Writers and artists try to unravel the complexities of human behavior, using their craft and creativity to describe our experience in a meaningful way. This college-level interdisciplinary course asks the question: How can psychology inform the study of literature and the arts, and how can literature and art help us better understand principles of psychology—so that we better appreciate both? Students enrolled in this course will read widely from literature, the social sciences, and biographies and also create, review, and analyze drama, film, and art. Six core psychological ‘universals’ will anchor all of our investigations (see Essential Concepts/Questions below). The intensive investigation of characters and their patterns of relating to each other and the world around them will focus on the occurrence of specific ‘maladaptive schemas’ that each of us might have—and which come to light in our interactions with families and friends.
The course operates from a co-teaching and seminar format with college-level expectations and assignments in reading and writing. Students will read at least four books and one play as well as frequent assorted short pieces. Manageable art projects are assigned along the way. The payoff is a good grasp of the ebb and flow of great ideas and ways of perceiving the world.