BLS 221: Know Slow: Countering the Culture of Speed


Concentrated, inspired conversation is a widely undervalued source of new knowledge, new feelings, new impulses. –Bodil Jönsson

In this practice-based course, we will begin by examining the culture of speed, acceleration, and immediacy that defines much of modern life. Only then will we turn to the cultural movement known as “Slow.” Engaging in ongoing practices, analyzing case studies, and doing individual assignments, we will inquire into several iterations of Slow: the Slow Food Movement, which began in Italy; Slow Looking, an approach to developing our capacity for discernment; and Slow as manifested in the Arts, Literature, and Contemplative Practices, using case studies of the artist Andy Goldsworthy, contemporary poetry, and the work/life of a tenzo, or chef at a monastery, respectively. After all of that inquiry, we’ll respond to a critique of the Slow movement requiring both analytical skill and critical reflection on our experiences throughout the course. The final integrative project affords us the opportunity to creatively extend the ideas of Slow [and critique of those ideas!] in a form that can be taken forward beyond the bounds of the course.

Note: This course meets the Health and Wellness requirement of MAC