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Undergraduate Fellows

In 2008-09 the Center inaugurated its Undergraduate Fellowship program, offering advanced honors undergraduates the opportunity to participate in the life of the center and benefit from the critique of their work by other Cogut Fellows. As a key player in Brown’s initiative of academic enrichment, the Cogut Center provides multiple programs to bring Brown faculty and students into regular and innovative contact with each other, with national and international scholars and scholarship, and with the coming generations of scholars whose training for academic life and for the world at large is the foremost task of the university.

We are pleased to announce the 2009-10 cohort of Undergraduate Fellows: Joseph Bendaña, Colleen Brogan, Dong Li, Arthur Matuszewski and Zachary McCune.


Joseph Bendaña ('11) is pursuing a double concentration in Philosophy and International Relations. He is interested in the relations between philosophy/critical theory, media, and international relations, specifically, the implications of the metaphysics of universals and particulars for singularity and multiplicity in the culture and politics of nationalism. He is currently investigating the nature of the relation/s between the theoretical and material positions on universals and particulars, the blurred boundaries they entail, and what role the media has on their formation and propagation.

Joseph wants to discover whether or not it can be said that the philosophical theories of, or oppositions to, universals have been founded on material, political conditions, or vice versa. In so doing, he intends to elucidate the tenability and/or possibility of either situation, and thus bring into debate the foundations and formations of peoples’ positions on the issue. Ultimately, he hopes that such an investigation will open at least the potential for a more fluid discourse towards the resolution of conflicts associated with imperialism, nationalism, and international relations in general.


Colleen Brogan (’10) is concentrating in History of Art and Semiotics-French, focusing on the intersection of contemporary art, theory and language. Colleen’s History of Art honors thesis project proposes to study the way radical politics and avant-garde art intersect in the manifestoes produced post-World War II by the Surrealist art movement. Alongside research and translation of the journals, Colleen hopes to investigate software to digitally display printed art to make pieces more accessible and interactive.

Colleen and fellow Undergraduate Fellow Zachary McCune worked on a documentary project this summer in Ireland about Gaelic games. You can read their blogs at Heritage at Play.


Dong Li ('10.5) is concentrating in the literary translation track of the Comparative Literature concentration. He is interested in the way books shape and inform our lives, and how we create ideas of ourselves from books. He proposes to compile a small poetry anthology in translation.

He received the Kim Anne Arstark Memorial Award in poetry from the Literary Arts program at Brown University in 2009.


Zachary McCune ('10) is concentrating in Modern Culture and Media with a focus on digital media. He is  particularly interested in the cultural implications of digital technology and networking on contemporary society. With a background in computer programming as well as digital media production, Zack is committed to the so-called 'digital humanities' - a movement which interrogates how digital technology can be used to aide the study of the humanities and the critical paradigms of the scholar. In this task, Zack is influenced by semiotic theory and post-structuralism, particularly the work of Lev Manovich, Jean Baudrillard, and Deleuze and Guattari. He also enjoys critically approaching film and has done a great deal of research on the subject of political cinema.

Zack has worked at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and will travel to Austria this fall to attend the Ars Electronica Festival on a grant from the Visual Art Department.

Zach and fellow Undergraduate Fellow Colleen Brogan worked on a documentary project this summer in Ireland about Gaelic games. You can read their blogs at Heritage at Play.


Arthur Matuszewski (’11) is interested in understanding the formation of individual and institutional worldviews and how these ways of knowing translate into the formation of social and political structures. Deeply engaged in the process of independent, interdisciplinary study, his scholarly project aims to broadly interrogate the ways in which paradigm-shifting revolutions emerge throughout intellectual and material history while concentrating on the processes through which such revolutions come to themselves define the establishment of new orders.