Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

Please be sure to read the course description before signing up for any class.

Please note:

  • Preparation times are estimated per week.
  • If handouts are listed as readings, reimbursement for copies will be made to the Study Group Leader; arrangements for this will be made in the class.
  • eBoards are online communication and information tools available to study groups. If they are being used in a course, they are listed in the course descriptions.
  • If you expect to be absent for two or more weeks during the semester, please read the course descriptions carefully. Courses where the SGL has indicated the importance of regular attendance are not appropriate for you. Please select an alternative.

To view the course schedule, click on each day of the week.

Spring courses will run from March 6 -May 18, with no courses taking place during the week of April 10-14

If needed, make up classes will be held May 22-25.

 

The Course Catalog (pdf) is available for download.

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Monday Course Period 1

Soc1-5a-Mon1 Sinner, Saint, & Troublemaker: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement

Soc1-5a-Mon1  Sinner, Saint, & Troublemaker: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement             

Leader  –  Jim Allaire

Monday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am

         5 Week Course - March 6 to April 3

         

Description  At the time of her death in 1980, historian David O’Brien described Dorothy Day as “the most significant, interesting, and influential person in the history of American Catholicism.”  Her biographer, Jim Forest, called her a “saint” and a “troublemaker.” Pope Francis, during his visit to the United States, singled her out for her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed.” On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker, the newspaper Day co-founded and edited for many years, made its debut, beginning the Catholic Worker Movement. We will explore Dorothy Day’s life and spirituality: from pre-conversion bohemianism, to Catholic conversion, to radical lay Catholic who challenged the Church with her pacifism, critique of wealth, and love of poverty. We will sample her writings on poverty, pacifism, community, and hospitality. Today there are over 225 Catholic Worker communities world-wide inspired by her writing and actions. Currently Dorothy Day is being considered for listing in the Catholic Church’s canon of saints, but not without controversy. Classes will be a mixture of lecture and discussion.

Readings  The SGL will provide a course reader with selected articles by Dorothy Day and others.

 

Preparation Time  Articles in the course reader will be about 15-20 pages each week.

Biography James Allaire is a retired psychologist who lives in Newton. He has been involved in the Catholic Worker Movement for twenty-five years. He is a co-founder of the Winona Catholic Worker in Minnesota, and co-authored the book Praying With Dorothy Day. He has been the architect and webmaster of the Catholic Worker Movement website at www.catholicworker.org for twenty years. He has taught university courses and led numerous workshops.

Sci2-5b-Mon1 From Sputnik to the World Wide Web: The Creation of the Internet

Sci2-5b-Mon1  From Sputnik to the World Wide Web: The Creation of the Internet   

Leader  –  Carl Lazarus

Monday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am

         5 Week Course - April 24 to May 22

         

Description  The Internet captured public attention starting in 1995, but its origins go back to the launch of Sputnik.  Although it touches all our lives every day, most of us know very little about it.  We will cover the history of how the Internet and its two largest applications – email and the World Wide Web – came to exist, and how it works.  Some questions we will consider are:  What was the role of government, academia, industry, and individual enthusiasts in creating it?  What is it really?  (It is both more and less than most people realize.)  Who operates it?  How is it governed?  Where is it located?  How does it work?  How is it funded?  What was Al Gore’s role? No technical background is required, only a lively curiosity.

Readings  We will read “Inventing The Internet” by Janet Abbate, available in paperback, hard cover, and Kindle.  There will also be online articles.

 

Preparation Time  We will read 40 to 60 pages each week.

Biography  Carl Lazarus studied chemistry at Yale and biochemistry at Brandeis, but subsequently studied computer science at MIT and made his career in information technology.  He wrote software and managed software development for the health care industry, and later managed various online services.

Mus1-10-Mon1 Beyond “Hava Nagila”...What Is Jewish Music?

Mus1-10-Mon1  Beyond “Hava Nagila”...What Is Jewish Music?            

Leader  –  Sandy Bornstein

Monday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am   

Description  Over the centuries Jews have developed a lot of music for use in worship, in celebrations, at home, for work and for entertainment, just like every other group of people. So what makes Jewish music Jewish? Is it the situation in which it is used, (Shabbat services, a wedding)? The language (Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino)?  Is it the intended audience?  Is it the tune?  Is it the person performing it?  Well, it depends…on the one hand, and then on the other hand…  In this class we will examine different types of Jewish music from many parts of the world, from Torah cantillation to prayer settings, to Shabbat songs, to klezmer, and Yiddish theater.  We will learn what they sound like, why they sound that way, where they come from, and how they developed as we travel through 2500 years of history in the Middle East, Europe, Russia and America. The format is mostly presentation by the SGL, with class discussion and much listening. No musical training or Jewish background is required, though they are useful.

Readings  There will be no textbook, but class outlines will be emailed with YouTube clips for students to listen to.  Online articles for background reading may occasionally be assigned.

 

Preparation  Time  Up to an hour each week listening to the suggested YouTube clips or reading suggested articles, but this is not mandatory.

Biography  Sandy Bornstein was the cantorial soloist and choir director at Temple Isaiah in Lexington for 20 years. In that capacity she presented many special worship services focusing on one or another aspect of Jewish music. She also taught an adult ed course similar to this one called “Jewish Music---I Don’t Know Anything About It, But I Know What I Like!” Sandy is a professional soprano who has appeared in oratorios and recitals throughout New England. She used to teach middle school music and has taught voice for 25 years at Harvard University, the Cambridge School of Adult Education, and in her home studio.

Film2-10-Mon1 The Sporting Life of Film

Film2-10-Mon1  The Sporting Life of Film   

Leader  –  Irwin Silver

Monday – Course Periods 1 &2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm     

Description  The film industry has produced many outstanding movies about sports. Many of these films received Academy Award nominations and Oscars. Here are examples of the movies we will view during our time together:

- We will explore the business side of sports with Moneyball.

- We will watch the inspirational and biographical film about Lou Gehrig, Pride of the Yankees, and learn about the history of the summer Olympics with Chariots of Fire.

- We will learn about racism and anti-Semitism in sports with Race, the story of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics; 42, the Jackie Robinson story; and The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.

- We will also watch the inspirational films Breaking Away and McFarland USA. The course will run for two consecutive periods which will give us time to screen the movies and have very lively discussions.

Readings  I will provide readings and information about the movies via email each week.

 

Preparation Time  One hour per week

Biography  Irwin Silver received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University. After 46 years in the investment industry, he retired as a first vice president from a national investment firm. He was also an adjunct professor at Northeastern University. He has taught many courses at BOLLI and was co-chair of the Lunch and Learn Committee for three years. In addition to being a political junkie, he loves film and is an avid follower of the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Boston College football.


Monday Course Period 2

Art1-10-Mon2 The Birth of Modernism in Bohemian Paris

Art1-10-Mon2  The Birth of Modernism in Bohemian Paris                       

Leader  –  Nancy Alimansky

Monday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         

Description  When Picasso first arrived in Paris in 1900 he found a group of progressive artists living and working in Montmartre. During the next ten years he met and befriended artists who would revolutionize 20th art. This course will study the experimental work of Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Braque, Derain, Vlaminck and Modigliani. We will also consider the important contribution that Gertrude Stein and her family made during this movement. I am particularly interested in looking at how the various artists in this community influenced each other and also the various conflicts that arose among them. The class time will be divided between discussion and lecture. I will show images, some of which have been referenced in the text. Together we will analyze the content, composition, color, value and other design principles. By the end of the course I hope we can reach a better understanding of the modernist movement, insight into the lives of the various artists and an appreciation of the work.

Readings  In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art, Sue Roe. Available in hardback or paperback. Readily available on Amazon.

Preparation Time  30 to 50 pages of reading/week. Study questions to answer. Various short videos to watch.

Biography  Nancy Alimansky has taught nine previous courses at BOLLI.  All her BOLLI courses have been very well received. Nancy has spent most of her professional life in the classroom.  For 26 years she was an Associate Professor at Lesley University and taught courses in management and technology as well as studio art.  For three years she was a docent at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College where she conducted tours for various exhibits.  Nancy has a B.A from Wellesley College where she majored in French, an M.A.T. from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.B.A. from Boston College.  She has been a professional artist for more than 25 years.

H&G9-10-Mon2 The European Lost and Found -- Displaced Persons after World War II

H&G9-10-Mon2  The European Lost and Found -- Displaced Persons after World War II       

Leader  –  David Nevard

Monday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         

Description  In the late 1940s, “DP” was a term – sometimes pejorative – to describe Europeans who didn’t seem to belong anywhere. Thin, tired, wearing donated clothing, they waited in crowded “camps,” mostly former army barracks. The camps were assigned by nationality, with the Jews being counted as a separate nation. The DPs could not return to their home countries, but it seemed no nation on earth was willing to take them. Over 400,000 displaced persons eventually came to the United States. Their children and grandchildren have become part of American society, but the story of their struggles is largely forgotten. We will focus on the stories of individual DPs. Their backgrounds were varied: they had been forced laborers, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors and people who’d spent the war in hiding or in Siberia. They began new lives in the camps, where Jews, Ukrainians, Poles, and Baltics formed communities. We will also study how Americans like Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt (and even Ronald Reagan and Fiorello LaGuardia) worked to help the displaced. DPs were personally impacted by Cold War politics and were actively involved in the birth of the State of Israel. The SGL will introduce each topic, illustrated with slides and brief videos. This will be followed by discussion; personal family stories will be encouraged.

Readings  DPs: Europe’s Displaced Persons, 1945-1951, by Mark Wyman, Cornell University Press. (any edition)

 

Preparation Time  20 pages per week plus some additional readings (1 to 2 hours).

Biography  David Nevard grew up in Waltham. While in high school he took some advanced courses at Brandeis, including European Politics with Roy Macridis, which started a lifelong interest in the history and politics of Europe. David attended UMass-Amherst majoring in English, and then spent over 30 years in the corporate world – first in accounting and then information technology for Staples, Inc. David has furthered his interest of history with several courses at BOLLI over the past two years. His wife’s family were displaced persons after World War II, which inspired this course – which he first led in fall 2016.

CE1-10-Mon2 Current Events

CE1-10-Mon2  Current Events  

Leader  –  Lois Sockol

Monday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         

Description  We live in a complex time when what happens in one part of our world affects us all, which requires us to stay informed as the world rapidly changes. This course is designed to inform, to discuss current news stories, and provide thoughtful analysis. In most sessions, our attention will be divided between world events and national news. Class members are encouraged to present reports, lead a class discussion on a current topic, and take part in group discussions. Interest and keeping up to date with the news are the only prerequisites.

Readings  Access to newspapers, news magazines, and web sources will be required.

