Body Mind Soul - Fall Quarter 2002
The fall quarter of the Body Mind Soul program laid the foundation for a
study of health, sickness, wellness and healing through the lens of religious
studies, psychology, and movement arts. The readings, lectures, workshops,
and writing assignments engaged students in exploring historical, cross-cultural,
and autobiographical dimensions of how human beings construct a “self” by
integrating body, mind, and soul.
One objective of the program was to help students articulate historical,
sociopolitical and cultural developments that have influenced the understanding
of body-mind-soul. Faculty and guests provided lectures on the phenomenology
of body, soul and ascetic practices in indigenous, African diaspora, Hindu,
Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions; history of psychological theories
of mind and mental health treatment; and the social construction of the bodies
of African slaves and women in Europe and the Americas. Workshops included
exercises in ethnographic observation and mapping cultural and familial influences.
Students discussed in two weekly seminars the following books and articles
to explore historical and cross-cultural questions:
Fadiman, A. (1998). The spirit catches you and you fall down:
a Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of cultures.
Pagels, E. (1989). Adam, Eve, and the serpent.
Brown, P. (1990). “Bodies and minds: sexuality and renunciation
in early Christianity.”
Barnes, L. (1998). “The psychologizing of Chinese healing practices
in the United States.”
Brown, K. M. (1989). “Afro-Caribbean Spirituality: A Haitian Case Study.”
Bynum, C.W. (1991). “Women mystics and eucharistic devotion in the
Excerpts from slave narratives and contemporary fictional treatments of U.S.
Excerpts from Plato, Sankara, and Ramanuja on the relation of body and soul.
A second objective was to help students sort through and critique the images,
information and ideas we receive in contemporary media, popular psychology
and popular religion. Faculty and guests lectured on Freudian and Jungian
psychological interpretation, issues of cultural and individual perception,
and students discussed the films, Tough Guise and Beyond Killing Us Softly
on media and social construction of gender and body image. They composed
collages of print media images of body. Weekly statistics workshops
based on D.S. Moore’s Statistics: concepts and controversies (1997) emphasized
conceptual understanding of methods to enable students to critically examine
research articles from psychological journals and popular media reports on
health issues. The final statistics assignment involved identifying
the variables and assessing the reliability of a research article on dental
anxiety. In addition to these activities, students read and discussed
the following in seminar:
Freud, S. (1977). Inhibitions, symptoms, and anxiety.
Jung, C. (1990). The undiscovered self.
Kunz, D., ed. (1995). Spiritual healing.
Halprin, A. (1989). “Three decades of transformative dance: an interview
by Nancy Stark Smith.”
The third objective was to raise personal awareness of habits of body, mind,
and soul through experiential and reflective work. Faculty and guests
led weekly movement workshops introducing Laban techniques, yoga, trance
dancing, Latin and African American dance, Pilates exercises, and integrative
drawing and writing exercises. Students completed weekly movement assignments
and reflected on A. Olsen’s Body stories (1998), a workbook on experiential
Writing for the program consisted of in-class seminar papers on each reading,
four two-page learning summaries, ongoing reflective journaling of personal
history and observations, and a final seven-page integrative essay incorporating
learning from texts, workshops, and autobiographical material from the journals.
Students are evaluated on attendance, collaborative participation, communication
and analytical skills, and demonstration of conceptual understanding.