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: Herbert Schneidau

What's really in the Bible? As opposed to what we've been told by well-meaning but often not well-informed parents, clergy, and others? This course provides an innovative look at many instructive and amusing aspects of this most consequential book in Western culture. It examines clichés and received wisdom about the text, with a view to replacing widely accepted readings with students’ own more informed and insightful revisionings of the book. Not your average Bible reading class, this course aims to explore many controversial and contested...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Eleni Hasaki

What were the key technologies and major technical achievements of classical Greek antiquity? This course examines crucial technological wonders from ancient Greece, focusing on: temple construction (the Parthenon), the mastery of fire for bronzes (the Delphi Charioteer) and ceramics (the Euphronios Vase), and the transformation of marble into sculptures (the Aphrodite of Melos). We will look at the qualities of the raw materials used, the technological know-how of ancient craftspeople, the scientific principles of their work, the...

Course Time and Dates:
FRIDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. May 1, 8, 15, 22, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Richard Poss

Can a movie probe more deeply into theology than other works? Can it show the strengths and weaknesses of religious thought more directly, more dramatically? This seminar probes theology and film, examining movies with strong Christian themes. We will use film criticism and literary and art theories to look at and interpret movies that address the spiritual dimensions of life. The class will study classic directors like Buñuel, Pasolini, and Zeffirelli, tease out new meaning from familiar texts such as A Man for All Seasons and...

Course Time and Dates:
FRIDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Jan. 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 27, April 3, 10, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Brian Silverstein

Is Turkey in Europe or the Middle East? Is this a question of geography, history, politics, or culture? This course explores all those sides of Turkey since the late 19th-century empire, focusing on the republican era after 1923. Turkey is one of the world’s most populous Muslim countries, a parliamentary democracy, a NATO member, and a candidate to join the European Union. The country is also not a postcolony--the Republic of Turkey emerged directly from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The seminars will be presented by Dr....

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 26, April 9, and April 16, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Anna Dornhaus

What is intelligence? What differentiates humans from other animals? This course explores the evolution of cognition in humans and other species, and discusses how science investigates these questions. Why are humans such a unique species on earth--or are we? Why we are so good at solving some problems and yet fail so often at solving others? Research in evolutionary biology has a lot of answers to questions about why animals behave the way they do, and we will examine how this applies to our own lives. We will also touch on the underlying...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, March 4, 11, 25, April 1, 8, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Charles Tatum

The short story has held a prominent place in Latin American literature for at least 200 years, but it is only within the past few decades that it has become widely known in translation. The course will use the short story as a vehicle to introduce some of Latin America’s best-known writers, including Nobel Laureates Miguel Angel Asturias (Guatemala), Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia), and Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), as well as Jorge.Luis Borges (Argentina) and Isabel Allende (Chile and the U.S.). The course will draw on their short stories...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, March 4, 11, 25, April 1, 8, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Mary Beth Haralovich

The “scandalous female genre” has long had box-office value and cultural presence. This seminar explores the history of such women in films. We will first discuss genre conventions: how film style and storytelling present and comment on scandalous behavior. We then will explore how film-industry conditions permit and encourage portraying scandalous females. Each week we will engage a key question of interpretation: whether the character’s scandalous behavior is shameful, or whether it reveals and critiques gender norms and social-cultural...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, 24, 31, April 7, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Bella Vivante

Perennially fascinating, ancient Greek mythology has inspired and continues to inform creative activity from “highbrow” literature to popular media. This course will explore major mythological events and characters beginning with the creation tale, which features a succession of generations of gods embroiled in gender and generational conflict. We will examine the gods’ importance in ancient Greek ritual and cultural life and then hero tales—Herakles, Oedipus, the Trojan War cycle, and more. By appreciating the diversity and complexities of...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Jan. 27, Feb. 3. 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, 24, 31, April 7, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Barbara Kosta

Berlin, capital of the Weimar Republic between the two World Wars, was one of the most exciting cities in Europe--the place of the most radical experimentation in the visual and performing arts, in mass entertainment and theater, in literature and architecture. Berlin was a laboratory of modernity. While the cultural stage was vibrant and intoxicating, the celebrated roaring twenties also was haunted by the shell shock of World War I and by economic instability, social upheaval, and political turmoil. This class explores avant-garde...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9, and 16, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: John Wilson

The Dance—as Homer named it—is always an expression of the ideas, traditions, and values of the society that creates it, whether spiritual, recreational, or artistic in form. The body in motion is both the mode of expression and the meaning of the Dance. In this course we explore the correlations between the body image as defined by science, the self image as described by psychology, and the human image as expressed in our dances. In the process we refer to the styles of depicting the human body in motion in visual art and literature...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9, 23, 30, April 6, 2015
Dorothy Rubel Room

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