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Course Descriptions - Fall 2014

The 17-page file at the bottom of this page (LLAIC Courses - Fall 2014.pdf) contains the course schedule, class schedule and full course descriptions. Click on the filename to view, click on the down-arrow to download. Go to the bottom of the page.


MA1 - Laughter: The Best of All Medicines    

Course Leaders: Neil Bernstein and Robert Pill

Day/time:  Monday 9:30-11:00

Course Description: 

We all need humor and laughter in our lives, especially considering the state of the real world and the complications of aging. Do we forget how to chuckle as we grow older? Is it only the young who are able to find humor because they have limited life experience? This course is meant to bring humor back to your life. We will explore many aspects of humor with a focus on getting us to laugh until we cry, not settling for only chuckles or giggles. Caveat: Do not take this course without your doctor’s permission if such laughter might be detrimental to your health. Grouches, grumblers and habitual malcontents are not eligible.

We will examine various categories of humor/comedy and discuss what makes each type funny and unique. We will analyze humor dealing with politics, puns & wordplay, parody/satire, commercials,   gender, one-liners, sarcasm, ethnicity, senior citizens and marriage/children. We will view videos showing how these types of humor were used by some of our favorite comedians during our peak laughing years from the 40’s to the 90’s. As a finale to every session, each member will be asked to tell a joke or anecdote that best characterizes the form of humor being studied. No lectures; our purpose is to facilitate animated discussions of the weekly topics.

The first class will examine how laughter is indeed a factor in good health and well-being. Each subsequent class and the assigned readings will deal with a specific category of humor. The class format will begin with a co-leader facilitated discussion of the readings. We will then show videos of comedians and skits which utilize that form of humor. At the end of the class, we will ask each member to tell a joke, anecdote or story that relates to that category of humor. We anticipate that this course will generate a LLAIC record for laughter.

No textbooks. The Course Leaders will provide readings each week via email. There will be approximately one hour of preparation each week.

Biographies:

Robert Pill retired as a businessman in 2005 and has been a member of Brandeis BOLLI’s Council, Lunch & Learn Committee, and Enhancement Committee. At BOLLI, he led a course on The Broadway Musical – Art Imitates Life, Almost for two semesters. His love of telling jokes and anecdotes prompted him to co-design this course and help add to his repertoire. His friends and wife grew weary of hearing his old jokes again and again (and again). A new wife is not in the offing but new friends are a necessity. 

Neil Bernstein is a graduate of MIT and his primary career was in the management of technology based companies. He recently retired from his practice in financial planning and investment management. He previously led a BOLLI course entitled Baseball: It’s Far More Than Just a Game and co-led (with Harris Traiger) a BOLLI course on The Business of Sports. After a long recovery from the trauma caused by his bris, he ultimately developed a passion for all things humorous.

Bob & Neil have previously led this course three times at BOLLI, once at Regis LLARC and once at TBE’s TBElle program.

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MA2 - The Figaro Saga: a guided tour of Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro    

Course Leader:  Phil Radoff

Day/time:  Monday 9:30-11:00

Course Description:  

The trilogy of Figaro plays by the French writer, Beaumarchais, has given rise to several operas.  We will read the first two Figaro plays, Barber of Seville and Marriage of Figaro, and study the best-known of the operatic adaptations of these plays, one by Rossini and one by Mozart (respectively). The course will be primarily of the lecture-demonstration variety, with written questions provided in advance of each session to guide the students’ reading and listening.  Students will need to have access to translations of the Beaumarchais plays, to recordings of each of the operas, and, ideally, to the accompanying librettos in translation. All of these materials are readily available from on-line vendors and the Minuteman library system. Class members should be prepared to spend about two hours per week on the course.  I plan to devote 4-5 sessions to Barber and 5-6 to Marriage, so regular attendance during each portion of the course is important to get the full impact of the opera covered in that portion. At this time, I do not anticipate requiring any reports, but if someone is keenly interested in a particular topic, I’ll consider allowing a short presentation. I will reserve the first few minutes of each session for questions and brief comments.