 

Preparation Time  1 to 2 hours

Biography  Lois Sockol taught children and adults for 25 years. Her undergraduate degree is from Boston University with a masters from Lesley College. The bulk of Lois’ professional years were spent in the Newton Public Schools where she taught children and was a consultant to teachers. She was an educational consultant to schools throughout New England. After retirement, Lois again became a student, and a writer of short stories. Four of her short stories have been published: one in a literary journal, and three on the WEB. Retirement allows Lois to feed her Current Events habit. BOLLI affords the opportunity to share with others who habitually follow the news.


Monday Course Period 3

H&G10-10-Mon3 Surviving the Inquisition: Conversos, Crypto-Jews and Marranos

H&G10-10-Mon3  Surviving the Inquisition: Conversos, Crypto-Jews and Marranos 

Leader  –  Sandy Sherizen

Monday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm     

Description  Let us enter the fascinating and tragic world of the Conversos. This is a story of religious identity, definitions of racial purity, and battles between church and state.  During the Inquisition, Jews and Muslims were faced with a life-defining choice: convert to Catholicism or leave the country. Some (many?) accepted conversion and adopted their new religion. Some (many?) of these converts kept their identity as Jews, secretly practicing Judaism while outwardly being observing Catholics. Today, a number of their offspring have discovered their background, and in places such as New Mexico are exploring their mixed identities. This course will explore the history of this phenomenon, review central documents, see how these people survived the Inquisition, and discuss their important impact on the Americas, Europe and North Africa. We will also seek to discover what relevance the plight of the Conversos has for the modern world. All discussions will be interactive with comments and discussions highly encouraged. Each session will begin with the SGL giving an overview of the topic of the week's major issues followed by a discussion of relevant issues/questions.

Readings  A packet of documents will be handed out at the first class along with the cost of reproduction. Class materials will consist of items related to each of the 10 weekly topics. The material will give the reader insights into some of the most important issues about Conversos. Not required but highly suggested are My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom and Secrecy and Deceit by David M. Gitlitz. New or used copies in very good condition are available, or ask at your library. Additional major resources will be provided for those who wish to do more reading.

 

Preparation Time  2-3 hours a week

Biography  Sanford Sherizen (Sandy) was trained as a sociologist, went bad and became a criminologist, and then really bad by becoming a computer security and privacy professional. He has taught at various universities, had various media engagements, led seminars and given speeches in many domestic and international settings. As ex-president, he is active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury. Flunking retirement, he taught ESL to adult immigrants and serves on a patient research ethics and safety board at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At BOLLI, he has taught courses on Your Privacy is at Risk, Crime Topics, and The Sociology of “Deviant” Behaviors. 

Lit10-10-Mon3 A Poet and a Mathematician Walk into a Bar: Shakespeare and Infinity

Lit10-10-Mon3  A Poet and a Mathematician Walk into a Bar: Shakespeare and Infinity       

Leader  –  Onur Toker

Monday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         

Description  Mathematics and literature are often assumed to be diametrically opposed fields of human endeavor, but a certain fascination with the the idea of infinity infuses them both. In this course, we will look at how the idea of infinity in Shakespeare is fundamental to his understanding of both love and political power. We will explore ways in which the mathematics of infinity can help us understand the poetic power of Shakespeare, and how Shakespeare can help us come to grips with the dizzying mathematical notion of infinity. No prior knowledge of either Shakespeare or mathematics is required. Readings will be drawn primarily from the 20th century Argentine writer Jorges Luis Borges and the great 16th century English dramatist William Shakespeare. We will also be reading some very short pieces by the great 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson and the renowned late 18th century English poet William Blake.

Readings  Shakespeare, William. Anthony and Cleopatra.
 
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare, William. Troilus and Cressida.

Handouts:
Blake, William. Three Poems  
Borges, Jorge Luis “Avatars of the Tortoise”.
Borges, Jorge Luis “The Library of Babel”
Borges, Jorge Luis “The Book of Sand”

Preparation Time  Weeks 1-3: 10 pages/week
Weeks 4-9: 40-45  pages/week
Week 10: 5 pages

Biography  K. Onur Toker, a third-year doctoral student in the Brandeis English department, hails from Istanbul, Turkey. His research focuses on the relationship between mathematics, political science, and poetry in the Early Modern period. He has more than 10 years of teaching experience in the fields of International Relations and English Literature and Composition.

Rel1-5b-Mon3 Compassion, Forgiveness, Joy: A Week in the Lives of the Honorable Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Rel1-5b-Mon3   Compassion, Forgiveness, Joy: A Week in the Lives of the Honorable Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu    

Leader  –  Avi Bernstein, Emily Weidman, & Jim Allaire

Monday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 24 to May 15

Description  In April 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharmsala, India, to visit the latter on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Writer Doug Abrams, whose text, The Book of Joy, is a record of the week they spent together, accompanied them, and was granted unprecedented access to their unfolding conversations and relationship. Intent on learning lessons from these spiritual masters, now octogenarians, Abrams’ text reads both like a Socratic dialogue and practical manual. This course will place The Book of Joy within its essential contexts: comparative religion and virtue ethics as pursued in the academy, and Christian contemplative and Buddhist meditative practice as undertaken by faith communities. Join us for this unique collaborative discussion. This book can be read alone, but more fully appreciated only in dialogue and drawing on our diverse personal experiences and spiritual biographies. 

Readings  The text for the course, The Book of Joy by the Honorable Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is available at http://bookofjoy.org/.

 

Preparation Time  Fifty to one hundred pages per week of an accessible text.

Biography  Jim Allaire is a retired psychologist. A Catholic, he has authored a novel and a non-fiction work, both of which dealt with issues of faith and spirituality. He has taught a BOLLI course on Dorothy Day, a radical activist Catholic.

Emily Weidman has been a practitioner in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for over 40 years and completed a traditional Tibetan Buddhist 3-year retreat in 2003 at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. She is a founder and teacher at the Waltham Buddhist Meditation Group.

Avi Bernstein is the director of BOLLI, and holds a doctorate in religious studies. In Spring 2016, his study group took up the work of Thomas Mann and Virginia Woolf, and in Fall 2016, the work and legacy of Franz Kafka.           

Lit9-10-Mon3 Roots and Flowers: Five English-Language Poets and the Europeans Who Influenced Them

Lit9-10-Mon3  Roots and Flowers: Five English-Language Poets and the Europeans Who Influenced Them

Leader  –  Jan Schreiber

Monday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         

Description  This course will take a close look at five English-language poets and at four European poets who influenced them. Even while American and English poets were inventing new means of expression and exploring new subjects, they were paying close attention to the writings of French and German poets who preceded them by a generation or more. T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Louise Bogan, Philip Larkin, and W.H. Auden all made major contributions to twentieth-century poetry while in turn drawing much inspiration from European models. This course will look closely at poems by each of the writers mentioned, as well as English translations of poems by Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rilke, and Valéry, to see how the subjects and styles of those Continental writers helped to shape and inspire the sensibilities of their younger peers across the water.

We will spend alternate weeks on European (French or German) and American or English poets. All poems to be discussed will be provided in the syllabus; poems originally written in French or German will be represented by translations designed to sound as much like the originals as possible. Participants should emerge from the course with an expanded understanding of all these well-known poets and the uses the English-speaking poets made of their European models.

Readings  All poems to be discussed will be provided in the syllabus, which will be mailed to participants in advance.

 

Preparation  Time  Between one and two hours per class, at a minimum.

Biography  Jan Schreiber received a PhD in English and American Literature from Brandeis in 1972, after which he taught at Tufts and UMass Lowell. In the seventies he edited a literary magazine (Canto) and inaugurated the poetry chapbook series at the Godine Press. Author of four books of poetry and many critical articles, he runs a symposium on poetry criticism that takes place annually at Western State Colorado University. His book Sparring with the Sun, on contemporary American poets and poetry, was published in 2013. His most recent book of poems, Peccadilloes, appeared in 2014. In 2015 he was named poet laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts.


Tuesday Course Period 1

H&G8-10-Tue1 The Truman Presidency: The Buck Stopped There

H&G8-10-Tue1  The Truman Presidency: The Buck Stopped There      

Leader  –  George Model

Tuesday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am

         

Description  Harry Truman rose from modest roots to be elected to the Senate in 1934 and served there with distinction until he was elected Vice President in 1944.  Everything changed on 4/12/45 when he was suddenly thrust into the presidency.  Despite generally low expectations, HST rose to the occasion as he presided over the end of the war. Lurking beneath the euphoria at the war’s end, there was a pent-up demand for easier and more lucrative times from the general public, organized labor and business. This public unrest and a desire for change resulted in a smashing defeat for the Democrats in the 1946 mid-term election. But HST soldiered on and laid our national security foundation through the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and National Security Act. He went into the 1948 campaign as an overwhelming underdog, but achieved an inspiring victory through his indefatigable whistle stop tour. His second term posed intractable challenges, most notably anti-communist hysteria amidst the Cold War and the outbreak of the Korean War. In this context, HST decided not to run in 1952.  Over the years, his popularity soared and HST is now regarded as one of our best presidents.  This course will comprise class reports, video clips and, most important, extensive classroom discussions.  The SGL has previously led a two course sequence on HST.  This course is geared toward new participants.

Readings  Truman by David McCullough

Preparation Time  About 65 pages per week

Biography  George is a retired consulting actuary who spent 40 years in the health benefits field.  In this capacity, he conducted several training classes, made frequent presentations and often led discussion groups.  He holds a BA and MA in Mathematics from Queens College and the University of Maryland respectively and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.  This is George’s fourth year at BOLLI where he enjoys taking history and literature courses.  George has led two prior courses on Harry Truman.

H&G1-5b-Tue1 China in Africa

H&G1-5b-Tue1  China in Africa           

Leader  –  Girma Belay

Tuesday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am

         5 Week Course April 18 to May 16

Description  Wherever you look in Africa, Chinese people, technology and investments are present. China is involved in building and managing dams, roads, railways, factories, mines, tele-communications, and agro-businesses, and has an important role in international trade and UN sponsored peace keeping efforts. Why is China interested in Africa? What are the costs and benefits of these partnerships to the African governments and people across the continent? This course will examine the extent and evolution of China’s involvement in Africa, including its political, economic and security/strategic interests. We will look at the history of Chinese investment in a broad swath of Africa, including Angola/Mozambique, Tanzania/Zambia, Ethiopia/Somalia, Nigeria and Congo. This class will rely on participants’ preparation and class participation. As they are reading and participating in the class discussions, students need to reasonably consider the national interests of each African country under discussion as well as competition from other global powers as they relate to China’s interests in Africa. We will also consider the impact of China’s style of investment on local entrepreneurship, human rights, political stability, and environmental impacts. This course will be presented in a lecture/seminar format that includes discussion and class participation.

Readings  We will be reading articles on line from current events publications such as Africa Confidential, Foreign Affairs, and The Economist, as well as selected chapters from the following books (available on Amazon):

The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa, Deborah Brautigam, 2011.

