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Fall 2012 Course Catalog


BOLLI: Fall Semester 2012

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  • 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 3 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.

Art1-Tu1 The Private Lives of the Impressionists and Their Art

Leader Nancy Alimansky

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description We will discover who the Impressionists were as people and how they came together in Paris in the 1860s: their unconventional lives, their loves, personalities, themes in their work and the friendships they shared. We will also learn about the history of the period between 1860-1886 and explore the political and social context in which Impressionism developed. We will study the work of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Edouard Manet, Gustave Caillebotte and Mary Cassatt. This course is much more than a survey of the Impressionist movement. The SGL will explain how to analyze a painting in terms of the principles and elements of design. For each class there will be several key works which we will analyze in depth in terms of the techniques the artist used to achieve a successful result. By the end of the course, you too might feel comfortable and confident with making your own analysis. The SGL will show a slide presentation of paintings each week and expect students to participate in the discussion of the works. Prior knowledge is not required. Assignments will include reading from the text as well as preparing study questions.  

Readings The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Paperback edition- ISBN 0060545593, ISBN-978-0060545598, Harper Perennial, 2007

Preparation Time There will be approximately 30 pages of reading/week. The preparation time should be no more than 1 ½ hours including preparing the study questions. For the individuals presenting brief chapter comments there might be an additional 30-45 minutes; this only happens once during the semester.

Computer Use Required. I use email a lot to communicate with members of the class.

Biography This will be the second time I have taught this course at BOLLI. However, I have been in the classroom all my life. For 26 years I was an Associate Professor at Lesley University where I taught courses in management as well as studio art.  For three years I was a docent at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College where I conducted tours for various exhibits. I have a B.A. from Wellesley College where I majored in French, an M.A.T. from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.B.A. from Boston College. I have been a professional artist for more than 20 years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-244-2570 or by email.

Soc1-Tu1 Laughter: The Best of All Medicines

Leaders Robert Pill and Neil Bernstein

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description We all need humor and laughter in our lives, especially considering the state of the real world and the complications of aging. Do we forget how to chuckle as we grow older? Is it only the young who are able to find humor because they have limited life experience? This course is meant to bring humor back to your life. We will explore many aspects of humor with a focus on getting us to laugh until we cry; not settling for only chuckles or giggles. Caveat: Do not take this course without your doctor’s permission if such laughter might be detrimental to your health. Grouches, grumblers and habitual malcontents are not eligible. We will examine various categories of humor/comedy and discuss what makes each type funny and unique. We will analyze humor dealing with politics, puns & wordplay, parody/satire, commercials, gender, one-liners, sarcasm, ethnicity, senior citizens and marriage/children. We will view videos showing how these types of humor were used by some of our favorite comedians during our peak laughing years from the 40’s to the 90’s. As a finale to every session, each member will be asked to tell a joke or anecdote that best characterize the form of humor being studied. No lectures; our purpose is to facilitate animated discussions of the weekly topics.

Readings No textbook. In advance of each week’s class, the SGLs will e-mail readings on the topic to be covered.

Preparation Time About 1 hour per week

Computer Use Required. To receive weekly e-mails.


Robert Pill retired from business in 2005. As an SGL, he led a course for two semesters entitled The Broadway Musical – Art Imitates Life, Almost. His love of telling jokes and anecdotes prompted him to co-design this course to help add to his repertoire. His wife and friends grew weary of hearing his old jokes again & again (& again) so, although a new wife is not in the offing, new friends are a definite necessity.

Neil Bernstein is a graduate of MIT and his primary career was in the management of technology based companies. He recently retired from his practice in financial planning and investment management. He previously led a course entitled Baseball: It’s Far More Than Just a Game and co-led (with Harris Traiger) a course on The Business of Sports. After a long recovery from the trauma caused by his bris, he ultimately developed a passion for all things humorous.

Contact info

Bob is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2574 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or by email.

Neil is open to contact by phone at 508-655-3174 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G8-Tu1 The Path to Hiroshima

Leader Edward Goldberg

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description How did such a progressive and enlightened man like FDR come to approve and continually support the policy of dropping an atomic bomb?  Much of the public debate about Hiroshima has dealt with the questions of moral imperative. Some recent books have focused upon the evolving military strategy and the time line that led to Hiroshima. Allied civilian and military leaders did not appear to be very concerned about the morality of dropping an atomic bomb. This is the viewpoint that we will consider. Like a cascading chemical or nuclear chain reaction: from Einstein’s letter, to Pearl Harbor, to the Manhattan Project, to the policy of unconditional surrender, to the firebombing of Tokyo, and the Japanese rejection of Potsdam, the atomic bombing of Japan appears to have been inevitable, no matter who was President. This course will be an expansion of the lecture presented by the SGL in August 2011, but will include new topics and will end with a debate about the Potsdam Declaration and its impact upon the world. This course is not an effort to justify or attack the decision to use an atomic bomb. Instead the purpose will be to understand the thinking of the Allied military strategists as the War in the Pacific unfolded. Differing points of view from participants are strongly encouraged. There will be interactive discussions, not lectures, and 5-10 minute class reports each week. Participants will need a basic knowledge of WWII. First hand accounts by WWII veterans will be encouraged.

Readings Manhattan Project will be available on the eBoard in its entirety

Downfall, by Richard B. Frank, Penguin 2001, ISBN 978-0-14-100146-3

Truman, by David McCullough, Simon and Schuster 1993, ISBN 0-671-86920-5

Preparation Time About 2-3 hours/week

Computer Use Required. SGL will communicate with classmates by email. eBoard will be an integral part of the course 

Biography I retired from my career as a physician in 2000 and have been with BOLLI from the get go. I believe this will be the tenth time that I have been an SGL at BOLLI. My major field of study at Cornell was in American History with special emphasis on the presidency. I recently took a course about the war in the Pacific, which I attended at Osher at LaJolla, and this stimulated my interest in Hiroshima. I still don’t know the answers to the issues that arose there, but I am looking forward to a vigorous discussion.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Lit2-Tu1 Short Stories From Near and Far

Leaders Harriet Kahn and Richard Kahn

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description In this course we discuss a story each week, asking the members to read the story, make notes of their initial reactions, then REREAD the story noting further responses and passages of particular interest. It’s clear that people with a lot of life experience have a lot of interesting responses. At some point in the discussion, a volunteer will present a brief background of the author. Authors will include Cheever, Chekhov, Poe, O’Connor, and 6 others. The theme is the variety of responses elicited by the short story, with references to plot, narrator, first and last paragraph, author and writing tradition. Among the stories will be Cheever's "The Swimmer,” Chekhov's "Lady with the Pet Dog,” Carver's "A Small, Good Thing," Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," Camus's "The Guest" and 5 others.

Readings Selections from: The Art of the Short Story, edited by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn, ISBN 0321363639

Preparation Time With 20 – 30 pages of the story and note-taking and REREADING with more notes, it should take perhaps 1 ½ hours/week.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. It’s fun to see what the critics say, but please don’t look until we’ve had our discussion.  (So you don’t know more than the teachers.)


Harriet Kahn, M.Ed. (Tufts U) is a retired Director of Early Childhood Program (Northeastern U)

Richard Kahn is a retired psychiatrist.  Both blush at how long we’ve been doing short stories here.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-527-6850 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit13-Tu2 The Odyssey

Leader Leonard Aberbach

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

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. The exceptional characters and mythic stories have had a profound impact on readers and have inspired authors, poets, composers and artists throughout the centuries. 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 the perception of the evolution of Odysseus’ character over time. The value of reading these epics in sequence is that they build on one another, and 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. The course will involve both lecture and discussion.

Readings The Odyssey, Homer, Translated by Robert Fagles, A Penguin paperback, ISBN 0-14-026886-3

The Fagles translation is mandatory for the course.

Preparation Time 3-4 hours a week of reading and preparing thoughts about the study questions.

Computer Use Required. I frequently send e-mails following up on the discussions of the day, or indicating web sites that further illuminate the topics being discussed. The absence of a computer will be extremely limiting for a student.

Biography I have been a member of BOLLI almost since it began and have led a number of study groups on the Homeric epics and classical myth. My interest in this area largely began after I joined BOLLI and has little connection to my education and work experience which includes a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and technology-based business general management. BOLLI was instrumental in the choices I have made, since I wanted to become an SGL in an area of potential interest to me that would require new focus, study, and effort on my part. The classical epics have satisfied that need.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-358-2385 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit5-Tu2 Philip Roth’s America: Novels and Short Stories

Leader Carole Levy

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description We will examine the writing of Philip Roth from his early notoriety as the author of Portnoy’s Complaint to his recognition as a preeminent American writer, the recipient of many prestigious rewards, and one of the very few to be honored for inclusion in the Library of America. We will examine character, theme, style and historical context in the chosen novels and short stories. The course will include reading, critical analysis, a movie, and of course, much class discussion. Presentations of a quality review from online or library sources will be given by a class volunteer.  No prior knowledge is necessary, just life experience…and a love of reading.

Readings Goodbye Columbus (collection of short stories); American Pastoral; The Plot Against America;

Everyman; Nemesis

Preparation Time Depending on your reading speed: between 3-4+ hours per week.

Computer Use Desired, but not required. I’ll be using email to contact class members for assignments and sending extra reading material.

Biography After many years of teaching High School English, in Givatayim, Israel, Newton and Lowell, I have found it to be a very rewarding experience to lead classes at BOLLI, including the Literature of A. B. Yehoshua, History of Modern Israel, Writings of Yehoshua and Amos Oz, and US Health Care Policy. I have a B.A. from Penn State, as well as a Master’s degree from the Heller School at Brandeis. Now that I have a lot more time to do the reading I’m interested in, I’ve become more familiar with contemporary writers and hope to share that interest and research with others.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-863-1238 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.