Books and other resources:

Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro.  There is a Penguin classic edition available on-line among other inexpensive editions in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Any audio or video recording of Rossini’s opera will do; any version of Mozart’s opera (other than the Peter Sellars’ version of the mid-80s) will do.  Try to find a version with libretto.  Separate libretti are readily available for each of these operas from Amazon and other booksellers.

Biography:

I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and worked as a physicist for a few years before switching to law. I held various legal positions in private practice, with the US Government, and as inside corporate counsel before retiring in 2004 from Raytheon Company.

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MA3 - Vonnegut on the Soapbox    

Day/time:  Monday 9:30-11:00

Course Leader:  Laurel Ann Brody

Be prepared to be exposed to an irreverent voice of social injustice. Vonnegut’s unabashed, opinionated honesty is full of sarcasm, satire and humor.  “All I ever wanted to do was give people the relief of laughing.” He is vehemently antiwar, anti–dishonesty, pro-humanity and pro-common sense. Vonnegut’s fiction is fantasy, which borders on science fiction.   We will listen to him speak to us directly and in story. Topics include national security, war, murder, love, G-d, and perhaps anything is fair game! Beware, he makes strong anti-Republican comments.  If you will be offended, fair warning. In addition to his fiction, Vonnegut was also an artist in the visual arts. We will examine his motive for both of his arts, as well as the arts themselves. Laurel will teach a ten week course in eight sessions, missing the two December dates.

Books:

All books are by Kurt Vonnegut, and any version is acceptable:

A Man Without A Country  

Slaughterhouse Five

Cat’s Cradle  

Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

Biography:

As a high school classroom English teacher and Reading Specialist of 22 years, I have also been the in-service provider for staff in two high schools. In addition, I have been on staff in the graduate school education program at The University of Pennsylvania and the undergraduate teacher preparation curriculum at Swarthmore College. At the University of Philadelphia, I was a writing instructor.  My master’s degree, doctoral work, and post-doctoral work are from Penn.  Upon retirement, I have become involved in both teaching and taking courses at life-long learning programs. My passion is literature of social injustice. 

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MB1 - American Education: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly    

Course Leaders:  Richard and Mary Mansfield

Day/time:  Monday 11:15-12:45

Course Description: 

Are our public elementary and secondary schools effectively preparing students for jobs and citizenship in a global economy?  To address this main question, we will consider some more specific questions: (1) In terms of educational achievement, how do U.S. students compare to students in other industrialized countries? (2) What explains the large gaps in academic achievement that are often found between children from middle- and lower-income families? (3) Are we teaching what we should be teaching? (4) What is the evidence for the effectiveness of testing students and holding their teachers and schools accountable for performance improvement? (5) What are the potential benefits and risks of increasing the choices available to children and their parents through vouchers and charter schools? (6) What is the nature of academic ability, and to what extent does it limit the possibilities for gains in educational achievement? (7) What can we learn from the best practices in the U.S. and in countries with the highest levels of educational achievement? (8) Should college be the goal for most students? (9) What are we doing and what should we be doing to educate the top 15% of our students? (10) What do educational experts recommend for improving education? This class will include occasional short lectures, much facilitated discussion, and frequent use of video clips and film segments. Participants should plan to do about 2  hours of reading and thinking for each class.  If a participant has a particular interest in some educational issue, he/she may volunteer to prepare and deliver a short presentation.

Books:
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of Privatization and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. (Alfred A. Knopf, NY: 2013).

Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality, by Charles Murray.  (Copyright 2008, by Cox & Murray, Inc. First paperback edition). 

Biographies:  

Richard Mansfield got his Ed. D. in human development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and for 10 years taught human development, educational psychology and statistics to teachers and other educational professionals at Temple University. Now an organizational consultant, he specializes in identifying and assessing jobs, leaders and organizations.  He has co-authored three books, including one on scientific creativity. Mary Mansfield, a life-long educator, has worked as a teacher, reading specialist, teacher trainer in inner city schools, career counselor, and college admissions director. As an independent educational consultant, she worked with parents and young people to help them select and apply to schools, colleges and alternative educational programs. She has extensive experience as a presenter, trainer, and workshop developer. She holds a masters degree in the psychology of reading, from Temple University. Richard and Mary are teaching this course for the third time but with largely new readings.

