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Course Descriptions - Fall 2015

Fall 2015 Course Descriptions

Course descriptions are in alphabetical order by Course Leader (CL).

In the course code before the course title,
  • Mo, Tu, Th designate the day the course is given (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday);
  • 10 and 5 stands for the course length in weeks;
  • TBE stands for Temple Beth Elohim, and TST for Temple Shir Tikva. Courses at TBE take place on Mondays and Thursdays, at TST on Tuesdays.

For a printable version of the course descriptions (22 pages), click here or go to the bottom of this page for the file to print or view.

 Course Code, Course Leader (CL) and Course Title. Click on the CL name to see the course description:

 Th-A1-10-TBE  Suzanne Art
 Three Giants of the Northern Renaissance: Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, and  Pieter Breugel the Elder
 Tu-B3-10-TST  Ruth Kramer Baden
 Reading and Enjoying Two Great Poets:  Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop
 Th-C3-10-TBE  Robert Berlin  Our Threatened Environment: Climate Change and Contamination
 Tu-B2-10-TST  MaryAnn Byrnes
 The Elephant in the Room: How Language Affects Our Thinking
 Tu-C2-10-TST  Phyllis Cohen / Marty
 Nichols

 A Short Story Sampler: Contemporary Short Stories
 Th-C2-10-TBE  Howard Cooper
 The Legal System and Social Change
 Tu-A4-10-TST  Lloyd David
 This is Your Life: Now Write About It
 Th-B3-10-TBE  Sandy Grasfield
 Great Photographs and Photographers of the Depression Era
 Mo-B4-10-TBE  Joel Kamer
 Homer Simpson  Mathematician?!
 Th-B2-10-TBE  Michael Kaufman
 Literary Representations of the Problem of Evil
 Mo-B3-5b-TBE  Helen Kolsky
 More Great Short Fiction  (5-week, second half)
 Mo-C3-5b-TBE  Bonnie Lass
 The Blues: Origins and Influences  (5-week, second half)
 Tu-C3-5b-TST  Carole Levy
 Four Cities; Four Stories  (5-week, second half)
 Mo-A3-10-TBE  Mary Mansfield
 My Kingdom for a Horse: History: Literature and Drama examined through the  Horse-Human Connection
 Tu-B1-10-TST  Richard Mansfield
 Creativity and Innovation
 Tu-C1-10-TST  Rabbi Robert Orkand  Comparative Religion
 Th-B1-10-TBE  Bob Palter
 Woody Allen: His Life and Films  (two class periods)
 Tu-A2-10-TST  Alorie Parkhill
 Truth Be Told: Remarkable Non-Fiction 
 Tu-A1-5b-TST  Phil Radoff
 Don Giovanni: A Guided Tour  (5-week, second half)
 Mo-A2-10-TBE  Peter Schmidt
 Three Masterpieces: From Drama to Film and Opera
 Mo-C2-10-TBE  Marc Schwarz
 The Trial as History from Socrates to Lindbergh 
 Mo-A1-10-TBE  Sandy Sherizen
 Surviving the Inquisition: Marranos, Conversos and Crypto-Jews
 Mo-B1-10-TBE  Irwin Silver
 Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro:  Two of the Greatest Actors in the History of  Film (two class periods)
 Mo-B2-10-TBE  Marvin Snider
 Abraham Lincoln: Evolution of a President
 Th-A2-10-TBE
 Tu-B4-10-TBE
 Harriet Janel Starrett
 The West and the Rest: The Dominance of Western Civilization in the Nineteenth,  and Twentieth Centuries. How long will it last?
 Tu-A3-10-TST  Verne Vance
 The Trojan War: History or Myth?  Its Legend and Its Literature
 Th-A3-10-TBE  Lois Ziegelman
 The Challenged Child: Four Classic Plays



Th-A1-10-TBE:  Three Giants of the Northern Renaissance: Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, and Pieter Breugel the Elder

Course Leader:  Suzanne Art

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

We will study the lives and works of the three greatest artists of the Northern RenaissanceAlbrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Younger, and Pieter Breugel the Elder. Strongly influenced by the innovations of the masters of the Italian Renaissance, these men spearheaded a movement that revolutionized the art of many countries in northern Europe. Their art differed from that of the Italians in several ways. While the Italian artists focused upon the philosophical ideals of the classical past, the northern artists were drawn to the growing movement for religious reform. Stylistically, the Italian artists adhered closely to the scientific principles of linear perspective, while the northern artists concentrated upon the minute details of everyday life. And while the Italian artists painted figures that were idealized, the northern artists sought to portray individuals as they saw them. Dürer, Holbein, and Breugel represent three successive generations, who lived, respectively, in Germany, England, and Flanders. They worked in various mediawoodcuts, etchings, engravings, water colors, and oil paintings. They left for us a remarkable treasury of art that vividly reflects the fascinating times and places in which they lived.The format of the course will consist of presentation of historical background by the CL, followed by class discussions of specific works of art presented in a PowerPoint slideshow. It is important that members attend all sessions if possible, since references will be frequently made to previously viewed materials. No prior knowledge of the subject is required.  All assignments are online. Also, each week I send in PDF format slides of the works of art viewed in class, so that students can download them on their tablets for closer inspection. Preparation time will be approximately an hour.

Books and other resources: 

Weekly assignments (short biographies and articles as well as videos by well-respected art historians) are all online.

Biography:

I have always loved art and history. I have a BA in History, an MA in the French Language and Literature, and an MA in Teaching. I taught history for 16 years at a private school. During that time, I also wrote a series of twelve history books, a major feature of which is the study of the art of a given culture. I have previously taught one art history course at LLAIC: “Let’s Go for Baroque.”


