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Upcoming Courses

Upcoming Courses

Open Courses

Fall 2019
Steven D. Martinson
Mondays
9 AM - 12 PM
Sep 23 to Dec 9

Romanticism embraces love and sensuality, but it includes much more. The romantic movement powerfully affected all forms of literature and the arts, and even science. In this seminar we investigate several texts in historical, political, philosophical, literary, musical, artistic, and scientific contexts. A particularly interesting component of German romanticism is that women opened salons, which expanded the circulation of romantic ideals and practices in the public sphere. In music Schumann, Schubert, the later Beethoven, and Richard Wagner wrote powerful...

Fall 2019
Praise Zenenga
Mondays
1 PM - 3 PM
Sep 23 to Dec 9

This course surveys theater and performance produced in apartheid South Africa between 1970 and 1994, an era commonly seen as one of intense cultural struggle and resistance. We will chronologically study the history, development, and aesthetics of South African theater and performance during the apartheid era. And we will examine the key aesthetic features as well as the social, interventionist, and activist nature of the theater of this period. We then analyze how theater, politics, and history interact with regard to race, gender, citizenship, nationality...

Fall 2019
Malcolm Compitello
Mondays
9 AM - 12 PM
Sep 23 to Oct 21

Pedro Almodóvar is now one of the world’s most highly regarded international directors. This course uses Women on the Verge (1998), his international breakthrough film, as the fulcrum to examine the before and after of his film making. The class will examine Women on the Verge and four other representative films from across the arc of the director’s career: What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), and Volver (2006), and will refer to the other films the Spanish director has made. The...

Fall 2019
Anna Dornhaus
Tuesdays
1 PM - 3 PM
Sep 24 to Dec 17

Why are humans such a unique species on earth—or are we? We often think our intelligence (or more scientifically “cognition”) is special. But what does “intelligence” really mean? Why are we so good at solving some problems and yet fail at others? And how can our own brain size matter when insects can use tools, navigate huge areas, maybe even use “language” although their brains are no bigger than a pinhead? Behavioral ecology can explain a lot about why animals act the way they do, and we will examine how this applies to our own lives, particularly with regard to cognitive skills. We...

Fall 2019
Adele Barker
Tuesdays
10 AM - 12 PM
Oct 1 to Dec 10

What makes Russian literature so Russian? This course will take us through two of the best-known Russian classics—Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov—as well as Turgenev’s little-known Sportsman’s Sketches as we uncover the world of mid-to-late nineteenth-century Russia. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky tackled what is known as “the cursed questions” of God, death, morality, and how to live a good life. Turgenev’s book, with its very different focus, ushered in some of the most radical social changes Russia has ever witnessed. Our journey back...

Fall 2019
Charles Tatum
Thursdays
1 PM - 3 PM
Oct 3 to Oct 31

The U.S.-Mexico borderlands have for over 400 years been the subject of numerous Spanish, Mexican, Mexican-American, Native-American, and Anglo-American writers and artists. From early accounts of exploration to more recent narratives, this course looks at this region’s diverse dimensions—culture, society, language, demography, and geopolitics. It mainly focuses on Mexican and Mexican-American narrative fiction and nonfiction, poetry, film, and music over the past two decades.  Among their creators are Sandra Cisneros, Carlos Fuentes, Leslie Marmon Silko, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alvaro “Tito”...

Fall 2019
J. Pat Willerton
Thursdays
9 AM - 12 PM
Oct 3 to Oct 24

This course moves beyond the cartoon-character stereotyping of Putin-period Russia to examine important continuities and changes in contemporary Russian politics and foreign policy. Three decades after the Soviet collapse, the broad outline and trajectory of Russia’s political, economic, and societal transformation are clear. Russia is reemerging as an important Eurasian power that merits attention. It is ironic that Russia and the U.S. once again find themselves in a profound political power-struggle given that no fundamental territorial, religious, national, cultural, or historical...

Fall 2019
Thomas P. Miller
Wednesdays
9 AM - 12 PM
Oct 23 to Nov 13

This course examines Supreme Court decisions and related social movements as historical case studies in our evolving sense of our civil rights and duties. We will review how African Americans and women organized themselves to press for equality, and we will consider how gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans have taken to the streets and courts to make their case. Court decisions on rights are currently being used to argue against “reverse discrimination” and for the free speech rights of corporations. Amidst these controversies rising numbers of Americans are stepping up to defend their...

Fall 2019
Dian Li
Fridays
10 AM - 12 PM
Oct 25 to Nov 22

It is for good reason that China is often called a land of poetry.  As the longest continuous form of creative writing in the country, poetry has been a defining feature in the life of China’s elite, from their participation in the civil service exams to their performance of rituals on official and leisure occasions. The ideas for poetry and its genre formation, however, have been a subject of constant debate throughout history, the most radical of which took place at the turn of the nineteenth century, when Chinese men of letters embarked on a journey toward modernity.  In this seminar we...

Fall 2019
Chris Impey
Thursdays
6 PM - 8 PM
Nov 7 to Dec 12

Astronomy has seen tremendous progress in the past century. Large telescopes on the ground and in space now give us views of the universe across the electromagnetic spectrum. Powerful computers can handle exponentially increasing volumes of data, and they allow simulations of remote objects and extreme astrophysics. We know how stars work, how many galaxies there are, and how to find exoplanets. Yet there is much we don’t know and areas where our physical understanding is weak. This course is a report from the frontiers of astronomy and physics research on five aspects of the universe...