Past Courses

To view course videos click on the title of the past course.

Looking for our really old courses (going back to the founding of the HSP program)? You can find them in our Course Archive.

Professor: Steve Smith

Environments commonly known as “deserts” occupy nearly one-third of the earth’s land surface and are home to about a billion people. We will first discuss the geographical features of deserts, answering seemingly simple questions: What is a desert, and why do they occur where they do? Humans are particularly maladapted to life in deserts, but many organisms exhibit remarkable adaptations to aridity. We will investigate examples of these within plants from different deserts. Here the key questions will be: How do these plants grow and...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 9:00 am - 12:00 pm June 6 - June 27, 2017
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Tannis Gibson

What inspired Romantic composers of the 19th century to create the significant piano works that continue to speak profoundly to today’s audiences? Throughout the Romantic era the piano and the pianist-composers who wrote for it assumed an increasingly important role in European society. These pianist-composers and virtuosi fully explored the inner depths of their imaginations, and it is perhaps in the solo piano repertoire most of all that we as listeners become privy to their most passionate and idiosyncratic work. In this...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 10:00 am - 12:00 pm June 1 - June 29, 2017
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Melissa Tatum

The United States was founded on broad principles of individual freedom – declarations of the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were central to the American Revolution and the subsequent foundations of the new country. Looking back, we know that those rights were meant at the time for white land-owning men, and it was only after two centuries of discrimination that formal actions were taken to eliminate institutional racism and gender discrimination from U.S. law.

This dismantling of institutional racism did not...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 9:00 am to 12:00 pm May 4 - May 25, 2017
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Laura C. Berry

The Bronte family – their extraordinary literary output, as well as their fascinating lives – have become something like a cottage industry, inspiring imitators, adaptations, a tourist attraction, tea towels, dance, music, and even the names of three asteroids. What accounts for this popularity? Is it the novels themselves? Or is it what is sometimes seen as the sensational aspects of their lives? In this course we will look at the novels, reading them as classic works of literature, understanding them as separate artifacts, but also...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 am to 12:00 pm May 3 - May 31, 2017
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Alvaro Malo

This seminar aims to elicit students’ participation in a free-spirited conversation and regain a sense of wonder and intimacy with architecture.  The discussion topics will be based on five readings, which are accessible, practical, and poetic. They will offer a generous survey of philosophical and architectural thinking from classical to modern, examining the motives and reasons for the making of architecture and the concurrent material consciousness.

The five sessions address Mortimer Adler’s Aristotle for Everybody, which...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. February 22 - March 29, 2017 (no class on March 15)
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Brian Silverstein

Turkey, one of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority countries, is a member of NATO and has tried to enter the European Union for over ten years. Since 2002 the country has undergone rapid and profound changes under the rule of the Justice and Development Party and its leader Tayyip Erdogan. These changes include a growth-oriented economy, massive infrastructural investment, softening of the country’s secularist ideology, a transformed foreign policy oriented toward economic and political engagement, and in recent years controversial...

Course Time and Dates:
FRIDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. January 27 to April 7, 2017. No class on March 17.
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Peter Medine

This seminar will concentrate on eight of Shakespeare's comedies, among them Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest. The approach will assume that comedy is a genre distinguished not by light-hearted humor or triviality but by structure of plot. The action moves from conflict and separation to resolution and union, and the plays typically end in betrothal or marriage. But whatever its romance, Shakespeare's comedy is serious and psychologically realistic. The plays explore the hazards of...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. January 26 - April 6, 2017. No class on March 16.
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Susan Karant-Nunn

This course surveys the Reformation. Beginning with Europe at the end of the fifteenth century, we discuss why Martin Luther broke with the late-medieval Roman Catholic Church, and explore traditional and novel theologies and ecclesiastical practices. We touch on other actors and movements like the Swiss Reformation (Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin) and the English Anglican/Puritan reforms. In addition, we look at smaller nonconformist ways of thinking like the Anabaptists and their martyrdom at the hands of Protestants and Catholics alike....

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. January 26 - April 6, 2017. No class on March 16.
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Mary Beth Haralovich

Set decorators call it the art of silent storytelling--how art direction and production design (everything on screen) establish and convey character and story. We examine this “narrative space” through three topics. “Life Stories” that range from personal to epic: class relations in WWI prisoner of war camps (Jean Renoir, La Grande Illusion); a father-daughter relationship in 1960s Japan (Yasuhiro Ozu, An Autumn Afternoon); and ethnicity in Paris suburbs (Mathieu Kassovitz, La Haine). “Meditations on Landscape”...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. January 25 - April 5, 2017. No class on March 15.
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Bruce Chamberlain

This course explores the background and the groundbreaking stylistic features of Stravinsky’s most famous works: Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, and Les Noces. Considered the epitome of early 20th-century composition, these works defined musical syntax for generations of composers. Les Noces, the least known of these works, is a ballet cantata, calling for four pianos, 11 percussionists, four singing soloists, mixed choir, and corps de ballet. Rarely performed due to its...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. January 25 - February 15, 2017
Dorothy Rubel Room

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