Soc4-Tu2 Surviving the Death of a Life Partner and Moving Forward

Leaders Joan Neisser and Muriel Ladenburg

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description This course will explore the impact of the death of a life partner on the surviving partner and the process of recovery. It will use as a framework Elizabeth Harper Neeld’s description of seven stages of grief and the fundamental choice that each stage presents as the bereaved person tries to reconstruct a satisfying life. When discussing this process, we will focus on Neeld’s story and the experiences of others that she shares and examine the thoughts of other authors who have also experienced loss. Class discussions will revolve around themes significant in the recovery process such as the importance of learning new skills and rediscovering those that may have been dormant in the life of the partnership. Participants will discuss their reactions to the readings and will be invited to share personal experiences that shed light on the themes being discussed. The course is intended to deepen the participants’ understanding of the experience of surviving the death of a life partner and the road to recovery, whether the participant has had the experience, knows people who have had the experience, and/or wants to be more sensitized to this aspect of the human experience. Each class discussion will build on the previous discussion so that regular attendance is highly recommended. Participants will not be required to do any individual reports.

Readings Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World, by Elizabeth Harper Neeld, Grand Central Publishing 2003, ISBN 978-0-446-69050-8

Epilogue, by Anne Roiphe, Harper Collins 2008, ISBN 978-0-06-125462-8

Moving to the Center of the Bed: The Artful Creation of a Life Alone, by Sheila Weinstein, Center of the Bed Publishing 2009, ISBN 978-09820822-0-1; Additional selected readings

Preparation Time Approximately 100 pages per week

Computer Use Required. We will communicate with class members via email.


Joan Neisser was trained as an attorney and spent many years teaching legal writing and directing legal writing programs, primarily at Seton Hall University School of Law and Northeastern University School of Law. Her first husband, to whom she was married for 30 years, died in 1999. She became a BOLLI member in 2011. This course will be her first experience as a Study Group Leader.

Muriel Ladenburg began her career as a high school English teacher but, after receiving her doctorate in Counseling Psychology, she turned to higher education first as a counselor at Bentley College, then as Director of Academic Advising at Boston University, and finally as an Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Brandeis before retiring. She has been married to Thomas Ladenburg for 52 years. She joined BOLLI with Joan in the spring of 2011 and looks forward to joining her as a Study Group Leader.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-780-7166 (Joan, before 9:00 p.m.), or 781-646-4577 (Muriel, before 9:00 p.m.) or by email.

Wri2-Tu2 Writing What You Know: More Writing with a Focus

Leader Marjorie Roemer

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way has been a remarkable guide for writers, helping them explore different approaches to unlocking memory and learning to trust their own voices.   In this course we will use some of Heard’s prompts to aid us in finding the ways that our everyday experiences, our own stories and truths in our own language, are the stuff of real writing.  In addition we will read a selection of writings that move from the most intimate writing of journals to the most public writing of essays.  Authors to be included are E.B. White, May Sarton, bell hooks, Joan Didion, Richard Rodriguez, and Virginia Woolf. In spring of 2012 I offered a version of this course, Writing Toward Home: Memoirs with a Focus.  This time we’ll use different prompts and different supplementary readings, so the course will be equally appropriate for those who were in the spring class and those who were not.  Each week participants will bring roughly 500 words of writing to be shared.

Readings Heard, Georgia.  Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way, ISBN 0-435-08124-1 Woolf, Virginia.  Moments of Being, ISBN 0-15-661918-0; Moore, Dinty W. The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, ISBN 978-1-61429-007-0; and a Course Packet

Preparation Time Most of the reading is very short (except for the last three weeks, where the assignments are about 30 pages). The writing might take an hour or more.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I often communicate by email between classes.  Classmates may want to communicate on-line too. Of course, writing on a computer has some advantages as well.

Biography I hold a BA from Bennington College, an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Brandeis, all in English and American literature. My teaching career began in New York City at a public Junior High School. It has since taken me to Brookline HS, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Cincinnati, and Rhode Island College. I’ve worked as an English professor, Director of Writing Programs, and the Director of the Rhode Island Writing Project. It’s been about forty years in classrooms of many kinds. I have more recently taught four BOLLI courses with great pleasure.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-541-7440, or by email.

Lit1-Tu3 Dear John (Steinbeck)

Leader Laurel Ann Brody

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description Why would the citizens of Steinbeck's hometown refuse to reside alongside him? It was they who wrote him the "Dear John" letter. Why? Through Steinbeck's writings and thus, his voice, we will see why they were offended. Because he exposed greed, selfishness and a lack of morality, he became vulnerable to those about whom he wrote. We will seek answers in a novel, novellas, essays, speeches and his FBI file. Within this thesis, literary devices and structure will also be addressed. Voluntary presentations by class members will include historical and geographic settings in Steinbeck's novels as well as biographical information. The format of this class will be some presentation, but mostly classroom discussion and discovery..

Readings Of Mice and Men

The Grapes of Wrath

Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath. ISBN 0-14-014457-9 Penguin, 1990

The Pearl

Provided by the SGL:

“Ode to a Mouse;” Seven very short essays; Steinbeck’s speech to the Senate Committee for Un-American Activities

Steinbeck’s FBI files; Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

Preparation Time The novels:  approximately 50 pages a week for weeks 1 and 2, followed by 125 pages during The Grapes of Wrath, 70 pages a week during The Pearl. The rest is negligible (4 -5 pages a week).

Computer Use Not Necessary

Biography I am passionate about literature and the power it has on our society. The majority of my career has been in the public sector as an English and Journalism teacher, Reading Specialist, Literacy Coach and Director of In-Service Training in inner city schools. Private sector roles included teaching on both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-790-1220 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.

L&L1-Tu3 Learn & Lead: How to Become a Study Group Leader  

Leader Myrna Cohen


TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description This course will provide the environment needed for members to investigate ideas for and develop study group proposals to ensure that the BOLLI program will continue to thrive. Conveying what we know to others is as important as what we ourselves want to learn and can be very exciting! Members have an opportunity to share the incredible knowledge that exists at BOLLI. The course provides an opportunity to talk about topics and receive input and support from other class members, both in small groups and individually. The purpose is to encourage and give practical input and assistance to program members who have not given presentations or led courses at BOLLI. Past and present study group leaders are also welcome. The class presents practical information about leading courses (e.g., how to structure a course, how to facilitate discussion, and strategies to manage classes so all members have an opportunity to participate). The course includes a technology workshop with choices on how to use Powerpoint, the eBoard or other types of technology. The class on Research & Resources will take place at the Brandeis Library with a presentation and opportunity for Q and A with a Research Librarian. An open Q and A class discussion with an experienced  BOLLI SGL will also  be offered.The SGL is available to meet with class members and /or BOLLI members (outside of the Learn and Lead course) on an individual basis. No prior knowledge is needed. This course is appropriate for a beginning, intermediate, or advanced students.

Readings SGL Handbook and BOLLI Proposal Form

Examples of study group ideas and course proposals given at BOLLI and other lifelong learning institutes. Members will be supported to do research to identify books/other resources that they might use for the presentations or courses they want to develop.

Preparation Time This will depend on the goals and commitment of each of the course participants who may be motivated to do a considerable amount of work to complete a course proposal form.

Computer Use Required. Class communication is by email. Internet access and use is an advantage for developing a course or presentation in terms of doing research and identifying resources. Proposal form and SGL Handbook are available on the BOLLI website.

Biography As a retired teacher, I strongly believe that learning is essential to our continued growth and well-being. I received a B.S. degree from Boston University and a M.ED from Lesley University. I am currently BOLLI Council Secretary and past Chair of the Curriculum Committee and Study Group Support Committee. Most of my professional work has been in the field of teaching, mentoring, and teacher training. Presently, I am a Wheelock College Supervisor, a founding member of The Educator Mentor Corps (EMC)  of the Aspire Institute affiliated with Wheelock. I am a SOAR Consultant to Non Profit organizations and involved in many community programs.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6878  after 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G7-Tu3 Germans Look Back at World War II and its Legacies

Leaders Sophie Freud and Peter Schmidt

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description “History is written by the winners,” is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill. This course attempts to learn what the losers have to say about World War II and how we respond. World War II, and the Nazi takeover of Germany in general, has been an important event in the lives of most of us. How do post-war German writers deal with the generation of their parents who were all involved, at least as by-standers, in the innumerable horrors of the Nazi regime? How do other writers describe their wartime experiences? With the use of different genres we shall glimpse at the war (short stories), the defeat (a diary), a memoir about a brother who fought and died in the SS, a controversial assessment of Hitler, and a research study on the fate of the now-midlife children of high-standing Nazi chiefs. This course will be based on a discussion of readings. Sophie thinks of herself as catalyst and guide for these discussions. She will usually prepare “Think Pieces” which are to guide and focus subsequent discussions. This course is a repeat of the one she taught in Fall 2006.

Readings All books but one were originally written in German and we shall read translations.

Anonymous. A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary (2006) Picador Translated by Philip Boehm.  ISBN 0312426119

Marie Vassiltchikov. Berlin Diaries (1988). Vintage Books ISBN 0394757777

Uwe Timm. In My Brother’s Shadow: A life and death in the SS. (2005). Farrar Strauss Giroux. Translated by Anthea Bell. ISBN 0374103747

Sebastian Haffner. The Meaning of Hitler (1979). Harvard University Press. Translated by Ewald Osers. ISBN 0674557751

Stephan and Norbert Lebert. My Father’s Keeper: Children of Nazi leaders—an Intimate History of Damage and Denial (2000). Little Brown & Co.  Translated by Julian Evans. ISBN 0316089753 

Additional handouts will be distributed to the class by the SGLs.  These include a New Yorker article on the bombing of German cities by G. W. Sebald, the Nuremberg testimony of Rudolf Hoess, and short stories by Wolfgang Borchert and Heinrich Böll.

