RLG390H1: Thinking with Spirits


Possession, trance, communication with the spirits of the dead, visitations by gods, demons, or spectral presences from unseen, otherworldly realms are common features of human experience. What are the psychological, emotional and mental capacities that give rise to such ecstatic, extraordinary experiences? What is the role of unconscious fantasy and projection in such experiences and how do these ideas contribute to explanatory theories seeking to account for them? What contribution can psychoanalysis make to enriched, generous and non-pathologizing understandings of the wide variety of spirit encounters, communications and visions that have been reported throughout history and across cultures? This course will draw upon disciplines such as psychoanalysis, anthropology, neuropsychoanalysis and the study of religion in order to think deeply and sensitively about and with spirits.

4.0 credits
Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)