Reality and Dreams: Seeing the Inner and the Outer

Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 quarters

Taught by

visual arts, art history, photography
physics, plant physiology


Students must have college-level skills in reading, writing, and pursuing research topics, as well as a strong interest in the experiential study of the relationships between our creative endeavors, our inner experiences, and our beliefs. Effort, self-motivation, and commitment will be essential for succeeding in this rigorous program.

From the Old Testament to Sigmund Freud, from August Kekulé’s vision of the ouroboros to Salvador Dali’s melting clocks, dreams have been an integral part of both an individual’s well-being and the creative spirit. Dreams have manifested themselves as clues to personal problems, solutions to stubborn intellectual conundrums, and even as works of art. What role do they play in our own inner and outer lives?

This two-quarter, interdisciplinary program will provide an opportunity for students who are interested in doing intensive work in the areas of dreams and photography to cultivate awareness of the interplay of inner and outer experience through challenging readings, creative work, and self-reflection. We will examine our beliefs about the nature of reality as manifest in the expressive arts and physical reality from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints including photography, psychology, literature, and biology.

During fall quarter, we will study the basics of black-and-white photography as a means of learning how to see and appreciate the world around us. We’ll also learn how we (and others throughout history) have used dreams to “see” our inner world. We’ll use Greek literature to examine the emotional and behavioral interactions that we call “love” and try to understand the concept of “light” from both a physical and philosophical perspective. During winter quarter, we’ll continue and deepen our study and use of photography and dreams and include a study of relevant topics in biology such as neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and the physiology of the eye. We’ll also examine alternative areas of research such as lucid dreaming and paranormal phenomena, as well as the approach of the Surrealists to examining the nature of reality through art and dreams. Students will have the opportunity to give a presentation to their peers using the skills learned during the two quarters.

This is an experiential and rigorous full-time program in which students will be expected to participate in all program activities and document 48 hours of program-related work per week.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

photography, consciousness studies, philosophy, and psychology.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$160 per quarter for museum entrance fees and photographic supplies.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 48


Signature Required

Students must demonstrate college-level writing skills. An online assessment will be available by the Academic Fair, May 13, 2015.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10198
So - Sr (16 credits): 10199

Go to to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Students must demonstrate college-level writing skills. An assessment will be available from either faculty member.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20096
So - Sr (16 credits): 20097

Go to to register for this program.

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