Preparation Time 4 – 5 hours/week

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. At the beginning each class member is sent the multi-page syllabus as an attachment; this is the guide for the whole course. For those without computer access, the syllabus will be made available in printed form. There may be occasional emails to the class, but these will not be as important, and we’ll have other arrangements to get the information to the class members without computer access.  Any material sent as attachments will also be available as handouts.


Sophie grew up in Vienna, Austria, and spent 1938 to 1942 in France. World War II has thus shaped the direction of her life. She has remained bi-lingual and has stayed in close touch with German literature and the new generation of Austrians and Germans. She has read widely literature on the holocaust, the Nazi regime and the postwar German years. She is a retired professor of social work from Simmons College, a published writer and has taught courses and given workshops at many different settings during the last 40 years.

After growing up in Germany during the war years, Peter emigrated to this country in 1949. His professional careers have been as physicist and engineer, and included teaching at Brandeis. At BOLLI he has led and co-led a number of courses in diverse areas, the most recent being “Three Masterpieces: From Drama to Film and Opera.”

Contact info Sophie at 781-259-9729 any time except between 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or by email.

Peter at 617-527-2610 before 9:30 p.m. or by email.

H&G10-Tu3 L’Affaire: The Tragedy and Legacy of Alfred Dreyfus

Leader Ronald E. (Ron) Rosenthal

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description The Dreyfus Case (L’Affaire) convulsed late 19th Century France and all Europe. It exposed some of the ugliest aspects of the French character and demonstrated the moral bankruptcy and fatal military flaws of the Third French Republic. Alfred Dreyfus became the unwitting symbol of so much that was wrong in France and in Europe during that period. It began with the unjust conviction of an innocent man for treason, and concluded with his partial, but incomplete, vindication. Hysteria, fear, governmental cover-ups, outright dishonesty, xenophobia, and virulent Anti-Semitism all played a role. The tragic legacy of L’Affaire affected French military and diplomatic policy prior to, during, and subsequent to World War I. The French collapse in World War II and in Vietnam can be traced to military and political flaws that were exposed during the course of L’Affaire. The emergence of overt Anti-Semitism was an ominous sign of far worse things to come. The legacy of L’Affaire remains with us today. This 10 week course will review the chronology and discuss the underlying and precipitating political, economic, and social causes of L’Affaire. We will place ourselves in late 19th century France, and follow it to the present day. Half of each session will be spent on the chronology of L’Affaire and half on discussion. Could L’Affaire happen again today? In France? In the U.S,? Elsewhere?  Classroom discussion is essential. Text material will be supplemented by pertinent handouts.

Readings The Dreyfus Affair: The Scandal that Tore France in Two by Piers Paul Read, ISBN: 978-1-60819-432-2

Preparation Time About 2 hours of reading per week.

Computer Use Required. There will be some handouts, but most supplemental reading will be sent on email.

Biography Ron Rosenthal is a retired Orthopaedic Surgeon, a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine.  His life-long interest in history began in High School in Newark New Jersey and as a History major at the University of Michigan, and includes a wide scope of areas. He has been a member of HILR since 2000, and has led courses at HILR and at LLARC on The Dreyfus Case, and Jefferson Davis, and at HILR on The Founding of the US Navy, and the Russo-Japanese War. He has also given several presentations on these topics, and on Medical Advances through Wars.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-358-3318 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.

Soc3-Tu4 The Age of Aging: The Impact of Demographic Shifts in the 21st Century

Leader Susan Erdos

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description The world population is aging rapidly! In 2000, 10% of people worldwide were 65 or older. By 2050 that population segment is expected to increase to 22% and outnumber those under 15. This change will affect the global economy; strain social insurance, pension and retirement systems; impact trade, world security and migration; and, by extension, influence cultural norms and family dynamics. This course will discuss these changes and the anticipated impacts, problems, policies, myths and possible opportunities related to this demographic shift. The class will combine SGL presentation and class discussion. Supplementary reports will be presented on a voluntary basis. There is no prior knowledge required. Although some weeks’ discussions will form a base for future classes, missing a session should not have a great impact on the student.

Readings The Age of Aging, How Demographics Are Changing the Global Economy and Our World, George Magnus, John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd., 2009, IBSN: 978-0-470-82291-3

Other readings and materials to be provided by the SGL from books, periodicals, and from websites as documents or streaming videos.

Preparation Time About 3 hours/week.

Computer Use Required. While the book listed will be a basis for the course, additional materials will be posted for SG members, and member topic presentation files may also be provided. I will use an eBoard for class assignments as well as for distribution of supplementary materials.

Biography After graduating from New York University I taught junior high school science in the New York City school system. I have had additional training in computers, accounting and economics. I spent my later career as a computer programmer, technical project manager, and marketing consultant for local high-technology companies. This is the second time I will lead this class.

Contact info I am available by phone at 781-861-8420 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.

Ecn2-Tu4 Economics and the Government

Leader Al Rossow

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. 

Description Did you know that the US Government defaulted on its debt in 1934? Did you know that the federal government has never successfully been able to raise income and associated taxes to more than 20% of total gross domestic product? What is the significance of these events? What do they mean for you and me? This is a fact-based course whose objective is to give us all a greater understanding of the capabilities of the federal government to influence the economy in the United States. The critical first few weeks will be devoted to a review of the thinking of “History’s Idea Men” with special emphasis on John Maynard Keynes. Later weeks will be structured around key topics such as taxes, “voodoo economics,” regulation, and the role of the Fed, in a joint effort to explore the ability of the federal government to direct the economic destiny of a market-based economy. It will explore the nature and limits of monetary and fiscal policies with special emphasis on unintended consequences. The SGL will present material during the first half of the session, followed by discussions based on the readings which will consist of (usually) controversial op-ed columns from the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal and on excerpts from significant texts available via handouts. No member presentations are required. Whether you have a background in economics or not, this course will be valuable to anyone who has an interest in understanding the interplay of government and the private sector in an election year.

Readings Teachings From The Worldly Philosophers, Robert Heilbroner, ISBN:0-393-31607-6 pbk, WW Norton & Company, 1997 edition  

The Worldly Philosophers, The lives and….. , ISBN-068486214X and 978-0684862149 A Touchstone Book Published by Simon & Schuster, Revised Seventh Edition 1999   

Financial Fiasco: How America’s Infatuation with Home Ownership and Easy Money Creates the

Economic Crisis, Johan Norberg ISBN: 978-1-935308-13-3 Cato Institute, 1st Edition 2009/2010 

Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman, ISBN: 0226264211 The University of Chicago Press, Anniversary Edition 2002 

Preparation Time Preparation time consists of about two hours of reading each week

Computer Use Required. Timely op-ed pieces from the N Y Times and other newspaper and journals will frequently be emailed to participants in addition to printed handouts. It is not always practical or economical for the SGL to have printed handouts available.

Biography The SGL has had a career in business in which he has held management positions in marketing, finance and general management. He has been CFO of two cutting-edge companies: Boston Beer (SAM ADAMS) and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates. At Harvard he majored in government with a minor in economics. He has an M.B.A. in finance. Hobbies are start-up companies, economics and politics.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-899-0894 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. or by email.

Ecn1-Tu4 Greatest Companies, Greatest Stocks: the Four Factors

Leader Frederick R. Kobrick

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Why do some companies become champions with stocks that multiply investors’ money by 50 X or 100 X, or 500 X or more, while others in the same business languish or disappear? Why did Nike and Reebok emerge from well over 100 sneakers companies to be the winners? Why did Cisco emerge from dozens of Internet router makers to become such a huge company and a winning stock, multiplying investor’s money by 220X (22,000%)? How did Walmart beat Sears and others, making public investors very rich, from just a $1,600 investment? How did Steve Jobs resurrect Apple, and what does that have in common with how Microsoft, and Intel and other great companies beat the competition in their early days, to become great companies? A truly great company means greatness in four factors: Business model, Assumptions (by management), Strategy, and Management (BASM). Is Amazon great? Google? Facebook? The course will include: some lecture; lots of class discussion on leadership; business ideas and innovations and BASM; and how companies succeed and fail. We will also discuss how professional investors use information about how the economy is faring, and what bearing Federal Reserve actions have on corporations and investing. No politics. This course is for those who are interested in leadership and strategies in general, and companies, and stocks, and how to better interpret business and economic news. The SGL assumes that students have some basic knowledge of business and stocks from newspapers, magazines, etc. Students are advised to attend all sessions.

Readings The Big Money, by Fred Kobrick, ISBN- 0743258711

Also, articles from journals, magazines and newspapers that will be assigned with links, or articles provided as we go along, as well as links to some companies’ web sites.

Preparation Time A couple hours a week or less, with selections from the book and some articles each week.

Computer Use Required. Class will get Internet links and or eBoard messages and articles, or emailed comments and instructions. Class will be asked to look at some companies’ web sites on computer.

Biography B.A., economics (BU: national economics honor society). M.B.A., Harvard (first in investments). Four decades professional investing, including public mutual funds: Managed one fund to be one of top 5 funds in country over 15 year period, only manager to win USA Today All Star Fund of Year more than one year. Wrote the book The Big Money for typical investors, teaching the concepts in graduate programs at BU and elsewhere. I learned most from early, strong relationships with Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Howard Schultz, and other great role models for great “BASM.”

