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Course Descriptions - Spring 2016

Spring 2016 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; 5a or 5b means that the course is given in the first or second half of the semester, respectively; 
  • TBE stands for Temple Beth Elohim, and TST for Temple Shir Tikva. Courses at TBE take place on Mondays and Thursdays, courses at TST on Tuesdays.

For a printable version of the course descriptions (23 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-A2-10-TBE Suzanne Art
Painters of the Italian Renaissance
Mo-A3-10-TBE Ruth Kramer Baden
Reading and Enjoying Two Great Poets: W.B. Yeats and Wislawa Szymborska
Tu-A1-10-TST MaryAnn Byrnes The Elephant in the Room: How Language Affects Our Thinking
Th-C4-10-TBE LLoyd David
This is Your Life: Now Write About It
Th-B2-5a-TBE Stephen Gabeler (Gabe)
The Why of Photography
Th-B1-10-TBE Sandy Grasfield and Dana Kaplan Sisters in Crime: Women Mystery Writers Golden Age--present
Th-B4-10-TBE Joel Kamer
Fiction with a Math Chaser
Th-C1-5a-TBE
Th-B5-5a-TBE
Michael Kaufman
A Tiny Event of Cosmic Importance: Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Th-B3-5b-TBE Arnold Kerzner
Everything You Wanted to Know about Your Brain, but Couldn’t Remember to Ask
Mo-C2-5b-TBE Helen Kolsky
The Irish as Revealed in Short Fiction
Mo-B2-10-TBE Gene Kupferschmid
Old Settlers, New Immigrants:  The Hispanic Presence in the U.S.
Th-C3-10-TBE Carole Levy
Accidental Empire: Israel and the Settlements
Mo-C1-10-TBE Mary and Richard Mansfield
The American Dream in Crisis
Tu-B1-10-TST Carole and Mark McNamee Collage and the Development of Consciousness
Mo-C3-5b-TBE Edmond Murad
History of Islam
Tu-A3-10-TST Marty Nichols and Richard Mansfield
Hard Times: Contemporary Challenges
Tu-B2-10-TST Rabbi Robert Orkand
Religious Literacy: the Eastern Religions
Tu-A2-10-TST Alorie Parkhill
Journey into American Feminist History and Literature
Mo-B3-5a-TBE Peter Schmidt and Gillian Geffin
A Taste of Science and Technology
Mo-B4-5b-TBE Sandy Sherizen
Selected Topics in Crime, Punishment, and Prevention 
Mo-A1-10-TBE Irwin Silver
Films about Racism and Anti-Semitism
Mo-A2-10-TBE Marvin Snider
Teddy Roosevelt
Th-A1-10-TBE
Tu-A4-10-TST
Harriet Janel Starrett
The USA from 1945 to the Present
Tu-B3-5b-TST Judie Strauss
LILAC Players Alive and Well
Th-A3-10-TBE Lois Ziegelman
The Rise of the Anti-Hero: three 19th century French Novels


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Th-A2-10-TBE:  Painters of the Italian Renaissance

Course Leader:  Suzanne Art

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

Course Description: 

The Renaissance was an exciting time of rediscovery of the ideals of classical antiquity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the paintings produced in Italy. In this course, we will learn about humanism and see how its principles are reflected in the art of the times. After a brief look at examples of Byzantine and Gothic paintings of the late medieval period, we will examine the innovations made by artists such as Giotto and Duccio during the “proto-Renaissance” of the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Then we will plunge into a study of the major works of Early Renaissance painters, such as Masaccio, Fra Angelico, and Botticelli. Finally we will look at the paintings of the great masters of the High Renaissance - Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian - as well as those of some of their most talented contemporaries. As we proceed through the course, we will discuss such topics as the artist’s workshop; tools, materials and techniques; artist-patron relationships; the influence of Flemish art; religious and mythological symbolism; the evolving role of the artist; and the ways in which paintings reflect contemporary society. The course will end with a brief examination of Mannerism, the style that evolved from the art of the Italian Renaissance. There will be equal amounts of CL presentation and class discussion. Prior knowledge is not required. Because the material will build from week to week, it is strongly recommended that each class be attended. Computer ability is required, because all assignments are online. Also, I will send out via email on a weekly basis the slides of the paintings viewed and discussed in class. Class preparation should take about an hour.

Books and other resources: 

All assignments will be online. These include short biographies, short articles about specific aspects of art or Renaissance culture, and videos of noted art historians discussing certain works of art.

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 (Wayside Publishing), a major feature of which is the study of the art of a given culture. My favorite volume is The Story of the Renaissance. I have previously taught two art history courses at LLAIC: Let’s Go for Baroque and Three Giants of the Northern Renaissance.


