The theme of this course is the exploration of the liminal world--the terrain for which there is evidence but no proof. For example, what do religion, anthropology, philosophy, medicine, psychology, and literature have to say about the seen and the unseen, the threshold between life and death--issues that shoot to the core of human existence and exert the strongest hold on the human spirit? Students explore the validity of claims about belief and unbelief, the world beyond the senses, made by prophets, priests, poets, shamans, scientists, philosophers. As both writers and speakers, students construct persuasive arguments based on an evaluation of sources that either contradict or defend given assumptions about the role of liminality in culture, history, identity, and the natural world. Students begin with texts that insist upon controversial readings, such as Toni Morrison's Beloved, Louis Owen's Wolfsong, and Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits. Affiliate department: English.