In 2019-2020, I helped initiate and fund structural upgrades to a large gym space on campus to create the Circus Lab – an on-campus hub for interdisciplinary research and educational projects involving the circus arts. It includes 6 aerial dropline points ready for use with various aerial apparatuses – silks, trapeze, lyra, rope, etc. – as well as an array of mats, juggling props, and other circus equipment. Currently, the Circus Lab hosts the my course PHI 193: Circus and Philosophy, the University of Kentucky student-run club, Circus Cats, and community outreach events such as the Big Blue Big Top: Circus Workshop with the Gaines Center for Humanities.
PHI 193: Circus and Philosophy
How is juggling like being a good person? What can the trapeze tell us about truth? What does circus have to do with the self?
My course PHI 193: Circus and Philosophy combines physical movement, performance, and the circus arts with philosophical study. Intended for the philosophy novice who is also cirque-curious, this course uses circus as a springboard for philosophical inquiry.
This innovative course is FULLY participatory. Students don’t just learn about the circus, they learn how to circus. Students learn specific circus skills, such as aerial arts, juggling, or acro-balancing, while investigating various philosophical topics in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and more.
Don’t know how to juggle? Don’t know who Aristotle is or what he said? No worries. No background in either circus arts or philosophy is required. A sense of wonder, a healthy curiosity about the world, and an appetite for adventure are strongly encouraged. (Want to learn more? Go here.)
***PHI 193: Circus and Philosophy will next run Spring 2024.***
Circus Cats – Circus Club
You can learn a bit more about PHI 193 and Circus Cats below:
- Kentucky Kernel (2018)
- UK Arts and Sciences (2021)
- UKNOW (2021)
- Aesthetics for Birds (2021)
- Kentucky Kernel (2022)
- KET Kentucky Edition (July 20, 2022 – 20:50)
- CircusTalk (2022)
- Lexington Herald-Leader (2022)