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Mo-A3-10-TBE:  Reading and Enjoying Two Great Poets: W.B. Yeats and Wislawa Szymborska

Course Leader:  Ruth Kramer Baden

Day/time:  10-week course starting Feb. 29

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 together by getting the news from two great poets: W. B. Yeats and Wislawa Szymborska. One of his fellow poets, W. H. Auden, assigned the Anglo-Irish Yeats the high praise of having written "some of the most beautiful poetry of modern times.” Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish woman who lived through both the Nazi and Communist occupations won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996, and continued writing poetry in her nineties. Her poems use simple language (here, in translation) and ponder “life on earth from the microbe to the apocalypse” as well as “Teenagers” and “Poetry.” Our study will be a group endeavor into and between the layers of poems, with much class discussion . For beginners this may mean overcoming fear of poetry to find the joy in it. In addition too the poems there will be assigned readings about the poets. I expect members to participate in the discussions and to read (voluntarily) one of the poems for that week aloud.

We will spend the first six weeks on Yeats and the last four on Szymborska. When it is appropriate I will talk briefly about an aspect of poetics (tone; sound; rhythm; imagery). This will enhance the group's 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 can read their drafts for comments if they wish, and/or read their finished work at the beginning of each class—this is a voluntary exercise. It enhances the appreciation of the poet's craft.

Computer ability: I will be sending out assigned internet articles and readings by Yeats on YouTube and also weekly comments and questions for members. I cannot be responsible for getting the material to you in another form.

Preparation time: 2 hours plus any time you want to spend writing a poem.

Books and other resources: 

William Butler Yeats: The collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. Ed. Richard J. Finneran, Scribner, 2nd Revised Edition, 1996, ISBN-10 684807319 ISBN-13 978380707317

Wislawa Szymborska: Here, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, N.Y.,2010, ISBN 978-0-547-36461-2

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 eleven years and continue to learn from them.


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Tu-A1-10-TST:  The Elephant in the Room: How Language Affects Our Thinking    

Course Leader:  MaryAnn Byrnes

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 1

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 a few fiction selections and explore how 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. I will be sending slides and websites to participants and asking people to explore on their own. Student preparation should take approximately one to two hours.

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.

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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Th-C4-10-TBE:  This is Your Life: Now Write About It 

Course Leader:  Lloyd David

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

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 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. There will be approximately one hour of preparation outside of class.

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 experiential learning. He was a Kellogg/Partners International Fellow from 1987-1992.


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Th-B2-5a-TBE  The Why of Photography

Course Leader:  Stephen Gabeler (Gabe)

Day/time:  5-week course starting March 3 (first half of semester)

Course Description: 

We will explore why photographers do what they do, in their own words (including my own), as well as the views of philosophers, critics, essayists and biographers. This will not be about f-stops, etc., but will include the choice of tools photographers use for their work. Writings and images will be read, projected and discussed with the intent of increasing understanding and appreciation when viewing and/or making photographs. Any photographers in the group will be encouraged to show and discuss some of their work, or the work of others, that moves them in some way. A theme of particular interest is the ambiguity in photographs. Everyone should also be prepared to discuss their relationship to photography. Student preparation time will require 1-2 hours per week.

Books and other resources: 

I will provide bibliographies of books used in preparation of the course on the first day or ahead by email.  I strongly recommend the following for preparation:

Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson - ISBN-10: 1554079802

Two other significant sources of material may be:

Aperture Magazine Anthology (Amazon only - $33.36)
Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers on Their Art (Amazon $11.49, Minuteman – 9 copies)

Biography:

Stephen Gabeler (Gabe) has been a serious photographer in parallel with his professional career as an electronics engineer developing medical, industrial, and scientific instrumentation for over 40 years. His photography began with 35mm B&W and continued with color in 35mm, medium format and now digital media. The engineering background is beneficial in many of the technical aspects of photographic art. Visual and emotional aspects are guided by the study of other photographers and painters and by travels on foot in New England and the Southwest over those same years. He says “my subject matter is set by where my feet take me – it’s plein air photography.” A wide range of themes appear in his work including landscape, abstracted nature, cultural history, industrial history and a personal intimacy with places. His work has been exhibited at The Concord Art Association, Post Road Art Center, Sudbury Art Association, Goodnow Library in Sudbury, Sudbury Valley Nature Photographers, Amazing Things Art Center and Sudbury Valley Trustees. Gabe and his wife Carolyn share their artwork at: http://tipplingrockcreative.net


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Th-B1-10-TBE:  Sisters in Crime: Women Mystery Writers Golden Age--present

Course Leader:  Sandy Grasfield and Dana Kaplan

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

Course Description:

If you can’t resist a well-crafted mystery novel, you’re in good company. The poet W. H. Auden confesses:

“For me . . . the reading of detective stories is an addiction like tobacco or alcohol. The symptoms of this are: the intensity of the craving—if I have any work to do, I must be careful not to get hold of a detective story for, once I begin one, I cannot work or sleep till I have finished it.”

Women writers have been dishing up murder and mayhem alongside “the boys” from the start. For this course we’ve chosen some of the best, most influential (and most enjoyable) books and authors to explore how the mystery genre has changed through the years. We’ll look at the influence of contemporary events, the social and political milieu and the mass media, especially paperback books, television and movies. We will cover some of the most popular sub-genres, including historical mysteries and the “cozy.”