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Tu-B3-10-TST:  Reading and Enjoying Two Great Poets:  Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop

Course Leader:  Ruth Kramer Baden

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

The poet William Carlos Williams said: “It is difficult / to get / the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what / is found there.” (I add, “and women, too.”) The goal of this course is to read and enjoy poetry by getting the news from two great poets: Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop. Of Bishop's work the poet Robert Blanco said, “The first time you read Bishop, you might say, 'Eh, that's a nice poem about a moose.'  Then you read it again and there are layers and layers of complexity there.”  The same is true of Robert Frost's work, whose road, which we may have met many years ago, may not be just a road.   Our study will be a group endeavor into and between the layers, with much class discussion and reading aloud. For beginners this may mean overcoming fear of poetry to find the joy in it. There will be some lecturing about the craft of poetry in order to better appreciate the poets' art, and assigned readings about the poets. I expect members to participate in the discussions and to read one of the poems for that week aloud. We will spend the first five weeks on Frost and the second five on Bishop.   In each of the first five weeks I will talk briefly about an aspect of poetics (tone; sound; rhythm; imagery).  This will enhance the members' understanding and enjoyment of the poems.  Each week we will read aloud twice and discuss 4-6 poems. In the second half of the course I will introduce “writing a poem.”  Members who volunteer can read their drafts for comments if they wish, and/or read their finished work at the beginning of each class. Preparation time will be 2 hours plus any time you want to spend writing a poem. I will be sending out assigned internet articles and readings by the poets and also weekly comments and questions for study group members. I cannot be responsible for getting the material to you in another form.

Books and other resources: 
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Ed. Edward Connery Latham, Holt Paperbacks, 2 Revised Edition, 2002 ISBN-10  0805069860  ISBN-13  978-0805069860.
  • Poems, Elizabeth Bishop, paper, Farrar. Straus and Giroux, 2011, ISBN-10: 0374532362  ISBN-13: 978-0374532369.

Biography:

I am a poet and have published in literary journals such as Prairie Schooner, Salamander and Tikkun. A book of my poetry was published by Ibbetson Street Press in 2010. Currently I am working on a new collection of poems about women's experiences.  I have been enjoying leading seniors in courses about poetry for ten years and continue to learn from them.


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Th-C3-10-TBE:   Our Threatened Environment: Climate Change and Contamination

Course Leader:  Robert Berlin

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

A critical environmental issue facing us locally, nationally and internationally, is how to choose energy sources that help control contaminants that foster climate change and pollute our air and water. A complementary concern is the management of hazardous material and the cleanup of contaminated sites. We will 1) consider the processes that generate and use fossil fuels including the coal cycle, “fracking,” shale oil, and tar sands recovery; 2) examine the  energy sources of wind, geothermal, solar, nuclear, biomass and thermoelectric power. The comparative pros and cons of all of these energy sources will be discussed, and we will project future uses on a worldwide, national, and Massachusetts basis.

We will then focus on the handling and disposal of hazardous and radioactive material and the cleanup of the many contaminated sites in this country. A Massachusetts site will provide the basis for examining this issue as we follow the cleanup process from the origin of the contamination to the present, while integrating the roles of government, industry, and the public. The effect of Love Canal and other attention-grabbing environmental disasters on raising public awareness and prompting passage of environmental legislation will be discussed. We will include Superfund and ways to manage the handling of hazardous chemical and radioactive material nationally. Many of the issues concerning energy and waste management are controversial and generate strong opposing positions; the class will be expected to contribute their opinions. The class format will combine presentation and discussion. Assignments will be about 1 hour of readings per week from articles and reports, which do not require prior technical knowledge. The reading assignments will be from internet sites so computer access is required.

Books and other resources: 

No outside texts will be used. I will work from a set of notes that each class member will have.

Biography:

I have undergraduate and masters’ degrees in engineering and a doctorate in Public Health. I worked in various aspects of the nuclear/environmental field for over 50 years, the last 20 in the environmental assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. This course was initially developed as an outgrowth of that experience and has been taught to audiences with diverse backgrounds. My teaching experience was as engineering professor at Manhattan College, in the Columbia Graduate School of Public Health, and to industrial and lay audiences. I am a licensed professional engineer, reactor operator, and health physicist, and coauthored “Radioactive Waste Management” in 1988.


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Tu-B2-10-TST:  The Elephant in the Room: How Language Affects Our Thinking

Course Leader:  MaryAnn Byrnes

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

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 exactly what they mean; sometimes we don’t mean exactly what we say (unless you really do have an elephant in your living room). We learn by using 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 elements of our language shape our thinking and daily existence, as well as their contribution to politics, advertising, science, and parables. To view language from still other lenses, we will also read To Kill a Mockingbird and explore how its characters see events through very different eyes. Likely, participants will flood sessions with examples gathered from conversations, the news, and reading material. Active discussions are anticipated, but no formal reports. This course was offered in fall, 2014 and is being presented again in response to requests. I will be sending slides and websites to participants and asking people to explore on their own, so computer use is necessary.

Books and other resources: 
  • I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World by James Geary (2011). Any edition will do.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (2004). ISBN 978-0-06-171028-5, but any edition will do.
     Other readings will be distributed in class.

Biography:

As a teacher, special education administrator, educational consultant, and UMass Boston faculty member, MaryAnn had the pleasure of collaborating with others about hundreds of learners and a multitude of communication styles. MaryAnn’s undergraduate (University of Chicago) and graduate degrees (Northwestern, Rutgers) all emphasized variations in human language and learning. In addition to exploring new courses and fields, she enjoys baking bread, walking (perhaps because of the energy of the bread), and Reading for the Blind (now known as Learning Ally). This is MaryAnn’s fourth year relishing the language-rich communities of lifelong learning communities.


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Tu-C2-10-TST:  A Short Story Sampler: Contemporary Short Stories

Course Leaders:  Phyllis Cohen / Marty Nichols

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

Publishers and booksellers actively promote books that are novels, hoping that they will be made into movies, leading to further sales and financial success.  Short stories quietly appear in an ever dwindling number of magazines and literary periodicals.  If you are not a subscriber, you probably do not read many contemporary short stories and may be unfamiliar with some of the fine authors who write primarily short fiction.  In 2013, the Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Alice Munro, “master of the contemporary short story,” which has rekindled an interest in this literary form in the wider population.  In this course we will read and discuss the short stories of other outstanding contemporary authors who have given the class co-leaders many hours of reading pleasure. Hopefully our class discussions will be spirited and energetic and help to widen our world view. This is not a lecture course.  Members will be expected to contribute to the discussions.  We expect to cover one story per week and will ask for volunteers to present a short biographical report on each author on the week we read his/her story.  When available, we may send optional supplementary materials, such as interviews or short articles, via email or reference to internet sites. In order to fully appreciate the subtleties in a short story, we recommend that the story be read twice.  A second reading will almost always offer many additional insights.  This should take approximately one and one-half hours per week. 

