a new (first?) course on 'fear'?

Hello fearless folk!

Greetings from the UK!

I've just been asked to draft an 11 week (x 2 hrs) undergraduate lecture/seminar course on fear/'fear' at the University of Winchester.  That's a thoroughly great opportunity.  Of course, there's a process to go through and it'll all need validating - but that means I've got around 12 months to devise it.

I'd be very keen to hear any suggestions you might have as to key texts, or resources (story, poetry, art, film, on-line stuff).  I've been reading Michael for a number of years and his (and Desh's) work, so I have some leads already. But I thought I'd open it up to members of this emergent fearless movement [editor note: that's Fearlessness Movement] that Michael has set in motion.

Thanks, Michael!


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  • You are welcome Terry. I'm so pleased this course you and your colleagues have worked on for a good year or more is coming slowly into reality. 

    The main starting question I have is "context" for this course. Like myself, anyone of us here could add "things" to possibly put into the course; however, because I am a professional curriculum designer, I have contextual questions that I need clarified (somewhat) before throwing in things to the pot. I want to know what "kind" of pot is the holder for this course on fear? Yes, it is a great opportunity indeed. So, why not focus the context for us here so we can be more targeted as to the things we might suggest. A few weeks ago, I raised this point of context (and bias) in teachers/learners in general (of which, this point is more important when studying the topic of "fear"), this quote is from The Fearology Institute (discussion) blog: 

    I argue, further, a good deal of the cognitive learning (as I'll focus on here, and not on emotional, somatic, moral learning etc.) that children, youth and adults receive is actually fear-based or fear-conditioned learning. Educational psychologists are actually not shy to admit this latter point. They have rationalized and normalized fear-conditioned learning as "useful" for lots of tasks. I won't go into my long critique of this set of assumptions and the kind of Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm and epistemology of functionalism, pragmatism, etc. that lies behind that agenda. My interest, as is the critical thinking and education behind Kincheloe & Steinberg, is to ask serious questions about "cognition" and "cognitive" and how they are conceptualized within larger contextual frames.

    Terry, this means, give us more what the contextual shaping is for the course, what the general objective is, and how much you and your colleagues running the course (and the university) are willing to risk in this course? Such an introductory course can be 'straight' and like a smorgasboard, or it can provide a critical framework (and worldview) perhaps that sets an ontological, epistemological and axiological tone/framing overall for everything--serving as the design template. I realize it is an undergrad course so I'll back off being too complicated in my suggestions re: context. However, you could provide us more here, if you'd like. Also, what kind of students are likely to take this course? How do you imagine (design) the evaluation process for the course? etc. 

    Contextual stuff (more detail, even if preliminary and emergent) would be useful Terry.... 

    -thanks, again for your efforts to get a "first" course like this going at the undergraduate level... although, there are other types of fear courses too, depending on how you shape the course/curricular design ... and, then how you construct the pedagogical framing as well... -M.

  • Congratulations Terry

    I don't have anything to add at the moment, but I will 'keep an eye out' for anything I come across. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

    All the best


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