Spring Courses | April 8-June 16, 2019
CUL 330 Gods and Monsters: Understanding our Hopes and Fears
When we think about the most powerful beings in our symbolic worlds, we come immediately to gods and monsters. While each is charged differently (positively and negatively), a closer look reveals that they actually exist on the same continuum. Gods represent our best hopes, while monsters symbolize our greatest fears. In this ten-week study, we examine the psychological and cultural meanings of this symbolizing process. We will draw from the academic disciplines of anthropology, literature, mythology, philosophy, politics, psychology, and sociology as we examine gods and monsters in literature, film, and television. (3 credits)
Sutinder Bola, MA
Sutinder graduated business school in the UK with a BA in Marketing and an MS in Strategic Marketing. After a successful career in marketing and banking, he retrained as a filmmaker and worked as an independent script consultant. His passion for art, religion, mythology and philosophy took him back to grad school at King’s College London from where he graduated with an MA in Christianity & The Arts. Sutinder discovered the UPR in the Fall of 2016 when he attended the very first Tuesday night President’s Class and has been a regular member of our vibrant community ever since. He considers teaching at UPR an enormous privilege and is proud to contribute to its mission of providing profound and practical wisdom for all. He is also a writer and has just made his non-fiction debut with ‘Letters to My Future Children.’ He is currently writing a novel exploring the power of patriarchy over race and sexuality
CUL 452 Sacred Music of the Middle Ages
The sacred music of the Medieval Ages in Western Europe emerged at a time of significant transitions: the decline of the Roman Empire, the dawn of Christianity and the presence of the monastery. At a time of confusion, scarcity and ignorance, religious medieval music played an important role in fulfilling knowledge, artistic expression and spiritual enlightenment. The course will also help explore the roots of plainchant and its development through the centuries. Different methods of musical worship will be examined such as psalms and hymns. We will study the schools of St. Martial and Notre Dame and their innovations. We will revise the advent and philosophical significance of polyphony. Finally, we will touch on the musical transition of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
Juan Hernandez, MM
Juan has an M.M. in Music Performance from California State University Los Angeles. His research areas are in music aesthetics, music history, and classical guitar. He specializes in vocal and instrumental performance of sacred music, and performs classical, Latin American, and popular modern music. He plays with the Orange County Guitar Orchestra under the direction of David Grimes, and participated in the release of the album Toccata. He teaches Medieval Music History and Music Philosophy at UPR, and also serves on the faculty of 88 Keys Music Academy.
PSY 310 Psychology of Dreams
Dreams are a mysterious phenomenon. A third of our lives is spent sleeping and dreaming, yet we still do not fully understand the purpose of dreaming. This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to the study of dreams, drawing from the academic disciplines of psychology, philosophy, phenomenology, and religious studies. We will explore dreaming as a primal source of insight, wisdom, and spiritual experience through the theoretical lenses of Western and Eastern traditions, with an emphasis on the fundamental beliefs and ideologies that helped shape the understanding of the psychology of dreams. We will examine the forms and contents of dreams through an intuitive/psychological lens to understand the hidden multiple meanings their specific shapes and structures reflect.
Janice Gerard, Ph.D.
Janice is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles, a Professor in the Master's Program at UPR, teaching courses in Relational Gestalt and The Psychology of Dreams, Past-President of the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles (GTILA) and has traveled extensively worldwide in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Japan training therapists and students in the practice of Relational Gestalt and her method of Guided Dreamwork. She graduated from The California School of Professional Psychology-Los Angeles in 1986 and became a Certified Gestalt Therapist in 1994. For over 30 years she has led workshops and training groups worldwide and has presented at many International Conferences on the subjects of Transpersonal Psychology, meditation and Relational Gestalt psychotherapy.
“I experience a fundamental joy and excitement for each occasion that I teach at UPR. I have been given the freedom by the administrative staff to teach what I know and what I deeply love about Relational Gestalt therapy and about dreams, the subjects that are closest to my heart. The most important aspect of my teaching experience is the high quality and intelligence of my students. I have never encountered more gifted or profoundly responsive groups. I look forward to each new connection to them.”
PSY 509 Ecopsychology
Ecopsychology is a multidisciplinary research and practice approach for which the psychosocial health of human beings depends on that of the natural world. As ecopsychologist Andy Fisher puts it: We too are nature. In this course we will learn about the origins, assumptions, and practices of ecopsychology; hear about the research supporting its practical arm, ecotherapy; and explore its potential not only as a path of nature wisdom and healing, but as a form of ecospirituality, a contemporary project with ancient roots found in cultures around the world. We will also discuss how ecopsychological learnings can bring wisdom and insight to the multiple global ecological crises now bearing down on us.