Books and other resources: 

The stories and optional supplementary materials, such as interviews or short articles, will be sent to class members via Word document email attachments and/or reference to free internet sites.  It is recommended that hard copies be printed so that they will be available in class
.  Biographical material on the authors is readily available on the internet. 

Biography:

Marty:  I did my undergraduate study at Yale and took my graduate dental degree at Harvard.  I was an Army dentist for two years and then spent the rest of my working life in private practice in suburban Boston.  The only connection to the literary world that I can claim is that I graduated from high school with  E. L. Doctorow.  I love to read.  I have been involved with lifetime learning programs for the past 20 years.  Most of these years I have been a member and frequent facilitator of groups that have read and discussed short fiction, usually contemporary and most often from The New Yorker Magazine. 

Phyllis: After receiving my B.S. in history from Brandeis I pursued a Master’s degree in library science at Framingham State but soon learned that few if any school librarian jobs would be available. While my kids were small I started “Creative Writing Associates,” publishing newsletters for small businesses, but that wasn’t too lucrative, so my career took a left turn into sales, which included everything from jock straps to insulin syringes to ostomy supplies. By 1983 I started my own business selling promotional products, which I have done for 32 years now. But all the while I was writing essays and short stories and even had a few published. I have also done some ghost writing for local politicians. The great American novel – or at least 50% of it – alas, languishes on my computer waiting to be completed. For the last 8 years at several different locations, I have organized and facilitated a short story class based on fiction from The New Yorker Magazine.


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Th-C2-10-TBE:  The Legal System and Social Change

Course Leader:  Howard Cooper

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

This course is aimed at non-lawyers, although lawyers are also welcome. We will use specific legal cases and recent real world events to discuss how the legal system provides a forum for dealing with them (for better or worse). For example, we will discuss issues related to the recent rash of shootings of young African American men by law enforcement and how the investigatory and prosecutorial processes work, their limitations and biases. We will discuss local cases related to the Occupy Boston movement, the efforts of the Greater Boston Muslim community to build a mosque, post-9/11, a fair housing rights case brought on behalf of the disabled against the Town of Framingham, gay marriage litigation, and the prosecution of a pain medication physician who was indicted and tried as a drug dealer for prescribing opioids to pain patients. The idea of the class will be to provoke discussion around the issues, to talk about the real world limitations of the legal system, as well as how even the imperfect system we have can be used to effect social change. Preparation time is one to two hours a week. Computer ability will be needed in order to watch clips on YouTube and use email.

Books and other resources: 

Readings will be provided by the CL as needed.

Biography:

Howard M. Cooper is a Founding Partner of Todd & Weld LLP. Mr. Cooper's experience includes nearly three decades of extensive trial practice in both state and federal courts, before administrative agencies and in arbitration in the areas of complex business disputes and criminal defense. Mr. Cooper regularly represents clients in civil cases in the areas of corporate, closely-held business, real estate, partnership and franchise litigation.  Mr. Cooper also regularly handles significant civil rights and First Amendment matters which are often of public significance. On the criminal side, Mr. Cooper regularly handles white collar criminal cases from the investigatory stage through trial and appeal. This includes the defense of organizations and individuals targeted for prosecution in federal and state court in false claim, environmental, tax or public corruption investigations. He has a B.A. from Union College and a J. D. from Boston University Law School.


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Tu-A4-10-TST:  This is Your Life: Now Write About It 

Course Leader:  Lloyd David

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

Each one of us has had many interesting and unique experiences, which may provide our children, grandchildren and others with real insight into family history and life in your time. Only you can tell your story. This class is designed to get a person started on the fascinating journey of self-discovery, which is the writing of a memoir.  Each week we will deal with a specific aspect of your life: schooling, family, education, employment, hobbies, interests, and travel. At the end of 10 weeks, each person should have the beginnings of a memoir.  Class time will be spent in exercises that will aid in developing ideas, actual writing, and then reading part of the written assignment for feedback and discussion.  We will also look at published memoirs for inspiration. In our class, memoir writing will be exciting and enlightening, with lots of laughs along the way. Computer use is helpful but not necessary. Student preparation will be approximately one to two hours a week.

Biography:

Lloyd David has spent all of his professional life in the field of adult education, specifically adult literacy.  In 1977 he founded a not-for-profit organization, Continuing Education Institute (CEI) and a second organization in 1999 Creative Workplace Learning (CWL). Both were devoted to providing basic educational services to employees of major companies in MA and NH and to residents of public housing. These organizations emanated from his doctoral dissertation on the development of an alternative high school diploma for adults that awarded credit for life experiential learning.  He was a Kellogg/Partners International Fellow from 1987-1992.

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Th-B3-10-TBE:  Great Photographs and Photographers of the Depression Era

Course Leader:  Sandy Grasfield

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

 “We just took pictures that cried out to be taken.”  Ben Shahn

What began as a practical, some might say political, assignment in the 1930’s has evolved into an enormous body of work which still resonates with us today. In the Library of Congress, there are 373,000 photographs made under the aegis of the Farm Security Administration. In this course, we will look at and discuss a sampling of the photographs of many of the great photographers of that era: Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Peter Sekaer, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee and others.  We will learn about their lives, their mission, their work and the realities of their time. Classes will be comprised of brief lecture, some viewing of video segments but mostly “close reading” of the individual photographs, analysis, comparison when applicable and detailed discussion. We will consider these questions and more: Is this photography documentary? Is it art? Why and in what ways are we still moved by these images more than seventy-five years after they were made? I will communicate with class members by email and sometimes send online material to be read or viewed.

Biography:

Since I first saw the F.S.A. photographs when I was in college, I have always been profoundly affected by their power. When I began to study the entire project I became fascinated with it and with the history of that time, and now I would like to share that with others. An avid photographer myself, I admire (and envy) the talent and skills that conceived of and brought these images into being. Previously, I have taught lifelong learning courses elsewhere and at LLAIC on the history and politics of food, the plays and memoirs of Lillian Hellman and current topical issues affecting our food supply.


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Mo-B4-10-TBE:   Homer Simpson -- Mathematician?!

