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The Art of Play

Semester and Year FA 2019
Course Number ARTS-UG1110
Section 001
Instructor Maria Hodermarska
Days R
Time 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U



We know that for children play is more than just fun; it is the work through which they develop. But what about when adults play? Through play we find our freedom, spontaneity, and our aesthetic. What is there in human beings that enables us to play? Why is play considered an innate capacity of people from the beginning of recorded history? What qualifies as play? When does play become art? In this course, everyone plays and in doing so examines the historic and contemporary uses of play as a potentially universal impulse of humans, across generations, time and space. Play’s capacity to create and sustain community will be considered. We will examine play as it is reflected through theories of child development, dramatic improvisation, fine art, politics, social construction and identities, music, religion and spirituality, literature and social media. Students will examine the necessity of play in their own child and adult lives—the creative spirit, the adventurer, the empathic connection with humanity, and laughter, too. Books may include: Nachmanovitch’s  Free Play , Bettelheim’s  The Uses of Enchantment,  Huizinga’s  Homo Ludens , and selected readings from Lorca, Nietzche, Piaget, Postman, Solomon.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)