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: 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
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

Pages