480: RESTORATIVE SOLITUDE: MEANING IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Winter 2009—Course Syllabus
Dr. Mara Adelman
Department of Communication
Thursday evenings: 6:00---10:00
firstname.lastname@example.org/ Phone: 398-4316
Solitude, o’solitude—where art thou o’solitude?
The 21st century may well be characterized as the age of “solitude loss”. We are wired as never before. Technological advances propel 24/7 engagement, responsiveness and feedback; but when can we find the solitude to reflect, to process information into ideas or even into inspiration? This interdisciplinary course examines the topic of restorative solitude and its meaning for everyday life. Prior works indicate that our human condition is a tension between connection with others and a profound need for solitude; for engagement and disengagement.
We will explore this tension and expand on the significance of solitude for complementing our interpersonal relationships and for enhancing the quality of our communication. Readings and presentations will also cover such topics as childhood preferences for time alone, the relationship of solitude to technology and the creative process, its significance for spirituality, and the dark side of solitude. The course will comprise of lectures, guest presentations, small-group discussions, solitude exercises, contemplative studies, and independent projects.
The content and process of this course are mutually important in achieving these goals. Curriculum includes cognitive, affective and experiential forms of learning; Curriculum materials will include theory and research from both the social science and humanities, in addition to visual (e.g. films, art forms) and literary works that illuminate understandings critical to understanding the role of restorative solitude in our lives. This is a 480 level course, as such students will be expected to engage in independent scholarship and high quality writing.
Participation: 30% (Oral and Written)
Solitude Adventure 15% (3 pages)
Solitude Interviews 15% (4 pages)
Class paper/project 40%
GRADING: Grades are calculated on a percentage basis
94-100 =A 77-79 =C+ 60-63 =D-
90-94 =A- 74-76 =C
87-89 =B+ 70-73 =C-
84-86 =B 67-69 =D+
80-83 =B- 64-66 =D
PARTICIPATION includes 1) submitting weekly, informal, brief writing assignments (usually 1-2 pages), 2) attendance & class discussion (in the large class---posing questions, highlighting key points, taking risks in answering questions, providing examples, etc.) and 3) supporting colleagues (in small groups--active preparation/ participation in small groups, supportive feedback, challenging questions, etc.). At the end of the course, you will be asked to reflect upon "Your contribution to the quality of this course." Your response will be considered in addition to preceding three criteria. Since this class only meets once a week, more than 1 absence will result in 1 grade lower (minus 10 points), 3 absences = 2 lower grades (minus 20 points), 4 absences = fail this course. If you must miss a class, please contact professor prior to class meeting. All medical reasons need to be accompanied by a doctor’s note.
CLASS POLICIES & GUIDELINES
PARTICIPATION PAPERS: NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED. We use these papers primarily for class discussion, thus late papers obviously cannot be part of this discussion. You must be present for the discussion for these papers to count. Please DO NOT ASK FOR EXCEPTIONS.
CELLPHONES/TEXT MESSAGING/OTHER NON-CLASS RELATED TECHNOLOGY. This is a very unusual class that invites a lot of participation and reflection with colleagues. In order to keep the contemplative spirit of this course and foster collegiality, I would like to request that you not engage in techno-usage until after class is over.
CONTACTING YOUR PROFESSOR: I am available for personal appointments throughout the week days (love lunch!). We also live in a postmodern world where technology allows us perpetual contact with each other. Please use my email (email@example.com) which I check daily and is the most reliable; my office phone (398-4316) in which you can leave a phone message, or if urgent--please call my home (324-8042) where you can also leave a message (Hours 10am-9:00pm).
PERSONAL ISSUES: If you have, or think you may have, a disability (including an ‘invisible disability’ such as a learning disability, a chronic health problem, or a mental health condition) that interferes with your performance as a student in this class please let me know. I encouraged you to arrange support services and/or accommodations through Disabilities Services staff in the Learning Center, Loyola 100, (206) 296-5740. Disability-based adjustments to course expectations can be arranged only through this process as dictated by SU policy.