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

H&G9-Tu4 The Birth of American Imperialism

Leader Ron Levy

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description This class is a repeat of last semester’s course “Changing the Regimes of Others.” Five U.S. Presidents in a 20-year period, from Harrison to Taft, embarked on active territorial incursions and international strategies that had significant implications for our foreign policy in the 20th century. James Bradley in his book, “The Imperial Cruise” levels serious accusations of a racist leadership that pursued an American Aryan philosophy as it “followed the sun to the West.” Although a lauded historian, he wrote this book in more of a journalistic style which makes for enjoyable and often surprising reading. Reviews have been both favorable and critical of his controversial treatment of the subject. How legitimate are Bradley’s claims? What is the background to our territorial incursions in Asia-Pacific, and to what extent were they an extension of our similar activities in the Americas? How did they relate to the concurrent activities of other major powers? To what extent were our actions examples of regime change or of nation building? What were some of the positive and negative outcomes of our policies?  Did some of our actions really lead to World War II in the Pacific?  We will examine the then-recent history of Hawai’i, Cuba, Panama, the Philippines, China, Korea and Japan, and the U.S.’s relations with those countries, as the U.S. and other western countries participated in a game of international chess in the western Pacific. Our principal focus will be on the philosophies and policies of Theodore Roosevelt, but examined in the context of those times and mores..

Readings James Bradley “The Imperial Cruise” ISBN 978-0-316-00895-2 or 978-0-316-01400-7, supplemented by other books of the student’s choosing, some assigned articles and independent research.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours, plus preparation time for those making presentations.

Computer Use Required. I communicate weekly via email. I expect students to be on email, able to undertake Internet research, and to create and present materials, preferably electronically.

Biography As an international business consultant, I have lived in or travelled to over 55 countries. My personal interests include politics, history and geography, my study foci at BOLLI. As an SGL, I have led courses on our Accidental Presidents, Current Events, the EU, the USSR and Russia, and “Evil” Nations. As a dual US/UK citizen, I have a deep interest in U.S. history and especially in its leaders, and I have read extensively on these topics. Nevertheless, I continue to be challenged as new questions are raised by inquisitive students, and so I look forward to learning together.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-6740 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.

Soc5-We1 Communication Technology Transforming Human Society: From Papyrus to the iPad

Leader Mike Adler

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description Communication technologies through the ages dramatically changed the spread of information from an elite few to the education of the masses. We will explore the conditions in early centers of civilization, which gave rise to the inventions of early recording media on clay tablets, papyrus, parchment, paper, the printing press to the electronic revolution of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will look at the initially slow migration of early technologies to today’s fast paced spread of ideas. We will look at examples from archeological finds and what they tell us about the societies of our ancestors. The SGL will make presentations using power point, followed by class discussion. Class members are expected to make short presentations on supporting technologies and significant archeological finds

Readings David Crowley, Paul Heyer, Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society / Edition 5   ISBN: 0205483887, ISBN-9780205483884

Readings from the internet will also be assigned from Jeremy Norman, From Cave Paintings to the Internet: Chronological and Thematic Studies on the History of Information and Media,

Preparation Time No longer than two hours plus time for those making presentations.

Computer Use Required. I expect to communicate via email or eBoard. Many recommended articles are only Internet accessible.

Biography I grew up in New York City and graduated from CCNY with a B.E.E. and from Northeastern University with an M.E.E. I had a career as an electrical engineer, initially at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio and then with Raytheon Company for a total of 38 years at retirement. I have always been interested in “how things work” and find the proliferation of today’s communication methods fascinating despite the fact that I am slow to adapt. Since retirement, I also substitute teach and volunteer in the science classroom to encourage kids to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-4297 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G2-We1 Transitional Justice:  Solidifying Peace in Countries Torn by Violence

Leader Rosalind M. Bronsen

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description I had never heard the term “Transitional Justice” (TJ) until it emerged in a conversation with my African student from the BOLLI/Heller School (SID) program. When I asked what it was, he gave as an example South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (There are also many other ways of implementing TJ, including reparations, formal apologies, etc.) He then went on and said vehemently, “I don’t believe in it. You can’t forgive someone who has killed your brother.” I was stunned and asked what else there was? He said the criminal justice system. I responded it can’t handle it. That was the genesis of this course. Our conversation stayed with me. I wanted to know more and began to educate myself. I found that TJ has been a worldwide phenomenon since WWII and became widespread during the 1990s. It has been used in countries where there have been horrific atrocities by perpetrators against victims; by groups of different ethnicities, religions or practices against each other; and where governments have attacked and murdered their own people. When I began my research, my questions were: “What is TJ?”, “How does it work?”, and “Can it contribute to stopping the endless cycle of revenge and violence?” Because Africa was my area of studies, I am using as case studies 3 African countries: South Africa, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. The course will be a combination of SGL presentations and facilitated discussions. Prior knowledge is not required. Member reports, if any, will be voluntary, and material will build from week to week.

Readings Based on my research and consultation with the professor who teaches the course on Transitional Justice at the Heller School, I discovered it is hard to find books relevant for this course and the ones available are expensive. I may possibly use 1 or 2 books but the bulk of the reading materials will come from papers in anthologies and articles. Written materials and Internet links will be distributed to class members throughout the course.

Preparation Time About 2 - 3 hours.

Computer Use Required. Use of a computer will be necessary for links to some of the readings. For students unable to use a computer, they will have to arrange to get copies from other students or me.

Biography I received my Ph.D. in African History and Anthropology from UCLA and my B.A. from Brandeis in History. My first career was as a professor on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis where I taught for 10 years. I then moved into my 25+ year career in business where my area of expertise was marketing. After retiring 9 years ago, I turned back to my interest in Africa and began catching up in my reading. I joined an African book club, and taught a course at BOLLI on The African Experience as seen through Literature. In this new course, I’m continuing my interest in Africa while focusing on a practice of worldwide significance.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-5949 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or by email.

Art2-We1 Photography: From Snapshots to Photographic Images

Leader Arthur Sharenow

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description This is a photography course for people who would like to go beyond taking snapshots of grandchildren. It assumes some familiarity with picture taking, but not any degree of expertise. It will be an interactive course, where students will be encouraged, but not required, to take pictures from week to week, and submit them for class discussion. During the first three weeks we will discuss basic rules of composition, cameras and how they can be used to improve the quality of your photos. Each subsequent week we will discuss different aspects of photography, including landscapes, cityscapes, nature, photo journalism, informal portraits, and travel. I plan to invite two or three guest photographers to enhance the learning experience with presentations in their fields. During the course of the term I will offer one or two photo field trips. Participation in these is strictly voluntary.

Readings No readings are assigned or required, but students are encouraged to buy or borrow copies of either Outdoor Photographer or Popular Photography. I will make a limited numbers of copies available at no cost the first class.

Preparation Time Picture taking homework is assigned each week, and it can take an hour or several hours for students to complete the assignment. On the other hand, if students do not have enough time, they have the option of sending in any photos they have taken.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Basic computer skills are helpful since we ask the students to send their homework images to me every week. Those who cannot do this by email, may bring prints with them to class, but this tends to be less effective for display and analysis.

Biography I attended and graduated from Brandeis University (1955) and Harvard Law School (1958).I practiced law briefly in Boston, but spent most of my working life as owner/director of Camps Kenwood-Evergreen in New Hampshire. I have been enthusiastically involved in photography since 1996, have participated in several photo tours, and have had several exhibits of my work. I have enjoyed leading a photo course at BOLLI for three terms. This will be the fourth.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-7537 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. or by email.

Lit8-We1 History in Mysteries II: Some Variations on Historical Mystery Fiction

Leader Nancy Rawson

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” (L.P. Harley). This course will explore that “foreign country” as it is represented in a variety of historical mysteries. Does the novel illuminate the history? Does the past inform the story in meaningful ways? We will read several mystery novels in which real historical events and/or personages are central to the plot, and explore how the author uses the history to his or her advantage. How accurately are real events and people presented? Does this matter?  Is history a good medium for the mystery novel?  Isn’t all history fictional to a certain extent? A different historical mystery novel will be studied each week. After a brief biography of the author, provided by a class volunteer, we will have an open class discussion facilitated by the SGL with some suggested study questions. Much class participation will be expected and encouraged. I know that the reading list looks intimidatingly long, with a new book each week, some fairly short, some longer, but all are easy reading and very absorbing. You will probably not be able to put them down until you find out “who done it.”  Readers of all levels of experience with mystery and detective fiction – from none to a lot - are welcome. This always provides an interesting variety of perspectives.

Readings  Probable Readings, The first three weeks will be as listed. I may make one or two changes in titles for the last seven weeks. Class members will get a final syllabus in advance of the first class. All titles are readily available. Inexpensive editions are identified below, but any edition is fine

1. Anna Katherine Green. The Leavenworth Case, Penquin. ISBN:0143106120. (19th century U.S.)

2. Peter Tremayne. The Leper’s Bell, St.Martins. ISBN:0312362757.  (7th century Ireland)

3. Ellis Peters. A Morbid Taste for Bones, Grand Central. ISBN:0446400157.  (12th century Britain)

4. Priscilla Royal. Wine of Violence. Poisoned Pen. ISBN: 1590589653. (13th century England)

5. Margaret Frazer. A Play of Lords. Berkley. ISBN: 0425216683.  (15 century England)

6. Bruce Alexander. Murder in Grub Street. Berkley. ISBN: 0425235602. (18th century England)

7. Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sign of the Four. Dover. ISBN: 0486431665. (19th century England)

8. Miriam Monfredo. The Stalking Horse. Berkley. ISBN: 0425166953 (O.P.)        (Early 20th century U.S.)

9. Charles Todd. An Impartial Witness. Harper. ISBN: 0061791792.  (First World War)

10. Laurie King. The Game. Bantam. ISBN: 0553583387,  (20th century England/India)

Preparation Time Anywhere from 100-300 pages. 3-4 hours for some; more for others. People read at very different speeds. However, these books are very light reading.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Would like to be able to communicate with the class by email.