Course Leader:  Joel Kamer

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

Can math be fun and funny? The author of our text tells us how the writers of the animated TV show The Simpsons often embed mathematical references. As the show is meant to be amusing, our class will use the math references as a springboard to investigate the concepts in a lighthearted manner. We will learn more about the math tucked into Homer’s conversations. We will not do any mathematical proofs, but we will study mathematical jokes! Neither a degree in mathematics nor being an aficionado of the Simpsons show is requiredjust bring a willingness to believe (some) math, such as narcissistic and vampire numbers, or pancake flipping (!), can be fun. The class will be part lecture and part discussion. Each week a class member will give a voluntary, short presentation on the life of one of the mathematicians mentioned in our text. Students will probably use the computer to help prepare their voluntary presentations on mathematicians. The class preparation time should average about 2-3 hours each week, comprising the reading and homework assignment.

Books and other resources: 

Simon Singh, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Bloomsbury, 2013; ISBN 978-1-62040-277-1.

Biography:

I dabbled in mathematics by getting a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the subject, but then decided to apply what I learned by earning a Master’s degree in Actuarial Science and becoming a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. I like to watch all types of cartoons, not just The Simpsons. I believe math can be fun (especially when there are no tests), and would like to share that with others.


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Th-B2-10-TBE:  Literary Representations of the Problem of Evil

Course Leader:  Michael Kaufman

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

“There is a radical evil in the world,” Susan Sontag wrote, and Hannah Arendt agreed that the problem of evil is the fundamental question of intellectual life. How is it possible for evil to exist in a morally ordered, benevolent world? In Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan argues that that the world’s injustice is manifest in the single tear of one innocent child. In our own times, millions of tears may change the enormity of evil, but not the essential quandary of why the innocent suffer. What does it mean to call an act ‘evil’ or an act-er a villain? The concept of evil is as ancient as stories of creation, of lost paradises, and of exiled souls, yet evil remains mysteriously elusive to explain and understand. Nevertheless, to ask ‘what is evil?’ is to raise fundamental questions about the nature of our world and of human agency. This will be a discussion class, one in which we will use the literary texts to frame our thinking about the problem that evil poses in thinking about our world; the readings have been selected both for their literary merit and because they illuminate some aspect of the broader theme of evil. But they have also been chosen because they evoke other issues that will be of interest. Each week’s discussion will focus on the unifying theme of the course and encourage all participants to explore their own thoughts about some of the urgent questions these readings raise, such as: how the conception of evil has changed over time and across cultures; how we think about evil in the aftermath of Verdun, Auschwitz and Hiroshima; how we respond to evil in our own lives. Reading for this course should not exceed two to three hours per week, and there is no need for computer use, except for those wishing to obtain copies of the literary texts  to help anyone in preparing. Reading of “The Lottery” should be completed for the first session.

Books and other resources: 
  • Shirley Jackson The Lottery.
  • Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
  • Joseph Conrad, The Heart Of Darkness
  • Herman Melville, Billy Budd.
  • Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons.
  • Somerset Maugham, The Outstation.
  • Ibsen TBD.
  • Susan Keating Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers.
  • George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan.
  • Peter Weiss, The Investigation.
Biography:

My educational background is in literature and I have been teaching a variety of literary courses for many years, and in many contexts. In addition to the more traditional university programs, I have been involved in using literary texts to promote conversations among federal administrators, lawyers, doctors, judges, clergy, nurses, public administrators, probation offices, youngsters on parole, and engineers. I have been involved in life-long learning programs for some ten years, and for some reason thought I had retired.


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Mo-B3-5b-TBE:  More Great Short Fiction

Course Leader:  Helen Kolsky

Day/time:  5-week course starting Nov. 23

Course Description: 

Short Fiction has emerged from the shadow of the novel to become a celebrated genre in its own right earning its authors coveted prizes and prestige.  (Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, not for ‘short stories’!)  John Updike, one of the authors we’ll read in this course, referred to short fiction as the new poetry: every word counts, nothing is there without intention.  Our second author will be William Trevor. This framework forms the basis of the approach to the literature in this course.  Understanding each work for its artistry and for its connection to the genre as well as for its fictional elements: plot, character, tone, figurative language, theme, etc. Course members should not expect to read only for the ‘story.We will explore the complexity and nuances of each work.  This is why reading each work two or three times will be strongly encouraged; what great painting can be understood in a quick glance?   This kind of careful reading will enable participants to contribute to the directed discussion that forms the heart of each of the five classes.  Study questions and other materials will be sent electronically. Course members must be able to receive these to participate.  Reading each work two or three times and considering the guiding questions require differing amounts of time depending on the reader’s pace and the length of the work, of course.  On average, two to three hours a week might be required.

Books and other resources: 

Texts will be supplied by the CL. Course members will share copying charges.

Biography:

Helen Kolsky was a high school and community college teacher of English in New York City until 2003.  She moved to Brookline in 2005 and began teaching short fiction at Temple Israel Lifelong Learning Institute a few years after that.  She has since led study groups at BOLLI as well as at LLIAC.


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Mo-C3-5b-TBE:   The Blues: Origins and Influences

Course Leader:  Bonnie Lass

Day/time:  5-week course starting Nov. 23

Course Description: 

This course will provide an introduction to the history of the blues from its roots in Africa and slavery, to its recognition as a fundamental American music, and its development into jazz, gospel, folk, soul, and rock and roll. Looking at and listening to famous and/or seminal performers via videos, CDs and DVDs and learning about their historical and cultural influences will comprise class time and some preparation time. Class members may pursue their favorite blues or blues-influenced style or musician for short presentations to the group. Preparation time will be no more than two hours per week.

Books and other resources: 

    Books (These inform the course and will be recommended, but not required):
  • Charters, Ann and Samuel:  Blues Faces:  A Portrait of the Blues, David Godine, 2000.
  • Cook, Bruce: Listen to the Blues, De Capo Press, 1995.
  • Davis, Francis: The History of the Blues: the Roots, the Music, the People, De Capo Press, 2003.
  • Evans, David: The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Blues, Penguin, 2003.
  • Murray, Albert: Stomping the Blues. De Capo Press, 2000.
    Films, CDs, DVDs (Portions of these, along with YouTube videos, will be shown in class or assigned for preparation.)
  • The Land Where the Blues Began, a film by Alan Lomax, et al.
  • Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, A Musical Journey.
  • The Blues: The Smithsonian Collection of Recordings by R. Crumb.
Biography:

I retired in 2012 from a career in educational publishing and teaching. During the Fall 2014 term at LLAIC, I was CL for Contemporary Literary Memoir and had a wonderful time! In the spring term 2015, I taught this course on The Blues, bolstered by my lifelong passion for contemporary popular music and I’m eager to repeat the experience this fall.


