to an individual capstone project that engages with social transformation concerns in creative, practical and ethically-sound ways. Usually offered every year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person.
Core Electives:
CAST 125A — Confronting Gender-Based Violence (Toni Shapiro-Phim) Engaging with multiple forms of creative expression and several different social change frameworks as they address and counter various aspects of gender-based violence in discrete cultural and historical contexts, this course explores gender-based violence as a grave violation of human rights, and the creative, innovative and meaningful methods through which particular communities and individuals counter such violation, including as it intersects with race and socioeconomic status. These methods might range from art installations in galleries or public spaces to formal theatrical productions, from the choreography of street protests to graffiti, films, pop-up concerts and podcasts, many involving survivors of gender-based violence in the creative process. We’ll focus in particular on the experiences of those who identify as women, have been assigned to or perceived of as members of that category, or who identity and present as femme. Usually offered every third year. [ca deis-us djw] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

HISP 160A — Culture/Media and Social Change in Latin America (Fernando Rosenberg) Prerequisite: HISP 109b or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor. Taught in Spanish. The central topic of this class is the role of the creative arts (creative writing, visual arts, music, film, performance) in their role as fostering political change in Latin America. We will examine key eras of 20th and 21st century cultural production in relation with shifting mass-media landscapes, from the revolutionary impetus of the early 20th century avant-gardes in literature and visual arts, popular music in the 1940s, documentary film during and the 1960s guerrillas, artistic resistance to the dictatorship, to the street art accompanying human rights and grass roots identity movements of the 2000s. Usually offered every second year. [djw fl hum nw wi] Instruction for this course will be offered in a hybrid combination of in person and remote sessions.

MUS 3B — Global Soundscapes: Performing Musical Tradition Across Time and Place (Judith Eissenberg) Open to all students. Required of all Cultural Studies track majors. What are we listening to? Applies engaged listening skills and critical analysis for a deeper appreciation of (non-Western) music as a cultural expression. Focuses on particular traditions as well as social context, impact of globalization, cultural production, cultural rights, etc. Usually offered every year. [ca nw] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

NEJS 173A — Trauma and Violence in Israeli Literature and Film (Ilana Szobel) Taught in Hebrew. Explores trauma and violence in Israeli Literature, film, and art. Focuses on man-made disasters, war and terrorism, sexual and family violence, and murder and suicide, and examines their relation to nationalism, Zionism, gender, and sexual identity. Usually offered every second year. [fl hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

NEJS 184B — Disability Cultures: Art, Film and Literature of People with Disabilities (Ilana Szobel) Explores cultural representations of disability in Israel, Europe, and the US. By focusing on literature, film, dance, and visual art, it explores physical, mental, and emotional disability experiences, and their relations to gender, sexuality, nationalism, and identity politics. Usually offered every second year. [djw hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

SOC 155B — Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements (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. Usually offered every second year. [deis-us ss] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

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] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.
Electives in Creative Arts:
CA 125A — Provocative Art: Outside the Comfort Zone (Gannit Ankori, Mark Brimhall-Vargas, William Chalmus) 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. [ca] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

FA 4B — Sculpture Foundation: 3-D Design II (Catherine Della Lucia, Christopher Frost) Beginning-level course. Preference to first-year students and sophomores. May be repeated once for credit if taught by different instructors. Instructor signature required. See FA 4a for course description. Usually offered every spring. [ca] Instruction for this course will be offered in-person.

FA 169A — Ecology and Art (Peter Kalb) Provides a theoretical foundation and art historical background for discussion of contemporary art that draws attention to the ecologies, primarily natural but also cultural, of which it and we are a part. Usually offered every third year. [ca dl] Instruction for this course will be offered in a hybrid combination of in person and remote sessions.

MUS 3B — Global Soundscapes: Performing Musical Tradition Across Time and Place (core elective) (Judith Eissenberg) Open to all students. Required of all Cultural Studies track majors. What are we listening to? Applies engaged listening skills and critical analysis for a deeper appreciation of (non-Western) music as a cultural expression. Focuses on particular traditions as well as social context, impact of globalization, cultural production, cultural rights, etc. Usually offered every year. [ca nw] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

MUS 86B — Improv Collective (Thomas Hall) Students should contact the instructor, Tom Hall, at tomhall@freeimprovisation.com for a consent code. Continuation of MUS 86a. See MUS 86a for special notes and course description. Usually offered every semester. Instruction for this course will be offered in a hybrid combination of in person and remote sessions.

MUS 87B — Music and Dance from Ghana (Benjamin Paulding) Continuation of MUS 87a. See MUS 87a for special notes and course description. Usually offered every year. Instruction for this course will be offered in-person. [Note: MUS 87B 2XC will be offered remotely.]