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MB2 - Buddhism: What Might it Mean for Us?    

Course Leader:  Alorie Parkhill

Day/time:  Monday 11:15-12:45

Course Description:

For many Westerners, Buddhism, the faith of one fifth of the world, and a psychological spiritual practice, may seem obscure and mysterious, but also intriguing. We know something of yoga and meditation but not a great deal about the origins or fundamental precepts of the “historic” Buddha—Siddhatta Gotama—born in Northern India around 563 B.C. E. We will look at the mythical and religious background that led to the Axial age, which emphasized compassion and ethical behavior. We will follow Buddha as he discovers his core principles and teaches them for the rest of his life.

We will learn what is known of the life of Buddha, as well as some of his fundamental teachings. As Karen Armstrong says, “The Buddha was trying to find a new way of being human,” and contrary to our Western individualism, he showed “a complete and breathtaking self-abandonment.” How is this possible to achieve in a world of suffering and often despair? Can one find peace, mindfulness, and enlightenment in these times? We will consider these and many other most basic human questions in our brief study. 

No background is necessary for this course, but it is important to attend each session and to keep up with the reading. Individual reports will be encouraged.

Books:

Buddha, by Karen Armstrong (Penguin Books,2001)

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Broadway Books, 1998)  

It’s Easier Than You think, Sylvia Boorstein (Harper One, 1995)

Biography:

I taught English and drama at The Cambridge School of Weston for many years. After retirement, I joined BOLLI and became a Study Group Leader there. I also served on the Curriculum Committee and Council for a number of years. I taught Buddhism at Regis this past spring and am a founding member of LLAIC. Spirituality has always been of deep interest to me, as has teaching in general.

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MB3 - Murder He Said !!!     

Course Leader:  Marc Schwarz

Day/time:  Monday 11:15-12:45

Course Description:

This study group will examine five famous murders (the murder of Abraham Lincoln, the Jack the Ripper murders, the Lizzie Borden murders, the murder of Stanford White and the Boston Strangler murders). Each crime will be discussed in terms of the murder itself and also its consequences.  I will use videos to further illustrate the cases.  While I may lecture at times, I hope that there will be plenty of discussion. I will be using mainly graphic books, and there should be approximately 80 pages of reading per week.

Books:

The Murder of Abraham Lincoln, Rick Geary (NBM Pub., 2005)

Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889, Rick Geary (NBM Pub., 2001)

The Borden Tragedy:  A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, MA, 1892, Rick Geary  (NBM Pub., 1997)

Madison Square Garden Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White, Rick Geary (NBM Pub., 2013)

A Death in Belmont, Sebastian Junger (WW Norton & Co., 2006)

Biography:

I graduated with a BA from Bates College, received an MAT from Harvard and a PhD from UCLA.  I have led a number of study groups at Bolli and Regis.

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MC1 - Contemporary Literary Memoir     

Course Leader:  Bonnie Lass

Day/time:  Monday 2:15-3:45

Course Description:

As defined for the purposes of this course, a literary memoir originates in the personal experience of a literary figure and deals with a portion of his or her life, e.g. childhood, a coming of age or milestone, an illness or crisis, or role in a significant place or era.

Lately, in literature discussion groups I attend, we have had many captivating discussions about authors’ lives and the extent to which their fiction is autobiographical. We can only guess.  (…”Whoever looks for the writer’s thinking in the words and thoughts of his characters is looking in the wrong direction”. . . Philip Roth). So this course proposes to turn to memoirs for a more reliable look at their lives, and in the process engage in well-written, cathartic, and often inspiring reads.  The art and craft of individual works will also be examined.

The course is largely lecture and discussion with one collaborative learning experience. We will all read and discuss one full memoir, several excerpts, and a couple of New Yorker pieces.  In addition, with guidance by the Course Leader, pairs of students will choose a book-length memoir to read and present to the rest of the class. 