The course will feature background lectures, guided group discussion, and occasional video clips (primarily author interviews). Along with lively discussion of our readings plus sharing of our favorite books and authors, we will consider the question, “Is there a uniquely female perspective on crime fiction?”

We will be communicating via email with class members and will occasionally send a link to an online document or website. Realizing that reading the book of the week is a full-time assignment, these will be very short. Most weeks, students will be expected to read a mystery of approximately 300 pages. Obviously, we all read at different rates of speed. We have taken care to select shorter books wherever possible, but probably 4 hours per week is a reasonable estimate. While some may not have finished the book being discussed, the discussion will not exclude potential “spoilers!”

Books and other resources: 

With the possible exception of Laura, they are all readily available in libraries or for very reasonable charges, for both new and used, on Amazon.
  • Week 1:  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • Week 2:  Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Week 3:  Laura by Vera Caspary
  • Week 4:  The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  • Week 5:  One Across, Two Down by Ruth Rendell
  • Week 6:  A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
  • Week 7:  Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell
  • Week 8:  Still Life by Louise Penny  
  • Week 9:  Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
  • Week 10:  Bedford Square by Anne Perry 
Biography:

Sandy Grasfield has been reading mysteries for decades and finally stopped hiding them at the bottom of the pile of books she was borrowing when an observant librarian, who noticed she was embarrassed, told her that both Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy read them too.  She has led courses at LLAIC and elsewhere on other subjects.

Dana Kaplan has been an avid reader of many types of mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew. When her classmates became boy crazy, she remained (and still is) book crazy. Her business career as a marketing team leader included creating and conducting many interactive staff training programs.


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Th-B4-10-TBE:  Fiction with a Math Chaser 

Course Leader:  Joel Kamer

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

Course Description: 

We will be reading three acclaimed novels by three very different but accomplished authors.  One similarity between the novels is that each has a primary character who is talented mathematically.  When the novels mention mathematical concepts in association with the aforementioned characters, the CL is likely to go off on a tangent [editor’s note:  the CL surreptitiously injected this mathematical term here --- see a mathematics dictionary for the definition] to describe the concept in layman’s terms.  The intent of the course is to discuss three intriguing books, and have fun with the mathematics incorporated by the authors. Readings will be from 70 to 110 pages each week.

Books and other resources: 

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Goldstein, ISBN 978-0-307-45671-7, Vintage Contemporaries paperback, 2011

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder, ISBN 978-0-312-42780-1, Picador paperback, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, ISBN 978-1-4000-3271-6, Vintage Contemporaries paperback, 2004

Biography:

I learned reading at an early age and then, after ‘riting, I learned ‘rithmetic.  I found ‘rithmetic so enthralling that I went on to eventually receive a master’s degree in mathematics and another in actuarial science.  I became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, and put some of this learning to use.  In my spare time I tried to keep up my reading skills, in particular by reading fiction.  Occasionally I’d come across fiction that indulged my love of mathematics, as in these three novels, and I look forward to sharing the experience with the class.


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Th-C1-5a-TBE:  A Tiny Event of Cosmic Importance: Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Day/time:  5-week course starting March 3 (first half of semester), second period

Th-B5-5a-TBE:  A Tiny Event of Cosmic Importance: Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Day/time:  5-week course starting March 3 (first half of semester), third period

Course Leader:
  Michael Kaufman

Course Description: 

Tragedy has always existed perilously close to the absurd. The dilemma the tragic figure confronts is that an action must be chosen that will inevitably lead to loss or death.  Stoppard frames the tragic choice this way: “The bad end unhappily; the good end unluckily.” But end they do. What saves tragedy from the cynicism of absurdity is that the quest is understood to be meaningful; the sacrifice worthy. But if the belief in ultimate meaning and natural order is no longer available, then tragedy may slip into the abyss of absurdity.

In Stoppard’s re-vision of Shakespeare’s play, he extracts two minor characters from the tragedy and creates a mythic template for modernity. R and G’s utter incomprehension of the situation in which they find themselves, their confusion about their own identities, their helplessness in the face of the inevitable reflect our own uncertainties about what is going on in the story of our lives.

This 5-week course will focus on Hamlet as an example of the classic tragic vision, and then explore how Stoppard transforms Shakespeare’s iconic masterpiece into a witty, penetrating commentary on modernity and the human experience. Since it is a shorter course, please be sure to have Hamlet read before the first meeting. Should there be any questions concerning the course, I can be reached in the evenings at 857-273-3335.

Books and other resources: 

Hamlet
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
by Tom Stoppard

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 lifelong learning programs for some ten years, and for some reason thought I had retired.


