“are being made to speak, in the course of which”

Thinking has come to life again; the cultural treasures of the past, believed to be dead, are being made to speak, in the course of which it turns out that they purpose things altogether different from the familiar, worn-out trivialities they had been presumed to say.

Source: Mark Lilla: The Reckless Mind, p. 12.

I am puzzled by the relative clause in the above sentence (“in the course of which it turns out”). Is it in English common that the relative sentence modifies participle which I think is this case?

Answer

Yes: non-restrictive relatives allow a wider range of antecedents than restrictive ones, including participial clauses.

But I’d say that “which” refers not just to the participial clause, but to the whole main clause (in bold):

Thinking has come to life again; the cultural treasures of the past, believed to be dead, are being made to speak, in the course of which it turns out that they purpose things altogether different from the familiar, worn-out trivialities they had been presumed to say.

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