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NCS 05 — Sacred Mountains of the World: The Heights of Inspiration

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jan 23—Mar 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 25
Unit: 1
Tuition: $385
Instructor(s): Ed Bernbaum
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on February 20
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 23—Mar 6
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 25
1 Unit
Ed Bernbaum
Please Note: No class on February 20
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
As the tallest and most dramatic features of the landscape, mountains are naturally associated with the highest and most central values and aspirations of people throughout the world. Remote Mount Kailash in Tibet directs the minds of millions of Hindus and Buddhists toward the utmost attainment of spiritual liberation. Mount Sinai occupies a special place in the Bible as the awe-inspiring site where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the basis of law and ethics in Western civilization. The Hopi and Navajo revere the San Francisco Peaks, in Arizona, as a sacred source of water and healing on which their communi-ties and lives depend.

Views of mountains as places of inspiration and renewal helped give rise to the environmental move-ment and continue to play a role in galvanizing support for parks and protected areas such as Yosemite and Mount Rainier. Drawing on the instructor’s personal experiences, research, and work with US national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the course will explore the key role of mountains in mythology, religion, literature, history, and art of cultures around the world. The course also delves into the spiritual dimensions of mountaineering and highlights implications for climate change and environmental conservation. The conclusion focuses on the relevance of sacred mountains in everyday life.

Co-Chair, IUCN Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas; Senior Fellow, Instituto de Montaña

Ed Bernbaum is a mountaineer and scholar of comparative religion and mythology whose work focuses on the relationship between culture and nature. His book Sacred Mountains of the World received the Commonwealth Club of California’s gold medal for nonfiction and was the basis for an exhibit of his photographs at the Smithsonian Institution. Bernbaum received a PhD in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Edwin Bernbaum, Sacred Mountains of the World, 2nd edition (ISBN 978-1108819817)