Biography I have a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.L.S. from Simmons School of Library & Information Science. I was a Reference Librarian at the Wellesley Free Library for 27 years providing readers’ advisory services and leading book discussion groups, have taken several literary tours to various parts of the British Isles, and have always enjoyed mysteries. This is the 14th course I have led at BOLLI, the 12th on mystery fiction.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-894-7754 or by email.

H&G13-We2 The Longest Hatred: A History of Anti-Semitism

Leader Sarah Lieberman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description In this ten-week course we will examine the causes, myths and lies that contributed to anti-Semitism from ancient times, 586 BCE, throughout the middle ages until the present day. It is strikingly noteworthy and amazing that throughout history Jews have maintained their identity, and many of them their faith, in the face of interminable, unparalleled defamation and assault. In addition to a very readable text, video selections will be included. There are no prerequisites to this course, material will proceed from week to week, and discussion and reports are welcome.

Readings A Convenient Hatred: the History of Anti-Semitism, Phyllis Goldstein, ISBN 0981954383

Preparation Time 2-3 hours

Computer Use Required. Contact by email is frequent.

Biography Sarah Roth Lieberman earned a Masters Degree in Theological Studies and a Ph.D. in Bible at Boston University. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled “The Eve Motif in Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Greek Sources.” She has taught classes in the Boston area colleges and as a SGL at BOLLI for the past five years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Mus3-We2 Blues Music: History, Culture, Performers and Meaning

Leader Pete Reider

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description The course will be about a sector of American culture as expressed in music. It will survey the musical elements and form of the blues; their history, geography, classical lyrics and cultural context; famous performers and their life stories; life experience and blues music; and the influences of the recording industry, availability of phonographs and migration. The blues (mood) and blues music will be differentiated. We will touch upon the call-response of field and church and the keening tone. We will explore together “fooling around” with melancholy and humorous double entendre. We will discuss whether blues music exists without a certain celebratory spirit, a local/instrumental triumph over sadness, misery and the demons that threaten to lay us low. We will listen to and read about early blues singers, e.g., Bessie Smith, and later popularizers, e.g., Cab Calloway. We will discuss the prevalence of sexuality in blues lyrics and the role of work, railroads and heroes, e.g., John Henry. We will share thoughts from various non-fiction and fiction writers on blues lore and music. The course will be a 50:50 combination SGL presentation and facilitated class discussion. We will listen to and discuss many (You Tube) recordings in class. Oral presentations will be encouraged. The course will build from week to week.

Readings Albert Murray’s Stomping the Blue, 1989 revised edition, ISBN 0306803623.

Selections from numerous commentaries will be photocopied and handed out at the beginning of the course or two weeks before discussion in class.  Selections from James Baldwin (Sonny’s Blues), Eudora Welty (Powerhouse) and Langston Hughes (The Negro Speaks of Rivers) will also be distributed.

Preparation Time One to two hours of listening/reading.

Computer Use Desired, but not necessary. Class members will probably want to play videos/recordings on their computers.

Biography Blues Music… will be the fourth course I have led at BOLLI.  I am far from being an expert on blues music – we will truly be learning together. Although I was a psychiatrist my interest in the blues stems from general curiosity rather than anything professional.  Blues music has been one of the richest and most stimulating subjects I’ve run into.

Contact info I am available by phone at 617-964-0448 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and or by email.

H&G12-We2 The Prime Minister and the King: Churchill, George VI and the Battle for Britain

Leader Marc Schwarz

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Winston Churchill and King George VI had a number of things in common. Both had lonely and neglected childhoods, both stuttered, and both came to office unexpectedly. Moreover both, individually and together, contributed significantly to Britain’s successful effort to withstand the threat from Nazi Germany and Hitler. This study group will examine these two men and will discover the talents they brought to their jobs and the reasons why they were definitely the right men for the time. Regular attendance will be beneficial and expected since the course will build from week to week. This will not be a lecture class; discussions with lots of participation are anticipated. Individual reports will be voluntary although desirable.

Readings The Kings Speech, Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, ISBN 140278676X

Churchill: A Study in Greatness, Geoffrey Best, ISBN 0195161394

Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Might be helpful for reports and communication with the SGL

Biography I graduated from Bates College, received a M.A.T. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in History from UCLA.  I taught for almost forty years at the University of New Hampshire. I have been an SGL at BOLLI many times and have taught different courses.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-277-7557 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit12-We2 Anna Karenina

Leader Lois Ziegelman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

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 Russian 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 combines lecture and discussion with class participation highly encouraged.

Readings Tolstoy, Anna Karenina  

I will be using the Maude translation, but this translation is not obligatory. Do avoid the Garnet translation.

Preparation Time About 2 1/2 hours

Computer Use Not Necessary

Biography Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D, 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 taught and performed works ranging from Classical Antiquity through the 20th Century.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-237-4086 between the hours of 7:00-10:00 p.m.

H&G4-We3 On the Docket: What's Going on in the Supreme Court NOW?

Leader Robert Cohen

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description The course will commence with a brief presentation on the membership and method of operation of the Supreme Court. Following this, based on online material to which the SGL will direct the class, we will discuss undecided cases pending on the Supreme Court docket. Some will have had no action taken by the court while some of them may have had oral arguments. We will vote on the potential outcome, and the SGL will keep the class informed about how the Supreme Court decision compares to our decision. The Supreme Court, in its last session, had over 7000 requests for cases to be heard and expects even more this year.  It accepted only 74. Thus far (5-2-12) the Court has accepted 14 for hearing and is expected to accept about 60 more. The cases thus far selected include such issues as the use of “sniffer” dogs without a search warrant, the immunity of corporations for acts of genocide, extra-judicial executions and torture when the acts are committed outside the U.S., and the use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions to a state college. This course will be approximately 40% presentation by the SGL and 60% facilitated discussion. Class members will play a role in the selection of the cases for discussion. No legal background is necessary..

Readings The SGL may furnish some reading material and  also give references to material which will be available online.

Preparation Time approximately 2 hours.

Computer Use Required. Because of the newness of the cases to be discussed,  material is not available in print, but is online.

Biography The SGL is a graduate of Boston University's College of Business Administration and its Law School. He practiced law in the Boston area for over 35 years; served as a Special Master and Auditor for the Massachusetts Superior Court and as an Examiner for the Massachusetts Land Court. He served 2 terms as President of the Mass. Chapter of the American Trial Lawyers' Association. He has been an SGL for 12 prior courses relating to law, ethics, Africa and this subject.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6878 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. or by email.

Lit4-We3 Love, Death and Revolution: Contemporary Latin American Literature

Leader Gene S. Kupferschmid

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description This is an introduction to a varied selection of novels and short stories by some of the most highly-regarded contemporary Latin American authors such as the Nobel Prize winners Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa as well as Carlos Fuentes, Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges and the critically acclaimed Roberto Bolaño. But I did not choose these books only on the basis of the authors’ names.  Rather, I chose them because of the ideas they present, their literary merit, and because they are exciting literature that will provoke interesting class discussions and, I hope, introduce you to another culture. In order to participate fully in the class discussions, it will be necessary to keep up with the readings and attend regularly.

Readings Only the book titles are listed here because most of them are available in the public library and at on-line booksellers. It doesn’t matter which edition is used.

The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier (Cuba)

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia)

The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes (Mexico)

A Personal Anthology by Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)

The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño (Chile)

Preparation Time Some weeks the reading assignment will consist of 150 pages (novels) and other weeks the assignment will be only about 20 – 50 pages long (short stories). I have tried to intersperse them.

Computer Use Not Necessary.

Biography I taught in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College for 30 years, had two NEH fellowships, have written fourteen Spanish textbooks (language, literature and culture), and have lived and traveled widely in Latin America.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-232-1727 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit7-We3 Toni Morrison: A Great American Writer

Leader Alorie Parkhill

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description Toni Morrison’s powerful writing has introduced a whole new genre to American literature. She builds on myth, African folklore, the classics, magical realism, the story of the fall, and the movement from innocence to experience, creating her own profoundly original style. Her writing can be shocking and mesmerizing, but never dull. As Terry Otten puts it: “Each novel describes a fall wrought with destruction but one that is still morally superior to prolonged self-ignorance and sterile accommodation.” We will explore two of her earlier novels, The Song of Solomon and Beloved, tracing some of Morrison’s many themes and doing as much close reading as possible. We will look at the intersection of history and fantasy. Some of her interviews, shown on You Tube, give us further insights on the complex mind of this astonishing American writer, shown through an African-American lens, as well as many other lenses. This class will build from week to week, so it is important that class members plan to be there. We may have a few short reports, but they will not be required. No experience with Morrison’s work is necessary, although I will encourage people to read the material more than once and, if possible, to read other novels that she has written.

Readings The Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison (First Vintage International Edition, June 2004) ISBN-140003342X

Beloved, by Toni Morrison  (First Vintage International Edition, June 2004) ISBN-1400033411

I would like everyone to use the same editions if possible because it will be easier to assign and refer to pages.

Other copied materials

Preparation Time Approximately two hours, perhaps more, depending on individual reading rates.

