...really good teaching is about not seeing the world the way that everyone else does...

"Good teachers perceive the world in alternative terms, and they push their students to test out these new, potentially enriching perspectives. Sometimes they do so in ways that are, to say the least, peculiar."
Mark Edmundson, "Geek Lessons" NYT, 2008

Monday, 4 April 2011

Assignment 1

Title: Hacking the Humanities
Purpose: Apply play to understand and transform philosophical practice
Materials: Extract (free choice) from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, textual interventions (creative-critical method), staging.
Groups: two groups of 2 and 3 students.
Due: 10.00 in E1 Tuesday 5th April 2011

To recap the steps in the assignment:

1. Identify a passage from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations that addresses explicitly or implicitly an area related to course themes (play, games, rule-following etc). Discuss it in your group. Identify the different strategies used in the text (inner dialogue i.e. thinking against the self, invitations to play – "Consider this...Imagine the following....If...Let's pretend....", examples, picturing, hypotheses, performative elements etc). In what ways does the text 'stage' a process of thinking?

2. In order to better understand the text, apply the "textual interventions" technique that we explored on Wednesday in relation to Descartes' "I think therefore I am" (reference - Rob Pope: "Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies") by substituting pronouns, verbs, temporality, clauses etc in the existing text. What new versions can you generate by this means? What does the new version tell you about the arguments and 'world view' (assumptions) underpinning the original extract that you selected.

3. Having already identified the dialogic qualities of the text (see 1.) apply a further level of transformation by now assigning roles/speakers/agencies to the dialogue partners in your new version. Find ways to spatialize or materialize these roles – how can the 'argument' now be performed away from the page? Prepare a presentation of up to 15 minutes for Tuesday 10.00 in E1.

4. Explain how (or if) play as a dual creative-critical strategy has given you a different quality of engagement with Wittgenstein's text, particularly in regards the performative quality of his philosophical writing.

Rolf Hughes: The Performance of Uncertainty (discusses Wittgenstein and practical knowledge)
Rolf Hughes: The DROWNING METHOD (discusses Air Trance 16)
Rob Pope: "Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies"
EDG Play Publication (2010)

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