The estimated amount of time outside of class is 1- 2 hours a week.  Weekly hours vary, however, depending on the length of the material and how fast it is read.  The greatest number of pages assigned in a week is approximately 100, but most assignments are far less.  Preparing for the class presentation will also vary. Book excerpts will be emailed.

Books and other resources:

Paul Auster, Winter Journal (Holt, 2012)

Excerpts from the books This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989), Old School by Tobias Wolff (Knopf, 2003), The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wall (Scribner, 2006), Lit by Mary Karr (Harper, 2009), Darkness Visible:  A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (Vintage, 1992) and Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco, 2010)

The New Yorker articles “A Widow’s Story:  The last week of a long marriage,” by Joyce Carol Oates (Dec. 13, 2010) and “Now We Are Five:  A big family, at the beach,” by David Sedaris (Oct. 28, 2013)

Biography:

I retired in 2012 from a career in educational publishing and teaching and have been a BOLLI member since the fall of that year, where I’ve been an Study Group Leader and the Membership Committee Co-Chair.  A lifelong bookworm, I majored in literature at Syracuse University, became a reading specialist, and then obtained my Ph.D. at University of Illinois to become a teacher of reading education. Retirement has allowed me to pursue my “vices” that now include wide reading of anything that strikes my fancy!

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MC2 - Surviving the Inquisition: Marranos, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews     

Day/time:  Monday 2:15-3:45

Course Leader:  Sanford Sherizen

Course Description: 

During the 15th century inquisition in the Iberian Peninsula, Jews (and Muslims) were given a life-defining choice: convert to Catholicism or leave Spain or Portugal. Some Jews accepted conversion and adopted their new religion. Some of the converts kept their identity as Jews, secretly practicing Judaism while outwardly being observing Catholics.

Today, a number of their offspring have discovered their backgrounds, and in places such as New Mexico, are exploring their mixed identities.  This course will: explore the history of these Jews and their descendants; we will see how they survived the Inquisition and had an important impact on the Americas, Europe and North Africa

The story of the Marranos (also known as Conversos or Crypto Jews) is one of religious identity, definitions of racial purity, battles between church and state and, in a contemporary context, questions about what have we learned from the Inquisition.

The classes will be interactive with each class starting with a summary of the week's topics and an outline of the major issues to be explored during the rest of the session. Class members will participate by doing the readings, being part of the discussions and, if they wish, presenting a 10 minute discussion on a topic related to our subject matter.   

Biography:

Dr. Sanford Sherizen is a retired cyber security consultant with a background as a sociologist and criminologist.  He has over 30 years of experience consulting on computer crime prevention and privacy protection.

Sherizen has consulted on as well as conducted seminars and executive briefings for senior level managers throughout the United States and internationally.  He served on the Board of Directors of RSA Security, now a division of EMC Corporation and has also served as an independent expert witness.

He has been a professor at a number of universities where he concentrated on crime control, social consequences of technology and the human "peopleware" aspects of cyber crimes.

Outside of his professional activities, he tutors immigrants in English and is a past president of his synagogue in Sudbury. He is a member of the Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Protections Committee) at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a member of the Brandeis University Lifelong Learning Program (BOLLI), he is a Study Group Leader for courses on privacy and other social issues.

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MC3 - Cryptography (or How Come my Credit Card Information isn’t Stolen When I Buy Something on the Internet?)    

Course Leader:  Joel Kamer

Day/time:  Monday 2:15-3:45

Course Description:

We will trace the history of cryptography through its use by Julius Caesar, Mary Queen of Scots, Charles Babbage, the German Enigma machine, Navajo code-talkers, and the British Code School at Bletchley Park, to the current RSA cryptography.  Finally, the mathematics behind some of the methods will be explored.

No prior knowledge of cryptography is required.  However, the course will involve more than just the history of cryptographic methods, as we will learn the techniques used to create messages and to break the codes.  Class members may choose to concentrate on the absorbing history of the topic, or get more involved with the mathematics behind the cryptographic methods.

