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AQ-50570-11

Le Moyne College (Syracuse, NY 13214-1301)
Jennifer Anne Gurley (Project Director: September 2010 to January 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "Why Do Humans Write?"

The development of a freshman undergraduate seminar on the question, Why do humans write?

This course explores how various human needs have shaped writing and, in turn, been shaped by it. We are the only species that writes, and to understand why that might be and how writing has enabled us to develop (for better or worse?) new powers is to better comprehend the distinctiveness of the human journey. Writing is both a technology with its own features and a means of comprehending and expressing – or extending– ourselves. As Rousseau held, it is in man's nature to wish to remake and impress himself on nature: we are the only animal to make a mark on the world. This course considers how writing imprints and changes not only the world and how we experience it, but also how we understand what it means to be human. After examining the tactile and cognitive features of writing in the ancient world, east and west, the course explores a diverse range of texts to discover how ever-evolving writing media have altered conceptions of the human.

Project fields:
Literature, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$24,775 (approved)
$24,774 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2011 – 6/30/2013