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Th-B3-5b-TBE:  Everything You Wanted to Know about Your Brain, but Couldn’t Remember to Ask

Course Leader:  Arnold Kerzner

Day/time:  5-week course starting April 7 (second half of semester)

Course Description:

This course will describe the major aspects of the development of the human brain: how it is stimulated by both nurture and genetics, how it is capable of multitasking, how the brain is different from the mind and how it has the capacity to remember the past while forgetting where you parked your car.  We will focus on the flexibility and resilience of the brain and how it is built for healing itself after various setbacks such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and strokes.  Our goal will be to share the latest research and clinical evidence so that we may appreciate the many ways that we can keep our brains alive and well long enough to discover personal wisdom.

The course will be presented in an interactional manner with a combination of lectures, personal anecdotes, and clinical vignettes accompanied by AV PowerPoint and discussion of selected readings.  Questions and comments will be encouraged. Assignments should take approximately two hours, and the ability to receive and send email is important.

Books and other resources: 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge Dec. 18, 2007   ISBN 978-0-14-311310-2  

Handouts at cost.

Biography: 

I am a physician, board certified in pediatrics and psychiatry-neurology, and have practiced family and community psychiatry for 45 years.  During my career I have been founder of The Boston Institute for the Development of Infants and Parents, the clinical director of The Human Relations Center of Wellesley, the psychiatrist at The Perkins School for the Blind, and am currently the psychiatric consultant to the Lighthouse School.  I have enjoyed presenting medical topics to “Learning in Retirement” groups and learning about the functioning of their brains by way of their questions and repartee.  My clinical practice and research interests have led to my fascination with how the mind is such an amazing part of who and why we are what we are.


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Mo-C2-5b-TBE:  The Irish as Revealed in Short Fiction

Course Leader:  Helen Kolsky

Day/time:  5 5-week course starting April 7 (second half of semester)

Course Description: 

The evolution of the short story into respected literature, a genre now akin to poetry as an art form, can be traced in part to James Joyce, especially to his work, The Dubliners.  His countryman, William Trevor, has acknowledged Joyce’s influence on his own more recent short fiction.  Both are well known for their treatment of Irish history in their respective eras.  In this five week course, we will study the short story form as articulated by both these masters and possibly one or two others in works relating to the “Irish problem.”  This course will be totally structured around leader-directed discussion in which members’ participation is central, requiring thorough familiarity with the texts.  Two hours of weekly preparation time is to be expected and will include, in addition to close reading of the texts, leader prepared study questions or ‘points to ponder.’

Books and other resources: 

The Dubliners, by James Joyce. Many editions are available in libraries and at www.amazon.com. (Two stories from this collection will be read). Other stories will be assigned, and class participants can decide whether they want to acquire the books in which they appear.

Biography:

Helen Kolsky was a high school and community college teacher of English in New York City until 2003.  She moved to Brookline in ’05 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 LLAIC.


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Mo-B2-10-TBE:  Old Settlers, New Immigrants:  The Hispanic Presence in the U.S. 

Course Leader:  Gene Kupferschmid

Day/time:  10-week course starting Feb. 29

Course Description: 

To become better acquainted with the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the U.S., we will study and discuss their past and present as the necessary background to address the following issues:  a)  illegal immigration, b)  our evolving relations with Cuba,  c) the status of Puerto Rico, d) bilingual education and e) the Hispanic voter in 2016 and beyond.  In addition to the textbook, there will be a supplementary course pack, and several films will be shown. Although it isn’t absolutely necessary, a computer would be helpful for ascertaining facts and figures. The weekly reading assignments will be more or less 50 pages.

Books and other resources: 

Harvest of Empire (Revised edition) by Juan Gonzalez:  Penguin Books, 2011.  ISBN 978-0-14-311928-9

There will be a supplementary course pack and several short films will be shown.

Biography:

I taught for over 30 years in the Department of Romance Languages of Boston College, and my primary field of interest is Latin America, its language, literature and culture.  I have lived in Argentina and Mexico, and while doing research for the 14 textbooks I wrote, I traveled through most of the countries south of the border. During my academic career I received two NEH fellowships. 


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Th-C3-10-TBE:  Accidental Empire: Israel and the Settlements

Course Leader:  Carole Levy

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

Course Description:

The Accidental Empire refers to the land captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. The Sinai Desert was returned to Egypt in 1976 and Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip 2005. The Golan Heights and the West Bank are still held and administered by Israel and have over the years been settled by what now amounts to nearly five hundred thousand Israelis.  In this course we will discuss the history of the Zionist movement, the founding and growth of the State and the history of the beginnings of these settlements and their current state. Through our readings, maps, lecture and discussion we will endeavor to understand what these settlements imply for Israel, the Palestinians, and the global community. As anyone who follows the news knows, the attitude and politics of both Israelis and Palestinians have taken many twists and turns over the years in this area of contention. I will by no means be able to get into it all. My goal is that you would leave this class with a better understanding of where this is happening, who the key players are, what the opposing opinions are and what the implications are for Israel. No prior knowledge is necessary, but the material will build from week to week; it is important to keep up attendance and with the assigned reading, which will be about 100 pages a week.

