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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Imagine That!

Instructor(s): Mary Ann Foley, Psychology

What role does imagination play in our ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction? Memory and anticipation? What is it about an evocative poem or intriguing novel that brings images to the mind of the reader? Are children really more susceptible than adults to the power of imagination? What roles does imagination play in the minds and works of artists, scientists, and literary figures? The purpose of this seminar is to explore intriguing questions such as these from both disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. In the process we will examine why many scholars (including scientists, philosophers, historians, and literary critics) propose that imagination is the key to powerful writing, transformative educational experiences including the development of empathy, and effective legal decision-making. This seminar is also about knowing. Our study of the neurological deficits associated with brain fictions will serve as one metaphor for exploring what it means to know. By selecting some of the reading material and leading discussion on a topic of their choice, students will share ownership in the seminar. Imagine that!