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Dissertation Title:

Beyond the Edge: A Depth Psychological Study of Numinous Encounters in Performance


Barbara Park

Date, Time & Place:

June 24, 2022 at 10:00 am


This project studies numinous phenomenon in performance to discover new ways to language and understand numinous encounters as ineffable and embodied lived experiences. Felt as “real” or concrete they significantly contribute insight toward potentializing personal and cultural transformation. Intangible, numinous experiences exist on a horizon of mystery in the “in-between-ness” between the known and the unknown. They hold crucial insight into a kind of magnetic knowing that reveals how embodiment influences all our experience. To bring voice to such in-between-ness, this depth psychological qualitative study integrates somatic studies with performance philosophy, performance studies, and embodiment research as it builds on Vagle’s (2018) post-intentional phenomenological methodology. This innovative and open-ended approach claims that reiterative processes and embodied approaches to meaning making are best found through multiple creative lenses. Artistic research, specifically Practice as Research, or PaR, examines the relationship between theory and method from the perspective of studio-based research practices. PaR currently challenges traditional approaches to scholarship and is highlighted as six diverse artist/scholars share insight into their experiences and weave a complex, multi-layered tapestry, confirming that embodied contact with data elicits a type of knowledge in excess of itself. As it problematizes written and spoken language’s capacity to capture and translate the numinous, this study exposes multiple and complex tensions held in the in-between-ness where space and time are altered as the numinous reveals itself through the language of body and psyche.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Kesha Fikes
  • Reader: Dr. Susan Rowland
  • External Reader: Dr. Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca
  • Keywords: Depth Psychology, Somatic Studies, Embodiment, Numinosity, Magnetic Knowing, Post-intentional Phenomenology, Art Informed Inquiry