Books and other resources: 

My Promised Land, Ari Shavit, Spiegel & Grau, 2013

The Unmaking of Israel, Harper Perennial, Gershom Gorenberg

Biography:

After working more than twenty five years as a high school teacher of English and raising three daughters, I now have the opportunity to expand my learning and share my interests by leading classes. I enjoy the study of history. As I lived in Israel from 1970 to 1983, am married to a native Tel Avivian and keep up with the news from Israel, I feel I have some expertise in these areas and wish to share it...and hear opposing views. Previous courses I have led include a history of US health care policy and courses on Israeli literature and history. I have a B.A. from Penn State University and an MBA in management of not­for­profit organizations from the Heller School at Brandeis University. I enjoy playing tennis, x­country skiing and yoga…and reading both literature and non­fiction, mostly history.


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Mo-C1-10-TBE:   The American Dream in Crisis

Course Leader:  Mary and Richard Mansfield

Day/time:  10-week course starting Feb. 29

Course Description:

The years since 1960 have borne witness to profound shifts in America. In our contemporary economy, job security has become a vanishing expectation, and the possibilities for upward mobility are remote for many Americans.  The structure of our society has changed. A new, affluent and well-educated upper class has emerged, along with a new lower class. The values and behaviors of these groups have diverged drastically, leaving a powerful upper class isolated residentially and culturally from mainstream America, and a struggling, increasingly dysfunctional lower-class, in which family and community supports have been significantly damaged. The two groups differ so dramatically in values and behavior that they constitute two different cultures. In this course we will explore what has been changing and why, the risks posed by the changes, and what could be done to restore the American dream. The class will use a variety of formats: large group discussions, small group work, individual exercises, film segments, video clips, and occasional short presentations by the Course Leaders. There will be about 60 pages of reading per week (1-2 hours). Students should be able to read emails and open pdf files.

Books and other resources: 

Robert Putnam, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015. Available from Amazon.com for $17.14.

Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America. New York: Crown Forum, 2012. Available from Amazon.com, $9.77.

Biography:

Richard Mansfield’s first career  was as an academic, teaching human development, educational psychology and statistics. For the past 30 years he has been a consultant, focusing in human resource management and organization development.  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. Richard and Mary have each individually offered courses at LLAIC, and together they offered a course on issues in American education. Both are founding members of the LLAIC Board.


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Tu-B1-10-TST:  Collage and the Development of Consciousness

Course Leader:  Carole and Mark McNamee

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 1

Course Description:

Developed by Seena Frost, SoulCollage® is a process that involves the selection of personally resonant  images from magazines, photos, and other sources.  These images are cut or torn, and assembled, and glued in meaningful ways onto 5”x8” blank cards creating a personal “deck” of collaged cards.  Each card provides a form of self-reflection and thus its own contribution to our “deck.”  Once a card is created, we learn techniques to “dialogue” with it to discern its meaning and/or message.  Written exercises and sharing in small group discussions help discern meanings. Collaged cards can be used to facilitate life review, personal growth, decision making, or fun!  They serve to enlighten, challenge, bemuse, and amuse.  Absolutely no artistic experience is required.  Anyone can do this and the process is enjoyable.  We use images, scissors, and glue.  Bring a willingness to play and an openness to your images. There is no required preparation other than an ongoing collecting of images and contribution of retired magazines to our “image bank.” 

Books and other resources: 

SoulCollage® Evolving (2010) by Seena Frost, Hanford Mead Publishers, Inc.; (recommended but not required) ~ $25

Biography:

Carole McNamee has recently retired from two careers:  the first, a professor of computer science and the second, a marriage and family therapist with a specialization in the therapeutic use of the creative arts.  Carole has facilitated groups using both mandala-making and SoulCollage® at the Friends General Conference annual gathering, the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology (FCRP) and the Washington FCRP annual meetings as well as Round Oaks Creative Center in Charlottesville, VA and Warm Hearth Retirement Village in Blacksburg, VA.  Carole founded and directed the Willowbank Creative Center also in Blacksburg, VA. All of these activities have focused on personal experience as a touchstone for individual learning.

Mark McNamee is a recently retired university provost and professor of biochemistry.  He has enjoyed engaging with Carole’s passions and he and Carole are both trained SoulCollage® facilitators. 


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Mo-C3-5b-TBE:  History of Islam

Course Leader:  Edmond Murad

Day/time:  5-week course starting April 4 (second half of semester)

Course Description: 

The intent of this course is to present an introduction to the history of Islam, particularly in the 9-12th centuries, with special emphasis on the development of Islam in Central Asia.  We will learn about its contact with Western Philosophy, India (Sufi traditions) and the development of science, astronomy, art, calligraphy and architecture in Baghdad and Central Asia.  While this is mostly a lecture class, I hope we will have very active class participation in the study of this history. Also, I want to emphasize that this is a history class, and that I do not plan to discuss current events at all. 

