Mysticism and diverse forms of spirituality have been found in all religious traditions in all ages, and are keystones of human experience in general in personal, cultural and universal contexts. This course studies the nature, role and meaning of mysticism and spirituality for Western audiences by focusing on different models, practices, and accounts. Analysis of classical expressions of mysticism and spirituality will be included along with newer forms. We will also inquire into “perceived” unique aspects of the “mystical consciousness” and the worldviews that support it.
There are two special aspects to this course. First, there is a reflective, experiential dimension. For all of the obvious reasons, students will be asked to keep a personal “academic” journal that may help them to gain a fuller appreciation of some of the ideas and concepts we will be discussing and exploring. Second, there is an experimental assignment (creation of a “digital” essay), which will culminate in a special oral presentation at the end of the semester.
Each student will participate in a digital learning workshop throughout the semester and will present to the class a creative, original digital essay on any research topic within mysticism and spirituality. This assignment may reflect your further understanding of a topic or theme that continues to inspire, intrigue, or fascinate you. (You may also introduce a topic that has not have been discussed or covered in class. All presentations should incorporate at least a three-fold development of thought: 1) identifying a topic or theme; 2) articulating some of the traditional perspectives, issues, and theories surrounding the chosen topic or problem; and 3) providing in-depth reflections, expanded perspectives, or discussion of key ideas and forms of knowledge beyond what has been discussed in class. On the day that you give your digital presentation, you must submit to the professor a brief written abstract or overview of your topic (2 pages, typed, double- spaced, including important notes and bibliography).
Course:RELI 311: Perspectives in Spirituality and Mysticism
Instructor: Professor of Religion, Carol White
Project: 3-5 minute Digital Stessay
Semester: Spring 2013
Duration of Assignment: Entire Semester, 15 weeks
Technology: iShowU, FCPX, Whisper Room Audio Booth
1) To explore the various forms of knowledge (esoteric, scientific, and philosophical) that are part of current approaches to mysticism and spirituality, and what they suggest about our views of the human, the diverse worlds we inhabit, and our desires for self-transformation.
2) To foster an appreciation for the interdisciplinary approach endemic to studying this topic by examining and exploring the wide range of ideas, practices, and definitions of spirituality and mysticism to better understand their appeal and value in the contemporary West.
3) To consider various definitions of mysticism and spirituality, and the practices, concepts, and worldviews associated with them, utilizing insights from psychology, religion, philosophy, and science, literature, and the arts.
4) To engage each other in productive conversations about the various approaches and styles of spirituality and mysticism in the contemporary era;
5) To improve basic skills in critical/analytical reading and writing.
CCC LEARNING GOALS
The following course objectives are in accordance with the disciplinary requirements of the Division of Arts & Humanities, as specified by the new Core College Curriculum. They emphasize textual analysis and interpretation.
1) Students will interpret texts with awareness of the texts’ basic orientation in the world (historical, philosophical, religious, linguistic, etc.).
2) Students will be able to construct arguments and evaluate canons using the evidence and tools of critical analysis appropriate to the object of inquiry.
3) Students will develop an appreciation of the fundamental ambiguities and complexities involved in all human attempts to answer questions about knowledge, values, and life.
RELI 311: Perspectives in Spirituality and Mysticism Scaffolded Semester Calendar
Wed. 16-Jan Introduction to Course and to Each Other
(Syllabus Overview and Objectives of Course Explained)
Introduction of the Digital Essay (DE)
(Brianna Derr and Debra Cook-Balducci, Instructional
Technicians, will discuss components and workflow of DE)
SECTION ONE: WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY? WHAT IS MYSTICISM?
(Important Concepts, Definitions, and Theories)
Wed. 23- Jan Wiseman Article (MOODLE)
SECTION TWO: CLASSICAL THEORIES OF MYSTICISIM
Wed. 30 – Jan PM: All Chapters
*William James, “4 Stages of Mysticism” (MOODLE)
(Reflection Paper #1 Due)
Film and Discussion
Cultural Expressions of Mysticism & Spirituality
Wed. 6-Feb. *Harvey: “Introduction” and “Voices of the First World”
*Harvey: Taoism: “The Way of the Tao”
*Harvey: Judaism: “The Way of Holiness”
*Harvey: Christianity: “The Way of Love in Actio
Digital Workshop Session # 1
(Show examples of Digital Essays and discuss Technical Rubric/Equipment Training)
SECTION THREE: CONTEMPORARY THEORIES: SPIRITUALITY & MYSTICISM
Wayne Teasdale: Notion of Interspirituality
Wed.13-Feb. TMH: Introduction, Chapters 1-3
(Reflection Paper # 2 Due)
Digital Workshop Session # 2 (Meet in Library Lab)
(Chloe Barnett, Humanities Library Liaison, discusses image selection and citation, resources, and the importance of research. Brianna and Deb discuss audio resources)
*Students bring at least 6-12 images to March 20th workshop
Wed. 20-Feb. TMH: Chapters 4 -7
Guest Speaker: Arlyne Hoyt (Qigong Session)
Digital Workshop Session # 3
(Video Editing; Final Cut Pro X, Students bring video, images, and media to workshop;
Review importing of media and develop timeline;
Chloe will assist with selection of images)
Wed. 27 – Feb. In-Class Essay Exam
Wed. 6-Mar. *Aldous Huxley, “The Perennial Philosophy” (Handout)
Guest Speaker (Dashain McCabe: Buddhist Spiritual Practice)
Digital Workshop # 4
(Introduce Storyboarding and Script [Narration]; Introduce AudioBooth)
*Storyboard and Narrative due at March 27th workshop
Wed. 13-Mar. NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK
SECTION FOUR: THICH NHAT HANH & THE PRACTICE OF MINDFULNESS
Wed. 20- Mar. EW: All Chapters
Digital Workshop # 5
(Storyboard Review; Students should have complete Storyboard containing Narration; Chloe joining class; AudioBooth)
SECTION FIVE: NATURE AND SPIRITUALITY
Poetic Expressions of Mary Oliver and Others
Wed. 27-Mar. HOL: Selected Poems TBD
TMH: Chapter 8
(Reflection Paper # 3 Due)
Digital Workshop # 6
Annie Dillard: Nature and Mystery, Death, Beauty, and Violence
Wed. 3-Apr. PTC: All Chapters
Digital Workshop # 7
(Peer Group Review)
SECTION SIX: SPIRITUALITY AND SCIENCE
Wed. 10-Apr. USA: Chapters TBD
Digital Workshop #8
Wed. 17-Apr. USA: Chapters TBD
MIB: Chapters TBD
Yoga Session & Guest Speakers
(Digital Presentations Begin)
Wed. 24-Apr. MIB: Chapters TBD
(Reflection Paper # 5 Due)
(Digital Presentations Continue)