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Sponsored Courses


The Center for Mind, Brain and Culture is accepting proposals on an ongoing basis from faculty across the College to sponsor graduate or undergraduate courses. Sponsored courses should be concerned with topics pertaining to mind, brain, and culture. 


Candidate courses should be multi-disciplinary and may be taught by single faculty members or co-taught by two or more instructors.  Single instructors should provide ample evidence that they incorporate content representing different perspectives on or approaches to topics encompassing mind, brain, and culture. Co-taught classes will include instructors (preferably from different departments) who bring different approaches to such questions.

Offerings need not be novel courses; prior courses can be adapted to include multiple instructors and foci. 


The CMBC will provide a modest honorarium to support the participation of external guest speakers, either in person or in virtual format, who are experts in the field. The work of these guest speakers should feature in the readings list for the course. In addition to presenting at one of the class meetings, speakers may be invited to give a CMBC public lecture.  Recorded presentations will become part of the CMBC archives.

The CMBC can organize interactions with guest lecturers, including scheduling the talk and lecture videos.  The CMBC Directors will provide introductions and will help to curate questions from the class and/or audience to be relayed to the guest speaker.  We can also provide administrative support for instructors in locating sponsored course content from our library of podcasts and videos. 

Completed applications will include

  • A proposal of no more than three pages:
    • providing the names and affiliations of the instructor(s)
    • outlining how the topic and readings connect with issues pertaining to mind, brain, and culture or their interactions
    • indicating clearly how the seminar or class incorporates perspectives on those topics from multiple disciplines (preferably, including at least one of the social, cognitive, or brain sciences)
    • stating whether the course will be at the graduate or undergraduate level (or both)
  • An outline of a (tentative) syllabus for the course (including topics and sample readings for each topic)
  • A list of possible guest speakers and their departmental and university affiliations
  • A tentative budget if applicable

Successful applicants will be expected to post their syllabi on the CMBC’s website and may be asked to serve as presenters at a CMBC lunch (on the topic of their course) in the subsequent academic year.


Applications should be sent as a single file in Microsoft Word (preferably) or as a .pdf file to the Center at  Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether their proposals are to be funded within 3 weeks of submission.


Course: THEA 385 / HLTH 385: Empathy, Theater and Social Change

Co-Instructors:Lisa Paulsen (Theater Studies, Emory) and Brendan Ozawa-de Silva (Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics)

Course Description:

This course will explore empathy and its applications for social change in an interdisciplinary and embodied way that combines research in psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and theater studies with active and engaged learning techniques for skills building from theater studies and embodied pedagogy. In this theory-practice-learning course, students will engage in in-class activities including acting, improvisation and role play; individual, paired and group reflective practices; journaling; and critical analysis of social issues and the role empathy and theater can play in addressing them.

Course Objectives: By the end of the course, students will be able to recognize, practice and teach embodied techniques for the exploration and cultivation of empathy as individuals and in group settings; assess and imagine the role empathy and theater can play in addressing social issues; recognize and identify the deployment of empathy in plays and theatrical performances; engage in and teach embodied techniques for the cognitive and somatic regulation of emotion for individual and social health; and provide an overview on the literature on empathy and its connection to theater, acting and embodiment.

Advanced Undergraduate Course: MUS 470W: Music and Emotions taught by Laura Emmery (Music Theory, Emory University) and Cynthia Willett (Philosophy, Emory University). Spring 2023.

Graduate Course: PHIL 550: Music and Emotions taught by Laura Emmery (Music Theory, Emory University) and Cynthia Willett  (Philosophy, Emory University). Spring 2023.

This writing seminar, co-taught with the Philosophy department, explores why and how we respond to music emotionally. This is an interdisciplinary seminar that brings in the discussions and analyses from the perspectives of music cognition, which bridges music, behavioral, psychological, neurophysiological, linguistic, and computational research in order for the listener to understand musical knowledge and processing. The music component of the course also explores the topics of emotional response to film music, different categories of musical emotions, music narratives, ecomusicology, and sound art, including sound and vibration studies and biology. The philosophical component of the seminar focuses on the emotional resonances and musical nuances of ethical, social, and political forces in human and nonhuman ecosystems. We work through contemporary phenomenologies and social theories of affect, vital energy, resonance, vibrations, atmospheric mood, and what Audre Lorde called eros.