COURSE TEXTBOOKS (available at bookstore):
KOCH, Solitude; Barbour, The Value of Solitude; Andrews, Slow is Beautiful. Course readings.
January 8 INTRODUCTION: Why Solitude?
• Dialectic Perspective: Engagement and Disengagement
• Generating Discussion Questions
• Contemplative Practices: Sitting Meditation
• READINGS: Due January 15th
• Koch, please read the Prologue, Introduction,and pages 13-152
• Barbour: 20th Century Varieties of Solitary Experience pp. 129—159; Conclusion: The Value of Solitude
• ASSIGNMENT #1: Proposal for Final Project—Due January 15
• ASSIGNMENT #2: Reflections on course and writings—Due January 15
January 15 DEFINITIONS/FEATURES/OUTCOMES OF SOLITUDE
Contemplative Practices—Walking Meditation
Thich Nah Han (UTUBE) Meditation & Everyday Life
ASSIGNMENT #3: MEDIA LOGS—Due Jan. 22
ASSIGNMENT #4: RESEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SUMMARY—Due Jan. 22nd
ASSIGNMENT: #5: DAVID LEVY ARTICLE—LIFE INTERRUPTED—Jan. 22nd
January 22 TECHNOLOGICAL SATURATION
Discuss: Media Logs/Levy Article/Research
Read for January 29th: DISTRACTED (Chapters 1-4)
ASSIGNMENT #6: MEDIA DEPRIVATION LOGS – Due Jan. 29th
ASSIGNMENT #7: SOLITUDE ADVENTURE PROPOSAL - Due January 29
January 29th NO TIME TO THINK/MEDIA LIBERATION
Reading: Barbour. Thoreau at Walden 105—128 (Due Feb. 5)
Levy Article: No Time to Think/UTUBE Presentation
Linda Stone: Continuous Partial Attention/homepage
Discuss: Media Deprivation Week
Solitude Adventure Proposals
Questions on Solitude and Loneliness
ASSIGNMENT #8: Annotated Bibliography (Due Feb. 5)
ASSIGNMENT #9: PEW REPORTS (Due Feb. 5)
Feb. 5th AMERICAN VERSIONS—Thoreau
Speaker: English Dept. Professor Dan Doyle
Discuss: Pew Reports
Post Annotated Bibliography
READING: Slow is Beautiful (due Feb. 12)
Readings & Discussion: Come prepared next week with 2 questions for Dr. Andrews and 3 reactions to her book (please put the questions and reactions on 1 page)
ASSIGNMENT #10: Joie De Vivre (Due February 12)
FEBUARY 12: CONSUMPTION/SIMPLICITY
FILM: Affluenza/Overspent American
SPEAKER: Cecile Andrews, Author of Slow is Beautiful
READUBGS: (Due Feb. 19)
Koch, Chapter 13, “Women and Solitude”
Women and Solitude: Introduction/Chapter
Long and Averill: Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone
Davies: Solitude and Loneliness: An Integrative Model
Gotesky: Aloneness, Loneliness, Isolation, Solitude
ASSIGNMENT #11: Reflections on Solitude and Gender (Due Feb. 19)
ASSIGNMENT #12: Reflections on Involuntary Solitude
Feb. 19 CREATIVE SPIRIT/INVOLUNTARY SOLITUDE
“Near Relations” of Solitude: Loneliness, Social isolation,
Discuss Reflections on Solitude & Gender/Involuntary Solitude
LOUV: Nature Deficit Disorder
Concept of “Flow” – Ted Talk by Csikszentmihalyi
READINGS (due Feb. 26):
Barbour’s Chapter on Merton
Chapter on Christian Solitude
ASSIGNMENT #13: Two-page synopsis of final project--Due Feb. 26
Feb. 26 FAITH/JESUIT ETHOS
Speaker & Tour of St. Ignatius Chapel: Father Jerry Cobb
Film: Tomas Merton
Into the Great Silence (Home Viewing)
March 5 SOLO ADVENTURES – Dinner at Professor Adelman’s Home
March 12 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS