Communicating with the dead: the faith and science of spiritualism

Course Dates: 06/03/21 - 20/03/21
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Online
Tutors:

Since Victorian times Spiritualists, from eminent scholars to ardent Christians, have been convinced that we can talk to the dead. Explore some of the scientific techniques and religious arguments that have been used to test the reality of the spirit world.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.

Description

What is the course about?

Since Victorian times Spiritualists, from eminent scholars to ardent Christians, have been convinced that we can talk to the dead. Explore some of the scientific techniques and religious arguments that have been used to test the reality of the spirit world. The course will also survey the historical background to Spiritualism in England and America.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will survey the historical development of spiritualism in England and America—from the first tentative table rappings used to try and communicate with spirits at séances in the 1850s, to the spirit photography and automatic writing popular later on in the Victorian period. We will examine various forms of ‘psychical research’ carried out by scientists working to prove or disprove the existence of a spirit world as well as the ability of the mind to communicate with the inhabitants of that world via telepathy or clairvoyance. This history will enable us to explore the beliefs and practices that continue to inform spiritualists to this day as they blend religion and science, freely adapting older religious ideas to the societal and intellectual demands of secularism and technological development.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand the fascinating history of claims to spirit communication
- Be familiar with the essential beliefs of spiritualism
- Gain an expanded understanding of the many interactions between religion and science in Anglo-American culture.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is introductory. As such, no particular previous knowledge is required. A reasonable command of English will be helpful.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This course will alternate between lecture sessions, group discussion, video/image presentation, and readings of short texts. There will be no work outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs, but please bring an open mind, respect for opinions different than your own, and paper and pen.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Check City Lit's website for full listing of courses in religion and belief.

Reviews
Tutor Biographies
Aren Roukema

Aren Roukema is a PhD researcher at Birkbeck, University of London, specialising in research of esoteric movements like Spiritualism, Theosophy, Magic, and Kabbalah, with particular focus on the literary influences of these tradititions. He recently published a monograph detailing some of the interactions between esotericism and literature called "Esotericism and Narrative: The Occult Fiction of Charles Williams" (Brill, 2018), and has also published articles on these subjects in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a chapter in "The Occult Imagination in Britain: 1875-1947" (Routledge, 2018), called “Naturalists in Ghost Land: Victorian Occultism and Science Fiction.” Aren is Editor of Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism, and founder of the London Science Fiction Research Community. For the last five years Aren has been teaching the odd course on esoteric or alternative religious movements at City Lit. He very much enjoys the diversity and student enthusiasm he's encountered at the college.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HRS25

Sat, day, 06 Mar - 20 Mar '21

Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Full fee: £69.00
Senior fee: £55.00
Concession: £42.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions? humanities@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.