Malcolm M. Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium Web Archive

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The Power of Play
MRIC 2006/07

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"The Power of Play"

September 5
Candida Gillis - English
Debbie Storrs - Sociology
Traci Craig - Psychology
The Power of Play Website

ABSTRACT: Humans are playful alone, in groups, or as whole societies. We play role-playing games, board games, videogames, games of chance, sports; we dance. We play with musical instruments, paint, string, sticks, stones, and language. While we define and choose our play, play may also define us, for play is embedded in and reflects our cultures’ values, histories, and structures. Because play potentially evokes intense, personal engagement and stimulates the imagination, it can enhance teaching, learning, creativity, and discovery. It can also help balance professional activities with less intellectualized life pursuits and energize solutions for social, scientific, and artistic problems. Although it may support injustice and incivility, play has the potential to foster social cohesion and connection, compassion, and inclusiveness. This Humanities program will explore the nature, history, and uses of play--the power of play--to shape, transform, celebrate, delight or diminish individuals, institutions, and societies, and to enrich our personal, social, and professional lives.
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