How might we, as individuals and societies, sometimes remain unaware or ignorant? How can our lives – psychological, social, political, and spiritual – be reshaped by awakening from this lack of awareness? What does it mean to achieve true consciousness? This intensive course in analytical writing at the collegiate level will offer a chance to think through these questions and to craft rhetorically-effective essays that explore the enduring struggle to understand what it means for us to awaken into consciousness. This exploration will take us on a journey through many fields – from religion and mythology to politics, philosophy, literature, and the arts. In our seminar sessions, we will consider how thinkers and artists have envisioned human consciousness and our efforts to achieve a truer understanding of ourselves and the world. Writing by TS Eliot and Dante Alighieri will be paired with the influential Indian spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita, and works of political and social criticism by Angela Davis and other radical thinkers. These written texts will be complemented by some of the most striking visual and filmic art of the last centuries, from Surrealist painting to experimental film and beyond. In our writing sessions, we will work closely to develop and refine the techniques of writing and revision that will allow you to transform your ideas and insights into powerful essays, using rhetorical instruction materials and small group workshops that replicate the intensive writing seminars taken by University of Chicago undergraduates.
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