August 31, 2021 Notes from Instructor
This syllabus is under construction. Everything you need for the first weeks of the course, and numerous links describing much of the course content and assignments, are available. (I am still designing the assignments for D.Min. students.) If you find there are materials you need that are not accessible to you in this moment, please let me know.
Please note there is an informal essay due on the first day of the quarter.
Please fill out your personal profile bios in CANVAS, including the pronouns you use and the degree program you are in. Especially early on they help me to know you and remember who you are. Including a profile photo, even if it is not a photo of your face, also helps me to keep track of you in the discussions. My bio is in the Instructor Information link below.
I will opening up the rest of the quarter's materials over the next 1-2 weeks. If you need any clarifications, please let me know.
Here's a short orientation video to get you started with the course: https://youtu.be/k47a4b_rr4g
This course investigates primarily modern sources for understanding the relationship between mysticism and social activism, exploring the impulse and resistance to deep structural transformation at the level of the human individual and collective, institutional contexts. Considering examples of (primarily) modern mystics, the course engages topics and practices of mysticism and activism in their shared dimensions of contemplation, transformation, and social action. The course places historical and contemporary mystic-activists, as well as the student as mystic-activist, in the context of their individual and community identity in relation to systems of power, oppression and privilege.
To see how this course meets the requirements of the D.Min. program visit this LINK.
D.Min. Students please be aware you have extra required materials. See below.
D.Min. extra required reading:
1) General Participation: Deep learning is not about receiving information from expert sources; it is about students asking questions and seeking to understand from the materials and all participants. In this class, every participant is a teacher and a learner. I expect students will:
When you evaluate your own learning and accomplishments in this course (see Self Evaluation and Grading Procedures), you must consider each of these six elements in your initial and final evaluation documents.
Here are a few comments regarding important general requirements for the course. There is also more information in the Learning Agreement assignment.
2) Discussion Forums:
This course will rely heavily on online discussions. In an online course, this is where the class primarily takes place. It is a way to share ideas, ask questions, and deepen our understanding of course concepts. Generally, I will post numerous questions related to the week’s course materials. By no means are you expected to answer all of them. Respond to the ones that resonate, pique your interest, compel you or bother you the most. My expectation is that you will participate in all discussion threads as often and as well as you are able.
You will be judging yourself on how well you participate in the online Discussions through the establishment and implementation of your own Learning Agreement. That being said, here are some of my hopes and expectations for your online participation:
Every week, I request that you post your first, original response to the questions by Wednesday night at midnight MST. I encourage you to post earlier than that. Even if you are not ready to post your own original answers to the questions early in the week, I nonetheless encourage you to log in to the course website early on, read your classmates' ideas who have posted early, and respond to them.
Being present in an online format requires you to make your presence known. Making your presence known means signing into the course multiple times per week. While you will be evaluating your own participation in the course and discussions, as a general rubric I suggest signing in to the class at least three different times per week, posting original ideas and responding to others’ posts.
3) Reflections on Being a Mystic-Activist (there are three of these):
There are different length and content requirements for each of these critical reflections, which you should check under the assignments links for each one.
Each of these reflections relate, in part, to your own development and establishment of a mystic-activist practice, which is something only you will be able to judge.
While the three reflections are of a personal-reflective nature, all of them should be critical and substantive. All of them should make reference to course materials. Upload these reflections as documents in the appropriate critical reflection assignment link. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to use more than mere words to express your thoughts in a critical manner. In other words, you may use digital images, poetry, music and other means to engage the topics I assign. Whenever you have the inclination to deviate from what feels like the norm of the assignment, feel free to follow that inclination, check in with me, and know that creativity of all kinds is always welcomed by me.
4) Commitment to Mystic/Contemplative-Activist Practices
You will be considering your own commitments, whatever they may be, to mystic and activist practice, or at least trying to understand what these things are, whether or not you practice any forms of mysticism or activism. These practices are further delineated elsewhere.
5) Zoom Meetings (there are two of these)
Before the course begins, I will provide a video here to describe more what I am thinking about with this requirement.
This is a difficult thing to require, or to describe what I would like you to do. But I think it is important. If you are enrolled in this class, then you somehow have an interest, if not a commitment to, mysticism or contemplative something, and activism. How deep or active these commitments are is not that important. What is important is, during the course, you not consider the content of the course - mysticism & activism - as a complete and entire abstraction. That you have some kind of lived information to base your reflections upon. Of course, all of our life experiences are different. So I am going to ask you to commit to some kind of weekly practice/s of contemplation. And for you to then consider and reflect upon, what this practice has to do with your engagement in the world. With your action in the world, which is a more general way of saying "activism," which is a word that a lot of people have all kinds of biases and baggage about. By saying "mystic-activist practice," you don't need to get keyed up that you do not (yet) consider yourself either a mystic or an activist, whatever pre-conceived notions of that you have for yourself or of yourself.
