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Classroom Engagement

students reviewing art work in Worcester Art Museum

Higgins School classes value exploration and introspection into the connections between the personal and the academic, the intellectual and the creative.

Our innovative curriculum encourages students to venture beyond conventional coursework and to discover their own unique relationship with the arts and humanities. Designed to supplement a standard course load, our courses prepare students for the rigors of college and a lifetime of independent learning.

HS 100: Symposium Seminar

In this course, students will explore the Higgins School’s symposium theme in-depth through event attendance, readings and screenings, in-class discussions, and short written assignments. While the symposium program is interdisciplinary by nature, the section instructor will draw particularly from their areas of specialization. This half-unit course may be added to a standard four-course load without fifth course approval, is offered on a “pass/fail” grading basis, and may be repeatable for credit. As with other Higgins School courses, this class is designed to help students strengthen and enhance their college experience and to forge connections across and beyond conventional coursework.

Seminar Topic for Spring 2020: Bodies

What if we talked not about “the body” but about bodies? In the shift from singular to plural comes a movement away from abstraction and its claims to universality and toward specific embodiments and diverse lived experience. To pluralize bodies is to begin breaking down rhetorical binaries-body and soul, mind and body, sickness and health, pleasure and pain, flesh and spirit. To consider actual bodies is to interrogate and re-engage familiar metaphors with new perspective-body as temple, bodies of work, bodies politic, body as machine. In a social sense, our bodies are how we encounter the world, and how the world first comes to perceive us. Bodies are sites of desire and projection, bias and recognition. How can difference itself become an alternative foundation from which to consider continuities of experience? In an academic sense, to speak of bodies is to invite interdisciplinary conversations. Scientific and philosophical inquiry seeks to understand what animates bodies. Cultural, social, and political analysis traces the contours of similarities and differences resulting from embodiment. Theoretical paradigms and creative practice can both critique and remake what bodies are, how they signify, and where the boundaries of physical limitation lie. Throughout, bodies incorporate and synthesize contradiction. They are simultaneously metaphor and reality, machine and sensorium, the mortal coil and the site of transformation and wonder.

SPRING 2020 COURSE LISTINGS AND SCHEDULES

HS 012: Mindful Choices

In this art-making course, students are invited to explore and reflect on key questions. What holds my attention, and calls for me to explore it further? What do I enjoy, and what do I care most about? Where do I find a sense of meaning and purpose? How do my interests and concerns relate to the choices I am making in my education? Do I listen well to what my intuition is telling me about my life choices? How do I visualize myself participating in our society and world when I graduate?

This guided, intensive arts immersion experience will offer students a chance to engage in creative practice and reflection as they consider paths of study for their undergraduate career, and encourage a more conscious commitment to the direction of their education. The process of exploration and discernment will be supported through artistic practice in the visual arts, music, or creative writing. Students will receive a half-credit for the course, which is offered on a “pass/fail” basis.

SPRING 2020 COURSE LISTINGS AND SCHEDULES

HS 110: Engaging the Arts

In this course, students will explore a range of visual and performing arts through programming at Clark and in the larger Worcester community while developing aesthetic understanding, critical judgment, and appreciation for creative process and the challenges of public presentation. While Clark Arts and related Higgins School programming in music, visual arts, and theater provide the core opportunities for event attendance, students are encouraged to seek out additional opportunities on campus and beyond. Weekly class discussions foster a deeper understanding of the history, aesthetics, politics, practicalities, and processes of creative work and its presentation. In-class readings, screenings, and listening sessions as well as creative exploration across a range of media will allow students to develop their own ideas for practice-based projects, such as creative work, criticism, advocacy, education, and outreach. This half-unit course may be added to a standard four-course load without fifth course approval, is offered on a “pass/fail” grading basis, and is not repeatable for credit. As with other Higgins School courses, this class is designed to help students strengthen and enhance their college experience and to forge connections across and beyond conventional coursework.

SPRING 2020 COURSE LISTINGS AND SCHEDULES

The Higgins School periodically offers team-taught interdisciplinary courses that integrate our ongoing symposia topics. These classes are intended to generate new perspectives from cross-disciplinary instructor pairings and to sustain faculty and student collaborations across and beyond conventional disciplinary and methodological boundaries. Courses may be lecture/discussion or seminar-style and may be offered at any level appropriate, including First Year Intensive.

Past team-taught offerings have included:

  • HS 114: Freedom’s Battle: The Quest for National Self-Determination in the Age of Empire 1914-2014;
  • HS 116: Island Tales: The Science and Literature of Oceans and Islands;
  • HS 118: Art and Empathy: Humanizing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict;
  • HS 202/302: Suburbia and the Rhetoric of Personal Freedom;
  • HS 204: Freedom Dreams: Global Freedom Struggles from Decolonization to the Present;
  • HS 206/306: In Sickness and In Health – Narrative and the Art of Healing;
  • HS 230/330: Race, Genre and Autobiography; and
  • HS 233/333: Science Fiction and the Mind of the Other.
Contact Information

Higgins School of Humanities

Mailing Address
Location & Hours
  • Dana Commons, Second Floor
    36 Maywood Street
    Worcester, MA 01603
  • Tuesday through Friday
    9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    August to mid-June only