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: 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
Professor: Fabian Alfie

Dante’s 700-year-old masterpiece the Divine Comedy still attracts great attention. For centuries readers have been drawn to his vivid description of the afterlife. This course will explore the first portion of the Divine Comedy, Inferno, in its entirety. The class will focus on the organization of his hell, from lesser to greater sins, the numerous historical personages and references in it, and its implicit theology. We will also look at Dante’s narrative, discussing how the actions of his characters and their...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. Nov. 13, 20, Dec. 4, and 11, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Jay Rosenblatt

Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the great masters of the Classical and Romantic eras in music, and no genre summarizes his achievement better than the string quartet. This course will examine 16 works spread evenly throughout his early, middle, and late styles. The first six quartets reveal his consolidation of Mozart’s and Haydn’s techniques, the five middle quartets demonstrate his expansion of form and mastery of harmony, and the final five quartets, along with the “Grosse Fuge,” invite us into the experimental realm of the deaf and...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Oct. 27, Nov. 3, 10, and 17, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Paul Ivey

This course examines the issues, artists, and theories surrounding the rise of Postmodernism in the visual arts from 1970 into the twenty-first century. We will explore the emergence of pluralism in the visual arts against a backdrop of the rise of the global economy. And we will look at the “crisis” of postmodern culture, which critiques ideas of history, progress, and personal and cultural identities, as well as embracing irony and parody, pastiche, nostalgia, mass or “low” culture, and multiculturalism.

In a chronological fashion...

Course Time and Dates:
MONDAYS 9:00 a.m. until noon Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Lynda Zwinger

One of the most popular and beloved novelists in the English language, Jane Austen wrote novels that have beguiled and challenged readers for two centuries.

For some, Austen is our beloved "Aunt Jane," chatting with us about tea parties, excursions in pony phaetons, and ill-advised epistolary relationships. For others, she is a subversive ironist whose piercing vision of human foibles offers us reflections relevant to our own lives and times.

How did this seventh child of a provincial clergyman, a single woman who lived an...

Course Time and Dates:
THURSDAYS 9:00 a.m. until noon Oct. 2, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13, 20, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Patrick Baliani

The tragicomedy genre, so prevalent in our day, has actually been evolving for many centuries. While one can take a primarily aesthetic approach to any genre--what makes comedy comedy?--here we will include a fuller consideration of history, stressing the social, political, and philosophical contexts of the particular plays.

How does a certain “age” or “culture” perceive tragicomedy? What are the roots of this standpoint, and how does it evolve across cultural and temporal barriers? How do interpretation and performance affect our...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. until noon Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19, Dec. 3, and 10, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Charles Scruggs

According to George Kennan, the Great War was “the seminal event of the Twentieth Century.” The war triggered both the Russian Revolution and the Irish Rebellion, and ended by toppling monarchies and destroying empires.

But perhaps the “shock of the new” that most surprised was the horror of modern, mechanized warfare. T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front are probably the most famous postwar texts, but they are only two of many brilliant literary works the war...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 1:00 -4:00 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 18, Dec. 2, 9, and 16, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Malcolm Compitello

The city has been the motor of progress in modernity and the crucible of many of the social movements that have contested the darker underside of the modern. This seminar will explore how cities came to reside at the center of the modern project, how they have been transformed over time, and what those transformations might mean. It will also examine how the work of artists, most importantly film makers, react to the urban process, and how their creations contribute to understanding the complex dynamic that forms the culture and politics of...

Course Time and Dates:
TUESDAYS 9:00 a.m. until noon Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 18, Dec. 2, 9, and 16, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room
Professor: Doug Weiner

How did our globalized economy and international culture come to be?

The “Rise of the West” idea has long suggested something innately superior about “Western civilization.” But there are better grounded ways than appeals to cultural or racial superiority to explain the emergence of today’s world, based as it is on European economic power, market logic, science and technology, and to a significant extent, culture. We will learn the central roles of biogeography, epidemiology, patterns of trade, geopolitics, and pure accident in the “...

Course Time and Dates:
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. - noon August 6, 13, 20, 27, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room

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