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: Richard Poss

This survey of astronomy begins here on Earth and heads outward to the ends of the observable universe. We will explore the Sun, the Moon, and the most interesting planets in our stellar neighborhood. Comets, asteroids, the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud are the next topics we will consider as we assess our solar-system environment. From our local solar system we then move to star formation and the nature of the Milky Way galaxy. Neutron stars, debris disks, supernovas, black holes, and dark matter follow.

Are we alone? How do you...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. September 29 - December 8, 2016. No class on November 24.
Steward Observatory N 210, 933 N. Cherry Avenue
Professor: Thomas P. Miller

This course steps back from polls and punditry to reflect on broader historical developments. It considers women in politics, divisions between rich and poor, and ethnic minorities becoming the new majority. To deepen our analyses, we will consider writings on politics and ethics, including some that shaped the founding of the republic as well as recent research on political cognition and moral imagination. That research has brought us back to Hume’s view that “reason is a slave of the passions,” something abundantly apparent in the current...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. September 29 - December 8, 2016. No class on November 24.
Dorothy Rubel/Humanities Seminars Room, 1508 E. Helen Street
Professor: Bella Vivante

We initiate a year of exploring Homer by reading his scintillating epic poem presenting a few days near the Trojan War’s end: The Iliad. While the poem highlights battle and military matters, human complexities also emerge: conflict between military and domestic realms; women as war prizes or prized family members; the role of gods; concepts of heroism; ways of warfare; the oral tradition; creation of poetry; and more. The aim is to appreciate from multiple perspectives The Iliad’s exquisite poetry and its multilayered...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. September 29 - December 15, 2016. No class on October 27 and November 24.
Dorothy Rubel/Humanities Seminars Room, 1508 E. Helen Street
Professor: Donna Guy

Stereotypes of dictators, machismo, endemic drug violence, and staunch Catholicism are often applied to Latin America. Countries as different as Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil are lumped together despite varying ethnicities and economics. How can we tell the difference between the myths and the realities? How can a little island like Cuba so enrage the United States? This ten-week course approaches these questions topically. Lectures and selected readings explore topics such as the decline of Catholicism, democracy, the role of Jews and...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. September 28 - December 14, 2016. No class on October 12 and November 23.
Dorothy Rubel/Humanities Seminars Room, 1508 E. Helen Street
Professor: Lynda Zwinger

In this class we will begin to see for ourselves what James contributed to the art to which he devoted his entire life. The course will include lectures on the history and form of the English and American novel, Henry James’s life and times, selected passages from James’s prefaces to the famous New York edition, and an introduction to foundational formal and theoretical concepts we will need for our exploration. James wrote for many kinds of readers: those looking for a good story, his fellow artists, and for his ideal reader—who, not...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. September 27 - December 13, 2016. No class on October 25 and November 22.
Dorothy Rubel/Humanities Seminars Room, 1508 E. Helen Street
Professor: Albrecht Classen

Medieval literature was not simply doom and gloom. It also had a strong sense of hope, happiness, and love, embodied best perhaps in the Holy Grail and courtly love. As in all other literary eras, we can also find many tragic or religious works. But one of the hallmarks of medieval literature, at least in its secular form, is the search for happiness, individual fulfillment, and love, all perhaps best captured by the term “quest.” Think of the quest for the grail, quest for the social ideal of a courtly knight, and quest for love. Happiness...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. September 26 - December 12, 2016. No class on October 3 and November 21.
Dorothy Rubel/Humanities Seminars Room, 1508 E. Helen Street
Professor: Thomas P. Miller

This course steps back from polls and punditry to reflect on broader historical developments. It considers women in politics, divisions between rich and poor, and ethnic minorities becoming the new majority. To deepen our analyses, we will consider writings on politics and ethics, including some that shaped the founding of the republic as well as recent research on political cognition and moral imagination. That research has brought us back to Hume’s view that “reason is a slave of the passions,” something abundantly apparent in the current...

Course Time and Dates:
FRIDAYS 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM September 30 - December 16, 2016. No class on November 11 and November 25.
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Doug Weiner

The Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union played defining roles in the twentieth century, yet are poorly understood. To help us to better grasp their history, this course will integrate the best scholarship and currently available evidence to provide a broad picture of Soviet history that makes the most sense today. We will begin with the context of the Bolshevik seizure of power. Among other topics, the course will cover the relationship of Marxism to Soviet ideology and practice, the rise of Stalin, the Soviet economy, ethnic policy,...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. August 3 - August 24, 2016
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Peter Medine

This seminar will focus on the ideal political state as it is represented in More's Utopia (1516) and Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726). There are no incontrovertibly valid answers to the question of what constitutes the ideal state and how it may be realized, and neither Utopia nor Gulliver Travels pretends to advance them. The works are fictional, and the methods are literary—a Platonic dialogue and a prose satire. Each work advances two arguments, one that affirms the ideal political state and...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. August 2 - August 30, 2016
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: David Soren

In this course Professor David Soren presents four of his most significant accomplishments from his fifty-year career in archaeology (Oxford University has cited his work as among the fifty greatest archaeological discoveries of all time). First, he will discuss his excavations at Kourion, Cyprus, where he uncovered a Greco-Roman city buried by the devastating earthquake of July 21, 365, which triggered tsunamis so powerful they demolished the Greek coast. Next, he will tell the story of the agony of Roman emperor Augustus, which caused him...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS July 7 - July 28, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Dorothy Rubel Room

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