Computer Use Required. I will communicate frequently by email

Biography I taught a wide range of English classes at The Cambridge School of Weston, for approximately forty years. My experience includes writing and directing numerous theater productions, and being Assistant Head of School.  Teaching has always been a very important part of my life; I have relished offering the four classes I have taught at BOLLI and hope to offer many more. I am stepping down as Chair of BOLLI’s Curriculum Committee this spring and will join the Council. I hold a B.A. from Case-Western Reserve University in English and Drama and an M.A .from Simmons College in Liberal Studies.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Cur1-We3 Current Events: Developments in Local, National, and World Affairs

Leader Lois Sockol

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description We live in a complex and volatile 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 to provide thoughtful analysis. In most sessions, our attention will be split between world events and national news. Class members will be expected to present reports, lead a 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 No books are required. However, access to magazines such as The Economist, The New Yorker, The Nation, Time etc., as well as newspapers, and web sources will be necessary.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours weekly

Computer Use Required. I communicate with class members and send out information via email.

Biography I was a teacher of children and adults for 25 years. My undergraduate degree is from Boston University and my masters from Lesley College. The bulk of my professional years were spent in the Newton Pubic Schools where I taught children and was a consultant to teachers. I was an educational consultant to schools throughout New England. After retirement, I again became a student and a writer of short stories. Four of my short stories have been published: one in a literary journal, and three on the WEB.  Retirement allows me to feed my Current Events habit.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-449-1226 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G3-We4 A History of Siberia and its People

Leader Gerry Berenholz

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Siberia is a region of great natural beauty, abundant raw materials, thriving cities, and people from diverse cultures capable of living in harsh conditions.  From the 16th century, where this course begins, to the present, Siberia has had an influx of adventurers, trappers, runaway serfs, criminals, political and religious exiles, and prisoners. Indigenous tribes, present since the Stone Age, have struggled to maintain their identity and way of life. Through the readings, the class will follow Siberia’s exploration and settlement, and continue learning about its development from a historical, as well as a current perspective.  From Perm, in the foothills of the Urals, to Vladivostok in the far east, with side trips to places like Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Magadan and Birobidzhan, we will explore this enormous area which consists of 1/12 of the world’s landmass and which contains over 90% of Russia’s known natural resources. Attendance is important as each class builds on prior information. During class, there will be a review of the assigned readings with emphasis on discussion questions provided by the SGL. In addition, the SGL will help to expand the information in the assigned text through handouts, slide presentations, and videos. Volunteers will be asked to select a report topic from a list provided by the leader.

Readings W. Bruce Lincoln, Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians, ISBN: 978-0-8014-8922-8

Preparation Time Approximately 50 pages of reading per week

Computer Use Required. As a minimum, members must be able to send and receive email and open email attachments, as well as have the capability to read Adobe .pdf files. Assignments, discussion questions, handouts, and links to websites will be e mailed to all participants on a weekly basis.

Biography Gerry Berenholz attended CCNY, Northeastern University, and the BU School of Public Health.  She has been involved nationally and internationally in the classification and analysis of intentional and unintentional injuries and their causes. During her career, she has lectured throughout the US for a variety of national, state, and local agencies and organizations. A member of HILR for the past seven years, she has recently taught the class on Siberia there, as well as classes about the American Indians in US History. This will be Gerry’s third semester as a BOLLI SGL.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-234-2657 between the hours of  9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. M-F or by email.

H&G11-We4 You Are There:  Participate in the Framing of the U.S. Constitution

Leader Stephen Messinger

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description The United States is governed by a constitution that has seen only 27 changes in over 220 years. The document when written was as revolutionary as the war we fought for independence. A small group of highly educated men from twelve newly independent states differed greatly on what this new document should say but agreed on the country’s need for one. The course will set the stage for these men meeting during a hot, humid Philadelphia Summer.  We will put ourselves back 220 years to comprehend the pressures, issues and concerns they faced.  We will relive the months of debate, argument, near break-up and the ultimate emergence of a miracle.  Though passed in Philadelphia, the constitution had to overcome heated disagreement among the States to get ratified. We will review the 27 amendments ratified and look at the 6 amendments submitted to the states but not (yet) approved. Finally, to illustrate that the writing of the Constitution is not over, we will attempt to write and agree on a 28th amendment which will be sent to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation. No prior knowledge is required and this course is appropriate for all students.  Volunteers will be expected to make class presentations.

Readings Bowen, Catherine Drinker, Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787, ISBN 0-316-10398-5

Larson, Edward J. and Michael P. Winship, The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison, ISBN 0-8129-7517-0

Preparation Time Preparation time should be 45 minutes to 1 hour

Computer Use Required. Communication with the class, including reading assignments, questions and copies of the day’s PowerPoint presentation are sent by email.

Biography I have degrees in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and have spent my career in technical marketing of membrane processes to the Pharmaceutical, Dairy, and Water Industries. During my travels, plane time gave me the opportunity to read, become interested in, and finally passionate about history. While I have read widely on all Western history, I have had an ever growing fascination with the formation of this country. I have read extensively and hope to transmit some of the passion I have developed.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978 373-0727 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Dra1-We4 Scene-iors:  Staging 1 or more Short Plays

Leader Eileen Mitchell

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Scene-iors explore both the onstage and the backstage world of drama. We examine many elements involved in staging a play, as we work together to present one or more short plays at the end of the term. In class we cover different staging elements, including acting, directing, designing, movements, sound and lighting. We participate in readings, auditions and rehearsals – all leading to our Lunch and Learn dramatic reading on December 5. We will also consider a second presentation on December 14 in the student theater at Spingold, the Merrick Theater. This is the week after the BOLLI Fall term ends. Each class member will have at least one acting role. In addition each member will get the flavor of offstage roles, such as director, designer, choreographer, stage manager, and publicist. Study group members should plan to attend all sessions, but especially the last 2 or 3 sessions for our dress rehearsal and our dramatic presentation(s). No memorization and no theatre experience are required. Just come with an enthusiasm for drama and a commitment to the team.

Readings Theatre, Brief Version, by Robert Cohen, ISBN 0-07-297505-9, softcover, 7th Edition, 2006. [NOTE:  We are NOT using the book entitled simply Theatre by the same author because it is too extensive and too expensive.]  Prior Scene-iors may share their textbooks with new members.  

Preparation Time Required text readings will vary between 15 to 90 pages over 4 class sessions.  In addition, members will read and re-read the script each week.

Computer Use Required. Email is necessary to communicate and coordinate weekly plans.

Biography Eileen Mitchell graduated from being a software engineer and began to play as a BOLLI member in its initial year. She led study groups on short fiction, archaeology, architecture and co-led study groups on short plays. A child of an English Literature Professor and Drama Club Director, she inhaled drama every day and now wants to better understand how words in a script become life on stage.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-640-8058 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G5-We4 History of the Modern Middle East

Leader Fara Faramarzpour

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description In this course we will start with an introduction to the development of the Islamic civilization and the rise of the Turkish Ottoman dynasty and the Persian Safavids in Iran. The effort to modernize the Ottoman military started in early 19th century which led to the reform of civilian institutions and a new elite trained in European style academies. Similar modernization efforts took place in Egypt and Iran. The British occupied Egypt in 1882 and by the end of World War I, different provinces of the Ottoman empire were divided among the British and the French. After the war, we will study: the authoritarian reforms of the Ataturk in Turkey and those of Reza Shah in Iran; the struggle for independence in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Trans-Jordan, and Lebanon; the birth of the state of Israel in 1948; Nasser’s nationalism; consolidation of power in Iraq and Syria; the Iranian revolution; the Palestinian uprising; and the US invasion of Iraq. We will end the course with the discussion of the Arab spring and the demands for free elections and democracy in the Arab Middle East.

Readings A History of the Modern Middle East: Fourth Edition (2009), William L. Cleveland and Martin Bunton. ISBN 9780813343747, ISBN 0813343747

Preparation Time Two to three hours each week

Computer Use Required. Class material will be posted on the class website. It will also be used or receiving and sending email.

Biography I am interested in the cultures and history of the countries of the Middle East. I speak Farsi, and I am familiar with other languages and the customs of the region. I have attended courses in the history of the Middle East and Sufism, and have taught courses in history of science which included Arabic science in the Middle Ages.

Contact info

Soc2-Th1 Utopias, Real and Imagined

Leader Naomi Schmidt and Tamara Chernow

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description Is utopianism an elusive goal – a concept that is not realizable, but can only be imagined and attained in fiction?  What defines a utopia, and what must be given up by individuals in order to realize a utopian society? This course will examine our varied reactions to concepts of utopias and also at attempts to achieve viable utopian communities or lifestyles. Looking at utopian ideas from the past and present, we will examine various successes and failures. Starting with a summary of Thomas More’s ideas from his 1516 seminal work of fiction Utopia, we will then concentrate on 19th and 20th century utopian experiments in living, including some fictional utopias, We will “visit” intentional communities that are based on economic, philosophical, religious, or agrarian principles, as well as on counter-cultural, ecological and unorthodox themes, focusing on the United States. In addition, we will look at the Israeli kibbutz movement, co-housing groups, and architectural innovation. Fictional depictions of Utopia will include sections from Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, the novel Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and scenes from the film of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Without necessarily reaching a consensus, we will think about and share our ideas on what we would find desirable in a utopian community. Volunteers will be asked to contribute reports on topics of interest to supplement the assigned readings. No prior knowledge is needed; however, participants should plan to attend all sessions in order to derive the most from the course.

Readings A packet of readings will be prepared by the SGLs and distributed at cost.  The novel Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is available in libraries and for free on the Internet.

Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours, possibly more for the fiction sessions

Computer Use Required. We will communicate with class members via email and will also use an eBoard and refer to various websites for supplementary materials.


Originally trained as a physicist, Naomi Schmidt taught Computer Science at Brandeis in the 1970’s and 1980’s and then worked for 16 years at both Brandeis and MIT in the field of Academic Computing.  She has been a BOLLI member since 2003 and 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” and “Utopianism” with Tamara Chernow.

