Lenses of the Liberal Arts: Perception

How our disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences help us identify, analyze, and understand our world from a variety of perspectives.

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Cutouts of heads stacked in an optical illusion

Letter from the Dean: Perception and the Liberal Arts

College of Liberal Arts

The intersection of perception – the process by which we perceive, interpret and make sense of the world around us – and the liberal arts offers a rich terrain for exploration and analysis, as both seek to understand the human condition and our place in the world.

Students walking on the CSU campus in spring

College of Liberal Arts Spring 2023 News

College of Liberal Arts

Read the latest news in the College of Liberal Arts, including alumni stories, research and scholarship stories, and retirement announcements.

VetVR operating room simulation

Where the Digital and Physical Collide

Art and Art History

Cy Tornatzky uses electronic art and virtual reality to explore artistic expression and to train future veterinarians in anesthesiology basics using VetVR.

Student using virtual reality to practice speaking Spanish in a health care setting

Seeing the Whole Person: How Using Virtual Reality to Learn Spanish Better Meets the Needs of Spanish-Speaking Populations

International Studies | Languages, Literatures and Cultures

How do we offer students more real-life experiences to try their language skills? By using virtual reality to put them into linguistic and cultural scenarios.  

Woman carrying her child on a public bus

CSU economist wants to change how you see economics and the people who study it


Alex Bernasek wants to change the perception of economics from a science of numbers to a science of people. She studies gender and economics as it relates to inequality, such as the wage gap and the motherhood penalty, and works to bring more women to the fore in the discipline. 

Pictured from left to right: Ryan Crist, Taylor’s partner Tommy McClure, Steve Weiss, Susie Weiss, and Taylor Aguilar while filming behind the scenes content for Sol.

Filming Blind: CSU alumna pursues her passion after losing her sight

Journalism and Media Communication

Steve Weiss documents alumna Taylor Aguilar’s journey in filmmaking after she becomes blind, helping to break down barriers about disability in film. 

Students speaking in seminar class, LB 393

Coming Together to Build Tools of Resistance: New Undergraduate Courses Expand Perceptions of Protest

Ethnic Studies

Protest can occur in many forms. Recent students in ethnic studies and women’s and gender studies are finding alternative ways to protest: through satire and irony, and through creative and cultural production. 

Public Lands History Center group

Why the Public Lands History Center is changing its name


Name change! The Public Lands History Center changes its name to Public Environmental History Center to better reflect the connection between humans, their environment, and public lands, acknowledging 16 years of great work and an exciting future ahead. 

Library with archive of very old books and documents stored and unsorted and one violin

Music and Emotional Perception


How can we all experience similar emotions when we hear a piece of music played? What makes the tones and tempo of music universal? Domenica Romagni investigates the aesthetics of music and how it can arouse emotion and strengthen empathetic connection. 

Neighborhood with election signs

The Political Perception Gap and the Role of Higher Education

Political Science

Are we as polarized as the media tell us we are? What do we really think of our neighbors and community? Recent research shows that multiple things influence our politics and perceptions of others, and that engaging in cross-partisan discussions can change those perceptions.

Troublesome Fire at Horsetooth Reservoir

Perceptions of a Premiere

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

2020 was a year of tragedy, including the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires. Composer James David used the devastation around him as inspiration for a new composition, Troublesome Fire.

Students sitting and writing outside of Eddy Hall

Centering Student Choices: Why Linguistic Justice is a Pivotal and Empowering Pedagogical Framework


Three programs—the University Composition Program, TEFL/TESL, and English Education—are challenging a monolingual expectation of language and the idea that there is only “right” way to speak and write in academia. 

Rear view of an Asian audience watching a movie in cinema

Popular Culture Obscures and Reveals: A Look at Korean Film and Queer Rhetoric

Communication Studies

Korean cinema and queer rhetoric have both been brought to the forefront of U.S. culture in recent years, and Communication Studies professors help show us how and why. 

Tattooed arm of a man holding a plant stake

New interactive digital project reveals what’s hidden in the prison agriculture system


At first look, the prison agriculture system might sound like a benefit to community and prisoner, but a dive into the program’s history, cost, and output reveal a more complicated and challenging issue.

Rendering of Cahokia Mounds by artist William Iseminger

North America’s First City: 20,000 people in 1050 C.E.

Anthropology and Geography

Ed Henry and colleagues receive $312K NSF grant to investigate the mounds at Cahokia, the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture in 1050 C.E., using magnetometry instruments that are non-invasive and non-destructive. 

CSU Director of Orchestras Wes Kenney

Honoring a maestro’s legacy

College of Liberal Arts | School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Wes Kenney, CSU maestro of the symphony for 20 years, retires, leaving a legacy in his conducting and his support for students.  

Survivance, a student-curated exhibition featyred North American Art.

Changing people’s perceptions of museums

Art and Art History | The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art

Who goes to museums? Who are they designed for? At the CSU art museum, the staff extend invitations to anyone to engage with art and one another through their choices of exhibits, displays, and programming. 

Théâtre d'Opéra Spatial

The Mistakes We Make and the Errors that Make Us: Perception and Imagination in the Liberal Arts

Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

Perception, and the cultural and sociopolitical influences on it, is what allows us to define a problem or determine right and wrong. In the art world, what constitutes art is regularly a matter of perception.