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ARTSINST 184. Creativity: Anatomy of a Buzzword. 4 Units.

Creativity is one of the defining values of our time, embraced by corporate CEOs, kindergarten teachers, and starving artists alike. Yet it not always clear what creativity means. This course will explore how the capacious concept of creativity has shaped contemporary ideals of work, art, technology, human nature, and the good society. Using a mix of popular texts, contemporary scholarship, and classics of social thought, we will look at what kinds of products, places, and people count as 'creative' in public conversation, and why. Particular attention will be paid to how different overlapping notions of creativity have guided arts policy, business practices, and urban economic strategy over the last few decades of capitalist development. Using Stanford itself as a case study, students will conduct field work to discover how the concept of creativity operates across and between the various departments, disciplines, and centers on campus, from the fine arts to psychology to business. This research will culminate in the final group project: a multimedia archive and digital concept map of creativity discourse at Stanford. Students will come away from the class with concrete research skills and theoretical tools that will enable them to critically engage with any big ideas in the public sphere, as well as a better understanding of recent economic and cultural history underpinning our everyday assumptions and widely held values.