TITLE: THE PARANORMAL

In this writing course we will examine the techniques of formal analysis by examining popular representations and scientific investigations 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 often mimics, even as it resists, scientific inquiry -- what has popularly been labeled "pseudoscience." For this reason, we will look closely at the pseudoscientific phenomenon of astrology, psychic ability, ghosts and ghost hunting, and finally, we will look briefly at reports of UFO sightings and UFO-related incidents (such as crop circles). 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 scientific research as well as its popular representation via film, television and literature.