PHILOSOPHY

As a teacher and mentor it is gratifying to help and see students’ progress as they prepare their presentations, decide on research topics, come to understand the existing literature, and ultimately write papers. The central reward of teaching for me, however, is the opportunity to both honor and pass on to others the contributions that my past teachers have made, and continue to make, in my life. My hope is that I can make similar contributions to the lives of my students and thus encourage them in the pursuit of lifelong learning. 

COURSES

At Northwestern, I teach COMM_ST 394 “Creativity in Context” and MTS 525 “Global Culture? Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives.”

Creativity in Context

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” A. E.

This course explores a fascinating problem for social scientific analysis: the production of new ideas and practices as well as the reputations of their creators: How do social, cultural or geographic contexts affect creative output and innovations? How do professional communities determine when ideas are original, instead of misguided or infeasible? How does this compare across the arts/media, the sciences, or the economy? Students will be acquainted with key approaches to creativity and innovation in sociology, social psychology, organizational studies, and economic geography. Through a set of assignments students also will build important skills for their own future creative research or professional work. The course includes brief introductory lectures, student presentations, plenty of discussions, and a field trip that involves a collective interview with an outstanding creative expert.

For previous collective interviews with Walter Gilbert and Howard Gardner, cf. the links below:


Art vs. Science? Interview with Scientist, Nobel Laureate and Visual Artist Walter Gilbert:

Multiple Intelligences and Creativity? An Interview with Developmental Psychologist Howard Gardner:

Global Culture? Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

With the growth of worldwide interdependencies, social scientists increasingly have engaged with the “global economy,” with “global law,” or even “global civil society.” But what about culture? Does it make sense to speak of “global culture”? And if so, what role do the arts and media play in it, and how should we study related processes? Specifically, spanning theoretical, empirical as well as methodological considerations, the goals of this course are three-fold: First, to provide an overview of theoretical key positions in the evolution of the “global culture” debate since its origins in international communication. Second, to acquaint with important current frontiers of research on the arts and media in a global context. Third, by dissecting exemplary case studies, students also learn about a variety of design strategies to construct research problems that go beyond conventional national boundaries.