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Knitting and Philosophy

Taught By: Margaret Houck

This course introduces students to philosophical themes in ethics and aesthetics. We explore the Aristotelian ethical concept of virtue, and the modern version of ethics of care. In aesthetics, we examine the nature of art and craft and relate the work of knitting to both. We study the influences of geography, economics, and the roles of women as these relate to knitting, and we learn to knit.

Course Goals

Instructor Goals:
• To introduce students to philosophical ethics and aesthetics
• To examine the art/craft dichotomy as related to knitting
• To teach students manual skills of knitting
Student Goals:
• To improve skills of reading, writing, and speaking
• To master basic knitting skills of Cast On, Knit, Purl, Cast Off

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will
• Explain, orally and in writing, concepts of virtue ethics and ethics of care
• Compare Aristotle’s distinction of ars/techne with principles of the Arts and Crafts movement
• Evaluate the influences of geography, economics, and roles of women in the activity of knitting in America
• Identify local sources of natural fiber for yarns
• Apply the skills of Cast On, Knit, Purl, Cast Off to the production of a scarf or cowl by semester’s end