Undergraduate Seminar: LING 385 / PSYC 385: Bilingualism taught by Don Tuten (Linguistics and Spanish and Portuguese, Emory University) and Alena Esposito (Visiting Scholar, Psychology, Emory University). Fall 2015.

Graduate Seminar: MBC 770: Music, Mind, and Emotion taught by Don Saliers (Candler School of Theology, Emory University) and Richard Patterson (Philosophy, Emory University). Spring 2016.

Undergraduate Seminar: ANT 385: Human Brain Variation:  The Varieties of Mental Experience taught by Dr. Jennifer Mascaro (Anthropology) with Dr. Carol Worthman (Anthropology). Fall 2014.

Graduate Seminar: MBC 700 / CPLT 751 / ILA 790: Mapping Memory: History, Culture, and the Brain taught by Dr. Angelika Bammer (Institute for Liberal Arts) and Dr. Hazel Gold (Spanish & Portuguese). Fall 2014.

Undergraduate Seminar: FILM 373: Film and the Mind taught by Dr. Daniel Reynolds (Film and Media Studies) and Dr. Marshall Duke (Psychology). Spring 2014. 

Graduate Seminar: IBS 534: Computational Neuroscience taught by Dr. Dieter Jaeger (Biology) and Dr. Ronald Calabrese (Biology). Spring 2014

Undergraduate Seminar: ENG 389: Cognitive Science and Fiction taught by Dr. Laura Otis (English). Fall 2012. For section 1 syllabus, click here; for section 2, click here.

Dr. Otis' course is also cited in the EMORY REPORT in the article "Courses Use Creative Approaches to Explore the Liberal Arts.”  

Graduate Seminar: PSP 789 / MBC 700 / ILA 790: Race, Brain, and Psychoanalysis taught by Dr. Sander Gilman (Psychiatry). Fall 2012. Also offered as an Undergraduate Seminar: IDS 385.

Graduate Seminar: ENG 789 / PSYC 770 / MBC 700: Images, Metaphors, and the Brain co-taught by Dr. Laura Otis (English) and Krish Sathain (Neurology). Spring 2012.

Graduate Seminar: PSYC 770 / ILA 790 / HIST 585 / BSHE 560R: Laterality and Handedness taught by Dr. Howard I. Kushner (Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Rollins School of Public Health, and Institute of the Liberal Arts). Spring 2012. For more information on Dr. Kushner's work on Laterality, click here to download the free book for iPad.

Undergraduate Seminar: LING 301: Language, Mind, and Society (LING 301), taught by Dr. Susan Tamasi (Linguistics) and Dr. Robert McCauley (Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture). Spring 2011.

Graduate Seminar: ILA 791 / WS 585 / CL 751: "Modern Theories of Mind: From Austen to A.I." taught by Elizabeth Wilson (Women's Studies) and Michael Moon (Graduate Institute for Liberal Arts). Spring 2011.

Graduate Seminar: Cl 750 / PSYC 770: "Minds, Brains, and Intelligent Machines" taught by John Johnston (Comparative Literature). Fall 2010.

Undergraduate Seminar: NBB 300 / MUS 309: "The Musical Brain" taught by Paul Lennard (Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology) Spring 2010. 

Graduate Seminar: PSYC 770 / REL 737: "Mind and Brain from the Perspective of Buddhism and Western Science" co-taught by John Dunne (Religion), Larry Barsalou (Psychology), and Satya Negi (Religion) Fall 2009.

Graduate Seminar: PSYC 770 / ANTH 585: "Selfishness, Altruism, and Reciprocity: The Origins of Sociality" co-taught by Bradd Shore (Anthropology) and Philippe Rochat (Psychology).

Graduate Seminar: PSYC 770: "Culture and Cognition" taught by Philippe Rochat (Psychology). Spring 2008.