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Tu-C3-5b-TST:  Four Cities; Four Stories

Course Leader:  Carole Levy

Day/time:  5-week course starting Nov. 10

Course Description: 

We may be familiar with the audacity, some might say the incongruity, of building the skyscrapers of Dubai in the desert, but this is only the most recent example of building a “Modern” city in a country where such modernity has not yet arrived. We will examine the history of St. Petersburg, Mumbai, Shanghai and Dubai to see that they are all actually fantastic imaginings of a modern city where none had existed before. Each of these cities is unlike the others, but what they have in common is that each was created by its founders to bring modernity, technology, art and culture to the “new” city, to a land that was considered backward and isolated from modernity. About 100 pages a week will be assigned, which could take 3 to 4 hours depending on individual reading rates. I will use email and may send articles to augment the book.

Books and other resources: 

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook, W.W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Biography:

I am a traveler, now that I have the time after working more than twenty-five years as a high school teacher of English and raising three daughters. But of the four cities we will discuss in the course, I have only been to St. Petersburg. I enjoy the study of history especially when that also involves culture and architecture as it does in Brook’s book. Previous courses I have led include a history of US health care policy and, as I had lived in Israel for thirteen years, courses on Israeli literature and history.  I have a B.A. from Penn State University and an MBA in management of not-for-profit organizations from the Heller School at Brandeis University. I enjoy playing tennis, x-country skiing and yoga…and reading both literature and history.


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Mo-A3-10-TBE:  My Kingdom for a Horse: History: Literature and Drama examined through the Horse-Human Connection

Course Leader:  Mary Mansfield

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

Ever since the beginning of human history, the horse has been a creature of almost mythical fascination for mankind. Horses helped to shape the way we lived. They have aided us in building great civilizations, and they have been almost mystical healers. They have been prominent subjects in the imaginations of painters, sculptors, and story tellers. We are fascinated by their beauty in the wild, and their magnificent presence in the domestic arena: from the battlefield, to the show ring. Although we no longer “need” these animals to help us in our work, and productivity, they are still a very important part of almost every culture in our modern world. Why is this? In this course we will explore humankind’s dependence, intrigue, passion, and yes, need for the horse. We might not be able to find a definitive answer, but the goal is to have fun trying. The primary format of the course will be facilitated discussion of the readings and videos presented during class time. Although not required, there may be occasional brief, voluntary presentations by class members. Computer ability is highly desirable but not essential. Some articles and video links will be sent to class members using email and email attachments. Class preparation will be approximately two hours.

Books and other resources: 
  • Scanlan, Lawrence. Wild About Horses. New York: Perennial, 2001.
  • Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty. New York: Signet Classics (Penguin), 2011 Edition. ISBN: 978-0-451-53174-2.
  • Hillenbrand, Laura. Seabiscuit: An American Legend. New York: Ballantine, 2001.
  • Morpurgo, Michael. War Horse. New York: Scholastic, 2010.
  • Letts, Elizabeth. The Eighty-Dollar Champion. New York: Ballantine, 2012.
Biography:

I was born loving horses. As a youngster, I played with stuffed horses, not dolls. I began taking riding lessons when I was seven, but had to stop when my family moved to New York City. The lessons stopped, but not my passion for riding. When my older daughter asked for riding lessons, I joined her, and the rest, as they say, is history. At thirty-nine, I bought my first horse and have been taking lessons ever since, first in eventing, and then in the beautiful, precise discipline of dressage. In my last career, finding schools for children with emotional and learning problems, I came to appreciate the extraordinary value of therapeutic ridingnow one of my life’s passions. I became an officer of the Bear Spot Foundation, a therapeutic riding center at Bear Spot Farm in Concord, where I keep my horse.

I have been a life-long educator: an elementary school teacher, a reading teacher, a reading consultant, a college admissions officer, and a school placement consultant. I have extensive experience in facilitating and training. With my husband Richard, I have developed and co-taught a course on problems in American education.


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Tu-B1-10-TST:  Creativity and Innovation

Course Leader:  Richard Mansfield

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

Creativity is responsible for the greatest human accomplishments and the finest expressions of culture. Innovation plays a key role in our economy. At an individual level, creativity can be one of the greatest sources of personal accomplishment and satisfaction. What enables some individuals to produce highly creative works—major advances in the sciences and the arts, and technological breakthroughs? What are the roles of thinking processes, early and later life experiences, and the milieu in which people are trained and work?  Are there different kinds of creativity, with different antecedents? What behaviors and skills characterize creative people? To what extent are all of us capable of creativity in our work and our everyday lives? How do teams work together to develop innovations? What role do brain processes play in creative thinking? How can we foster these processes in ourselves? What activities can we practice to enhance our own creativity? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this course. Although there will be occasional brief presentations, the primary format of the class will be facilitated discussion of readings and of participants’ experience with creative thinking exercises. Participants will be strongly encouraged (but not required) to prepare and deliver a 10-minute presentation on a creative individual or team or on some aspect of creativity or innovation. Participants should plan on spending about 2 hours per week on required readings plus a half hour on trying out exercises developed to promote creative thinking. Computer ability is not essential, but it is highly desirable.

Books and other resources: 
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics. 1997. 
  • Sawyer, Keith. Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. New York: Basic Books, 2007.
  • Carson, Shelley. Your Creative Brain. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Available at Amazon.com for $11.48.
Biography:

After completing an Ed.D. in Human Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I spent a decade on the faculty of Temple University teaching human development and statistics. I also did research on scientific creativity and co-authored a book on this topic. In my second career, as a consultant, starting in 1981, I learned, applied and refined a research approach for studying superior performers in a variety of jobs to identify the skills, traits and behaviors responsible for their effectiveness. In my consulting work for the last 25 years, I have developed many innovations in the assessment of job requirements, leadership competencies, and organizational climate and culture. With my wife Mary, I have developed and taught a course on problems in American educationincluding the challenge of how design curriculum and educational processes foster creativity.


