This 360 cluster comprises three classes that share an interest in contemplation or mindfulness in theory and practice. The course brings together historical, cultural, psychological and religious perspectives in its study of mindful and contemplative traditions. Mindfulness has long been an important aspect of both Buddhist and Christian monastic practice. With its recent introduction as a key component of Western therapeutic modalities for remediating psychological difficulties or coping with stress, mindfulness has also become a central focus of much new psychological research and theory. Students and faculty will travel to mindful and monastic communities in Japan and the US.
Mirroring the Self, Exhibiting the Self is a two-semester cluster, building toward a student-curated exhibition of art and artifacts from the College’s collections. In the fall, participants will study the history and theories of self-portraiture, self-representation, and self-fashioning in cultures around the globe from antiquity to the present. They will research and write catalogue entries on the objects they have selected for exhibition. In the spring, students will explore museums and discuss theories of exhibition-making, learning to identify different curatorial approaches. They will determine a curatorial agenda, produce didactic materials, develop public programming, and install an exhibition.
This year-long cluster will explore the intersections of scientific, philosophic and humanistic ways of thinking about, writing about, and visually representing ways we look at origin stories. From a scientific perspective, we will focus on the core scientific principals related to Cosmology, Physics, Biology and Geology that address fundamental questions regarding the origins of the universe, time, stars, the Earth, and its inhabitants. The scientific perspective will be balanced by the humanist view, though which we will examine cultural and historical expressions of the problem of "beginning”, paying close attention to Dine (Navajo) and Greco-Roman/Christian cultural narratives, and contemporary Science Fiction fantasies about origin.
The goal of this 360 is to unpack how meaning is made from representations of race—from artifacts in an anthropological context, to representations in literature, to how people teach and learn. We will interrogate racial constructions – including the black-white binary – through an investigation of how different cultural practices play out and play into one another. How do anthropological exhibitions both reify and resist conventional racial categories? How do classical American literary texts represent racial intersection? How might contemporary educators recognize and work with issues of race, difference, and power in what and how we teach? Building on these understandings, how might we create constructive and critical new contemporary meanings of difference? We will try answering these questions by working together to curate alternative articulations in and for the city of Philadelphia and the Bryn Mawr campus.