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Seminars


Please note: Honors Program students may register for one honors course per semester.

Fall Semester 2020


  • HON 113HA — Creativity Across Domains
    • Dr. William Pfaff
    • MW 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.
    • 3 Credits

    This course explores ideas of creativity and the creative process, beginning with studies of recognized masters from multiple intellectual domains, including Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, T.S. Eliot, Martha Graham and Mahatma Gandhi. From these studies, students will develop an understanding of the connections that exist between inspiration, craft, and work methods, complex and unique creative processes, and, most crucially, the structure to explore their own creativity. 

    Readings and film viewings on creative luminaries will help students explore concepts of creativity and how the process is developed and shaped. These creative insights will be examined in larger contexts, with an emphasis on external influences that shape how we view creative output. Students will be encouraged to investigate and think critically about their own creative impulses. 

    Together, we will address and explore questions such as: 

    • What does it mean to be creative?
    • How does the creative process develop into a meaningful end result?
    • What are the societal constructs, economic circumstances, and issues of race and gender that impinge on or support creativity?
    • How do we translate insights about the creative experience into examination of creative output in a larger context?
    • How do societal constructs of an artistic hierarchy influence how we view art forms and their products?

    In exploring creativity, both their own and the process of others, students will be urged to think more deeply about the act of writing and critical expression. Written assignments will encourage students to develop confidence in their ability to analyze and effectively communicate their argument. Students will think, write critically, and actively discuss artists that they choose to research, providing opportunity to develop creative academic expression that is meaningful to them as emerging scholars. 

    Beginning with an investigation into documented masters, students will be encouraged to apply these critical thinking constructs to a range of creators with an emphasis on women and minorities. One of the essential goals of the course is to broaden the net of the students’ understanding of recognized contributors across multiple domains, setting students up to explore a wide-ranging world of dynamic creators outside the canon, beyond the socially accepted “greats.” 

    The nature of the course encourages students to see creativity as a path, rather than a finished product, impacting how they view their own work and the music they listen to, the books they read, and beyond, making them ultimately more observant, critical thinkers in society and more inclined to explore and develop their own creative pursuits.

    THIS SEMINAR WILL SATISFY THE HUMANITIES COMPONENT OF THE PLATTSBURGH GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM.

    THIS SEMINAR WILL MEET IN THE HONORS CENTER — HAWKINS 121 SEMINAR ROOM A.

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