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Quarterly Topic

Great Works Symposium 2014-2015: The Supernatural
UNIV 241
Pennoni Honors College 
(Find under “University-wide courses)


This course series will examine the category of ‘supernatural’ relative to the ‘natural.’ That is, by understanding where the unreal, super-, ultra-, para-, are situated in culture—from the ancient worlds to today—we gain a rare view into the real nature of reality. We will draw on the literature (including films, ghost tours, and exhibits) and experts from disciplines as diverse as psychology, history, history of science, literary criticism, metaphysical and religious studies, popular culture, anthropology and others, to study supernatural phenomena.

Fall 2014 - Paranormal Science: Tools for Exploring Alternate Realities
People have employed a wide range of tools to study, contact, defend against, and build the supernatural. This course focuses on the material devices we have imagined or built within this framework using examples from ancient astronomy/astrology, the Medieval, the Renaissance, and examples from the modern period. We explore where Science takes up the challenge of explaining phenomena occurring at “the fringe” and how it helped to explain phenomena once considered paranormal.

Winter 2015 - Morality and Mythology: From Hercules to the Hulk
Mythological narratives from the ancient to contemporary demonstrate that the supernatural has been an abiding means for mankind to grapple with the moral complexities of reality. This course will explore how the supernatural helps to reveal the qualities of the human condition across the ages by examining morality tales of the superhuman. From ancient mythology to superhero comics, students will explore themes such as the hero’s quest, ethics (or the clash between good vs. evil), fate, and free will.

Spring 2015 - Haunted Histories and Ghost Stories
In this course we research the expression and aesthetic experience of the supernatural. Imbued in ancient tales of the God’s involvement in Human activities, the ziggurats, Roman temples of worship and devotion, the Middle ages to 19th century folklore and modern ghost stories, is the panoply of human emotional life. Here we survey the textual, visual, psychological representations of our emotional relationships with the supernatural in the past and today.

Summer 2015 - Exploring the Supernatural: A Practicum
This course will provide a forum for students from the three previous courses to advance their projects. Essential to this course will be mentorship with expert advisors—course instructors, faculty from across Drexel, and/or at other Universities and institutions. These individualized projects extend the previous study of the supernatural in the form of scholarly products including essays, films, scientific research, or other forms proposed.

For more information, contact Dr. Kevin Egan at kde25@drexel.edu