A few voluntary presentations will be made relating to personalities or topics not delved into in detail in the assigned reading.  The presentations will typically be 5-10 minutes long.

Books and other Resources:

The Code Book, by Simon Singh (Anchor Books, Sept 2000)

”The Adventure of the Dancing Men,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

”The Gold Bug,” Edgar Allen Poe

Biography:

I have a master’s degree in mathematics, and another in actuarial science.  I am a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and retired from John Hancock Financial Services as a Senior Vice President in 2002.  I became interested in cryptography after reading about the mathematics inherent in some of the methods and, with further reading, found the history of the topic engrossing.  I look forward to sharing this history and mathematics with the class.

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TA1 - A Look at the American Economy by Sectors     

Course Leader:  Harriet Janel-Starrett

Day/time:  Thursday 9:30-11:00

Course Description:

This course will examine the American economy by researching and discussing some of the key sectors, including: retail businesses (the mall versus the mail, the superstore); basic industries (steel, chemicals, energy, their impact on other sectors and worldwide demand); technology (the old and new players); and health. Each sector will have a one session introduction, and a one session in-depth discussion of specific companies (old players and new players). Along the way, for those who need the background, we will learn the financial terminology of the "Annual Report,” government sources of information, and how we might look at our own observations. This is NOT a "stockpicker’s" course, but it is an effort to help us be more sophisticated in our analysis of US businesses.  It should also be noted that many folks in the room will have retired from these industries, and they are very welcome to share their insights.

The class will be discussion-based with guideline questions prepared by the course leader. Materials will consist, in the main, of articles, annual reports, and government reports. The course leader will try to limit the assignments to one to two hours a week, but it will be variable depending on the group's experience with financial reporting. There will be an effort to assist beginners with the data/information analysis, as well as a challenge to the more advanced to analyze more deeply. We will share the analytical conclusions. Computer ability in terms of "retrieval of data" is desirable, but not required, although the Course Leader (CL) will distribute all material in printed format. 

Biography:

The CL has graduate degrees in economic history and business. Previous to a business career, she was a college (Northeastern), and high school teacher. Her business career began in international consulting with a major firm, working for businesses worldwide. The thrust of the work involved assisting businesses in deciding what products/markets/ to develop, and what their level of investment should be (strategic planning). Following international consulting, the CL was a director/officer/manager in a number of large companies in the defense, telecommunications, finance, and hospitality industries.

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TA2 - Five Physicists Who Changed the World View     

Course Leader:  Peter Schmidt

Day/time:  Thursday 9:30-11:00

Course Description:

Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, Bohr – five great physicists whose impact went beyond the impressive advances they brought to science.  We’ll examine the contributions of these giants in the context of their times, and how they changed the physical world view over the centuries.  Although math is an integral part of science, it will be shown only for illustrative purposes in this course.

Along the way, we’ll explore the birth of the scientific method, the struggle between Galileo and the Church, our everyday Newtonian world and determinism, the importance and impact of Maxwell’s Equations, Einstein’s Special Relativity in some detail, and the strange and uncertain world of quantum physics. 

The course will include substantial lecture-style content, but with enough time for questions, discussions and voluntary presentations by class members.  Previous exposure to some science is helpful but not necessary.  Each of the five physicists will be covered in a two-week segment, so it is best to be able to attend both weeks of a given segment. Preparation time is about 2 hours/week. 

Computer use is required.   Communication will be by Email, and course material will be posted on a course website. There will also be interesting links on the Internet to explore. 

Books and other resources: 

Science in History Volume 2 – The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, J.D. Bernal (MIT Press, 1971)     

Other readings, some from original sources, will be selected and distributed by the Course Leader.

Biography:

My interest in the fundamental questions of nature led me to a Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics, to research, and to teaching at Brandeis, including four years of elementary physics for pre-medical students. Then came a second career as a machine vision engineer and manager in private industry.  I’ve been a frequent study group leader at BOLLI in subjects both scientific and otherwise. 

