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Grant number: AQ-228765-15

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Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA 99258-1774)
Jonathan Rossing (Project Director: September 2014 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on the Purpose and Value of Play

The development and teaching of a new upper-level course on the meaning of play in human life.

Play figures prominently as a central feature of human culture and the topic of play emerges within philosophical inquiries about truth, knowledge, meaning, and self. A central question about play endures: What is the purpose and value of play? Scholars and thinkers have explored its role in human development, learning, community building, and cultural creation. Through play, people practice and experiment with roles, rules, and boundaries. Inquiry into the purpose and value of play begins with definitional questions: What is play? Is play instinctual or merely a childish entertainment? How do we distinguish between play and leisure, work, or seriousness? Can play be serious? Then through exploration of multiple perspectives on the purpose and value of play, the course will participate in discussions that are fundamental to humanistic inquiry: What does it mean to be human? How do we best relate to one another? How do we best prepare ourselves for life and our role in society?

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$22,000 (approved)
$19,605 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 12/31/2017