This seminar is open to the public.
An accelerated rhythm of social, economic, political, and personal change in this new century obliges us to innovate in order to understand the dynamics, and to participate in productive and ethical ways. How does one think innovatively when existing concepts describe existing forms and activities rather than new possibilities? This seminar explores new key words and new meanings for familiar words.
This venue for graduate students to meet monthly promotes discussion of work by cultural agents and the language that is used to describe creative and intellectual advances. Visiting speakers such as Jay Critchley, Pier Luigi Sacco, and Theresa Betancourt initiated the series and joined students’ investigation of the use of creativity to generate new concepts and to name novel ideas and perceptions. Drawing on the work of theorists from Immanuel Kant to Raymond Williams and Hannah Arendt, the seminar will consider how art (as Kant surmised) can communicate ideas and feelings that are so new and still formless they do not yet have names. Particular words and new uses of words represent advances in scholarship because they are forged to signal a novel idea or way of thinking. During monthly meetings, this seminar will develop an interdisciplinary lexicon to examine the work of cultural agents, considering scholarly investigation and practical problem solving.