Rafael_NarvaezWinona State University Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rafael Narváez, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which will allow him to prepare a course that traces the evolution of the body and soul rhetoric in the West.

This course will examine how evolving theories and misconceptions about body and soul have marked Western civilization, creating a constellation of “commonsensical” beliefs about human nature. For example, beliefs about the mortality of the body and the immortality of the soul, notions about heaven and earth, sin and salvation, related moral norms, sexual taboos, etc.

WSU students who take this NEH-sponsored course will have the opportunity to study some of the most important texts in the Western canon, including works in the human sciences, philosophy, literature, and poetry. Music and visual arts are also an integral part of the course, and these units will be complemented with a visit to The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. At the end of the semester, students will present class projects at a symposium open to the Winona community. The course will be open to all WSU students and will be first offered in the fall of 2017.

Narváez’s research involves the intersections of sociology, psychology and biology, as well as the sociology of the body. This grant will allow him to expand his research and writing into the humanities, to better understand how the Western tradition has imagined the body/soul relationship, and with what consequences for our culture.

For more information contact Rafael Narváez at RNarvaez@winona.edu.

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Brett Burger

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