Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pitching the Sacred: Art and Spirituality

The Prague Summer Program for 2012, hosted by Western Michigan University and the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, has been announced. The theme will be “Pitching the Sacred: Art and Spirituality.”

From Swedenborg to Madame Blavatsky, over the past couple of centuries the fringe of secular western culture has had a spooky aspect. The disassociation of spirituality from organized religion proceeded from Romanticism and its Yankee cousin Transcendentalism, and was a defining feature of Modernism. “New Age” is not just Shirley Maclaine and ancient aliens. It permeates both “low” and “high” culture, and though in the former it is often silly, in the latter it often seems the very essence of what is vital in contemporary art. In this nineteenth year of the Prague Summer Program, we will consider the influence of Eastern thought and traditions on popular and serious culture alike, and how that influence is tinged with an idealization of “primitive” cultures, from pre-Christian European to pre-Columbian.

Courses will include Creative Writing, Literature and Jewish Studies, and Photography, and will run from June 30 to July 27, 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic. The program is be available here.

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