So if you are reading this earlier, well before the course, begin to contemplate what that kind of commitment might look like for you.
A NOTE in August 2021: I am waiting to see what the enrollment is for this class. With the addition of D.Min. students, it is likely to be overenrolled. I will wait to see the numbers to decide if I will use smaller groups for weekly discussions. Nonetheless, the rest of this information is relevant.
This course will rely heavily on online discussions. In an online course, this is where the class primarily takes place. It is a way to share ideas, ask questions, and deepen our understanding of course concepts and the practices of mysticism and activism. Generally, I will post numerous questions related to the week’s course materials. By no means are you expected to answer all of them. Respond to the ones that resonate, pique your interest, compel you or bother you the most.
You are going to be grading yourself in this course. My expectation is that you will participate in all discussion threads as often and as well as you are able. Here are some of my hopes and expectations for your online participation:
Every week, I request that you post your first, original response to the questions by the end of Wednesday night at midnight MST. I encourage you to post earlier than that. Even if you are not ready to post your own original answers to the questions early in the week, I nonetheless encourage you to log in to the course website early on, read your classmates' ideas who have posted early, and respond to them.
Most of the student-student and student-teacher interaction takes place online in discussions. Being present in an online format requires you to make your presence known. Making your presence known means signing into the course multiple times per week. While you will be evaluating your own participation in the course and discussions, as a general rubric I suggest signing in to the class at least three different times per week, posting original ideas and responding to others’ posts at least four times.
Participation in discussions should be completed within the week assigned. Each week, the discussions will start on Monday and last through Sunday night. This allows us all to focus on the same issues at the same time. There will be some introductory questions to start us off each week, some natural areas during the week to respond to each other. Here are some suggestions regarding posting in the discussion boards:
To-Do Date: Sep 13 at 11:59pm
The To-Do dates I put on here is simply to remind you to sign up for the Zoom meetings. There is nothing required of you otherwise in regards to the Zoom meetings.
There are two required Zoom Meetings in the fall quarter, Week 2 and Week 8. I offer you two options in hopes that you can accommodate your schedule ahead of time.
Please add your name below the time slot that you plan to attend. To do this, click "Edit" in the top right corner, add your name to the list of names (you'll see my name there first), then don't forget to SAVE!
All listed times are Mountain Time. Please make the necessary adjustment to your time zone.
Prior to each Zoom Meeting, I will send out a meeting invitation by announcement to remind you and share the link.
Week 2 Choose a Time
During this first meeting of the fall quarter, we will spend some time getting to know one another and checking in about the first week's course materials, as well as our contemplative-activist practices. To give you a framework for thinking about your own contemplative, mystic-activist practices, take a look at the following "Tree of Contemplative Practices," from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 23 10am MST
NAME: Julie Todd, Katy Cowen, Diane Morris, Cheryl Sherman, Edie Broadbent, Lewis Cox, Peggy Anderson, Cody Anderson, Brigitta Vieyra, Lauren Johnson, Lyse Fedjanie Barronville, Matt Haar Farris, Wesley Moncrief
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 23 6pm MST
NAME: Julie Todd, Angela Molloy, Margaret Mailander, C Blanck, Zephyr McConnell, Ben Sides, Scott Kearney, Kyra Williams-Garcia, Jess Radicic, Brett McCourt, Eddie Easterling, Tonya Hancock, Jesse Van Horne
WEEK 8: Choose a time
Content of Discussion TBA.
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 3 10am MST
NAME: Julie Todd, Katy Cowen, Diane Morris , Cheryl Sherman, Margaret Mailander, Edie Broadbent, Lewis Cox, Tonya Hancock, Peggy Anderson, Cody Anderson, Brigitta Vieyra, Zephyr McConnell, Lyse Fedjanie Barronville, Jess Radicic, Brett McCourt, Matt Haar Farris
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 3 6pm MST
NAME: Julie Todd, Angela Molloy, C Blanck, Ben Sides, Lauren Johnson, Scott Kearney, Wesley Moncrief, Kyra Williams-Garcia, Jesse Van Horne, Eddie Easterling
Listen to this so you can understand why I use the method of learning agreements and self-evaluation for grading (8:31). In this video I mention a "Mystic Notebook," which was a requirement the last time I taught this course, which is not relevant this time around. https://youtu.be/I5wJJ9NtL_s
LEARNING AGREEMENT: I will provide written feedback on assignments, but all students will evaluate their own work in the course and assign themselves a grade. By the end of the second week you should have a clearer picture of the expectations of this course. The learning agreement is an informal learning contract, a narrative description of your intentions for fulfilling all of the course requirements as they are delineated in the syllabus (see the course requirements page, and the actual written assignment links, for more detailed information on many of these items):
1) general, enthusiastic, prepared participation in the course, including doing the reading to the best of your ability;
2) weekly online discussions;
3) your own commitments, whatever they may be, to mystic and activist practice, or at least trying to understand what these things are, whether or not you practice any forms of mysticism or activism;
4) three personal, critical reflections on mystic and activist practice;
5) two Zoom meetings, please see the link on the home page.
