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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Liberal Studies
Course Number: GLIB 6125
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
  • Cultural Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Mysticism is a strange object of study. It is deeply engaged with theological doctrine, but it always seems to depart from or undermine them – mysticism is as much about heresy as it is about orthodoxy. In its attempts to articulate religious experience in thought, mysticism also borrows heavily from philosophy, but what often results is a strange philosophy of contradictions, confessions, and enigmas. In its will to render “the mystical” discursively, mysticism develops an entire poetics which frequently results in a poetry that works against itself and brushes up against the limits of language. This seminar will examine mysticism primarily in its historical context, through an engagement with the mystical texts, and the strange status both this text and its context have in relation to philosophy, religion, poetry, and politics. While the seminar will focus primarily on mysticism in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it will also invite a comparative perspective (e.g. with Buddhist and Hindu mystic traditions) and an engagement with the unique challenges entailed in such an approach. Texts that may be included in the seminar include those by Augustine, Dionysius the Areopagite, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and others. Particular attention will be paid to the tradition of female mysticism. The seminar will also include selections from Pascal, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, as well as more modern selections from Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Simone Weil, and E.M. Cioran.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Not open to Undergraduate students.