Spring 2024 - CA 412W D200

Advanced Seminar in Art and Performance Studies (4)

Dream Cultures

Class Number: 7973

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units; and one of CA (or FPA) 210W (or 210), 316 (or 337), 318 (or 335), or 357W.



Provides an in-depth investigation of a selected theoretical, historical or thematic topic in art and performance studies. This course requires independent research leading to a substantial paper, as well as directed reading preparation for seminars. Topics will vary from term to term. The course may be repeated four times for credit if the topic is different. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Writing.


Are dreams, as Freud suggests, really the “king’s highway” that we can travel to discover the truth of unconscious processes? Or are dreams simply meaningless by-products of neurons randomly firing in the brain? If neither of these, then are dreams messages from the future or missives from another dimension? Perhaps dreams are not things at all, but processes that consolidate memory, motivate artistic work, and leak into waking life? In this seminar, we will explore the art and science of dreaming, not to conclude what dreams are, but to consider what is at stake in paying attention to them. In addition to classical theories of dreams, we will examine contemporary research as well as dreams from non-western cultures. We will also listen to the music of Radiohead and Morton Feldman; view two films—Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon—read S. D. Chrostowska’s The Eyelid; keep nightly dream journals; and, of course, practice lucid dreaming.


  • Participation 15%
  • Weekly reading response 24%
  • Dream journals 11%
  • Artwork + Write up 25%
  • Final research essay 25%



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html