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Trying to fill your fall 2024 Courses@Brown cart? Here are four new classes to consider

Courses explore yeast species, anti poetry, the Yukon River, Lusophone cuisine

As of Thursday, undergraduates have 847 course options to choose from for the upcoming fall 2024 semester, according to Courses@Brown. With so many options, how do you know you haven’t overlooked the perfect course? 

The Herald interviewed professors of three brand-new courses for fall 2024 — and one course that is returning after a five-year hiatus — to learn more about what students can expect next semester. 

Senior Lecturer in Biology William Holmes will teach BIOL 0220: “Discovering Novel Protein Folding Phenotypes of Wild Yeast” for the first time next semester. In the course, students will engage with understudied wild yeast species to “tease out the genetic and molecular details of protein folding,” according to the course description on Courses@Brown. 

Holmes hopes that the course will increase student excitement about science and help them build a “more robust toolbox” of research skills through “learning by doing,” he said. 


BIOL 0220 will be open to 24 students and is a Collaborative Research and Scholarly Experiences course. COEX courses provide students with collaborative opportunities to answer research questions and create work “that has potential impact beyond the classroom, according to the website.

“The way I see (it), the student is sitting in the driver’s seat. They’re kind of picking the direction that they’re going,” Holmes added. “My job is just to kind of put the guardrails on it.”

COLT 1431J: “Anti Poetry” will be offered for the first time by Maru Pabón, an incoming professor of comparative literature. The course will address “theoretical arguments about the value and nature of poetry” from various geographic and temporal contexts, according to the course description on Courses@Brown. 

Students will engage with “literary or political movements that have either tried to reject the inherited standards of what makes poetry (or) that have been told that they’re not poetry,” Pabón told The Herald. 

Readings for the course will include poets like Lyn Hejinian, as well as passages about poetry drawn from sources as varied as Plato and the Quran, Pabón said.

Pabón noted that many people — regardless of their experience with poetry — might find themselves “grasping” when pressed to define the genre. She hopes that the course will attract students with “varying degrees of familiarity with poetry.”

The new course HIST 1820C: “Sovereignty and Ecology: Law, Land and Environmental Change” will be taught by Bathsheba Demuth, a professor of history and environment and society.

The course will use the Yukon River to consider “Indigenous, Russian and British Imperial and nation-state sovereignties, and (how) the legal ideas they contain interacted with ecological and social life” over time, according to Courses@Brown.

Students can expect “guest visits from regional experts and Elders,” according to the course’s description. The class will alternate between lectures on Tuesdays and discussions sections on primary sources on Thursdays.

“I’m really excited about the format of the class,” Demuth said, explaining that she has never before had the opportunity at Brown “to teach a class where the whole course is focused on students’ ability to work through primary sources at this level of depth.” 


Demuth has “two terabytes” of primary sources which she gathered while working on a book about topics aligned with HIST 1820C. The plethora of materials will allow Demuth to shape the class according to student interests, she explained.

HIST 1820C will suit students interested in “how we think about and conceive our relationship with the places that we live” and their intersections with law, societal norms and environmental change, Demuth said.

Jeremy Lehnen, a senior lecturer in Portuguese and Brazilian studies, will teach POBS 0501: “Mapping Food, Eating Meaning, Making Community: A Welcome to the Lusophone World” —  a course that was last available under the course code POBS 0280 in the fall 2019 semester.

The course, which will be taught in English, will explore a range of culinary traditions in the Lusophone world.

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Students will learn thematically relevant Portuguese vocabulary and other introductory skills in the language. The course will feature “a broad selection of cultural material” — such as film and visual art — that relates to Lusophone food and culinary practices, according to the course description. Students will also “prepare and cook a class meal together based on the regional cuisine in discussion” every three to four weeks.

“It’s just a fun course,” Lehnen said. “I enjoy the material itself, but I also absolutely adore cooking with a group of students and then feeding the entire class.”


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