THA 40A — The Art of Visual Narrative and Production Design (core elective) (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] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

THA 142B — Women Playwrights: Writing for the Stage by and about Women (Adrianne Krstansky) Introduces the world of female playwrights. This course will engage the texts through common themes explored by female playwrights: motherhood (and daughterhood), reproduction, sexuality, family relationships, etc. Students will participate in writing or performance exercises based on these themes. Usually offered every second year. [ca deis-us wi] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.
Electives in Humanities:

AAAS 125B — Caribbean Women and Globalization: Sexuality, Citizenship, Work (Faith Smith) Utilizing perspectives from sociology, anthropology, fiction, and music to examine the relationship between women's sexuality and conceptions of labor, citizenship, and sovereignty. The course considers these alongside conceptions of masculinity, contending feminisms, and the global perspective. Usually offered every second year. [ss wi] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

ENG 20b — Literary Games (Dorothy Kim)
Addresses a long durée history of the games through the lens of transmedia. This then is the start pointing to examine how transmedia theory may help unpack issues in what I call “literary games” from the medieval chess board, dice game, to digital multi-player video games now. Within a discussion of transmedia we will address the various theories about narrative and play that have animated discussions about games from the Middle Ages to contemporary media. This class will also center race, gender, sexuality, disability, class in thinking through the issues of transmedia and the gaming cultures that have most recently been in the political mainstream news in relation to far-right politics. Usually offered every third year. [deis-us hum oc] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

ENG 42a — Blackness and Horror (Brandon Callender)
Examines the tense and transformative place that blackness has within the horror tradition, beginning with the late nineteenth century and moving into the present. In addition to documentaries and critical texts, we will analyze literature, films, and various aspects of material culture that explore the relationship between blackness and horror. Usually offered every third year. [deis-us djw hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

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. [djw hum wi] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

ENG 128a — Race and US Cinema (Paul Morrison)
Explores the central role film plays in the construction and policing of racialized identities in the US. We will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the Black/white binarism. The course is structured as a survey. US cinema originates in the white depiction of Blacks or in the white deployment of blackface, and racialized bodies continue to serve as a ubiquitous (if frequently unacknowledged) source of fascination and anxiety in contemporary cinema. We will begin with early “whitewashing” films and D.W. Griffith’s foundational epic, The Birth of a Nation, and conclude with new queer Black cinema and contemporary Black filmmakers. Usually offered third year. [deis-us hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

ENG 142b — Black Queer Literatures (Brandon Callender)
Examines various works by black queer critics and cultural producers, beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing into the present. While we largely focus upon the attempt to create the shared sense of a world and a tradition in common, we also attend to important divisions brought about by various forms and feelings of difference (including race, gender, class, nation, age and ability). Usually offered every third year. [deis-us djw hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

ENG 168b — Plotting Inheritance (Faith Smith)
Examines novels published in the last two decades set during slavery and indenture in the British Caribbean, alongside (and as) theorizations of accumulation, inheritance, and freedom. How does fiction account for and plot material, moral and emotional worth? Usually offered every third year. [djw dl hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

FREN 139A — Bad Girls and Boys: Du mauvais genre (Hollie Harder) Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Through a selection of literary texts, articles, images and films, students will explore how works from the Middle Ages to present day depict male and female figures in the French and Francophone world who have failed to conform to expectations of their gender. Usually offered every second year. [fl hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

HISP 160A — Culture/Media and Social Change in Latin America (core elective) (Fernando Rosenberg) Prerequisite: HISP 109b or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor. Taught in Spanish. The central topic of this class is the role of the creative arts (creative writing, visual arts, music, film, performance) in their role as fostering political change in Latin America. We will examine key eras of 20th and 21st century cultural production in relation with shifting mass-media landscapes, from the revolutionary impetus of the early 20th century avant-gardes in literature and visual arts, popular music in the 1940s, documentary film during and the 1960s guerrillas, artistic resistance to the dictatorship, to the street art accompanying human rights and grass roots identity movements of the 2000s. Usually offered every second year. [djw fl hum nw wi] Instruction for this course will be offered in a hybrid combination of in person and remote sessions.

NEJS 173A — Trauma and Violence in Israeli Literature and Film (core elective) (Ilana Szobel) Taught in Hebrew. Explores trauma and violence in Israeli Literature, film, and art. Focuses on man-made disasters, war and terrorism, sexual and family violence, and murder and suicide, and examines their relation to nationalism, Zionism, gender, and sexual identity. Usually offered every second year. [fl hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

NEJS 184B — Disability Cultures: Art, Film and Literature of People with Disabilities (core elective) (Ilana Szobel) Explores cultural representations of disability in Israel, Europe, and the US. By focusing on literature, film, dance, and visual art, it explores physical, mental, and emotional disability experiences, and their relations to gender, sexuality, nationalism, and identity politics. Usually offered every second year. [djw hum] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

Electives in Social Sciences:

AAAS/WGS 136A — Black Feminist Thought (Shoniqua Roach) Formerly offered as AAAS 136a. 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. Usually offered every second year. [deis-us oc ss] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

AAPI/WGS 137B – Performing Asian/American Women on Screen and Scene (Yuri Doolan) Examines performances of Asian/American women and how they have changed over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We analyze American film, television, and stage performances to trace the shifting, yet continuous participation of Asian/American women on screen and scene in the United States. Important issues include Orientalism and representation, race and racism, immigration and diasporas, militarisms and empire, gender and hypersexuality, yellow face practices then and now, as well as assimilation and resistance. We ask: what have dominant representations of Asian/American been like from the silent film era to the current digital age? How have the figures of the lotus blossom, the dragon lady, the trafficked woman, the geisha, the war bride, the military prostitute, the orphan, among other problematic tropes emerged to represent Asian/American women? How has the changing political, social, and cultural position of Asian/Americans shaped their participation in media production, as well as their media representations in the United States broadly speaking? Usually offered every second year. [deis-us ss] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.

SOC 155B — Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements (core elective) (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. Usually offered every second year. [deis-us ss] Instruction for this course will be offered remotely.