New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)


Fall 2022

Taught By: Simon Critchley and Eugene Thacker

Section: A

CRN: 14128

Credits: 3

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.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (GLIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:46am EST 11/27/2022

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave

Room: L104

Date Range: 8/30/2022 - 12/6/2022