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September 25, 2006

Six UCSC alumni collaborate on book to honor founding faculty member Bhuwan Joshi

By Jennifer McNulty

In an unusual collaboration, six UCSC alumni have published a book of memories about founding faculty member Bhuwan Joshi, who taught psychology at UCSC from 1965 until his death in 1977.

The book, Voice from the Himalayas, is a compilation of memories, poetry, and original artwork by students, fellow faculty members, and others. It features reflections by several faculty members, including Norman O. Brown, Theodore Sarbin, Brewster Smith, Richard Mather, John Dizikes, and Noel King, as well as writings and artwork by Joshi’s former students and some of Joshi’s own writings.

The book was the inspiration of Kristina Loften (B.A. biology, College Eight, 1977), who is now the graduate program coordinator for the Environmental Studies Department at UCSC. Teaching during the tumultuous 1960s, Joshi had a “universal appeal” that touched students from all backgrounds, she said.

“He instructed us on how one can utilize Western psychology to learn about and explore the mind and its concepts, and then employ Eastern psychology to tame and transcend that mind,” Loften wrote in the introduction to Voice from the Himalayas.

Loften collaborated with five fellow students and Joshi’s widow, Sushila, to produce the book. The authors are donating all proceeds from book sales to two Nepalese schools founded by Joshi more than 50 years ago.

Joshi founded the Siddharta Banasthali Institute and Shanti Nikunj Vidyalaya School, a high school and college in Kathmandu, in the mid-1940s to promote egalitarian principles in education by eliminating discrimination with regard to caste, sex, religion, and ethnicity.

A fundraising event and art show will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Michaelangelo’s Gallery, featuring original artwork from the book, a participatory Zen painting demonstration, Nepalese food and music, readings, as well as screenings of a video of the schools and of Satyajit Ray’s film The Music Room. The gallery is located at 1111 River Street across from the old Salz Tannery. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the event, contact Scott Tenney (B.A. religious studies, Merrill, 1977) at tstenney@hotmail.com or (831) 479-4901.

Other alumni contributors to the book include Rafael Siqueiros (B.A. biology, Oakes College, 1979); Stacy Smith (B.A. psychology, Stevenson, 1972); Kent Halpern (B.A. anthropology and religious studies, Crown, 1977); and Emily La Fargue (B.A., psychology, Cowell, 1970).

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