Buzzell, L., & Chalquist, C. (Eds.)(2009). Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. Berkeley: Counterpoint. ISBN 978-1578051618. Note: This text gives an introduction to both ecopsychology and its applied form of ecotherapy: ecopsychology for healing.
Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.
Craig is Associate Provost at Pacifica Graduate Institute and co-editor of Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. All of his books focus on the intersection of story, psyche, nature, and dream.
REL 501 World Religions
World Religions: Classification and Comparison
The predominant views in the West regarding the meaning and end of religion and world religions are frequently simplistic and out of touch with the realities on the ground and in actual religious communities with real religious people around the world. This graduate level course provides the opportunity for sustained and critical engagement of the concept of “religion” and “world religions,” including extensive exposure to the hegemonic influence of the West in shaping our modern perceptions. Students will engage the main themes that shape the current discussion and debate about how religions should be thought about, classified, and compared.
1) Brent Nongbri, Before Religion (Yale University Press)
2) Craig Martin, A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion (Equinox)—buy first edition, 2012 (can purchase on Amazon Marketplace for under $10.00)
3) Catherine Bell Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice (Oxford University Press)
4) Donald S. Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La (Chicago University Press)
5) J. Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality (Routledge)
Dr. Todd Penner
Todd has a Ph.D. from Emory University (2000) and has taught in the fields of Religious Studies, Gender and Cultural Studies, and Biblical Studies for the past 20 years. He has an extensive publication record and has given much thought to the contours of fruitful, innovative, and creative research methodology.
"I am interested in exploring both the epistemological foundations of how we know what we know and why it matters and the arrangement of data and its meaning-making properties. I am especially invested in the rearrangement of the coordinates of knowledge and knowledge production as a means to redistribute power and its relations so that we can begin to imagine new ways of being human in an oft inhumane world; a move that lies at the heart of the Humanistic tradition with which I identify. And in this I take my cue from Thomas Pynchon’s famous dictum: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions then they don’t have to worry about the answers.”
REL 514 Art and the Wisdom Tradition
At the dawn of the 20th century, a great change swept through the discourse and subject matter of artists of all kinds. What were the forces and ideas that brought about this change in consciousness? How do these changes continue to manifest in the arts today? This course will examine the broad influence of the wisdom traditions on American and European visual arts from the late 19th-century through the contemporary. Symbolism has long been considered the first “key” to esoteric thought and the course will open with study of Symbolism and symbolic imagery of the western tradition including the lectures of Manly P. Hall. The heart of the course will be an in-depth examination of the impact of the 19th-c Theosophical Movement on modern art and later theories of art from the writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner. This will include a detailed investigation of work and writings by pioneering abstract artists such as af Klint, Kandinsky, and others. The course will conclude with an analysis of contemporary artists and exhibitions influenced by these art histories. Students will be asked to evaluate the historic relationship between the visual arts and the wisdom traditions and develop a theory about its continued evolution today.
Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future ISBN: 0892075430
Michael Carter, MFA
Michael received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2010. His work is an investigation into universals and metaphysical theories of art. Recent exhibitions include the Hansell Gallery, Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles, CA; Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, CA and Bucharest, Romania; JOAN, Los Angeles, CA; Machine Project, Los Angeles, CA; Steve Turner, Los Angeles, CA; and Roberts Projects, Culver City, CA. He has studied Blavatskian theosophy for more than a decade.
REL 525 Theories and Meanings of Myth
This course explores the theories and meanings of mythology in the contemporary world. Using theoretical lenses developed by mythologists such as Joseph Campbell and Roland Barthes, students will explore both world mythologies and contemporary myths to understand the depth and breadth of mythology and its functions. The course culminates with a UNESCO workshop on Myth in the World with students presenting their research on the mythology of a particular group and area.
James Boobar, MFA
James holds an MFA in Fiction with a concentration in Literary Theory from the Stonecoast Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine and a BA in Literary and Philosophical Discourse from the Johnston Center of Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. Besides teaching at UPR, he has taught at the University of Redlands and led a "seminar in the streets" on the life and writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky in St. Petersburg, Russia. He currently lives and writes in Izmir, Turkey.
"I began attending lectures and events at Manly Hall's PRS over 20 years ago, and the lectures and learning have been an influential and inspirational experience of intellectual and spiritual enrichment ever since. Having previously taught Mythologies with current UPR President Dr. Greg Salyer in earlier years, the current UPR course Theories and Meanings of Myth has been a joyful continuation of exciting, uplifting, and edifying explorations into myth, meaning, and wonder in our lives through discussions, sharing, and co-reading with students."
University of Philosophical Research
3910 Los Feliz Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90027
Monday to Friday 10:00-4:00
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00-4:00
Tuesdays 10:00-2:00, 5:00-8:00
Monday to Thursday by appointment
Tuesday evenings 5:00-7:00
Monday to Thursday by appointment
Tuesday evenings 5:00-7:00