Transformations of the Self (PSY4130.01)

Erin Johnston

This course investigates the phenomenon of self-transformation from a variety of angles and theoretical perspectives. We will examine common forms of self-change (including religious conversions, political transformations and lifestyle changes), how individuals construct stories of personal transformation, as well as popular and academic understandings of if, when and how self-changes occur. In addition, we will interrogate historical and cultural variations in how we understand and approach the self and its development. Students will write three papers. The first (approximately 5 pages) will require students to apply a theoretical perspective we learn in class to an assigned case. For the second (10-12 pages), students will collect and analyze original data on a contemporary or historical example of self-transformation (of their choosing) such as Whittaker Chambers leaving Communism, immigrants becoming American, transsexuals changing sexes, or meat eaters turning to veganism. In the final essay (2-3 pages), students reflect on a self-transformation of their own. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all classes, complete weekly reading and (short) written assignments, and submit three papers. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in class discussions and the quality of their written assignments.

Prerequisites: At least three courses in social science including at least one in anthropology and one in social psychology (preferably PSY2205.01); or three classes in social science and permission of the instructor.
Credits: 4
M 4:10pm - 6:00pm; Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Four Credit, 4000, Psychology, Erin Johnston, and tagged , , , , .