I have been a teacher all my professional life. I have taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder since 1983. Although I never thought that I would teach movement I started teaching dancing somewhere around 2002. On this page I want to share some of my teaching materials and experiences.
“Gesture Posture Prosthesis: Religious Studies in the Digital Age” Lecture Stanford University spring 2013. PDF
This is really a source paper for a broad and important discussion of research methods and pedagogy not only for religious studies but also the humanities and liberal arts education. Basically the situation is that while the world is rapidly changing at accelerating speeds enacted by our creation and use of electronic digital devices, the research methods and pedagogies of the humanities remain much as they have been for the past century and more. This paper offers a variety of perspectives on how academics can evaluate the situation and determine appropriate action.
Clearly one of the most important of my teaching experiences began in 1996, well actually it started a bit earlier. I had for several years taught the “theory and method” course to incoming graduate students in the Religious Studies Department. I found the group that I taught amazingly talented and engaging, receptive and eager. Late one spring a group from that class and several other students I knew approached me to ask about how they might write in ways more appropriate to their interests than the standard academic conventions.They were reading a great deal about how meaning in created in the reading as much as the writing. They wanted to experiment with new styles, new forms. We met to discuss our options and I suggested they consider the Internet medium since interactivity and a much fuller ranges of sensory experiences was possible there. None of us had any experience at all with how to write something for this medium much less how technically to do it. However, by the end of that meeting we agreed to start writing in the traditional paper-based form, but to immediately launch an effort to start a student written journal on the Internet.
By spring of 1997 we had approved a three-hour course students could take to work on the project. We needed computers and I found that we could get computers “down-streamed” (you know what that means) from the science folks across campus. We eventually got a very fun room in the top floor of the old geology building.
Students became totally obsessed with this project. Couches appeared in their space as did refrigerators and other conveniences. They began to learn software and to try out ideas.We met several times a week in the most engaging and critically sharp and completely honest meetings I have ever attended.
At first I went along for the ride attending all the meetings and putting in my two cents, learning more than teaching. I made every effort to avoid being the sponsoring guiding controlling faculty member preferring to be colleagues with these students. Eventually they insisted that I learn the techniques of producing materials for the Internet which I did.
The project lasted as long as that group of students was present, about three years. During the first year or so a few new students integrated themselves into the group, but then the group became too personally powerful and too knowledgeable of both their subjects as well as the technology and the philosophy of the technology for new students to be able to enter the group. They made presentations to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, to the Vice President for IT, and at a national meeting of the American Academy of Religion. When they graduated, interestingly, I recall that eight of them found employment in computer and Internet based positions. With no new students interested in continuing the project, we decided to end it. The website includes the comments of those involved as to what it had meant to them. As you look at the journal, remember that this was launched in 1996 and ended in 1999.
“Brain Body Movement” spring 2009 PDF
“Dancing Culture Religion” spring 2013 PDF
“Religion and Senses” spring 2013 PDF
“Advanced Writing in Religious Studies” fall 2013 PDF
“Gesture and Religion” PDF