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TAB3 - America Goes to War—A Film Course (2 blocks)    

Course Leader:  Irwin Silver

Day/time:  Thursday 9:30-12:45

Course description:  

Some of the greatest films have touched on American wars, and many movies about them have won top awards. Some of the greatest films ever made have explored the stories and themes of these “hot” and “cold” wars. This course will focus on films that have received critical acclaim and show some of the greatest actors, actresses and directors of their time, including Frank Sinatra, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Fonda, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy and Gregory Peck. Directors of note include Robert Altman, John Ford and Stanley Kramer. Some of the films to be viewed and discussed include MASH, Mr. RobertsVon Ryan’s Express, Judgment at Nuremberg, Casablanca, and Guns of  Navarone. These will exemplify different aspects of war: the role of the hero, humor and romance and, of course, cruelty.

We will view 9 -10 films, followed by discussion. I will provide reading material by email. The class will run for two periods but will count as one course.

I will provide readings about the films, actors and directors, as well as critical reviews of the movies to discuss.

Biography:  

I am a retired First Vice President from a national brokerage firm, and I was an adjunct Professor for about 15 years at Northeastern University. I love film and have taught several classes on the subject.

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TB1 - Love and Death and Life in Poetry     

Day/time:  Thursday 11:15-12:45

Course Leader:  Ruth Kramer Baden

Course Description:

The poet Stanley Kunitz, who lived to be 101, said of his work: “The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once, and my conviction is to report that self-dialogue.” Together we will explore and discuss how different poets report their life experiences. My overall goal is to enjoy reading and exploring great poetry together. For beginners, this may mean overcoming fear of poetry and finding its joy; for others it means reading poets and poems new to us and perhaps re-connecting with favorite poets and their poems, in which we can find new meanings, plumb greater depths. There will be work by Pablo Neruda, Elizabeth Bishop, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Stanley Kunitz, Yehuda Amichai and others.

William Carlos Williams wrote:

It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of what/ is found there.

This is mainly a discussion course with a brief lecture on the craft of poetics at the beginning of each class. There will be about four weeks on the poetry of love, two on the poetry of death and three on life focusing solely on Stanley Kunitz’ work, including some poems not discussed in any previous class. We will cover 4-6 poems each week. This is not a writing course but there will be opportunity to try your hand at writing a poem if you wish. We will devote one week to poems by members (voluntary) and old favorites. I expect every member to participate in the discussions and also be willing to read aloud one of the poems (unless that is too difficult). Preparation time will be 2 hours. This will involve reading each of 4-6 poems silently, reading them aloud, reading each again and as many times as you feel are necessary. I communicate weekly with the group about the poems to be read and send articles and essays by computer.

Books and other resources:

Stanley Kunitz,et al, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden  W.W.Norton & Co  

I will also provide a set of the poems we will use in the first six weeks, punched for your loose-leaf binder, at a cost of about $10.00

Biography:

I wrote my first short story when I was six years old and haven’t stopped playing with words, even during a stint practicing Elder Law. I write mainly poems and have published in literary magazines and journals. Recently, Ibbetson Street Press published my book, East of the Moon. This is my tenth year of leading courses for lifelong learners on understanding and enjoying poetry I find the experience exhilarating.

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TB2 - Anton Chekhov, Master Dramatist    

Day/time:  Thursday 11:15-12:45

Course Leader:  Lois Ziegelman

Course Description:

Chekhov’s great contribution to drama was his ability to combine reality with theatricality; to inter-weave the threads of comedy, tragedy, melodrama and farce with so skillful a hand as to create the illusion of life itself. The names of his disciples and admirers read like a compendium of modern drama: Shaw, Pirandello, Garcia Lorca, Clifford Odets, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller. Yet in the depth of his humanity, the breadth of his perception, and the skill of his craftsmanship Chekhov surpasses them all.

My goal is to acquaint readers with the work of this masterful and versatile dramatist—not only his tragicomedies, but also his farces, through lectures and discussion but especially through presentation, by volunteers, of scenes.

Two hours of reading a week, at most, should be sufficient.

