Pembroke Center

Pembroke Seminar

The Pembroke Seminar is a singular institution at Brown and beyond.

Copjec and MukandThe Pembroke Seminar is a unique learning and research community comprising an intergenerational group of scholars — undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, visiting scholars, and guests — who together pursue a set of critical questions in weekly meetings over the course of a year.

Convened by a prominent Brown faculty member or two-person faculty team, the seminar's research topic changes each year, but it is always explored by scholars with a diversity of expertise in a range of fields; it is common for seminars to include participants representing 20 or more disciplines. By convening emerging and advanced scholars who bring different disciplinary tools, methods, and approaches to bear on a subject of shared concern, the Pembroke Seminar enables scholars to think together in fresh ways, advance understanding, and transform how significant questions are confronted and addressed.

In recent years, scholars in the Pembroke Seminar have examined: how global histories of race, gender, and class are connected to structures of knowledge and power that are ordered by color; how debt as a condition and mode of governance is and has been narrated historically, legally, and otherwise, and how debt itself is a story; how exhaustion with theoretical approaches in the humanities led to the notion of "post-critique," and what that means for 21st-century literary and cultural studies, theories of sexuality and race, science studies, historiography and other domains; how imperialist curatorial practices intersect with human rights; and what intersecting philosophies and ethics underlay the transnational history of twentieth-century pacifism.

While the title and focus of the Pembroke Seminar is continually refreshed, the attention to questions of gender, sexuality, difference and intersectionality, and a willingness to question how knowledge is and has been produced, ensures that the Pembroke research agenda is, invariably, a feminist theoretical enterprise. Seminar participants

The Pembroke Seminar meets on Wednesdays, from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm.

For more information contact: or phone 401-863-2643

Readings and conversations in the seminar infused my work with perspectives from different disciplines, and these references and ideas have woven their way into my recent writing and research, as well as my teaching.

Leah Pires 2019-20 Nancy L. Buc ’65 Postdoctoral Fellow, Art History
Leah Pires

I joined the Pembroke Seminar because it represented so much of why I came to Brown: a space of intense and encouraging energy around critical theory, sharing perspectives across disciplines, where [individuals with] different intellectual backgrounds could meet, compare discourses, and challenge each other. I joined because I understood that single disciplines can start to feel cloistered and self-evident, and I didn’t want to take for granted what I was doing academically and why.

Leo Stevenson '20 Pembroke Seminar Undergraduate Fellow, Philosophy and English
Leo Stevenson '20