Collins Living Learning Center | Puzzles: Play and Paradox
L210 | 14437 | Matt Rowe


Puzzles can be mechanical, mathematical, logical, or spiritual; they can lock up secrets or
challenge us to higher achievement. Puzzles are everywhere these days, from The Da Vinci
Code to the Sudoku craze. This course will explore the puzzle phenomenon as an entry point
to the study of popular culture and a bridge to concepts in psychology and cognitive science.
We will look at what kinds of puzzles are out there—visual, mechanical, literary and
linguistic, logical and mathematical; we’ll see how they work and we’ll try making our own.
We’ll also look at representations of puzzles in literature, film, and other arts and consider
what role puzzles play in the maintenance—and disruption—of power and other social
structures.