Tamara Chernow was a librarian and library administrator for 25 years.  During that time she organized and facilitated programs at the library and led a book club.  A BOLLI member since 2003, she has led two Drama courses as well as co-leading “The New York Experience” and “Utopianism” with Naomi Schmidt.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-527-2610 (Naomi, before 9:00 p.m.), or 617-965-9680 (Tamara, after 10:00 a.m.) or by email.

Wri1-Th1 Memoir Writing

Leader Marlyn Katz Levenson

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description The goals of this course are to aid participants to amass a minimum of ten pieces of writing and to write freely. We will use techniques to trigger memories and ideas, with concrete “how tos.”  Getting started in writing memoirs is often difficult, possibly intimidating. Students are encouraged to think of writing as “talking with a pencil in your hand or talking at the keyboard.” Writing a memoir is a way to revisit past life experiences from the perspective of today and a way of reflecting on various periods in our lives. It is an opportunity to savor the events of our lives, to preserve them. We should value our journey, and record it in some manner, being aware that no one else in the world has our memories of “the way it was,” as seen through our eyes, our reflective lenses. Each person’s life and life story is unique, valid, and interesting, and the highlights should be preserved, remembered. We will develop a supportive community by sharing our writing, which will foster our enriching and inspiring one another. We will spend part of each session writing.

Readings No textbook. The Study Group Leader will provide readings and handouts throughout the course to serve as prompts/stimuli for writing.

Preparation Time One to two hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not necessary

Biography Marlyn Katz Levenson, an educator and a skilled interviewer and oral historian, has been involved in oral history for more than 20 years, first interviewing family members on audiocassettes and utilizing the camcorder as it became available. Marlyn has been teaching this course at BOLLI since the Fall, 2002 semester. She also leads workshops on How to Get Started in Memoir Writing.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-559-0518 or by email.

Mus2-Th1 Wagner’s Siegfried, A Guided Tour

Leader Phil Radoff

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description The first several classes will present a brief survey of German Romantic opera and a review of Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, the first two operas in the Ring tetralogy. This approach is intended to serve as a refresher for people who are somewhat familiar with the first two operas and an introduction for people who are not familiar with them. Then we will explore Siegfried from beginning to end, looking at differing interpretations for some of the key scenes.  The last class will present excerpts from Götterdämmerung, the final opera in the Ring cycle.  The course will build from week to week, so it is important to attend all sessions—particularly for people unfamiliar with the first two operas. For those who are familiar with the first two, weekly attendance becomes critical once the presentation of Siegfried begins. There will be a few opportunities for student presentations for those interested in doing so. 

Readings Students should have available any audio or video recording of Siegfried and a copy of the libretto in translation. Among the video recordings widely available, the 1990 Metropolitan Opera production under James Levine is recommended. Any translation of the libretto will do. Bear in mind that most DVD albums do not contain librettos.

Preparation Time About 1 ½ to 2 hours of listening and reading

Computer Use Required. Students will receive weekly assignments and study questions, as well as supplemental material, by email.

Biography I have a Ph.D. in physics and worked as a physicist for a few years before switching to law. I held legal positions in private practice, with the US Government, and as inside corporate counsel before retiring in 2004 as vice president and group general counsel with Raytheon Company in Marlborough, MA. I have no formal training in music, but I read music, sing in a municipal chorus, and have had a lifelong interest in opera. I have been a BOLLI member for about seven years and an SGL since 2006, offering courses in Mozart and Wagner operas as well as lectures on operas at BOLLI and elsewhere.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-358-3375 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Important note: Please note that the first class will not be held in the first week that BOLLI is in session but in the first week after the September holidays.  A make-up class will be scheduled at a convenient time and date.

Flm1-Th1 20th Century Jewish History through Film

Leader Judith S. Pinnolis

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description Throughout the 20th century, Jews have been part of the film landscape. This course will examine 10 fictional films that depict Jews in different historical circumstances during the century. Through course discussion and partial in-class viewings, we will examine not only how Jews are depicted in those surroundings, but also examine how these films, created in different decades, reflect differing Jewish values and concerns. The films to be examined will be Hester Street, Uncle Moses, The Jazz Singer, Yidl Mitn Fidl, The Pianist, The Pawnbroker, The Chosen, Cast a Giant Shadow, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and A Serious Man. There are no prerequisites for this class. Participants will be expected to view the films during the week before each class by either viewing in a library, renting or buying a copy of the films. Members will be able to view brief readings about the films through the eBoard, so computer use is required. Each class is primarily an independent unit in this class. Films will be on Reserve at the Brandeis Library for viewing throughout the weeks.

Readings The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema [Paperback] Lawrence Baron (Editor) ISBN 9781611681994.  Other readings will be available through the BOLLI eBoard.

Preparation Time Time spent at home will include the length of the film, and up to 1 ½ hour reading per week. Class members are given worksheets that they may fill out when watching a film, but it is not required.

Computer Use Required. Members will be able to view brief readings and articles about the films through the BOLLI Online eBoard, so computer use is required. There will be a small fee to cover the expenses of access to the eBoard.

Biography Judith S. Pinnolis is the Academic Outreach Librarian for Graduate Studies and Humanities at Brandeis University. She recently has taught several film classes and has been researching the intersection of history and film. She is creator and editor of the The Jewish Music WebCenter.  Pinnolis has published many book reviews, and articles in several works on Jewish music and life. She is Past-Chair of the Chapters Council of the Association of College and Research Libraries and is a Past-President of the ACRL New England Chapter. She has also served twelve years as the National Chair of the Jewish Music Roundtable of the Music Library Association.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-527-5798 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Important Note:  This class will not meet on Thursday, October 4, but instead there will be a makeup class on Thursday, September 27 (the day after Yom Kippur) during the week when BOLLI classes would not normally meet.

H&G1-Th2 Fish, Furs, God & Gold: Europeans Coming to North America 1492-1620

Leader Susan Bradford

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description The surprising story that Samoset and Squanto spoke English when they met the Pilgrims in 1620 has long fascinated me. The explanation involves looking at what has been referred to as “the lost century in America’s history” – the time between Columbus’s arrival and that of the Pilgrims. This course will offer an overview of some of the people, motivations and events that led to Europeans exploring and settling in North America before the Pilgrims arrived. We will read, discuss and compare some of the various strategies and goals of Portugal, Spain, England and France. Each week will have a new focus which should build a picture of what occurred, but perfect attendance is not necessary. Prior knowledge is not needed as the readings and presentations offer the information. Volunteers will give talks about specific topics which will add to our understanding. Readings in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz’s A Voyage Long and Strange and eBoard selections pull together some of these ideas and will lead into discussion on the effects, intended or otherwise, on both the New and Old Worlds. And it should become apparent why Squanto and Samoset spoke English and supposedly asked for a beer!

Readings Horwitz, Tony A Voyage Long and Strange ISBN 978-0-312-42832-7

Preparation Time About 1 to 1 ½ hours per week of reading plus some online video clip viewing. When individuals prepare a 10-15 minute class presentation, they will need extra time to research their chosen topic.

Computer Use Required. Class members will need to access an eBoard account and other online sources such as video clips, National Park Service and Canadian Park Service sites, and documents which add to an understanding of the history.

Biography As a former elementary school teacher who loved teaching about history, I have found the not-so-straightforward path of history intriguing. While not a trained historian, I would call myself a “history buff” and a person curious to learn more about how our country came to be what it is.  I grew up on Long Island, N.Y., graduated from Skidmore College and began teaching. I later earned a Masters Degree in Science Education and began a 20 year career at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA. My husband and I have two grown sons and three wonderful (of course) grandchildren.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-259-8531 between the hours of 9:00 am and 8:00 pm or by email.


Lit11-Th2 The Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay as a Reflection  of the Times from 1919 to World War II

Leader Carol Fain Walters

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was among the most widely known of all American literary figures for most of the 20th century.  Her natural talent for poetic expression developed into an art that reflected her modernist, non-conformist spirit and the social and political world of her times. In the “Roaring Twenties,” Millay’s poetry spoke to the rebellious Bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village where free love, bisexuality and the right to female self-determination were accepted. Her feminism, coupled with her progressive political dissidence, beginning with the Sacco-Vanzetti case, triggered a fundamental and permanent shift in the tone of her poems.  She combined poetic lyricism with the concept of poetry as a means of protest and resistance against powerful social and political forces. Through her works, she established and expanded the place of women in American poetry. Although Millay was considered the epitome of the modernist female poet, unlike some of her male contemporaries whose styles favored the complexities of the 17th century metaphysical poets, she retained a 19th century lyrical style that was more accessible to the interpretations of readers then and now. This course will give you an opportunity to increase your appreciation of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay and the impact her lifestyle and the changing times between 1920 and 1945 had on her writings. Through class discussion, analysis of selected poems and voluntary oral presentations, we will discover why this poet had such a dramatic effect on modern poetry.

Readings A curriculum manual designed by the SGL that will be distributed during the first session and will include biographical well as historical background information. (The cost of the manual has not yet been determined). Poetry selections will be found in “Collected Poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay”, ed. Norma Millay, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1956, ISBN: 0-06-09889-0 (paperback).  A list of suggested class presentations and sources will be included in the manual. Other source material will be found at the Brandeis library, other libraries or on the Internet.

Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Required. Computer skills will be used to receive emails, to use the Internet and for presentation research.