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Tu-C1-10-TST:   Comparative Religion  

Course Leader:  Rabbi Robert Orkand    

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

Throughout history, human beings have sought to understand their world. They have done so in a variety of ways: philosophy, scientific practice and, perhaps the most common, religion. Religion serves a variety of psychological, emotional, personal and social needs, but each religion goes about it in a different way. What, exactly, is religion? And why does one religious tradition often differ so markedly from another, even when you might not expect it to? Why, for example, are the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—despite their common source—often so different? And what kinds of factors separate the beliefs of a Hindu or Buddhist not only from those held by Jews, Christians, or Muslims, or by each other, but also from others who identify themselves as Hindus or Buddhists? The 10 sessions of Comparative Religion will offer participants an opportunity to gain a solid grasp of the key ideas of religion itself—the issues that repeatedly surface when one looks at any faith's beliefs, practices, and organization. Using five major religions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism—as illustrations of how religions can address the same core issues in parallel and different ways, Rabbi Orkand will lead the class in an exploration of religion's complex and multidimensional nature. No prior knowledge is needed. All materials will be provided. Each session will combine lecture, audio-visual presentations, and discussion. Computer ability will be helpful to download and print materials sent via email. I will send a suggested reading list for those who wish additional knowledge. There will be no assigned homework.

Biography:

Rabbi Robert Orkand recently retired after 40 years in the pulpit rabbinate, serving congregations in Florida, Illinois, and Connecticut. During his career he taught a variety of topics related to religion, but his favorite was, and remains, Comparative Religion, believing that only through knowledge will people come to understand and accept both that which unites us and that which divides us. Rabbi Orkand received his B.A. degree from California State University, Northridge, his M.A., M.H.L., and Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1998 he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree (honorary) from HUC-JIR.


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Th-B1-10-TBE:   Woody Allen: His Life and Films

Course Leader:  Bob Palter

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8 (2 class periods)

Course Description: 

Woody Allen, one of the most important, prolific and least understood American filmmakers of our era, has carved out a unique place for himself in American movies. He has created through his writing, directing and acting a singular world with each film he has released since his first in 1969. Although viciously condemned by the press and film critics due to an alleged deviation from the then commonly accepted mores of social behavior during the breakup of his relationship with Mia Farrow, Allen has managed to portray contemporary American life with an unmistakable mixture of irony, neurotic obsession, and humor. It is within the context of these comments that we will study the work and life of Woody Allen and try to determine the validity of what has been said and written about him. While film will be used as a teaching tool to enhance the readings, both text and emailed articles, it will provide the basis for vigorous class discussions. This is not intended as a lecture course and reports will not be required. Two to three hours of preparation time is expected. Computer access and the ability to open and read Word documents, pdf documents and YouTube videos is required as supplementary materials will be forwarded to the class via email on a weekly basis.

Books and other resources: 

Marion Meade, The Unruly Life of Woody Allen: A Biography (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New York, Scribner, 2000). 

Biography:

Bob Palter holds academic degrees from MIT, Harvard Business School and UMass Boston where he concentrated on 20th-century American History (especially as it has affected American culture and politics). Using film as a teaching tool, Bob has led courses at Regis, Harvard and Brandeis for the last 14 years.


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Tu-A2-10-TST:   Truth Be Told: Remarkable Non-Fiction 

Course Leader:  Alorie Parkhill

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

Non-fiction writing can be every bit as challenging, creative and inspiring as fiction, employing drama, magic, vivid imagery and great depth. Yet readers sometimes relegate essays to a lesser status. All the tools of fiction are at the author’s disposal. Honesty and a natural style, “without artifice or pomposity,” as Joseph Epstein put it, must shape powerful non-fiction. He wrote that an essayist fascinates “by telling readers things they already know in their hearts but have never been able to formulate for themselves… and by telling them things they do not know and perhaps have never even imagined.” We will discuss the best strategies of fiction that non-fiction writers employ. In this class we will consider a wide range of excellent writers in several fields: the personal essay, language, the land, the natural world, science, spirituality and science, health and our bodies and aging. We will read and discuss authors like Joan Didion, James Baldwin, John McPhee, Annie Dillard, Wendell Berry, Loren Eiseley, Lewis Thomas, Alan Lightman, E.B. White, and others. Class members will be asked to give brief backgrounds of the authors.  They may also bring in short essays of their own choice in the last classes. Computer use will be needed to receive emails with attachments. Assignments should take one to two hours, depending on individual reading rate.

Books and other resources: 

I will provide a pamphlet with all the readings included.

Biography:

I am a teacher by trade and passion. I began early, writing and directing plays for children. My main teaching career took place at The Cambridge School of Weston over more than 40 years. I taught English as well as courses in myth and religion. Recently, I have taught a few short classes there again and was delighted to discover that I could still work with teens in a meaningful way. After retirement, I continued to offer courses in various lifelong learning programs (Buddhism, myths and Toni Morrison). I became one of the founders of LLAIC, where I continue to relish learning together with my classes. I rediscovered my excitement about the essay while planning a class in exposition and decided that I would very much enjoy sharing it with my peers. This will be the second time I have offered Non-Fiction Writing at LLAIC.


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Tu-A1-5b-TST:  Don Giovanni: A Guided Tour

Course Leader:  Phil Radoff

Day/time:  5-week course starting Nov. 10

Course Description: 

The course is intended to provide a first acquaintance with one of the greatest operas ever composed to students unfamiliar with the opera, and also to afford a greater appreciation of the opera for students already familiar with it. Much of the class time will be spent watching and listening to DVDs and CDs of the opera, studying and discussing the libretto, and developing an appreciation for Mozart’s genius in writing music that both enhances the libretto and illuminates the personalities and motivations of the characters. The opera is about three hours long, and the objective will be to watch and listen to all or nearly all of it over the five-week period. We will begin with an overview of the early sources of the Don Juan legend that Lorenzo Da Ponte drew upon in writing the libretto, the circumstances under which the opera was composed, and the changes that Mozart and Da Ponte made to the score and the libretto between its opening in Prague and its later performances in Vienna. We will also take note of the sometimes contradictory commentary on the opera by noted composers and music scholars over the years. I will provide written questions before each class period to focus the students’ preparation and to provoke discussion. I send emails to students each week, so computers are a necessary part of the course. Student preparation time will be approximately two hours.

