Thursday, June 13, 2024

Planning Ahead: "Now for Something Completely Different"

Yes, Iceland was just as cold as it looks!
I am just back home this week from a wonderful 10-day adventure in Iceland - and am ready to give some attention to a new lecture series.  

If you have been attending any of my classes over the years, then you are accustomed to my focusing on history with contemporary social, political and even religious implications.  Those series can get to be a bit heavy–like my recent Rise and Fall of the Not-So-Invisible Empire on America’s history of White supremacy, racism and the Ku Klux Klan. That series was a great event.  Lots of information.  But it certainly was intense.  So, I am taking a break from "heavy" and planning to do something a little more fun.

I have proposed an online lecture series in the SCU-East Bay OLLI program for the fall that takes me back to my academic roots in psychology and my interest in literature and culture. 

Enchantments:  The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Little Red Riding Hood by Jessie Willcox Smith
(1911) from the book 
A Child's Book of Stories
Contemporary Americans have simultaneously watered down fairy tales with Disney cuteness and eschewed them as stories too frightening for young children. But fairy tales did not originate as stories for children. They were stories told by adults for adults, the chief form of wintertime entertainment in pre-literate agricultural communities.

Those who study myths, dreams and the symbolic nature of human psychology believe that the telling—and hearing— of stories like fairy tales is not a passive experience, that there is a powerful dynamic that takes place in the telling and listening to stories. Some cultures even trained their physicians in the art of storytelling so that they could use stories as tools for psychic and emotional healing and to help a patient become a more integrated person. (Scheherazade's storytelling in One Thousand and One Nights is not simply a ploy to save her life; her storytelling is therapeutic.)

My Plans for the Series

I presented this series several years ago and am now updating it.  My plan is to look at the nature and history of fairy tales and the theories of psychological interpretation—with a presentation on the basics of Freudian and Jungian. psychology.  We will explore both some well-known and lesser-known fairy tales to see what they can tell us about ourselves and our journey towards integration, wholeness, and healthy human development.  

Hope to see you in the fall!  I'll keep you posted on scheduling.  In the meanwhile, check out the great selection of OLLI lectures available during the Spring/Summer 2024 Term!




Planning Ahead: "Now for Something Completely Different"

Yes, Iceland was just as cold as it looks! I am just back home this week from a wonderful 10-day adventure in Iceland - and am ready to give...