Access to a computer and the internet will be very useful as there are clips on YouTube that contain lectures by Western scholars who present analyses of Islam in a manner that was done for Christianity, Judaism, and other religions. Student preparation will be 2-3 hours per week.

Books and other resources: 

Malise Ruthven, A Very Short Introduction to Islam, Oxford U. P., 1997
Aran Hirsi, Ali, Heretic, Harper Collins, 2015

Biography:

I worked as a civilian at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Hanscom AFB. I am a physical chemist by training, with a BA from NYU in 1955 in chemistry and a Ph.D.in physical chemistry from the University of Rochester in 1960. My specialty has been chemical thermodynamics and atmospheric physics and chemistry. During my years at AFRL, I worked on making measurements from the Space Shuttle of the atmospheric emissions and I developed several predictive codes for spacecraft contamination and for the prediction of meteor signatures and composition. After retirement, I taught courses on meteor chemistry and physics, and spacecraft contamination at the Swedish Space Institute in Kiruna Sweden, the last being in 2011.
Because I was born in Baghdad and had to study Islam for the last 3 years in school there, I have a special interest in this subject and have taught 6 classes in lifelong learning programs on aspects of Islam and on the intersection of Islam with Jews.


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Tu-A3-10-TST:  Hard Times: Contemporary Challenges 

Course Leader:  Marty Nichols and Richard Mansfield

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 1

Course Description: 

Do you finish reading, listening to or watching the latest news shaking your head and wondering whether “the world is going to hell in a handbasket”?  Join us as we use in-depth essays and articles from such respected periodicals as The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs and Commentary to better understand and confront some of the most vexing issues that we face as a nation and a world.

This will not be a lecture course.  We expect that class members will participate in lively discussions facilitated by the class leaders.  Each class meeting will deal with a different subject and will be independent of other weekly sessions. Weekly sessions may include such topics as: 
 
  • ISIS and Terrorism
  • 2016 US Election
  • US Foreign Policy: China, Russia, Mideast
  • Money in politics

  • Inequality in America
  • Immigration
  • Syrian refugees
  • Cybersecurity
  • Energy policy
  • Racism in US criminal justice system and mass incarceration
  • Education in US
  • Legalization of marijuana
Members will be asked to give short biographies of the authors of the essays and will be encouraged, but not required, to choose a topic and facilitate a class session.  The articles selected for discussion will be sent to the class via email attachments in PDF format. Class preparation time will be approximately an hour and a half.

Biography:

Richard Mansfield: My first career was as an academic, teaching human development, educational psychology and statistics. For the past 30 years I have been a consultant, focusing on human resource management and organization development.  I am a founding member of the LLAIC Board and have led the New York Review of Books extra-curricular group. At LLAIC I have taught a course on creativity and co-taught another on issues in American Education.

Marty Nichols:  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.  I have been involved with lifetime learning programs for the past 20 years.  I have been a member and frequent facilitator of groups that have discussed contemporary short fiction and US foreign policy.  Last semester I was the co-leader of a LLIAC course on Contemporary Short Stories.


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Tu-B2-10-TST:  Religious Literacy: the Eastern Religions

Course Leader:  Rabbi Robert Orkand

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 1

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?

In the fall, participants looked at the Western religions. This spring semester will focus on the Eastern religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto and Shamanism, and East Asian Buddhism. 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. A suggested reading list will be provided for those who wish additional knowledge. There will be no assigned homework.

Biography:

Rabbi Robert Orkand retired in 2013 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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Tu-A2-10-TST:  A Journey into American Feminist History and Literature

Course Leader:  Alorie Parkhill

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 1

Course Description:

This course is about equality of gender, an issue that should concern every living being. Men!  If you have a mother, a wife, a daughter, a granddaughter, a female cousin, a good woman friend or neighbor, you are an essential part of this discussion. Women! The same goes for you, and include yourself.

We will consider the three “waves” of feminist history in the United States, beginning in the nineteenth century through today. Yes, women and men have made meaningful progress, but there are still miles to go before we sleep. The literature during the waves often reflected the personal details of what women experienced in their constricted roles. Among writings from many sources, we will read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Susan Glaspell’s A Jury of Her Peers, Tillie Olson’s “Tell Me a Riddle” and collected readings from numerous other sources, including male feminists. As musician John Legend wrote: “We are better off when women are empowered—it leads to a better society.”

Our goal is to understand why feminism matters in education, jobs, relationships, and probably every other aspect of life. Perhaps we then may better empathize with our world family and try to help make the changes so desperately needed.

Preparation time should be one to two hours, and computer use for opening documents and emails is necessary.

Books and other resources: 

A History of U.S. Feminisms, by Rory Dicker (Seal Press, 2008)

The Awakening, Kate Chopin, A Norton Critical Edition (second), edited by Margo Culley (WW Norton & Co.)

