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Grant number: AQ-229019-15

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Northeastern University (Boston, MA 02115-5005)
Amanda Reeser Lawrence (Project Director: September 2014 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on the Relationship between Innovation and Tradition

The development and teaching of a new undergraduate course on the relationship between innovation and tradition.

What is the relationship between any creation and the past? To what extent are all creative works indebted to precursors? Is the possibility for originality facilitated, or curtailed, by particular historical circumstances or intellectual frameworks? Is the truly "new" even possible? This course will study how critics, historians, theorists, and philosophers have explained and explored the relationship between innovation and tradition from antiquity to the present. The course will study shifting ideas of how the past figures in the creative act, while also encouraging continued inquiry as to the relationship between past and present. Although the focus will be on arts and culture, science and technology and other fields will be selectively incorporated to highlight shared preoccupations and dilemmas in the act of invention and creation; intensive reading will be paired with in-class "looking," principally at architecture, sculpture, and painting.

Project fields:

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$22,000 (approved)
$21,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 5/31/2018