 

Preparation Time  Average 50 pages per week of readings, 2 hours preparation average

Biography  Girma Belay has Master’s Degrees from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning and from Cal. State University, Los Angeles in International Relations (Political Science.) He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from UCLA. He was born and raised in Ethiopia. He is retired from an active career as an affordable housing executive director in Boston and fills his free time by following the geo-politics of his homeland. He previously taught a course on the Geo-Politics of the Horn of Africa for BOLLI and was a guest presenter on the Geo-Politics of Water in the Nile Basin at UMASS Boston.

Lit5-10-Tue1 Daniel Deronda and George Eliot’s Jewish Journey

Lit5-10-Tue1  Daniel Deronda and George Eliot’s Jewish Journey         

Leader  –  Jeff Kichen

Tuesday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am   

Description  In this course, we will read and discuss George Eliot’s most daring novel, Daniel Deronda, which addresses the role of women in 19th century Great Britain, class distinctions, and most controversially, the “Jewish question”.  Regarding the latter, we will explore how Eliot wished to “rouse the imagination of men and women to a vision of human claims in those races of their fellow-men who most differ from them in customs and beliefs”, a highly relevant issue today.  While we follow the intertwined fates of the novel’s two main characters, Gwendolen Harleth and Daniel Deronda, we will address the question posed by a 19th century Jewish European critic: “Who taught this foreign woman about the ways and lives of the Jews?”  We will do so by reading and discussing excerpts from Eliot’s letters and her Daniel Deronda Notebooks as well as considering the possible influence of her life companion, George Henry Lewes. We will also view the 2003 BBC-produced video Daniel Deronda and consider how the film makers adapted and appropriated Eliot’s novel.  Toward the end of our course we will consider the 19th century response to Daniel Deronda by both literary critics and the Jewish communities in Great Britain and across Europe.  Then we will look at modern criticism including an attempt by a major British publisher and literary critic to edit Daniel Deronda out of Daniel Deronda.  Our last session will be discussion of what Daniel Deronda means to us today.

Readings  1. George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Oxford University Press, new edition, 2014.  ISBN 978-0199682867         2.    Daniel Deronda, BBC Video, 2003      3. Packet of additional readings will be provided by the SGL at no cost

Preparation Time  I anticipate preparation will average 3 to 3.5 hours per week. 

Biography  Jeff Kichen has been a BOLLI SGL since 2013.  He has led courses on Toni Morrison, George Eliot, the history of health care reform in the United States, the history  of medicine in 19th century America, the year 1954 and Lafcadio Hearn. He is currently an instructor in Public Health at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Director of Health Policy for The Roche Associates of Wilbraham, Massachusetts.  He has a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s degree in history. 

Film1-10-Tue1 The Golden Years of Foreign Film: The '50s and '60s

Film1-10-Tue1  The Golden Years of Foreign Film: The '50s and '60s   

Leader  –  Peter & Naomi Schmidt

Tuesday – Course Periods 1&2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm      

Description  The years spanning 1950 to 1969 introduced the American movie-going public to the novelty of great foreign films, providing a contrast and alternative to the standard Hollywood fare.  We invite you to join us in viewing and discussing a selection of ten such films, some serious and others more light-hearted.  Our expectation is that each will be not only enjoyable, but also thought-provoking.  In each of ten class sessions (each a double period) we will view a film together and follow with discussion, the subjects ranging from artistry and technique to symbolism and meaning.  The films that we have chosen are from a variety of countries and in a number of languages: Jules et Jim, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Repulsion, La Strada, The Seventh Seal, Rashomon, Black Orpheus, Z, I’m Alright Jack, and Blow-Up.

Readings  Readings will be provided by the SGLs as email attachments

 

Preparation  Time  Approximately one hour per week

Biography  Naomi Schmidt was originally trained as a physicist, taught computer science at Brandeis in the 1970s and 1980s and then worked for 16 years at both Brandeis and MIT in the field of academic computing. A BOLLI member since 2003, she has been a Study Group Leader for “Invitation to the Dance” and “Science Fiction,” as well as co-leading “Who’s Afraid of 20th Century Music?” with Peter Schmidt and “The New York Experience,” “Utopianism,  “The 1920s,” and “The 1960s” with Tamara Chernow.

Peter Schmidt’s professional careers were in physics and machine vision engineering. After retirement, he joined BOLLI in 2006 and, over the last ten years, has given a number of courses at lifelong learning organizations in a variety of subjects, some science-related (e.g., Five Physicists Who Changed the World View; Quantum Mechanics without a Wrench), and others not (e.g., Three Masterpieces: From Drama to Film and Opera; The Humanity of Heinrich Böll: Selected Short Stories).


Tuesday Course Period 2

H&G2-10-Tue2 From Peter to Putin: Understanding Russian History

H&G2-10-Tue2  From Peter to Putin: Understanding Russian History  

Leader  –  Kelsey Davis

Tuesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm 

Description  "It [Russia] is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." Winston Churchill broadcast this statement shortly after the outbreak of WWII, but it remains as relevant today as it was then. After all, what do we really know about Russia? We frequently see President Putin on the news, and read about his government's various human and civil rights abuses in the newspaper, but we rarely hear about the country's people and their history. This introduction to Russian history seeks to fill that void. It will cover ten major topics in Russian and Soviet history, beginning with Peter the Great (1672 - 1725) and concluding with Putin. The course objective is to better understand modern-day Russia by studying the country's history and literature. Therefore, throughout the course we will be guided by the following questions: a) why is Russia so shrouded in mystery; b) what can Russia's history teach us about its present? Via discussions of historical and literary texts, we will attempt to answer these questions. Though primarily discussion-based, I will begin each course with a brief introduction to that week's topic.  

Readings  Study group leader will distribute a course packet -$10.00 fee

Gregory L. Freeze, Russia: A History, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-0199560417 (many used and new copies available on Amazon - $5-20 respectively)

Preparation Time  Average 125 pages per week (combination of textbook and literature in course packet) Approx. two-three hours

Biography  Kelsey Davis is a PhD student in History at Brandeis University, specializing in Russian religious history and post-Soviet historical memory. She received her master's degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Columbia University in 2015. In 2012, she graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with bachelor's degrees in History and Literature. Her dissertation will research the relationship between Orthodoxy and non-Orthodox religions in Russia's borderlands, specifically analyzing how the Orthodox Church interacted with and missionized to the minority religions, and how Jewish and Muslim converts to Orthodoxy navigated their dual identities. 

ART2-10-Tue2 From Frou-frou to Heroic: Painting in 18th and Early 19th Century France

Art2-10-Tue2  From Frou-frou to Heroic: Painting in 18th and Early 19th Century France                     

Leader  –  Suzanne Art

Tuesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm 

Description  After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the fun-loving Duke of Orleans ruled as regent for his 5-year-old nephew, and France turned away from imperial aspirations to focus on more personal—and pleasurable—pursuits. This change led to a new style in art, known as the Rococo, which was highly decorative, playful, and often erotic. Jean-Antoine Watteau established the new style with his fêtes galantes - paintings of fine ladies and gentlemen in silks and satins frolicking in an idealized natural setting. As protests escalated against the monarchy by mid-century, social critics cried out for a more morally uplifting type of art. The new Neoclassical style, epitomized in the paintings of Jacques-Louis David, paid tribute to Roman republican virtues and helped fuel the French revolutionary fervor. The wars of the Revolution and of the Napoleonic era ushered in the Romantic style, which presented nature as an uncontrollable and unpredictable power, very much at odds with the orderly landscapes of earlier painters. Through an in-depth study of the paintings of these three movements in France, we will learn about the evolution of artistic technique and style as well as the fascinating times that the paintings reflect. There will be a balance of background lectures by the SGL and group discussions of individual paintings.

Readings  All assignments are online. These include videos by art historians of individual paintings as well as biographies of the artists. There will also be a number of short articles to read.

 

Preparation Time  An hour to an hour and a half

Biography  Suzanne Art has always loved art and history. She has a BA in History, an MA in the French Language and Literature, and an MA in Teaching. She taught history for 16 years at a private school. During that time she also wrote a series of twelve history books, a major feature of which is the study of the art of a given culture. She has taught four art courses at BOLLI: Painters of the Italian Renaissance, Let’s Go for Baroque, Three Giants of the Northern Renaissance, and From Frou-frou to Heroic: French Painters of the 18th and Early 19th Centuries.

H&G7-10-Tue2 Reconstruction: America Attempts to Rebuild Itself and its Relationship with African Americans

H&G7-10-Tue2  Reconstruction: America Attempts to Rebuild Itself and its Relationship with African Americans

Leader  –  Steve Messinger

Tuesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm 

Description  America engaged in the bloodiest civil war in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation and disease. Some claim the war was about slavery, states’ rights or the fear of losing a way of life. The war devastated the South and saw the emancipation of some 4,000,000 black men and women. How to rebuild the South? What to do for/with the former slaves? The North attempted to answer these questions by a program of Reconstruction. Reconstruction addressed how the eleven seceding states would regain what the Constitution calls a "republican form of government" and be reseated in Congress, the civil status of the former leaders of the Confederacy, and the Constitutional and legal status of freedmen, especially their civil rights and whether they should be given the right to vote. Intense controversy erupted throughout the South over these issues. We will look at the status of the black man in America, North and South, before and after the Civil War. We will look at Abraham Lincoln’s attempts to address the aftermath of the war and with his death, Andrew Johnson’s failed program of Presidential Reconstruction. We will look at Congress’ approach to Radical Reconstruction and how that program addressed the status of Southern whites who supported the Confederacy, Southern Unionists who remained loyal to the United States, and the freedmen. We will explore these questions and how Reconstruction ends with blacks becoming disenfranchised for almost 100 years.

Readings  The Era of Reconstruction: 1865-1877 by Kenneth M. Stamp

 

Preparation Time  Typically one hour per week

Biography  Steve Messinger has degrees in chemical engineering from Columbia University and spent his career in technical marketing of membrane processes to the pharmaceutical, dairy, and water industries. During his travels, plane time gave him the opportunity to read, become interested in, and finally passionate about history. While he has read widely on all Western history, he has had an ever growing fascination with the formation of this country. He has read extensively and hopes to transmit some of the passion he has developed. This will be his sixth opportunity to be an SGL. All of the classes that he has led have concerned the formation of this country.


Tuesday Course Period 3

Lit1-10-Tue3 Homer's Odyssey and Perspectives on Odysseus

Lit1-10-Tue3  Homer's Odyssey and Perspectives on Odysseus                  

Leader  –  Len Aberbach

Tuesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm     

Description  The magnificent epic poems of ancient Greece and Rome, The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid, although perceived by some as challenging and demanding, are remarkably readable, accessible, and relevant to modern readers. This course will focus on The Odyssey of Homer, the second of this three semester sequence. The Odyssey’s influence on later authors and poets will also be explored as will changes in the perception of Odysseus’ character, both in his own time and much later. It is important to be familiar with The Iliad as The Odyssey builds on it. You will discover characters whose passions, flaws, nobility, and frailties exemplify a humanity that we can readily relate to today. Whether you are completely new to The Odyssey or have read it in high school or college, your understanding and appreciation will be profoundly greater as a mature reader. Through our study of the poem we will explore the values and morals of the society, the complex relationships between men and their gods, and the nature of interpersonal relationships in a world frequently dominated by war.