We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books, 2015)

“Trifles” and “A Jury of Her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell   ISBN: 978-1494892463

Other handouts

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 have taught Buddhism and Non-Fiction Writing (twice) at LLAIC. I was one of the founders of LLAIC, where I continue to relish learning, together, with my classes.


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Mo-B3-5a-TBE:  A Taste of Science and Technology 

Course Leader:  Peter Schmidt and Gillian Geffin

Day/time:  5-week course starting Feb. 29 (first half of semester)

Course Description: 

Science and technology have a significant impact on modern lives. In this 5-week course we will explore a different subject of scientific and technical interest with the class each week in a combination of presentation and discussion. No prior knowledge is required. The five subjects are:

  • Radiation: Natural and Man-made.  What is radiation? What types are there? What effect does it have on us? Should we worry about it? When is it an invisible enemy and when is it a helpful friend? Come learn more about it.
  • Genes and Genetic Engineering: Should we fool with Mother Nature? After discussing what genes are and how they are engineered, we will consider genetically modified foods, bacteria, insects, and animals. How do you feel about the genetic modification of human beings, an imminent possibility?
  • Robotics: Facts and a little fiction.  Although the word “robot” originated in a work of fiction, robotics has become very real. We’ll explore some characteristics of robots and their development and application in industry, the home and research.
  • Heart to Heart: the Circulation of the Blood. Your heart pumps some 2,000 gallons of blood every 24 hours and never rests.  We’ll examine the workings of the heart and blood vessels to see how the heart accomplishes this feat and how the blood is distributed throughout the body.
  • Exoplanets: Other Suns have Planets too.  Once convinced of our uniqueness in the universe, we’ve now found nearly 2000 planets in other solar systems. We’ll look at how these exoplanets were detected, and whether some might be habitable by life as we know it.

Computer ability will be needed for email communication with the class and for Internet use. We anticipate one to two hours of student preparation time. No books are required. The CLs will provide necessary Internet links and online resources.

Biography:

Peter Schmidt had an academic and research career in experimental high energy physics, one which included teaching at Brandeis University, and a second one in the application of machine vision in private industry. He has led a number of courses in diverse subjects, from physics and statistics to twentieth-century music, at LLAIC and at another lifelong learning organization.

Gillian Geffin has degrees in physiology and medicine from the University of London. She ran a research laboratory at the M.G.H., teaching research fellows and medical students. She has contributed as course leader in other science courses and, with her husband Bennie, twice led a science and technology course at another lifelong learning organization.


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Mo-B4-5b-TBESelected Topics in Crime, Punishment, and Prevention 

Course Leader:  Sandy Sherizen

Day/time:  5-week course starting April 4 (second half of semester)

Course Description: 

The purpose of this course is to raise awareness about certain kinds of crimes, why they are committed, how they are punished, and ways they may be prevented. The "hot topics" we will cover include why some people become criminals while others become victims, cyber crime, white collar crime, and the roles that race and class play in the criminal justice system. My classes are very interactive. Questions and comments from the class are highly encouraged and will be discussed. I will start each session with an overview of the topics of the week and then open up a discussion on the questions provided for each topic. Questions will raise fundamental issues to discuss in class. Crime-related examples will be discussed and videos will be shown. It is expected that the readings will take approximately 2-3 hours a week. Readings will consist of articles from academic literature, think tank papers and the popular press. I encourage class members to volunteer for a 10-minute presentation on a topic of interest. I will provide suggestions on topics and various materials that are readily available.

Books and other resources: 

I will produce a selection of readings of informative articles and/or reports for each of the five weeks. For example, these can include pro and con discussions among experts or a high level analysis of a specific issue. These may be executive summaries or highlights of policy papers from think tanks, including government agencies.

Biography:

Trained as a sociologist, I then 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 around the world. 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 lifelong learning courses on Your Privacy is at Risk, the Sociology of "Deviant" Behaviors, and I have just completed leading Surviving the Inquisition: Marranos/Crypto Jews/ Conversos. 


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Mo-A1-10-TBE:  Films about Racism and Anti-Semitism

Course Leader:  Irwin Silver

Day/time:  10-week course in two consecutive blocks of time starting Feb. 29

Course Description: 

The film industry has produced some outstanding movies about racism and religious bigotry. We will watch 10 of these movies and have a discussion after each one is shown. We will discuss how Hollywood has handled these very important themes over the years and how timely the topics are today. Some of the films we will watch and discuss include Constantine’s Sword, The People v. Leo Frank, Gentlemen’s Agreement, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, 42, Gran Torino, and Crash. We will discuss The Hays Code and how it affected the production of films about anti-Semitism. Discussions will be based on the films and other Hollywood issues. Questions and some relevant readings will be supplied by the CL. Preparation time will be approximately one hour.

Biography:

I received a Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern University. After 46 years in the investment industry, I retired as a First Vice President-Investments from a national investment term. I was also an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University.