By reading the syllabus and course assignments, you should be able to reflect upon what you will do. Describe how you will evaluate what you have done in each of these areas by the end of the course.
I also encourage you to include in your learning contract personal challenge goals around being a student (time management, more insightful participation in discussions) and reflecting upon what it means to be a mystic-activist in this historical moment, and in your life, if that is relevant. If you would like to state some kind of spiritual practices or disciplines you want to try to establish or deepen for yourself in relation to the development of mystical experience, then you are also welcome to do that as a matter of interest and accountability for yourself.
This document will essentially serve as a learning agreement between you and me, and with yourself. This learning contract can be as long or as short as you wish in order to communicate your intentions. You may not be completely sure of what you will do for all of your project/reflections, but you can indicate where you are leaning. At the end of this narrative, please tell me what grade you intend to achieve.
By the last day of the quarter, and making reference to this first learning agreement, evaluate in writing how you think did in achieving your stated objectives and goals throughout the quarter, and whether or not you achieved the grade you anticipated. At the end of this reflection, you must give yourself a final grade.
As the instructor, I am responsible for assigning final grades. In almost all cases, I will assign the grade you give yourself. However, if you wildly overrate or underrate your work, we will enter into negotiations about the final grade.
Communications Policy: I will log on to the classroom most days. The discussion forum is generally the best place to ask most questions. If there is a question about class requirements or other questions that do not fit into a weekly discussion, I encourage you to use the internal Canvas communication system. If you need to contact me on an individual basis, please email me directly and I will try to reply within 24 hours. If you would like to arrange to communicate by Zoom or phone, please email me directly to set up an appointment.
If you need technical support for anything related to your laptop or device, how CANVAS works, how to do live video conferencing, you should contact the IT helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iliff's Policies & Services
Julie Todd, Ph.D.
John Wesley Iliff Senior Lecturer in Justice and Peace Studies
Dr. Julie Todd is a scholar-activist living in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from University of Denver-Iliff School of Theology Joint Program in Religious and Theological Studies. As John Wesley Iliff Senior Lecturer in Justice & Peace Studies, she teaches all of her courses in online and hybrid formats, and primarily teaches courses in the area of justice and peace. Her scholarship focuses on social change theory and praxis, violence and (non)violence, and matters of privilege, oppression and solidarity across axes of difference.
She is a published essayist and poet on matters of justice-seeking and the spiritual life. In 2019, she released a book of her own personal writings called 50: thorns & blossoms (Links to an external site.). In 2020, she released a self-published rewrite of her dissertation called Struggling with (Non)violence (Links to an external site.).
She is also a trained herbalist and aromatherapist, working with other healers in Lawrence, MA on collective healing projects. She is the owner of her own business called JustJulie (Links to an external site.).
|Sep 13, 2021||Mon||Week One Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Sep 14, 2021||Tue||Initial Essay on Being a Mystic Activist||due by 05:59AM|
|Sep 16, 2021||Thu||Week One Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Sep 16, 2021||Thu||ARE YOU A MYSTIC? Introduce yourself||due by 05:59AM|
|Sep 20, 2021||Mon||Week Two Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Sep 23, 2021||Thu||Week Two Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Sep 27, 2021||Mon||Learning Agreement||due by 05:59AM|
|Sep 27, 2021||Mon||Week Three Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Sep 30, 2021||Thu||Week Three Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Oct 04, 2021||Mon||Week Four Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Oct 07, 2021||Thu||Week Four Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Oct 11, 2021||Mon||Week Five Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Oct 14, 2021||Thu||Week Five Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Oct 18, 2021||Mon||Week Six Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Oct 19, 2021||Tue||Critical Reflection on Mystic-Activist Connections||due by 05:59AM|
|Oct 21, 2021||Thu||Week Six Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Oct 25, 2021||Mon||Week Seven Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Oct 28, 2021||Thu||Week Seven Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Nov 01, 2021||Mon||Week Eight Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 07:00AM|
|Nov 04, 2021||Thu||Week Eight Discussion of Materials||due by 05:59AM|
|Nov 08, 2021||Mon||Week Nine Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 08:00AM|
|Nov 11, 2021||Thu||Week Nine Discussion of Materials||due by 06:59AM|
|Nov 15, 2021||Mon||Week Ten Reading, Listening & Viewing Materials||due by 08:00AM|
|Nov 18, 2021||Thu||Week Ten Discussion of Materials||due by 06:59AM|
|Nov 20, 2021||Sat||Final Self-Evaluation||due by 06:59AM|
|Nov 20, 2021||Sat||Final Reflection - Emphasizing the AND||due by 06:59AM|