Books and other resources: 

Access to a recording of the opera is necessary. Any audio or video recording will do except the Peter Sellars version from the 1980s.

Recommended: DG DVD of performance conducted by Fürtwangler starring Siepi in the title role. Also, students should have a copy of the libretto in English and Italian.

Biography:

I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, but spent most of my career as a lawyer, working successively in a large Washington law firm, in the Pentagon at a senior level, and in several large corporations, finishing my law career at Raytheon.  I have had a lifelong interest in opera.  I gave an opera course at LLAIC in 2014 and have given similar courses elsewhere for about ten years.


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Mo-A2-10-TBE:  Three Masterpieces: From Drama to Film and Opera

Course Leader:  Peter Schmidt

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

Drama has often served as the inspiration for other art forms. In this course we will look at three masterpieces of drama: Salome by Oscar Wilde, Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, Earth-Spirit and Pandora's Box by Frank Wedekind, and their realization in film and modern opera. The films are: Salome by and with Alla Nazimova, Woyzeck by Werner Herzog and with Klaus Kinski, and Pandora's Box by G. W. Pabst and with Louise Brooks. The operas are: Salome by Richard Strauss, Wozzeck and Lulu by Alban Berg. Besides guided discussion and analysis of the plays we'll consider visualization of the characters as a guide to viewing selections from the films and operas. Of course we'll also do some comparisons of the plays and their main characters. No prior knowledge is needed. Enough facility with computers is required for email communication, to view and download material from the course website, and to access relevant internet links and videos. Although the plays with their films and operas will be covered separately in three, three and four weeks, continuous attendance in the course is highly recommended. Student preparation will require 1-3 hours per week, heaviest in the four weeks that each play is to be read.

Books and other resources: 

Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde, Salome; Dover Publications, 1967. ISBN-0486218309 (Note: Salome is available free online, but this book includes the famous Beardsley drawings.)

Georg Büchner Woyzeck; Drama Classics, Nick Hern Books, 1997. ISBN-1854591835  (Note: Only this particular translation will be used in the course. Available at http://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/Book/S/1/484/Woyzeck.html and http://www.amazon.com/Woyzeck-Drama-Classics-Georg-Buchner/dp/1854591835 )

Wedekind’s Earth-Spirit and Pandora’s Box, and other materials will be available as copies or online.

Biography:

I have led several courses over the years, including this one, in diverse subjects both scientific and otherwise, and have co-led a number of others. Some examples are "Five Physicists who Changed the World View,” “Quantum Mechanics without a Wrench,” and "Who's Afraid of 20th-Century Music?"  My professional careers have been as physicist and engineer, but I've also cultivated an interest in classical music, including 20th-century music based on literary works; hence this multi-disciplinary venture.


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Mo-C2-10-TBE:   The Trial as History from Socrates to Lindbergh 

Course Leader:  Marc Schwarz

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

This study group will consider six famous trials, including the trial of Socrates, the Salem Witch Trials, the trial of the Amistad Mutineers, the trials of Oscar Wilde, the Lindbergh Murder trial, and the Leopold and Loeb Murder trial. Each trial will be considered as to how it reflects the conditions of its times and evaluated as to both its contemporary impact and impact on the future. I will use some videos and hope to have discussions in which many will participate. I believe everyone has something to say! Preparation time is approximately one to two hours. Ability to use email is helpful.

Books and other resources: 
  • Ed Cooper, The Trial and Death of Socrates (Hackett, 2000).
  • David Pesci, The Amistad  (Marlowe, 1997).
  • Moise Kaufman, The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (Vintage, 1998).
  • Rick Geary, The Lindbergh Child: America’s Hero and the Crime of the Century (NBM, 2004).
  • John Logan, Never the Sinner: The Story of Leopold and Loeb (Outlook, 1999).
  • Arthur Miller, The Crucible (Penguin, 2003).
Biography:

I hold a BA from Bates College, a MAT from Harvard, and a PhD from UCLA. I taught for almost forty years in the History Department at UNH and also taught Study Groups at Regis and BOLLI.


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Mo-A1-10-TBE:  Surviving the Inquisition: Marranos, Conversos and Crypto-Jews

Course Leader:  Sandy Sherizen

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

Let us enter the fascinating and tragic world of the Conversos. This is a story of religious identity, definitions of racial purity, battles between church and state and, in a more contemporary situation, questions about what we have learned from the Inquisition. During the Inquisition, Jews and Muslims were faced with a life-defining choice: convert to Catholicism or leave the country. Some (many?) accepted conversion and adopted their new religion. Some (many?) of these converts kept their identity as Jews, secretly practicing Judaism while outwardly being observing Catholics. Today, a number of their offspring have discovered their background and, in places such as New Mexico, are exploring their mixed identities. This course will explore the history of this phenomena, review central documents, see how they survived the Inquisition and their important impact on the Americas, Europe and North Africa. All discussions will be interactive with comments and discussions highly encouraged. Each session will begin with the class leader giving an overview of the week's major issues followed by a discussion of that week's questions. Student prep time is approximately three hours a week. Computer availability matters since emails will be sent with links to new materials and information.

Books and other resources: 

A packet of documents will be handed out at the first class; class members will be billed for the cost. Not required but highly suggested are My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom and Secrecy and Deceit by David M Gitlitz. New or used copies in very good condition are available, or ask at your library. Additional major resources will be provided for those who wish to do additional reading.

Biography:

Trained as a sociologist, I went bad and became a criminologist and then really bad by becoming a computer security and privacy professional. I have taught at various universities, led seminars and given speeches in many settings. As ex-president, I am active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury. Flunking retirement, I volunteer to teach ESL to adult immigrants and serve on a patient research ethics and safety board at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I have taught this course twice last year at LLAIC. At BOLLI, I have taught courses on Your Privacy is at Risk and The Sociology of “Deviant” Behaviors, and I have given an Enhancement presentation on Crypto Jews/Conversos/Marranos.