Books:

Anton Chekhov Plays, Penguin Classics

I chose this text because it has both major plays and farces. Any other text is acceptable as long as it also has the farces (The Bear, The Marriage Proposal, A Jubilee)

Biography:

Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D., Brandeis is a Professor Emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught World Literature and Drama for thirty-one years. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has studied, taught and performed works, ranging from Classical Antiquity through the 20th Century. She currently teaches both at BOLLI and the Wellesley-Weston Lifetime Learning Program.

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TC1 - Language and Metaphor: The Elephant in the Room    

Day/time:  Thursday 2:15-3:45

Course Leader:  MaryAnn Byrnes

 Course Description:  

An alternate title might reference an 800-pound gorilla.  Both phrases describe situations that are hard to ignore and challenging to discuss.  Often, people don’t say what they mean; sometimes we don’t mean what we say.  We use images to compare new situations to those that are familiar. The expressions we use can illuminate discussions or leave people in the dark. This course will consider how metaphors shape our daily existence, as well as their contribution to politics, advertising, science, and parables. To bring the pervasiveness of metaphor into sharper relief, we will read To Kill a Mockingbird; its characters see the world through very different eyes.  Likely, participants will flood sessions with metaphors gathered from conversations, the news, and reading material.  Active discussions are anticipated, but no formal reports.  Approximate preparation time: 2 hours per week.

Books:

I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World, by James Geary (2011).   

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (2004), any edition.

 Biography:

Language, in all its complexity, is endlessly interesting.  As a teacher, special education administrator, educational consultant, and UMass Boston faculty member, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with others about hundreds of learners and a multitude of communication styles. My undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, masters (in Learning Disabilities) from Northwestern University, and doctorate from Rutgers University all emphasized variations in human learning. In addition to the richness of exploring lifelong learning communities, I enjoy baking bread, walking (perhaps because of the energy of the bread), and Reading for the Blind (now known as Learning Ally).

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TC3 - That Wilde and Crazy Oscar: the Triumphs and Trials of Oscar Wilde     

Course Leader:  Verne Vance

Day/time:  Thursday 2:15-3:45

Course Description:

This nine-session course will examine the life and career of the Irish comic genius, Oscar Wilde. The goals are to introduce (or re-introduce) the class members to not only the dazzling stage plays of Wilde but also to his works in such other genres as fairy tales, poetry, fiction, and criticism, and to enhance class membersunderstanding and appreciation of them. There is continuing public fascination with Wildes works and his life, with its tragic end, and what that end says about the evolution of society in the one hundred fourteen years since Wildes death in 1900.

The class will be presented as a combination of mini-lectures, class discussion facilitated by the Course Leader, and DVD clips from performances of Wildes works. There will also be discussion of the three trials that brought an end to Wildes career and landed him in prison, with a reading and viewing of DVD clips from Moises Kaufmans play Gross Indecency. Class members will be expected to do about two hours of preparatory reading per session and to participate actively in class discussions. Computer ability to receive and read e-mails is needed, as I communicate extensively with the class via e-mail.

Books and other resources:

All Wilde materials can be accessed gratis at a web site called “The Oscar Wilde Collection” for which I can provide the link. All Wilde materials are also available very inexpensively on a Kindle work called Oscar Wilde’s Complete Works Ultimate Collection, edited by Darryl James (Everlasting Flames Publishing)

Wilde’s acclaimed plays are conveniently available in Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003)

His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is available in an inexpensive paperback, Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes and Noble Classics)

The Kaufman play is available in Gross Indecency; the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, Moises Kaufman (Vintage, 1998)

Biography:

Verne Vance is a retired corporate attorney with a lifelong interest in theater. He has led a number of lifelong learning classes at Regis College and Brandeis University in musical and non-musical theater, including a class in comedies of Wilde and his contemporary, George Bernard Shaw. In the summers he also writes and performs in plays with the Open Eye Theater in the Catskills in New York.

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Updated May 31, 2015
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Peter Schmidt,
Jun 24, 2014, 4:22 PM
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