Readings  The Odyssey, Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

Penguin paperback  ISBN 0-14-026886-3

The Fagles translation is MANDATORY for the course.

 

Preparation Time  Typically 2-4 hours a week for close reading and thinking about study questions

Biography  Leonard Aberbach has been a member of BOLLI almost since it began and has led a number of study groups on the great epics of western civilization. His interest in this area began after joining BOLLI and has little connection to his education and work experience which includes a PhD in chemical engineering and technology-based business general management. The classical epics satisfy his desire to lead courses in an area of interest that requires new focus, study and effort.

Soc3-5b-Tue3 Less is More: Simplifying Your Life

Soc3-5b-Tue3  Less is More: Simplifying Your Life         

Leader  –  Sandy Miller-Jacobs

Tuesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 18 to May 23

(Note: This class will not meet May 9th – a makeup session is scheduled for May 23)       

Description  Why is it that we clear our counters only to find them cluttered within hours or days? Why after giving away a whole shelf of books, do we find the books have multiplied, leaving a still full shelf? What underlies our inability to remain clutter free? This course will enable us to gain a better appreciation for why we collect things (mementos, clothes, inherited items, and the stuff of our kids’ lives - even after they have moved on), the impact of hoarding, and the benefits of a decluttered house? We will touch on the psychological reasons that underlie our difficulty in becoming and remaining decluttered and organized. Through readings, video clips, and new tools (written and digital) we will reflect and discuss ways to handle clutter and better manage time and productivity. We will examine various approaches (e.g., Bullet Journals, Planner Pads, Google Keep, & Google Calendar), learning how they help us gain control of time and life. Class participants will discuss and reflect on these ideas and tools as we try them out. Each of us will organize and declutter one area – small (a corner of a room or one drawer) or large (a closet or shelf of books) and share our progress and success as we reap the benefits of living a decluttered and organized life – feeling more calm and productive!

Readings  Kondo, M. (2014). The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing. NY: Ten Speed Press.

Batalion, J. (2016). White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood And The Mess In Between. New York: New American Library.

 

Preparation Time  Class members are expected to spend one to two hours a week on readings and their decluttering project. If the decluttering bug hits you may find yourself spending additional time without even realizing it!

Biography  At BOLLI, Sandy Miller-Jacobs offered “On the Outside: Disabilities as Portrayed in Fiction” in Fall 2015. She is a Professor Emerita at Fitchburg State University in Special Education. She was a Professor of Jewish Special Education at Hebrew College and an adjunct professor at Lesley University. Sandy has consulted to teachers in public and private schools from preschool to high school. She received awards for leadership in Jewish Special Education from the Bureau of Jewish Education and Hebrew College. She enjoys photography, walking, cycling, reading, storytelling, and especially playing with her six grandchildren.

Soc4-10-Tue3 Sex and Gender: The Liberation Movements of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries

Soc4-10-Tue3  Sex and Gender: The Liberation Movements of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries      

Leader  –  Sarah Pearlman

Tuesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm     

Description  Bursting upon the American scene in the late 1960s and early 70s—and following the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests—were three new political movements. Women, calling themselves feminists, were demanding equality, the end of prescribed sex roles, and safety from violence. Gay men and drag queens fought off police at the Stonewall Inn, a popular New York City gay bar, protesting homosexual harassment. Lesbians stormed the stage at the Second Congress to Unite Women, held in New York City, insisting that lesbianism be recognized as a valid choice of sexuality and life style. Transgender politics would come later. Focusing on these four liberation movements, this study group will address the emergence of heterosexual and lesbian feminism, gay male political activism, and the struggle for transgender rights. Included will be exploration of the origins of prohibitions and social rules on sex and gender, the schism between heterosexual and lesbian feminists, the impact of AIDS, the domestication of lesbian and gay male movements, and the many ways of being transgender. The course will continue with discussion of contemporary identities (sometimes called the “alphabet generation”), and the history and current status of conflicting relationships between identity groups. We will conclude with what these liberation movements have achieved. The class format will be a combination of presentation and discussion and will include a documentary film and a guest speaker.

Readings  Faderman, L. (2015). The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. NY: Simon & Schuster. The SGL will distribute a packet of additional required readings at a cost of no more than $15.00.

 

Preparation Time  One – two book chapters or articles will be assigned for each class session. Approximately 30-40 pages most weeks

Biography  Sarah F. Pearlman was employed for many years in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Hartford and is now Associate Professor Emeritus. She has taught at Antioch University, Lesley College, Northeastern University, and Suffolk University as well as adult learners at UMASS OLLI. Nationally recognized for her pioneering role in establishing a psychology of lesbians, Sarah was selected by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (American Psychological Association) as the recipient of the 2011 Award for Distinguished Professional Contribution. She is currently active in Boston’s LGBT elder organizations


Wednesday Course Period 1

Gym1-10-Wed1 Muscles and Movement

Gym1-10-Wed1   Muscles and Movement

Leader –  Jake Picard

Wednesday – Course Period 1 – 9:45a.m.-10:30a.m.

Description  Have fun and keep moving through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscle integrity, balance, and range of movement. This class will use free weights, physio balls, resistance bands and other equipment to target the upper and lower body muscles. Build endurance for daily living. Maintain core strength to prevent back pain.  Develop or maintain flexibility to prevent injury. This class is appropriate for participants seeking low and/or medium intensity exercise. Weights and equipment will be provided. Strong body, strong mind, enduring spirit!

Biography  Jake Picard is a Brandeis graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences. Having been a personal trainer for two years and spent time assisting in a physical therapy clinic, Jake prides himself on being able to work with all kinds of people.  Successful exercise requires challenge but also a clear zone of comfort, reports Jake.  He looks forward to pursuing this approach with BOLLI seniors in the Muscles & Movement course.

Art3-5b-Wed1 Hidden Gems – Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums

Art3-5b-Wed1  Hidden Gems – Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums           

Leader  –  Elaine Dohan

Wednesday – Course Periods 1 & 2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 19 to May 17

Description  Most of us know about the famous art museums in the Boston area.  Smaller museums and galleries are precious gems hidden all around Boston - each containing treasures we rarely see.  In this course we will visit four of these small facilities in close proximity to our Turner Street BOLLI location.  The tentative list includes: Addison (Andover Academy), Davis (Wellesley College), Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton) and the Rose (Brandeis University). Our first class will be a lecture on contemporary/modern art.  On each of the subsequent four weeks we will car pool to, or meet at one of our special destinations. Trained docents will conduct tours of the current show at each facility.  Exact starting times and lengths for class meetings will vary from week to week, due to the museum openings and necessary travel time.  Each session will be scheduled for the first two periods on Wednesdays, and class members can expect to be back at Turner Street for Lunch & Learn and third period.  To the extent that we may revisit pieces from permanent art collections in one or more of the museums this is a repeat course.  However, the emphasis will be on the new exhibits in each.

Readings  Readings and/or videos for each museum exhibit will be sent by email to class members when exhibits are announced by the museum. 

 

Preparation Time  One to two hours reading or viewing selections provided on internet

Biography  Elaine Dohan is a charter member of BOLLI.  She has led two courses on literature.  Before retiring she was a middle school teacher in Sudbury, MA.  Her enthusiasm for art can be directly connected to the time spent in Nancy Alimansky’s classes at BOLLI.


Wednesday Course Period 2

H&G6-10-Wed2 Dress Rehearsal for World War II: The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

H&G6-10-Wed2  Dress Rehearsal for World War II: The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)       

Leader  –  Gene Kupferschmid

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm      

Description  The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has been referred to as "the good fight", "the passionate cause", and "the prelude to World War II".  Was it the fight of democracy against fascism? The fight of fascism against communism? Was it possible for other European countries to remain neutral? We will explore the conditions in Spain that led to the war, the battle that stirred the passions of people from all over the world to fight for the Spanish Republic, the aftermath of the war, and the views expressed by writers such as George Orwell.

Readings  The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction  by Helen Graham, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0192803778

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, CreateSpace Independent  Publisher, ISBN-10: 1505818397  or any other edition

 

Preparation Time  2-3 hours

Biography  Gene S. Kupferschmid taught for 30 years in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College. She has held two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and is the author of fourteen textbooks on Spanish language, culture and literature. She is an enthusiastic traveler who has lived in Argentina and Mexico.

Mus3-5b-Wed2 Musical Farewells: Elegy, Requiem and Remembrance

Mus3-5b-Wed2  Musical Farewells: Elegy, Requiem and Remembrance

Leader  –  Georgia Luikens

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 19 to May 17

Description  From Brahms’ immense A German Requiem to Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess, Schubert, Mozart, Bernstein – and even Jonathan Larson wrote musical farewells under many guises. Although the most common genre for the musical farewell remains the requiem, motifs of remembrance, elegy and dedication exist across a broad array of musical styles, periods and purposes. In this seminar we will listen to and discuss representative works that evoke the spirit of farewell from the 16th century to the present day. In our examination of these poignant compositions, we will investigate historical context, creative process, texts, allusion and influence – to name a few. Throughout the course, weekly listening assignments accompanied by readings will be the starting point for active engagement with these moving pieces.

Readings  A packet with required readings will be available at the first class. Class materials will not exceed $15.00.

 

 

Preparation Time  2 hours per week

Biography  Georgia Luikens is an Australian-born musicologist, educator and violinist. She holds degrees in English Literature and Music from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Georgia has a Masters degree in Musicology from Brandeis University where she is currently a doctoral candidate writing on Leonard Bernstein’s  choral works. She teaches a range of interdisciplinary courses examining music history, musical theatre, American studies and literature. Georgia held the Harry and Mildred Remis Endowed Fellowship for the Creative Arts at Brandeis for five years and is the recipient of a number of teaching awards from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Lit12-10-Wed2 Anna Karenina: Passion and Politics

Lit12-10-Wed2  Anna Karenina: Passion and Politics     

Leader  –  Lois Ziegelman

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm      

Description  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is considered to be one of the greatest – some would even insist the greatest – novel ever written. Ostensibly about a tragic romance its scope is much larger, encompassing the total canvas of late 19th century society and its political, economic and social concerns. Above all it focuses on morality, in an exploration of the difference between the way we live and the way we ought to live. This course will include a short lecture by SGL followed by guided discussion.

Readings  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Note: Preferred translation is by Maude.  Other translations are acceptable except for one by Constance Garnet.

 

Preparation Time  2-3 Hours

Biography  Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D Brandeis, is a Professor Emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught World Literature and Drama for thirty-one years.  A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has studied, taught and performed works ranging from Classical Antiquity through the 20th Century.