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Mo-A2-10-TBE:  Teddy Roosevelt

Course Leader:  Marvin Snider

Day/time:  10-week course starting Feb. 29

Course Description: 

Theodore Roosevelt was a statesman, author, explorer, cowboy,  soldier, naturalist, reformer and 26th President from 1901 to 1909. He overcame a sickly childhood to evolve into an exuberant personality with a vast range of interests. He became leader of a reform faction of Republicans in New York's state legislature. He was Assistant Secretary of the Navy under William McKinley. He resigned after one year to gain fame with the Rough Riders for courage during the War in Cuba. He was McKinley's running mate in the Election of 1900 and became President after his assassination. He led the Republican party and the country into a Progressive era by championing his ‘Square Deal‘ domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. He made conservation a top priority and established a myriad of new national parks and advocated for preserving natural resources. His foreign policy concentrated on Central America in starting construction of the Panama Canal. He expanded the Navy and made successful efforts to end the Russo-Japanese war that won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. We will explore how Roosevelt evolved to achieve his many accomplishments. The emphasis will be on class discussion and on understanding Roosevelt’s personality, accomplishments, why he did what he did and the impact he had on the country. I will supplement the text with some lecture and supplementary material to elaborate on important events. Student preparation time will be approximately two to three hours.

Books and other resources: 

Primary Text: Bully Pulpit by Doris Goodwin, Simon & Shuster, 2013

Secondary Optional Text: Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, Simon & Shuster, 2007

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 which included courses on International Hot Spots, Innovators of Political Thought, Cults, Elections, George Washington - The Indispensable Man, Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.


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Th-A1-10-TBE:  The USA from 1945 to the Present
Day/time:  10-week course starting Thursday, March 3

Tu-A4-10-TST:  The USA from 1945 to the Present
Day/time:  10-week course starting Tuesday, March 1

Course Leader:  Harriet Janel Starrett

Course Description: 

This is a course on modern US history--and on our memories--because this time segment represents our lifetimes. The U.S. determined its world role and how it would define itself as a nation "with liberty and justice for all,” from the "red menace" at home to Korea and Vietnam. Then that menace disappeared and became a troubling crescent. At home, the challenge of meeting the promise of democracy for all Americans forced a redefinition of democracy and our values. This historical segment witnessed the dominance of the American economy and its middle class as it moved from Detroit to Silicon Valley. All the while, enormous expectations, polarization of the body politic and increasing competition with the rest of world made Americans question their way of life, which had looked so splendid in 1945. All of us were part of it, and our knowledge of the impact of events is first person.  What do we remember? What did it mean? How does it define the future?
Student preparation will be approximately 1-2 hours per week.

Books and other resources: 

American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home by Joshua B. Freeman (part of the Penguin History of the United States).

In addition, articles may be used.

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-B3-5b-TST:  LILAC Players Alive and Well (there is no fee for this course)

Course Leader:  Judie Strauss

Day/time:  5-week course starting April 12 (second half of semester)

Course Description: 

LILAC Players will meet the last five weeks of classes with the goal of presenting our play at Temple Shir Tikva during lunch on the last class day.  Members will use scripts, so no memorizing is involved. We will add props and costumes each week. Verne Vance, our former colleague, has written a one act play entitled Autumn Nocturne about a family dealing with the issue of Alzheimer’s disease. There are four female and two male roles.  We always have fun reading, rehearsing, and bonding.  For more info contact Judie Strauss at judieshel@verizon.net.

Biography:

Judie Strauss has always had an interest in the theater from the time she was 12 and saw Annie Get Your Gun. She majored in education and taught middle school, after which she got a Masters in Counseling and worked in social services. When any opportunity arose, she appeared in temple and community plays: Music Man, Hello Dolly, and also Guys and Dolls at her temple, where she was the producer. In addition to participating in almost all the BOLLI plays, she directed both at a local senior center and presented Brighton Beach Memoirs at LLAIC last year.  She enjoys helping people become their characters and completely expressing themselves.


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Th-A3-10-TBE:  The Rise of the Anti-Hero: three 19th century French Novels 

Course Leader:  Lois Ziegelman

Day/time:  10-week course starting March 3

Course Description: 

Traditionally, from classical antiquity onward, the hero – a larger than life figure willing to stand up for a code of lofty ideals and die, if necessary, to preserve them – was celebrated in many great works of literature. By the nineteenth century, however, the world had changed and Idealism, as a literary mode, gave way to Realism. Here the anti-hero, whose concerns were far less exalted, displaced the hero. In this session we will examine three great nineteenth century French novels which delineate the rise of the anti-hero. The reading should take approximately an hour and a half.

Books and other resources: 

Stendhal: The Red and the Black…translator C.K. Scott Noncrieff, Mod. Lib, 1926
Balzac: Pere Goriot…tr. Henry Reed, Signet Classics, 1962
Flaubert: Madame Bovary….tr. Paul DeMon, Norton & Co, 1979

(or any accessible text)

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.


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Page updated Jan. 23, 2016

Ċ
Peter Schmidt,
Jan 4, 2016, 6:28 AM
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