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Toward a Global Humanities

The project entitled Toward a Global Humanities seeks to explore concerns of human populations that have histories of exclusion and marginalization from the production and practice of dominant knowledges. The project both adds to and interrogates dominant discourses within the humanities. Its objective is to construct a wider sense of the possibilities of what the human might look like and to engage in comparative understandings of worldview, ways of life and ways of knowing. In doing this, the project reworks conventional narratives about the invention of the human as an object of study while exploring questions of difference, the character of human classification systems and systems of values. The project is a comparative one and demands both intra- and interdisciplinary conversations.

Toward a Global Humanities results from a collaboration among the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Africana Studies, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, and International Affairs. Upcoming spring programs launched under this rubric include a speaker series; a symposium on African philosophy; a workshop on history, memory, and violence in Africa; a colloquium on gender and international humanities in contemporary China; and a month-long visit by Professor Chengzhou He, director of Nanjing University's Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Science and the Humanities, who will be Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Cogut Center. Initiatives include Cogut postdoctoral fellowships in international humanities; the Nanjing-Brown Joint Program in Gender Studies and the Humanities, a research partnership with Nanjing University's Institute for Advanced Studies; a podcast project with artists and intellectuals in Cuba; and a two-week Advanced Research Institute this summer on Critical Traditions from the Global South.

In addition, in 2010 the Cogut Center and Brown University hosted the annual meeting of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) on the conference theme: "The New Global Humanities."


Harmon Family Professor in Africana Studies and 2009-10 Cogut Center Faculty Fellow Anthony Bogues addressed the UN General Assembly in March 2010 in observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave. To see a video of this address or to read the text of his remarks, click here.