Lit11-5a-Wed2 PRINCIPAL PLAYERS: American Dramas Featuring U.S. Presidents

Lit11-5a-Wed2  PRINCIPAL PLAYERS: American Dramas Featuring U.S. Presidents       

Leader  –  Sue Wurster

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course March 8 to April 5 

Description  After such a dramatic year in American politics, it seems like a good time to reach back into our theatrical canon to pull out some drama featuring U.S. Presidents of the past.  In this short course, we will examine three plays featuring American Presidents:  Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Sunrise at Campobello, and Frost/Nixon.  We’ll take a somewhat unusual approach when it comes to the preparation for each week’s class.  For each play, students will be asked to do some research on aspects of the President, his life and times, gathering data and impressions which will enhance our appreciation of the plays.  We will then enjoy reading the play aloud together in class, taking time to discuss its essential elements and the important questions it raises for us along the way.  

Readings  Abe Lincoln in Illinois by Robert Sherwood

Sunrise at Campobello by Dore Schary

Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan

 

Preparation Time  Perhaps an hour or two of research on the President, his life and times.

Biography  After earning B.S./M.A. degrees in Theatre & Communications from Ohio University, Sue Wurster taught speech at St. Cloud State University (MN), writing at Elizabeth Seton College (NY), drama and theatre at the Chapin and Calhoun schools (NYC), and English/Humanities at Nashoba Brooks School (Concord), advising school newspapers, literary journals, and yearbooks all along the way.  She received fellowships from Northwestern’s School of Speech, NYC’s New Actors’ Workshop (studying with Paul Sills), Bank Street College (studying with Jack Zipes), and Columbia University (studying with Howard Stein).  Sue served as chair of the high school division and on the executive board of the American Alliance for Theatre in Education, as director of the New York State Forensics League, and as co-founding chair of the Massachusetts Middle School Speech League.  (She is often referred to as “Wurster, the Word Woman.”)

OH1-5b-Wed2 “So, Where Were YOU When…?” Doing Oral History, One Event at a Time

OH1-5b-Wed2  “So, Where Were YOU When…?” Doing Oral History, One Event at a Time

Leader  –  Sue Wurster

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 19 to May 17

Description  The “Golden Rules of Studying History,” these days, emphasize the fact that historical events can be interpreted in multiple ways, depending, of course, on who is doing the interpreting.  Historical interpreters have, all too often, provided the rather traditional or dominant point of view of past events by presenting only one side (usually that of “the winners”).  Thus, they can end up coloring our views of the past and where we are today.  Today, in order to develop more realistic and more complex interpretations of the past, historians ask questions and search out evidence that draws out views of key events from multiple perspectives. They try to understand past events through the eyes of “those who were there” on all sides. In this short course, we will serve as “those who were there,” sharing our experiences of three historic events from our lifetime/s.  As a group, we will select those events and then examine them through the lenses of our own experiences.  For each class session, we will develop and tell our individual stories of “Where We Were When…” each event occurred.  Thus, we will be able to look at how the aggregate of our experiences might provide a more “layered” view of each of these historical events.  And, finally, we will, of course, gain some insight into the art of telling our tales.

Readings  Online and hard copy handouts to be provided weekly. 

 

Preparation Time  I’d say each week’s prep would involve about 30 minutes of reading; 30 minutes of talking to family members and/or compatriots;  and maybe 60 minutes preparing/practicing a story to tell.  (Length of stories will depend on the size of the group so that there is ample time for all.)

Biography  After earning B.S./M.A. degrees in Theatre & Communications from Ohio University, Sue Wurster taught speech at St. Cloud State University (MN), writing at Elizabeth Seton College (NY), drama and theatre at the Chapin and Calhoun schools (NYC), and English/Humanities at Nashoba Brooks School (Concord), advising school newspapers, literary journals, and yearbooks all along the way.  She received fellowships from Northwestern’s School of Speech, NYC’s New Actors’ Workshop (studying with Paul Sills), Bank Street College (studying with Jack Zipes), and Columbia University (studying with Howard Stein).  Sue served as chair of the high school division and on the executive board of the American Alliance for Theatre in Education, as director of the New York State Forensics League, and as co-founding chair of the Massachusetts Middle School Speech League.  (She is often referred to as “Wurster, the Word Woman.”)


Wednesday Course Period 3

Soc2-5a-Wed3 Mahler, Moses and Others Speak to the Challenges of Life’s Final Journey

Soc2-5a-Wed3  Mahler, Moses and Others Speak to the Challenges of Life’s Final Journey                  

Leader  –  Herman Blumberg

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course March 8 to April 5 

Description  Classic expressions from the world of literature, music and film can help us to think anew about the tasks and challenges of the latter decades of life.  What does Tolstoy in the Death of Ivan Ilyich teach us about how -- or how not – to tend to one who is dying? What can we learn from Moses’ grand argument with God, as expounded in rabbinic (midrashic) literature, upon being told he would die before entering the Promised Land? How do we respond to the hopeless suffering of a loved one whose quality of life has deteriorated?  The film Amour may provide a helpful framework for discussion of this difficult issue.  Although Gustav Mahler was preoccupied with death, his Fifth Symphony is anything but morbid.  What did Mahler “say” in music about bereavement and how would Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the dean of bereavement studies, respond? What happens when we begin to simultaneously look back on our life and contemplate our legacy?  Stories from John Updike’s last published collection of short stories and other authors may stimulate our memories and help us to think about the meaning of our lives and the legacy we leave for future generations.  One of these five selections from the arts will frame each weekly discussion. Excerpts from each of the materials will be included in class presentations. Vigorous discussion is encouraged and students with special knowledge of specific material are invited to collaborate with the instructor. This course was given in Spring 2016.

Readings  Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, any collection of Tolstoy’s short stories
Film: Amour Video recording available in public libraries (reserve early!) or Netflix
Mahler: Symphony No. 5, CD any recording
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (monograph to be distributed in class)
Deuteronomy 34 with Rabbinic exposition (to be distributed in class by SGL)
 John Updike short stories: “The Walk with Elizanne “(16 pages); “The Road Home” (22 pages); “My Father’s Tears” (19 pages);”The Full Glass” (16 pages) <John Updike, My Father’s Tears and other stories, 2009, Alfred A. Knopf, publisher; ISBN 978-0-307-27156-3

Additional readings may be handed out in class.

Preparation Time  Participants are encouraged to enjoy all of the selections in advance of class. Preparation for any one session is 2 hours or less. Viewing the movie or listening to Mahler are urged, but not required.

Biography  Herman Blumberg recently retired from his position as the Rabbinic Director of Hebrew Senior Life’s Hospice Care organization.  He is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, Massachusetts. As an educator and pastoral counselor with specific training in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), he brings to the subject of this course a keen interest in helping mature adults explore the full complement of end of life issues for themselves and their loved ones. Rabbi Blumberg and his wife Paula reside in Waban; their three married children and six grandchildren are close by.

Mus2-5a-Wed3 Lyrics as Literature: Five Great Songwriters of the Last Fifty Years

Mus2-5a-Wed3  Lyrics as Literature: Five Great Songwriters of the Last Fifty Years   

Leader  –  John Clark

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course March 8 to April 5 

Description  Fifty years ago popular music underwent a shift in lyrical subject matter and complexity that altered forever its status as mere entertainment. In the wake of Nobel laureate Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking songs of political protest, cultural critique, and deep personal reflection, the “message song” and the “personal statement” have become standard fare in every music genre. This course begins by briefly telling the story of that tectonic shift in songwriting in the mid-1960s and then exploring the work of five notable songwriters, all with careers exceeding forty years. We will examine the songs of Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel and the Eagles (primarily the lyrics of Don Henley and the late Glen Frey). Format is lecture and discussion; PowerPoint presentations will include audio and video. 

Readings  There will be weekly reading assignments from PDFs emailed well in advance of each class session.

 

Preparation Time  One to two hours of reading and listening using YouTube or a free streaming music service.

Biography  John Clark grew up in rural Ohio and attended college in Illinois and graduate school in Massachusetts in the seventies. During the eighties he worked in the music business in Nashville in various capacities. After moving to Atlanta in 1992, he taught high school for six years and adult education for more than twenty years for Emory University and Mercer University. He created and taught classes on Bob Dylan, music of the 50s and 60s, Americana music and a series called “Lyrics as Literature”. He guest-hosted several Atlanta radio stations and boasts a combined record/CD collection of 7,000 recordings.

H&G3-5b-Wed3 The Reluctant Ally: America's Entry into World War II

H&G3-5b-Wed3  The Reluctant Ally: America's Entry into World War II

Leader  –  Fran Feldman

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 19 to May 17

Description  As German bombs rain down on Britain, bringing the country to its knees, Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately searches for help from the United States, the only country that can save his homeland. To do so he enlists the support of three prominent Americans living in London during the darkest hours of the war. Edward R. Murrow, the head of CBS News in Europe; John Gilbert Winant, the U.S. ambassador to Britain; and Averell Harriman, the administrator of the Lend-Lease program in London, answer the call with courage, ingenuity, and passion. The course text, Citizens of London by Lynne Olson, vividly describes the three men’s efforts to persuade a very reluctant America to partner with Great Britain in resisting the Nazi onslaught in Europe. Some of the topics that will be examined during the term include the isolationism that pervaded America until December 1941, America’s lack of readiness for war, the personalities of Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, the role of the press, of diplomacy, and of the military-industrial complex during the war years, and the degree of cooperation among the Allies as the war progressed. Classes will be conducted by discussion with no lectures. NOTE: Study group members are encouraged to actively participate in class and to offer reports on relevant topics related to the war effort. This course is a repeat of a course given in Spring 2016.

Readings  Citizens of London by Lynne Olson

 

Preparation Time  Approximately 80 pages of reading a week

Biography  Fran Feldman’s interest in government and history began when she majored in government at Smith College, received a Master of Arts in Teaching (in history) from Yale, and taught social studies in middle school. Later, in California, she embarked on a second career editing cooking, gardening, crafts, and home improvement books for Sunset Books. After returning home to the Boston area, she worked as an administrator and financial trainer in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. Her passions are golf, traveling, and volunteer work. Previously at BOLLI she taught "The Remarkable Roosevelts" (Franklin and Eleanor) and “Allies and Adversaries: Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.”

Lit6-5b-Wed3 The Icelandic Saga: Iceland as a Creative Force in Early Northern European Literature

Lit6-5b-Wed3  The Icelandic Saga: Iceland as a Creative Force in Early Northern European Literature   

Leader  –  Michael Levin

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 19 to May 17

Description  Iceland was first settled around 900 CE by householders escaping the rule of the King of Norway.  The history and heroism of Iceland’s earliest times were transmitted orally as sagas and later recorded when literacy came to Iceland around 1300.  The Icelandic sagas are grounded in human affairs; they describe household activities, legal matters, commerce and war.  Conflict, curses, humor and revenge, as well as love and compassion, mark everyday events in the lives and actions of the women and men who people the sagas.  Unlike the great classical epics which preceded them, events are not influenced by the politics and rivalries of the gods.  These are stories of humans surviving in a sparse land surrounded by an unforgiving ocean.  We will try to determine how Iceland became the creative center for medieval literature in northern Europe. Could it be that the harsh climate combined with the majestic beauty of this country at the remote fringe of Europe played significant roles?  We will read, study and discuss Njal’s Saga, the most famous and perhaps the finest of the Icelandic sagas.

