What is genius? Is it a myth or a reality, an absolute or a relative designation? This immersive course examines why the human psyche requires the existence of genius. It is led by Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music Emeritus, Craig M. Wright and inspired by his popular Yale undergraduate course as well as his recently published book, The Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit – Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness.
During two weeks of study, we explore many of the geniuses throughout Western history and why we consider them to be so. We look at what sort of drivers pushed these people forward and study the mindset of game-changers such as Beethoven, da Vinci, Curie, Newton, Einstein, Woolf, Tesla, Musk, Bezos, Kanye West and Dolly Parton (yes)—to discover what they can teach us about the nature of genius. We’ll ask complex questions such as what is the relationship between gender, race, and society’s conception of genius? How we can we enhance our own creativity and indeed longevity by acting upon understandings of the nature of genius? How might we learn to engage the special capacities of our own children and grandchildren, and our expectations for them?
Through in-depth readings including biography, analyses and contextual sources, we’ll expand our knowledge of the nature of genius, then come together to wrestle with the truths behind the phenomena. Over a two-week period, we’ll engage in an intense exploration of topics related to our theme: genius as a concept (does it exist?), genius and gender, genius and race, the domains of genius, the enablers of genius, genius and creativity, genius and money, genius and morality, genius and inequality, genius and longevity. Participants will be invited to submit short written responses and contribute to a discussion among equals aiming for an exceptional outcome.
The online immersion experience begins as soon as you register and receive your books. You'll join the private online course community where you can meet and connect with fellow alumni scholars in the group and chat virtually about ideas and inspirations from your readings in preparation for the course. By June, you'll be ready for two weeks of intensive study alongside a collegial group of dedicated learners and Professor Wright.
The main course sessions will include a total of 20 hours of small-group sessions led by faculty and guest speakers. Alumni participants will come together for a scholarly endeavor that hearkens to the days of being a student on Yale's campus. Seminar-style discussions provide ample opportunity to engage with experts and peers, informed by comprehensive readings and complementary materials from Yale's collections: galleries, libraries and museums. Special guest speakers add context to the themes of the syllabus, and evening salons create space to share new ideas and understandings from the lectures and readings. This program has been specially designed for Yale Alumni Academy by Professor Wright. We invite you to enjoy the privilege of an intimate and bespoke classroom experience with an excellent faculty leader.