THE PARANORMAL: EXPLORING THE BOUNDARIES OF SCIENCE

In this writing course, we will examine the techniques of formal analysis by investigating popular representations of the paranormal. While the paranormal is a nearly inexhaustible category of study, this course is primarily concerned with the paranormal as a field of study that mimics, even as it resists, scientific inquiry- -what has popularly be labeled "pseudoscience." For this reason, we will look closely at the pseudoscientific phenomena of astrology, psychic ability, ghosts, and ghost hunting, and finally we will look briefly at reports of UFO sightings and abduction stories. The course in this way will challenge each student to analyze, in writing and class discussion, the methods by which researchers on both sides, whether they be debunkers or believers, have approached the problem of the paranormal, and we will start by looking at first hand accounts of that research as well as its popular representation via film, television, and of course literature.