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Mo-B1-10-TBE:   Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro:  Two of the Greatest Actors in the History of Film

Course Leader:  Irwin Silver

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19 (2 class periods)

Course Description: 

We will be showing and discussing the films of Brando and De Niro. In addition to the great talent of these two actors is the versatility of their roles. They have excelled at drama, Shakespeare, comedy and musicals. I will show movies that showcase their talent and versatility. An example of some of the films that I will present and discuss for Brando include: The Godfather, On the Waterfront, Julius Caesar, and Guys and Dolls. Some of De Niro’s classics include: Godfather II, Raging Bull, Silver Linings Playbook and The Deer Hunter. Preparation time should take about one hour a week, and I will communicate with the class by email.

Biography:

I am a retired First Vice President from a major investment firm. In addition to 46 years in the investment business I was also an adjunct professor of finance for 15 years at Northeastern University. I have given a number of film classes in Lifelong Learning organizations.


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Mo-B2-10-TBE:  Abraham Lincoln: Evolution of a President

Course Leader:  Marvin Snider

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 19

Course Description: 

Lincoln is generally viewed by many historians as our greatest president. What accounts for his being held in such high regard? How did this man, born in a log cabin, with very little formal education, develop the knowledge and political skill to become president? We will look at how he developed his skills, values and political philosophy. We will consider this from: events in his early life, his significant relationships, law practice, and experience in various occupations, in the military, in politics and his role in formation of the Republican Party. We will discuss the obstacles he had to overcome: feelings of inadequacy, vulnerability to depression, and social awkwardness. We will also consider the evolution of his long-standing interest in infrastructure and a national bank. Particular attention will be given to his growing interest in slavery that ultimately got expressed in his emancipation proclamation, in spite of the risks to his presidency in doing so. The course will conclude with an examination of how a review of Lincoln’s life experience has application in the present. Limited presentations will be made by the CL to provide maximum opportunity for class discussion. Supplementary materials will be provided. Access to the Internet will be very helpful. Two to three hours of reading per week will be expected.

Books and other resources: 

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1996.

Biography:

Marvin Snider has a PhD in psychology and has practiced both as a clinician and an organizational consultant. He has led many courses on diverse topics at the Harvard Life Learning Program that included the following courses: "International Hot Spots," "Innovators of Political Thought," "Cults," "Elections," "George Washington-The Indispensable Man," "Lincoln" and most recently, at LLAIC, "Ben Franklin."


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Th-A2-10-TBE and Tu-B4-10-TBE:   The West and the Rest: The Dominance of Western Civilization in the Nineteenth, and Twentieth Centuries. How long will it last?

Course Leader:  Harriet Janel Starrett

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6 and Oct. 8

Course Description: 

This course will be based on Niall Ferguson’s study, Civilization: The West and the Rest, which is the text, and will be shown as presentation for the first part of each class (it was a PBS series). The second half of each class will be devoted to discussion. There will be guideline questions to assist the student with the text and the presentation. This is a history course, but its emphasis will be on what elements of culture in Western Civilization made this geographical/cultural grouping dominant. Of course, as globalization spreads Western ideas, science, culture, and economic organization, the question of how things are/will change is paramount. Dominance is no longer guaranteed. Minimal computer knowledge is necessary.

Books and other resources: 

Niall Ferguson, Civilization: The West and the Rest. London: Penguin Press, 2011. Available in paperback.

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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Tu-A3-10-TST:  The Trojan War: History or Myth?  Its Legend and Its Literature

Course Leader:  Verne Vance

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 6

Course Description: 

The Trojan War is the most famous war that may never have happened. It is famous and important because it is the subject of the greatest epic poem in Western literature, The Iliad, as well as many other works of literature, including works by Virgil, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Giraudoux. In this ten-session course we will examine the questions whether something like the Trojan War did happen and whether it was indeed written by a blind poet named Homer. The bulk of the course will focus on selected readings from The Iliad plus several other literary treatments of the Trojan War. We will examine the literary aspects of those works, their differing portrayals of key figures in the war, and philosophical questions posed by them such as what does it mean to be human; why do people fight wars; how does one deal with love in the midst of war; and what is the role of the gods, whoever they are, in human affairs. The course will be presented through AV materials, some mini-lectures, and class discussions of the various assigned readings. Computer ability to access e-mails and to surf research materials on the Web are needed, as I will keep the class informed through e-mails and Web research will be needed for the fullest benefit of the class. I anticipate that an average of three to five hours of student preparation per week will be needed for the fullest benefit of the class.

Books and other resources: 
  • Selections from Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics 1991 (paperbackthere are many other translations, any of which is acceptable).
  • Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (many editions are readily available, all of which are acceptable).
  • Jean Giraudoux’ Tiger at the Gates, translated by Christopher Fry, Oxford University Press 1955.
  • Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles, Ecco 2012 (paperback).
Biography:

Verne Vance is a retired corporate lawyer who has had a longtime interest in classical Greek literature and civilization. He has visited Mycenae and Sparta, the realms of Kings Agamemnon and Menelaus, leaders of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. He has been unable to find Troy but will continue looking. He has led lifelong learning courses in drama and other literature and musical theatre for the past five years. He is a two-time winner of the T.F. Evans Award of the Shaw Society of the United Kingdom.


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Th-A3-10-TBE:  The Challenged Child: Four Classic Plays

Course Leader:  Lois Ziegelman

Day/time:  10-week course starting Oct. 8

Course Description: 

From Classical Antiquity onward dramatists have explored the dynamics of the dysfunctional family. My previous course studied plays that focused on the “maudlin” mother as the central figure. In this course we will study plays that focus on the challenged child. Hamlet should be read before the first class. Two and one half hours of careful reading is expected. I am available by phone in the evenings: 781 237 4086.

Books and other resources: 
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
  • Miss Julie by August Strindberg Tr: Harry G. Carlson.
  • Antigone by Jean Anouilh Tr: Lewis Ganantiere.
  • Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill.
Biography:

Lois Ziegelman, PhD Brandeis, is a Professor Emerita from Framingham State College, where her specialties were world literature and drama. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the humanities, she has studied, taught, and performed literature from Classical Antiquity to the present.


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Page updated July 23, 2015

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Peter Schmidt,
Jun 2, 2015, 4:47 PM
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