Readings  Njal’s Saga, Penguin Classics, 2002, ISBN 978-0-140-44769-9. Available paperback ($11.63) and Kindle ($.99) from Amazon and elsewhere.

 

Preparation Time  Sixty pages of reading per week or about two hours.

Biography  Michael Levin is a retired computer scientist and software engineer and a Buddhist teacher and meditation instructor with twenty five years of teaching experience. He has long held a special passion for Icelandic sagas which he is happy to share. His other passions include baroque and classical music, and climate change education

Dra1-10-Wed3 More Scenes from Scene-iors

Dra1-10-Wed3  More Scenes from Scene-iors 

Leader  –  Becky Meyers

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Description  This coming spring we will explore a range of dramatic genres by studying several very short plays by Christopher Durang and Tennessee Williams, interspersed with some lighter fare by the likes of James Thurber. The semester will culminate in a dramatic presentation for Lunch & Learn. Exactly which plays we present will depend upon the makeup of the class. Recently our troupe has included both “old-timers” and “new-comers”, and even more “newbies” will be welcomed enthusiastically.  Over the past couple of years, the Scene-iors classes have become quite adept at dramatic presentations, but new class members bring new sets of skills and insights that can enrich the theatre experience for everyone!

Study group members should plan to attend all sessions, especially the dress rehearsal and of course the presentation scheduled for the last Thursday of the semester, May 18.  Neither memorization nor prior theatre experience is required.  Enthusiasm for drama and commitment to the team are all that is needed. As always, the Scene-iors would like to welcome folks who are just dying to be on stage, as well as others a little shyer who’d rather participate backstage and out of the spotlight!     In addition to the acting roles, the off-stage roles may include such things as:

Dramaturge: historical context and interpretation
Set Designer: stage layout and furniture
Choreographer: blocking (movements on stage)
Property Manager: acquisition of props
Technician: sound, lighting, computer effects
Costume Designer: acquisition of costumes
Stage Manager: overall coordination
Publicist: announcements, posters, programs

Readings  SCRIPTS:  Several short plays will be selected from 3 different collections, which can be purchased brand New from Amazon for about $25 total, and Used for just a few dollars or even pennies: Christopher Durang Volume One: 27 Short Plays Smith & Kraus (1995) paperback, ISBN 188039989X
27 Wagons Full of Cotton & Other One-Act Plays by Tennessee Williams
New Directions (1966) paperback, ISBN 0811202259
A Thurber Carnival (NOT “The” Thurber Carnival) James Thurber
 Samuel French (1962) paperback, ISBN 057361668X

SELECTED READINGS:  SGL will provide links to online reading materials and/or copies of selections from texts about dramatic techniques, games and exercises.

 

Preparation Time  Class members will hopefully re-read/study the scripts every week.  There may be additional readings provided by the SGL or available online, no more than 10 pages per week.  During the last couple of weeks there will probably be extra rehearsals in small groups, at times that are convenient for the participants.

Biography  Becky Meyers worked at Brandeis for 20 years in the Biochemistry Dept. and as soon as she retired she joined the BOLLI program. She soon found herself in a series of drama classes given by Elaine Reisman, Lois Ziegelman, Eileen Mitchell, Tamara Chernow, Jyl Lynn Felman. In 2011 Becky and Eileen created the “Scene-iors” drama club. They never looked back. Becky has also taken acting classes given by a professional director in her co-housing community, most recently classes that featured dramatic games and exercises as well as performance. For several years Becky has been Scene-iors Director for Spring semesters at BOLLI


Thursday Course Period 1

H&G5-5a-Thur1 National Myths and American Exceptionalism

H&G5-5a-Thur1  National Myths and American Exceptionalism             

Leader  –  John Hose

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 pm

         5 Week Course March 9 to April 6 

Description  A national myth is an inspiring narrative or anecdote about a nation's past.  It is a legend or fictionalized narrative, which has been elevated to a serious mythological, symbolic, and esteemed level so as to be true to the nation.  All nations have myths — stories about people, the nation’s founding, special events or values — believed by many but not completely true.  All myths seek to explain the way we understand the world, our place in it, and/or our core beliefs.  America is not the first nation to identify itself as exceptional.  Many nations have claimed a heavenly-mandated exceptionalism including Rome, China, England, France and Russia throughout much of their histories.  The great majority of Americans accepts the idea of American exceptionalism — to a greater or lesser extent — and it is a very powerful story affecting both the nation and the world beyond.  This is a discussion course in which we will explore the nature of myth, some examples of American myths, their persistence and the many opinions on the issue of American exceptionalism.  The aim of the course is not to find the truth or the right answer, but to explore the impact of the numerous opinions regarding American exceptionalism and what those opinions tell us about ourselves and our place in the world.  We will also consider the consequences of America’s fixation on exceptionalism — its pros and cons.

Readings  American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History, Charles Murray, AEI Press. (50 pages).  Also a course reader composed of articles and commentary drawn from the Internet regarding American exceptionalism and related issues.

 

Preparation Time  About two hours

Biography  John Hose spent his working career in higher education administration at the City University of New York, the University of New Hampshire, and Brandeis University.  He holds a PhD in history from Columbia University, and, early in his career, he taught adults at Queens College/CUNY in New York.  He taught this course in BOLLI during the fall 2016 semester.

Writ1-10-Thur1 Finding Your Way Into Fiction: Looking for Stories and Learning to Craft Them

Writ1-10-Thur1  Finding Your Way Into Fiction: Looking for Stories and Learning to Craft Them           

Leader  –  Betsy Campbell

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am 

Description  In this class we will do what all fiction writers do - draw material from our own experience to create stories that entertain, amuse or enlighten the reader. Fiction may be inspired by anything we experience - a memory, a chance encounter, a news article, or a dream. The writer is free to modify the facts, to change details, imagine action, or create characters while shaping the content into a fully developed narrative. Writing prompts will be offered to elicit material from life experience and to focus on key elements of the writer’s craft such as point of view, dialogue, characterization, plot and setting. Participants will be expected to write a piece of about 500 words each week to be shared in class. Feedback is a vital part of the writing process, and class members will be expected to offer comments or suggestions that focus on specific aspects of each written piece. The class welcomes both experienced and aspiring fiction writers. The goal is to create a supportive and comfortable atmosphere for all participants as we share our work, and enjoy the fun of finding our way into fiction.

Readings  There is no text for this course. SGL will provide some handouts

 

Preparation Time  A piece of writing about 500 words long is expected each week.

Biography  Betsy Campbell has been writing all her life. She has taken numerous writing courses, attended conferences, been a member of several writing groups and led teachers’ workshops on The Writing Process. She has published stories and articles in The Boston Globe, The Vineyard Gazette, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Storyteller Magazine and other journals. One of her stories was included in the anthology Final Fenway Fiction. Betsy began her teaching career as a high school English teacher and later spent twenty-five years teaching kindergarten and first grade. She has a B.A. from Brown University, an M.A.T. from Harvard and an M.A. from Lesley.

Lit7-10-Thur1 Reel Literature 2: Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit

Lit7-10-Thur1  Reel Literature 2: Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit          

Leader  –  David Moskowitz

Thursday – Course Periods 1 &2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm

         

Description  Elmore Leonard, known for his spare, dialogue-driven prose, began writing Westerns before producing some of the classic crime novels of the twentieth century. His great character, Raylan Givens, made famous by the superb TV show Justified, exemplifies Leonard's use of the Western inside the body of crime fiction. In this course we will study both genres, beginning with two Westerns - a novel and short story - followed by three crime novels. Leonard is eminently readable; his credo: "I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip and if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." His works have been made into 20+ films. If you are unfamiliar with Leonard's style - I have long been an admirer - think of him as Hemingway with a sense of humor, or as the successor to George Higgins' classic, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. The selections were based principally on the strength of the films. Members are expected to read each work in its entirety before that work is discussed in class. During odd numbered weeks we'll discuss the book at length in a regular period; during even numbered weeks class will be conducted in a double period, beginning by watching the movie. The ensuing discussion will address, among other things, how well the film captures Leonard's work, what succeeds and what does not, what was deleted and what was added, as well as concluding the previous week's discussion of the written work. Dynamic class discussions are my hallmark.

Readings  All works were authored by Elmore Leonard. The order listed is the order in which they will be covered in class.

  1. Hombre
  2. "Three-Ten to Yuma" (This short story will be distributed electronically by the SGL)
  3. Get Shorty
  4. Rum Punch (NB: The accompanying movie was renamed "Jackie Brown")
  5. Out of Sight

Preparation Time  The total reading is under 1050 pages. Leonard's prose reads quite fast even for moderately slow readers and the print per page is never dense. I would think on average it would take under 3 hours per week.
NB: Home viewing of movies is acceptable for those who cannot readily attend a first period class, provided the film is viewed no more than 2 days before the film is watched in class.

 

Biography  David Moskowitz is a graduate of Penn's Wharton School and Harvard Law. His legal career was spent predominantly as a general counsel, including 11 years as Brandeis’ initial general counsel. This is his 8th BOLLI-led course (16th time leading), and fifth literature course. This course combines David's interests in both literature and film in a format that was successfully implemented with the novels of Graham Greene. Former class members suggested utilizing the format with Elmore Leonard, and as a Leonard devotee this idea resonated.

Lit2-10-Thur1 “All Blood Runs Red”: World War I Fiction from the Battlefield and the Home Front

Lit2-10-Thur1  “All Blood Runs Red”: World War I Fiction from the Battlefield and the Home Front          

Leader  –  Kathryn Bloom

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am 

Description   “All blood runs red” was the phrase written on the side of the WWI plane flown by Eugene Bullard, the first black combat pilot.  President Woodrow Wilson described it as “the war to end all wars”, but we know now that World War I was the first in a century of increasingly bloody global conflicts. In this course, we will look at how fiction writers wrote about the war and its immediate aftermath.  We will discuss the various perspectives of men serving on the front lines, women who volunteered as nurses, home front attitudes, and the experience of men of color who returned from combat to a racially intolerant country. While most of the writers we will study are American, we begin with the war as seen from the perspective of a German soldier, Erich Maria Remarque’s gripping All Quiet on the Western Front.  We end the course with Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, which explores the aftermath of the war in terms of its impact on the “lost generation” of the 1920s. Participants will be asked to read two novels and selections from a short-story collection. The class will be conducted as open-ended, shared-inquiry discussions.

