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.
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.