Goals, Philosophy, and Texts

Melencolia I (B. 74; M., HOLL. 75)*engraving *24 x 18.8 cm*1514

Melancolia, by Albrecht Dürer

Description and Course Objectives

How do the objects in our lives shape our identities and our ways of thinking about the world? How do the things that surround us preserve a record of our history? Do objects make thought, discovery, and creativity possible?  Our work will lead us to examine our own processes of learning, writing, and thinking with the hope that a more conscious attention to how the objects of our lives affect us will make us better students and scholars.

Students in this course should expect to make new discoveries through research into their personal and collective histories. They will become more effective writers by sharing their work in various modes (course blogs, oral presentations, digital publication). And they will expand their knowledge of history, culture, and some of the fundamental questions that have guided human thought for centuries. We will discuss other objectives for the course at our first meeting.

Pedagogical Philosophy

There are two key ideas that will guide our work in this course:

Collaboration We will learn from each other by working together on stimulating projects. Rather than a traditional course in which the professor gives knowledge to the students, we will work as a community and learn together. 

Working by Playing When we play with materials, ideas, and texts, we are less concerned about making mistakes and doing things the wrong way. In this course I’d like for everyone to feel they have the freedom to try out new skills and tools, to “play” with our course materials as a path to better learning.



Additional readings to be made available electronically

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