Perhaps the greatest certainty that comes with being alive is that we are mortal and someday we will perish. This is our fate. How does this unwanted circumstance influence the way we chart a path from birth to our ultimate end? In earlier times, this question was mostly the domain of religion and the arts. But with the dawning of the modern age and the advent of psychology and highly specialized medical care, we are now able to examine mortality from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to better understand how artists, scientists, and intellectuals have provided imaginative and penetrating insights into the phenomenon all living things have in common.
In this one quarter, 8-credit program, we will examine the particulars of “self” and “narrative” that are true for each life. We will examine the psychology of mortality through empirical research, theoretical perspectives, and clinical practice. We will learn how humans have searched for and found meaning in mortality — through theater, poetry, visual art, and music. Our readings will include plays, such as Angels in America and Wit , and writings by Atul Gwande, Thomas Lynch, and Roy Baumeister. In addition to critical reading and writing, students will demonstrate their interdisciplinary learning through creative projects (inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell) as well as a developmental map of their life. Finally, lectures, seminars, workshops that apply theory to practice, short videos and theatrical films, and guest speakers from oncology, hospice, and the arts, will round out the examination of program themes. The program may include a Seattle or Tacoma field trip to attend a gallery, performance event, or other activity relevant to our program theme. Credit equivalencies will be awarded in psychology and theater.
Course Reference Numbers
Performing arts, psychology, and many humanities and social sciences fields.
$25 for tickets to a live performance event.
Saturdays & Sundays 10 a.m. - 5:00 pm (Apr. 6 & 7 , Apr. 20 & 21 , May 4 & 5 , May 18 & 19 , June 1 & 2)