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Torrance Center director edits handbook that explores human imagination

Lauren Leathers

July 22, 2020

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A new handbook, edited by Anna Abraham, director of the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development, casts a spotlight on how human imagination manifests in different forms. The book was published by Cambridge University Press on July 16.

By bringing together experts across several disciplines, the “Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination” successfully questions what the human imagination is. Prior to this book, no single volume had showcased multidisciplinary views on the human imagination.

“The word 'imagination' is associated with many different meanings depending on the disciplinary approach being adopted and the specific phenomenon of focus to the scholar,” Abraham said. “The way I use my imagination when I engage in a creative task, like composing a new song, is quite different compared to when I merely visualize something I have never seen before, like a purple elephant.”

The handbook details how the imagination is understood across several disciplines of study, including anthropology, archaeology, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and the arts, and seeks to inform researchers, students and practitioners.

“This handbook is a uniquely valuable and accessible resource for scholars of any discipline who would like to develop their understanding of what the imagination is,” she said. “This was a dream project of mine for a long time and I'm truly excited that it has finally come to fruition.”