Or at least several hundred. My co-instructor and I wrapped up the latest offering of The History of the Western Occult, HIST 3406, with a discussion about themes, topics and ideas we’ve all been working with over the last three months. It was a lively end to a fun course that teaches a lot of valuable skills for historians all in pursuit of cool topics, obviously!
My favourite part of the wind-up is the use of word clouds (generated over at Wordle). It’s interesting to see what gets emphasized more, or less, in a course. I threw in all the text that had appeared on our course slides – this is the result for my half of the course which runs from antiquity into the seventeenth century. Yes, a very heavy emphasis on magic in my classes. I’m not sure if that’s a weakness or a strength?
This second word cloud comes from my co-instructor, Dr. Dave Leeson, who taught the topics from the seventeenth century to the contemporary era. The contrast and comparison between the two makes for some really intriguing insights both into our different ways of approaching the occult but also into the very different ways that occult history has developed since the Enlightenment era.
Hopefully they’ll also be useful tools to stimulate our students’ minds as they study for the final exam coming next week!