Readings  All Quiet on the Western Front  Erich Maria Remarque (any edition)

The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway (any edition)

In addition, SGL will provide a packet of selected short stories at cost

Preparation Time  About three hours per week

Biography  Kathryn Bloom is a doctoral student at Northeastern University, where she is completing a dissertation on the fiction of Edna Ferber and Fannie Hurst.  She has led courses at BOLLI in Jewish literature, Canadian literature and New Jersey literature.

Mus4-5b-Thur1 A History of Klezmer Music

Mus4-5b-Thur1  A History of Klezmer Music          

Leader  –  Judy Pinnolis

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am

         5 Week Course April 20 to May 18 

Description  The goal of this class is to provide a 5-week overview of the development of klezmer music that will put today’s klezmer music into perspective. We’ll start with some history of the music of Jewish Ashkenazi ancestors in Europe; listen to musical developments from the Medieval Age through 19th century Europe; and hear what moved to America. We’ll hear music from the earliest recordings of the 20th century and examine klezmer music as part of American Jewish life. We’ll learn about the revival movement of the 1970s and 80s and the transformation of Eastern European music into American klezmer peaking in the 1990s. We’ll finish our last class with a look at the klezmer “world music” scene today. There are no prerequisites and no prior knowledge is assumed. Participants should be able to receive email and pdf attachments on email.

Readings  Readings, if any, will be sent to participants as “pdf” attachments on email.

Preparation Time  Weeks with readings will need approximately 30 minutes of preparation.

Biography  Judith Pinnolis is a retired librarian and scholar who worked 22 years at Brandeis University. She currently teaches part-time in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College and also taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in NYC.  Judy is the creator and editor of the The Jewish Music WebCenter at  <http://www.jmwc.org>.  She was President of the Association of College and Research Libraries for New England and President of the Chapters Council of ACRL.  Judy’s passions are libraries, music, the environment and gardening. Judy is mother of two grown sons and a grandmother of two.


Thursday Course Period 2

Sci1-5a-Thur2 Mother Nature and Climate Change

Sci1-5a-Thur2  Mother Nature and Climate Change       

Leader  –  Fara Faramarzpour

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course March 9 to April 6 

Description  Our planet is experiencing a major change in its climate. There are many factors which determine this change, but the main reason is the increase of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses emitted by burning fossil fuels. In this short course, we will study how the components of the climate system (the atmosphere, the ocean, the ocean ice and the glaciers, and the biosphere) interact in determining the earth’s climate, and its temperature. We will use supporting data from sources such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and other scientific organizations for the modeling of the future trends in temperature, the melting of the glaciers, and the change in the sea level. At the international level, the recommendations of climate scientists are forwarded to the UN International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). IPCC is responsible for policy and international agreements to reduce greenhouse gasses, and mitigating the earth environment. We will discuss the outcomes of the 2015 Paris Accord and the commitments that are needed to keep the global temperature change below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Readings  Included in the class web site.

 

Preparation Time  Two hours per week

Biography  Fara has taught many courses at BOLLI, including a ten-week course about our planet and the development of human knowledge and civilization. His academic background includes physics and astronomy, and earth science. He loves nature and reading about science and our cultural heritage.

H&G4-10-Thur2 Medical History of the US as Viewed Through the Lives of the Presidents

H&G4-10-Thur2  Medical History of the US as Viewed Through the Lives of the Presidents               

Leader  –  Ed Goldberg

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

          (Note: This class begins one week late – March 16 to May 25)

Description  The theme of the course will be the march of medical progress from 1776 until today. We will place those events in context with the political events that were happening at the same time. The focus will be upon medical events in the lives of the Presidents, especially while they were in the White House. We will discuss in detail how these events affected political history. Medical events shaped the men and the men were able in turn to change history. There will be secret surgery, poisonings, malpractice, innovation, great personal courage and maybe a murder mystery. The format will be mainly a lecture by the SGL, but there will be opportunities for class discussion as provocative topics are introduced Diversity of opinion is expected and encouraged.

Students will be expected to present brief reports that will focus upon unsung heroes of our story, e.g. Betty Jackson, Onesimus, Cotton Mather, James Herrick, Mary Montagu. There will be a few videos and a short presentation of appreciation of the work of the artist Thomas Eakins.

Sub-themes will include the thorny topics of presidential disability; Presidents who received substandard care; and whether or not President's have an expectation of medical privacy

NoteThis class begins one week late – March 16 to May 25

Readings  Readings will be available online from the eBoard.  There is no required book since there is no one book that approximates our syllabus.  If you want to read further, I recommend the following:

  1. The Great Influenza by John Barry, published by Viking (hardcover) or Penguin (paperback). This is an outstanding and interesting book  
  2. The Health of the Presidents by John Bumgarner, MD (McFarland Publishing). This book is a bonus and may not be readily available.

 

Preparation Time 2-3 hours of easy reading

Biography  Edward Goldberg began life at an early age.  His interest in American history was stimulated by his undergraduate studies at Cornell. Following his father’s strong advice he entered medical school and practiced internal medicine for 30 years.  Since retirement in 2000, Edward can now combine his love of American history with his medical knowledge to create this course. He has presented this course before at BOLLI, and has refocused his efforts upon the chronological train of events.

Lit7-10-Thur1 Reel Literature 2: Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit

Lit7-10-Thur1  Reel Literature 2: Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit          

Leader  –  David Moskowitz

Thursday – Course Periods 1 &2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm

         

Description  Elmore Leonard, known for his spare, dialogue-driven prose, began writing Westerns before producing some of the classic crime novels of the twentieth century. His great character, Raylan Givens, made famous by the superb TV show Justified, exemplifies Leonard's use of the Western inside the body of crime fiction. In this course we will study both genres, beginning with two Westerns - a novel and short story - followed by three crime novels. Leonard is eminently readable; his credo: "I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip and if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." His works have been made into 20+ films. If you are unfamiliar with Leonard's style - I have long been an admirer - think of him as Hemingway with a sense of humor, or as the successor to George Higgins' classic, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. The selections were based principally on the strength of the films. Members are expected to read each work in its entirety before that work is discussed in class. During odd numbered weeks we'll discuss the book at length in a regular period; during even numbered weeks class will be conducted in a double period, beginning by watching the movie. The ensuing discussion will address, among other things, how well the film captures Leonard's work, what succeeds and what does not, what was deleted and what was added, as well as concluding the previous week's discussion of the written work. Dynamic class discussions are my hallmark.

Readings  All works were authored by Elmore Leonard. The order listed is the order in which they will be covered in class.

  1. Hombre
  2. "Three-Ten to Yuma" (This short story will be distributed electronically by the SGL)
  3. Get Shorty
  4. Rum Punch (NB: The accompanying movie was renamed "Jackie Brown")
  5. Out of Sight

Preparation Time  The total reading is under 1050 pages. Leonard's prose reads quite fast even for moderately slow readers and the print per page is never dense. I would think on average it would take under 3 hours per week.
NB: Home viewing of movies is acceptable for those who cannot readily attend a first period class, provided the film is viewed no more than 2 days before the film is watched in class.

 

Biography  David Moskowitz is a graduate of Penn's Wharton School and Harvard Law. His legal career was spent predominantly as a general counsel, including 11 years as Brandeis’ initial general counsel. This is his 8th BOLLI-led course (16th time leading), and fifth literature course. This course combines David's interests in both literature and film in a format that was successfully implemented with the novels of Graham Greene. Former class members suggested utilizing the format with Elmore Leonard, and as a Leonard devotee this idea resonated.

Lit4-10-Thur2 Traveling Through Cultures, Time and Space: Some Favorite Historical Fictions

Lit4-10-Thur2  Traveling Through Cultures, Time and Space: Some Favorite Historical Fictions                   

Leader  –  Sophie Freud

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm        

Description  “An essential element of historical fiction is that it is set in the past and pays attention to the manners, social conditions and other details of the period depicted.” We shall be reading five compelling books and discuss for each book what we can learn about the culture in that space, at that time in history. The books are randomly chosen, all of them books that have stayed with me through the years. We shall visit missionaries on Martha’s Vineyard and their relations to American Indian tribes in the middle of the 17th century, black culture in the Everglades in the early 1900’s, women in 19th century China, World War II on an English Island occupied by the Germans, and the story of a famous painting in 17th century Delft. All of these are memorable books. In each book we meet a central intelligent, courageous woman and learn to understand her role in her culture. I view my role as a teacher to ask (hopefully) stimulating questions which tend to lead to lively discussions.

Readings  Brooks, Geraldine. (2011) Caleb’s Crossing: a Novel

See, Lisa. (2005)  Snowflower and the Secret Fan

Hurston, Zora Neale. (1937) Their Eyes Were Watching God

Shaffer, Mary Ann and Barrows, Annie. (2008) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Chevalier, Tracy. (1999) Girl with a Pearl Earring

 

Preparation Time  About 120 pages a week of light reading

Biography  Sophie Freud received a BA from Radcliffe/Harvard, an MSW from Simmons and 20 years later, a PhD from the Heller School at Brandeis. After about 10 years of clinical social work practice she became a professor of social work at the Simmons College School of Social Work and stayed there for 30 years while also giving courses and workshops all over the United States and Europe. Sophie has given at least 15 different courses at BOLLI. Indeed, inventing new courses has become her old age pastime. Books have been Sophie’s cherished companions as reader, book reviewer, and author of many scholarly articles and 2 books.

Misc1-5b-Thur2 New Yorker Non-Fiction: Exploring Contemporary Issues in Depth

Misc1-5b-Thur2  New Yorker Non-Fiction: Exploring Contemporary Issues in Depth 

Leader  –  Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 20 to May 18

Description  The New Yorker magazine is wonderfully rich with provocative non-fiction content. How often do you wish you had more time to read all those articles each week? Then when you do read them, how often have they sparked new thoughts, questions, or a wish just to talk about them with other people? This course is designed to allow participants an opportunity to engage substantively with one primary New Yorker non-fiction article each week through active discussion, drawing on their own personal knowledge, ideas, and experience as well as exploring related new material. Each week we will probe a different contemporary issue from topics which may include politics, foreign policy, art and culture, science and technology, biography, and medicine. To further our understanding, additi

Misc1-5b-Thur2  New Yorker Non-Fiction: Exploring Contemporary Issues in Depth 

Leader  –  Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

         5 Week Course April 20 to May 18

Description  The New Yorker magazine is wonderfully rich with provocative non-fiction content. How often do you wish you had more time to read all those articles each week? Then when you do read them, how often have they sparked new thoughts, questions, or a wish just to talk about them with other people? This course is designed to allow participants an opportunity to engage substantively with one primary New Yorker non-fiction article each week through active discussion, drawing on their own personal knowledge, ideas, and experience as well as exploring related new material. Each week we will probe a different contemporary issue from topics which may include politics, foreign policy, art and culture, science and technology, biography, and medicine. To further our understanding, additional supplemental articles may be introduced from publications such as The Atlantic, New York Times, and New York Review of Books. To frame and initiate the discussion of each week’s articles, the SGLs will pose a series of study questions to ponder in advance of each class. The ultimate goal is to enrich our knowledge of significant contemporary issues through substantive conversation as a diversity of viewpoints is shared, respectfully debated and considered.

