CONN 480

Informed Seeing

Seeing (in contrast to mere "looking") involves a learned propensity to notice (or ignore) particular aspects of what is perceived through the lenses of one's culturally filtered perspectives. Whether these perspectives are "scientific" (involving deliberate doubt and systematic inquiry), "aesthetic" (involving the enjoyment of artfully crafted illusion), or "commonsensical" (involving enormously complicated but unquestioned assumptions about the nature of "reality"), the process of "seeing" (in this more-than-visual sense) can be constantly refined, yielding even more depth of experience. In relation to these ideas, this course explores some of the similarities and differences in the way the world is seen through the perspectives of artists and art educators, cultural anthropologists, photographers, environmentalists, science fiction writers, and filmmakers. These ways of "informed seeing" are applied to selected problems and philosophical questions involving "beauty," "disruption of meaning", and "choice." While there are no prerequisites, students with some previous background in art, literature, anthropology, sociology, and /or environmental studies would be especially well prepared for this course.