2021 Global Scholars Seminar
By introducing students to undergraduate research, providing them with opportunities to learn more about study and research abroad, and helping them think about ways they might integrate international into their post-graduate lives, the seminar serves as the foundation for the Global Scholars program.
Sociocultural Foundations of Mind and Experience
Dr. Glenn Adams, professor of psychology
Time/Place: 5:30-8:00 pm on Thursdays ♦ Zoom
Popular accounts of mind—broadly associated with such processes as thought, feeling, desire, self-awareness, and consciousness—tend to regard it as a just-natural product. From this perspective, species-typical capacities emerge according to a genetically encoded blueprint via a process of maturation to produce standard mental outcomes. In contrast, this course will consider mind as a sociocultural product. From this perspective, species-typical capacities require engagement with cultural worlds that have evolved over generations of human activity to reflect and promote particular understandings about what is true and good. One obstacle to understanding the sociocultural foundations of mind is a tendency to concentrate intellectual study in settings that are WEIRD: that is, Western, educated, industrial, rich, and (supposedly) democratic (Henrich et al., 2010). Accordingly, one focus of the course will be sociocultural/historical diversity in mental experience beyond the Eurocentric view from WEIRD settings in order to better understand how mental processes and cultural worlds make each other up. The goal is not simply to learn about variation in mental experience across different settings, but instead to learn from this variation. The view from outside WEIRD modernity helps to denaturalize supposedly standard forms of mental experience that seem just natural, enabling the imagination of alternative ways of being to meet the existential challenges facing our shared life on this one planet.