Readings  Current publications of the New Yorker will be used to select the articles for discussion. Class participants are encouraged to bring their own magazine to class, but electronic copies will be available for downloading. Additional readings from other publications such as mentioned above will also be provided. They will be introduced when specific topics are explored in more detail.

 

Preparation Time  Class participants are expected to read the articles each week and consider the study questions in advance of class discussion. Articles can vary between 6 and 10 pages. This should take about 1/1/2 to 2 hours depending on the length and complexity of the articles. 

Biography  Emily Ostrower was an educator for over 40 years, working across the academic spectrum from elementary through the university level and concluding her career as a principal in the Newton Public Schools. She enjoys traveling around the world, loves history, art, culture, and the social sciences, and is an inveterate news and politics junkie.

Beth Mazer has been attending classes at BOLLI for about 10 years. One of her first was a discussion group focused on New Yorker articles, the inspiration for this course.  Beth comes from a 30-year business background in catering. She has always been interested in politics, music and literature as well as science and technology. A New Yorker subscriber for many years, she is looking forward to discussions on a variety of subjects both familiar and new.

onal supplemental articles may be introduced from publications such as The Atlantic, New York Times, and New York Review of Books. To frame and initiate the discussion of each week’s articles, the SGLs will pose a series of study questions to ponder in advance of each class. The ultimate goal is to enrich our knowledge of significant contemporary issues through substantive conversation as a diversity of viewpoints is shared, respectfully debated and considered.

Readings  Current publications of the New Yorker will be used to select the articles for discussion. Class participants are encouraged to bring their own magazine to class, but electronic copies will be available for downloading. Additional readings from other publications such as mentioned above will also be provided. They will be introduced when specific topics are explored in more detail.

 

Preparation Time  Class participants are expected to read the articles each week and consider the study questions in advance of class discussion. Articles can vary between 6 and 10 pages. This should take about 1/1/2 to 2 hours depending on the length and complexity of the articles. 

Biography  Emily Ostrower was an educator for over 40 years, working across the academic spectrum from elementary through the university level and concluding her career as a principal in the Newton Public Schools. She enjoys traveling around the world, loves history, art, culture, and the social sciences, and is an inveterate news and politics junkie.

Beth Mazer has been attending classes at BOLLI for about 10 years. One of her first was a discussion group focused on New Yorker articles, the inspiration for this course.  Beth comes from a 30-year business background in catering. She has always been interested in politics, music and literature as well as science and technology. A New Yorker subscriber for many years, she is looking forward to discussions on a variety of subjects both familiar and new.


Thursday Course Period 3

Lit8-10-Thur3 Moby Dick: Herman Melville’s Masterpiece

 

Lit8-10-Thur3  Moby Dick: Herman Melville’s Masterpiece                        

Leader  –  David Razor

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm   

Description  This class seeks to answer one question: How may Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) be the best candidate for the “Great American Novel,” as it recently has been defined by Harvard’s Lawrence Buell?  The class approaches the novel from a variety of approaches, viewing it as everything from an anti-totalitarian masterpiece to a sensitive environmental portrait; from an encyclopedic collection of chapters written using vastly different writing styles and genres to a religious and psychological allegory. All these readings underscore the influences of Shakespearian tragedy, British Literary Romanticism and German Philosophical Idealism upon Herman Melville, who intentionally wrote a novel as difficult and ambiguous as many of the post-modern novels it anticipates. Placing the story within the American Gothic tradition, the course shows how Moby Dick views itself as a unique and dark version of a national epic by placing its characters within a surreally symbolic, philosophically dense, and violently pessimistic wasteland.

Readings  Moby Dick  Second Norton Critical Edition ISBN  0-393-97283-6.  The SGL will distribute at cost a reading packet of supplementary essays.

Preparation Time  3 Hours per week. Students are encouraged to start the novel well before class begins.

Biography  David Razor is writing a PhD dissertation on 19th-Century American Literature at Brandeis. He has presented papers at the Herman Melville Society and the American Literature Association. In addition to teaching writing courses at Brandeis, recently David was awarded the University Prize Instructorship. His course, “Separated by a Common Language,” focused upon the transatlantic exchange between American and British novelists, especially the relationship between Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Eliot and Henry James. Before Brandeis, David taught AP English and British Literature at a Los Angeles area high school and served as a Master Teacher for the California State University.

Lit3-10-Thur3 From Dreams To Nightmares: Five Great African American Women Playwrights

Lit3-10-Thur3  From Dreams To Nightmares: Five Great African American Women Playwrights           

Leader  –  Jyl Lynn Felman

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm   

Description  From Lorraine Hansberry to Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, these five African-American women playwrights will stun, shock, and amaze you with their often brilliant, ground breaking scripts, scene stoppers and outrageous characters.   With exploding plots that confront race, sex, class, and gender, these literary boundary-crossing playwrights will challenge and expand your notions of what makes a play great.  Playwrights also include MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Lynn Nottage; Katori Hall, winner of both the Olivier and Susan Smith Blackburn prizes; and OBIE honoree ntozake shange.  Read across cultures and be invigorated by these powerful women’s voices.

Readings  Top Dog/Under Dog  by Suzan-Lori Parks, Theatre Communications Group, 2002, ISBN 1-55936-201-4.
Katori Hall Plays: 1 by Katori Hall, Methuen Drama, 2012, ISBN 978 1408 14702 3.  This is a collection of Hall’s work.
Intimate Apparel and Fabulation by Lynn Nottage, Theatre Communications Group, 2006, ISBN 978-155936-279-5  Both plays are in one book.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorriane Hansberry, Vintage, 1994, ISBN 0-679-75533-0.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf  by ntozake shange, Scribner, 1975, ISBN 978-0-684-84326-1.
Note:  The total cost of purchasing these books may exceed the BOLLI preferred maximum of $45.  Library books are readily available for some of the books.

Preparation Time  We will read one or two acts of a play per week.  Most plays will be read over two weeks.  Page amount varies from 60 to 75 pages per act.  Two hours max, depending on length of the play.  Shorter plays will be read in a single week.

Biography  Jyl Lynn Felman, a former Brandeis professor, playwright and performance artist, is the author of Hot Chicken Wings, a collection of short stories; Cravings, a memoir, and Never A Dull Moment:  Teaching and The Art Of Performance. She’s performed her one-woman shows, “Terri Schiavo, Inc., ” “Burning In Cuba,” and “Silicone Valley” across the USA as well as Prague, Czech Republic and Havana, Cuba.  “If Only I’d Been Born A Kosher Chicken” aired on C-SPAN’s performance series. Productions of her plays include “Oh Daddy, Poor Daddy” in The Seven Deadly Sins Festival, and SLAMBoston; and “Birdie” in The Universal Theatre Festival.  More Info:  www.jyllynnfelman.com

Soc5-10-Thur3 What’s The Right Thing To Do? What Is Just?

Soc5-10-Thur3  What’s The Right Thing To Do? What Is Just?               

Leader  –  Steven Perlmutter

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm   

Description  This course virtually brings BOLLI lifelong learners into Professor Michael Sandel’s Justice class in Sanders Theater at Harvard University to consider the elusive concept of what is just. Each week, we will watch one of Professor Sandel’s lectures. We will then discuss and exchange ideas about the notion of justice presented during the week’s lecture.  The course is reputed to be one of Harvard’s most popular classes with nearly 1000 students taking it at a time. It is about what Justice is, or what is the right thing to do, concepts about which the world has been disagreeing for thousands of years. What makes the course so interesting to so many is that Professor Sandel, a Brandeis graduate, uses contemporary issues as the vehicle for drawing out and challenging our views on justice. Topics include, but are not limited to, affirmative action, income distribution, assisted suicide, surrogacy, same sex marriage, CEO pay, the role of markets, Bill Clinton’s tryst with Monica, Aristotle’s defense of slavery, the Bulger brothers, debates about abortion and stem cells, debates about human rights and property rights.  Although Professor Sandel  draws upon the works of the great thinkers (Aristotle, Bentham, Mill, Locke, Nozick, Kant,  Rawls and others) what makes the course so exciting and riveting is that it brings lifelong leaners into the Harvard classroom to observe, think about and discuss the dynamic interaction between Professor Sandel and his students. It is like going back to college to be taught by a master teacher.

Readings  Sandel, Justice, What Is the Right Thing To Do? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009).

Preparation Time   An hour to an hour and a half of preparation time. This includes reading approximately 30 pages a week from the book Justice, What Is the Right Thing To Do? There are optional online resources about which the SGL will inform the class.

Biography  Steven P. Perlmutter is a semi- retired trial and appellate lawyer. He handled many controversial civil rights cases, including the Boston school desegregation case during its remedial stage and some of the most prominent civil rights cases brought against the Boston Police Department, including the Levi Hart, Elijah Pate, Darryl Williams and Michael Cox cases. He also defended the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston and other cities in voting rights/redistricting actions. In addition, attorney Perlmutter’s practice involved business, real estate, insurance and product liability litigation. Ironically, after practicing law full time for 37 years, he now finds that he has time to think about justice!

Writ2-10-Thur3 Our Stories, Ourselves: A Memoir Writing Course

Writ2-10-Thur3  Our Stories, Ourselves: A Memoir Writing Course       

Leader  –  Marjorie Roemer

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm   

Description  This will be my eleventh time teaching this course on memoir writing!   The design of the course is simple. We all commit to writing each week and to bringing about 500 words to share at each meeting. I offer prompts, which can be used, ignored, or reshaped. They are only suggestions, sometimes a new way to shape the materials you are working with. They try to focus us on the concrete, the dramatized, the immediate.  Most of this semester’s prompts will come from Bret Anthony Johnston’s book Naming the World. Our work together is to encourage and to support the efforts of each member of the group. To that end, our response to writing is always based on listening generously, trying to understand what is being said, or what is almost said in the writing. Because our work rests on coherence and trust, regular attendance is requested. You don’t have to be a skilled writer to participate. You just have to be willing to explore and to be supportive of others’ explorations. Participants’ comments about the course always praise the power of the group, the value of hearing one another’s work, and the warm responses offered by the class members.

Readings  A packet of materials will be available, costing no more than $10.

 

Preparation Time  We write 500 words a week.  The time will vary from assignment to assignment and person to person.

Biography  Marjorie Roemer holds a BA from Bennington College, an MA from New York University, and a PhD from Brandeis, all in English and American literature. Her teaching career began in New York City in 1961 at a public Junior High School. It has since taken her to Brookline HS, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Cincinnati, and Rhode Island College. She has worked as an English professor, Director of Writing Programs, and the Director of the Rhode Island Writing Project. In all, it’s been over fifty years in classrooms of many kinds. This will be her eleventh writing course at BOLLI.