Freshman Seminar 34s. The Art of Noticing
Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: Barker 024
Open to freshman students only.
This is an advanced writing course on writing about poetry, music and art. The assumption of the course is that noticing is a mental discipline like any other and can be cultivated by good habits, exercises and practice. Noticing is also the one basic mental practice shared by the sciences and the humanities, and is indispensable to both. The word ‘aesthetics’ is from the Greek word for ‘perception’—arguably interpretable as ‘noticing.’ After the eighteenth century, aesthetics came to mean philosophical meditation on art. But in this course aesthetics means the art of noticing things one doesn’t normally see, and deciding which of these things is important. We will be examining together in the classroom poems and works of visual art, and there will be outings to the Harvard Art Museums, the Museum of Natural History as well as to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Evaluation will be based on writing done in and out of class in a journal each student will be required to keep. Journals and papers will be turned in at the end of the class for a cumulative evaluation interview.