Biography Most of my professional life has been dedicated to academic administration and program planning at major academic medical hospitals and to management consulting for medical and nonprofit community organizations. More recently, I developed the curriculum and taught a 40 hour course for professionals nearing retirement who were seeking ways to transfer their skills to a new role as pro bono nonprofit consultants. I majored in English Literature at Mt. Holyoke and Goucher Colleges and wrote my honors thesis on the 17th century metaphysical poet, John Donne. I have had a life-long interest and appreciation of poetry and how it has been affected by social and political change.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-965-2023 between the hours of  7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit9-Th2 Timeless Issues in Drama: Power/Authority/Control

Leader Elaine S. Reisman

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Power, control, authority can be used for positive as well as negative purposes. Inspiration to explore this subject came from a reading of Lysistrata in which the denial of sex is used as a tool to influence men not to go to war.  Clearly, over the years, the issue of who, what and how control is manifested has been a subject of drama and literature.  Discussions in this course will include:  tools and uses of power, control, authority; consequences of exerting power; impact on the user and the receiver of the exertion of power. Minimum requirement for this course is the reading of assigned material.  Participants will have opportunities to volunteer to read/act scenes of the plays and/or give reports relevant to current times or the life of the writers. Material in this course is interrelated so that participants should plan to be at all sessions.

Readings Plays under consideration

Lysistrata by Aristophanes –  denial of sex as a tool to stop men from going to war

The Crucible by Arthur Miller – power of theocracy; fanaticism and religious fervor condemn women as witches

The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill – physical power is superseded by power of presumed mockery

The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman – lies and revenge of a child ruins a school and lives of two women 

Andersonville Trial by Saul Levitt – following orders leads to death of 14,000 POWs in the Civil War

A confirmed bibliography will be sent before classes start.

Preparation Time Most plays can be read in 2 hours.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Recaps and agendas are sent out each week via email

Biography The excitement of exploring areas new to me has spurred me on each time I offer a course for BOLLI. I love going to plays, reading/acting and sharing this pleasure with participants. My background in early childhood education forms the framework for my role as a facilitator of learning through an experiential approach. So, I have lots of fun (and hope participants also do) as we strive for deeper meaning in the works that we study

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-538-6536 up to 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Soc6-Th2  Your Privacy is at Risk: Why and How

Leader Sanford “Sandy” Sherizen

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Over the years, many announcements have been made that privacy is gone so we should not have any expectations of protections. What is privacy, why is it important, how is it being threatened and how can we protect ourselves? These are the major questions to be explored in our discussions and readings. This course will offer you information on how you leave electronic “fingerprints” and “footprints” many times a day and how these are being collected and used by others. Topics will include health information, commercial gathering of your buying patterns, determinations of your credit worthiness, technological advances in gathering and processing information, and legal issues from the U.S. as well as other nations. Protections will be discussed when they are available. No prior knowledge of privacy issues is required, although welcomed. Class members will be invited, encouraged and guided in giving a 10-minute presentation on the topic of the week. The material for this course will build from week to week but each session will also stand on its own.

Readings Readings will be from free sources available through your computer. There are many books on the topic, but the Internet is rich with relevant information. Articles will be from professional, government and media sources. 

Preparation Time 2-3 hours a week, although more if you would like. I will assign a few required readings a week and offer a number of others for those who want to learn more about a specific topic.

Computer Use Required. Readings will be from on-line sources and I will be adding news and summaries via eBoard.

Biography Trained as a sociologist, I then went bad and became a criminologist and then really bad by becoming a computer security and privacy professional.  I have taught at various universities, led seminars and given speeches in many settings.  I am active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, where I am an ex-president. Avoiding retirement, I lead an ESL class for adult immigrants in Framingham, teach an on-line graduate seminar and serve on an ethics board at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-650-0157 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Lit6-Th3 War May Be Hell, But It Makes For Intriguing Literature

Leader David Moskowitz

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description We shall examine war, via facilitated discussion, by studying six relatively quick and easy-to-read novels that approach the subject matter from unique perspectives. I sought books that would resonate on various levels while making sure that at least one or two are unfamiliar to you. The first four works involve WWII: we'll explore the motivations of British POWs and their Japanese captors; follow Jewish Russian soldiers charged with a daunting task while faced with starvation; experience the effect of the Dresden fire bombings on a returning American soldier who had been a POW there (if you've never read Vonnegut, it's never too late); and learn what happens to a young soldier who discovers he's a coward and is then asked to take on a unique task. The fifth work focuses on the Korean War through the eyes of the brazen physicians who served in mobile surgical units. Our final book occurs during the Vietnam War. It is fashioned as a series of related short stories that depict the isolation and loneliness of soldiers, along with their rage and fear. Three works contain significant humor while three cannot contemplate associating humor with war. Two were made into iconic movies but deserve to be read. All are memorable in their own way. Our goal shall be to decipher the life lessons expressed by these authors and learn from them. Members will be asked to volunteer to do brief oral presentations on the authors or historical events tied to the readings.

Readings Bridge Over the River Kwai, by Pierre Boulle, ISBN-0891419136

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, ISBN-0452295297

Articles of War, by Nick Arvin, ISBN-10: 1400077346

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, ISBN 0-440-18029-5

Mash: A Novel about Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker, ISBN- 0688149553

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, ISBN 978-0-618-70641-9

Preparation Time These 6 novels aggregate 1314 pages, which means that the weekly reading averages 131 pages. I consider them all to be easy to read, meaning that none are dense in terms of words per page and 40 pages per hour ought to be quite achievable, so the average reading would be 3-3.5 hours per week at most for an average reader.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. The SGL may need to communicate with the class via email.

Biography I graduated from U Penn's Wharton School and Harvard Law School. My legal career was spent mainly as a general counsel, including 11 years spent as Brandeis’ first general counsel starting in 1976. This will be my 4th time leading a BOLLI course, the other three being "Early Television in America: Much More than Memories," "The Fundamental Fifties - The Light Side" and "Great Writers Writing About Sports." This course will be my first effort devoted to fiction.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-444-7590 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and midnight or by email.

Lit10-Th3 The Poet On Stage: Verse Drama from Ancient Greece to Contemporary America

Leader Verne Vance

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description This course will first briefly review the use of verse – rhymed or unrhymed – as the primary verbal medium for stage drama. It will include tragedies and comedies, from ancient Greece to Shakespeare and the Elizabethans to Moliere’s France, until largely replaced by prose in the nineteenth century. The reasons for this change will be considered and then shift principally to  the revival of verse drama in 1935-1965. We will then consider the reasons for the revival, its dramatic effectiveness, particularly for subjects of contemporary life, and the potential for use of verse in drama of the future. Over the 10-weeks, we will begin with a brief overview of Greek and Shakespearean verse drama and will then focus on French verse comedies by Moliere and Rostand, and finally contemporary verse dramas and comedies by Anderson, Eliot, MacLeish, Alfred, and Fry. The SGL will provide substantial background material on the plays and playwrights, but the course’s primary focus will be on facilitated class discussion of these materials, supported by occasional class readings from the plays and video clips of professional performances. Prior knowledge of some Greek and Shakespearean dramas would be helpful but is not required. It is not anticipated that there will be oral presentations by class members. The materials and structure of the course from week to week are such that regular attendance, though not essential, would be most helpful.

Readings Tartuffe, Moliere (Richard Wilbur translation), ISBN: 978-0-15-6881807, Harcourt, Inc., 1992

Winterset, Maxwell Anderson, ISBN: 0822212668, Dramatists Play Service, 1998

The Cocktail Party, T.S. Eliot, ISBN: 0156182890, Mariner Books, 1964

The Lady’s Not For Burning, Christopher Fry, ISBN: 0-8222-0630-7, Dramatists Play Service, 1998

 J.B., Archibald MacLeish, ISBN: 0-57361091-6, Samuel French, 1958

Hogan’s Goat, William Alfred, ISBN: 0573610177, Samuel French, 2010

Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand (Brian Hooker translation), ISBN: 0553213601, Bantam Classics reissue, 1950

Preparation Time Two hours.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Verne Vance is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.  He is a retired partner of the law firm Foley Hoag LLP in Boston. He has taught courses at Boston University Law School and courses in the plays of George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and others at BOLLI and the lifelong learning program at Regis College. He has had a lifelong interest in both poetry and drama and looks forward to the opportunity to explore the marriage of the two of them in this course.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Lit3-Th3 The Shape Of Things To Come: The Modern History Play

Leader Michael Kaufman

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description A distinguished historian once remarked that “thinking about history is an exercise of the imagination; history is an art.” The history play presents a natural marriage between these disciplines. Yet, despite its range and vitality, its potential for spectacle and pageantry, its gallery of charismatic characters and its intrinsic dramatic conflicts, there have only been two periods of great historical dramatic output. One, at the end of the 16th century influenced Shakespeare to spend one third of his career writing chronicle and history dramas. The other, in the decades leading up to and following the Second World War, produced some of the most enduring plays of our time. This study group will consider a variety of these history plays and discuss some of the many interesting questions they raise: What are the political and social conditions that make historical materials popular as dramatic plots? How do these dramatists use history as a mirror to reflect our world? Do history plays elicit a sense of continuity and community, or do they evoke a sense of a profound loss of past greatness? What does the history play reveal about our relationship to the past and our experience of our life in Time? Shakespeare dramatizes history in the Henry plays. Henry IV , Part I should be read for the first meeting, and then we will follow a reading order that will be given out in class, but essentially is reflected in the order of the books listed.

Readings Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

G,B, Shaw, Saint Joan

Pirandello, Enrico IV

Brecht, Galileo

Camus, Caligula

Shaffer, Royal Hunt Of The Sun

Bolt, A Man For All Seasons

Weiss, Marat/Sade

Beckett, Waiting For Godot

Preparation Time Approximately three hours of reading

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography I have taught for many years, and have been leading groups at BOLLI since 2002. I have been developing ways of using humanities texts in new and different settings for more than twenty years, having created seminars for doctors, judges, social workers, and state officials. I have given programs for prisoners and offenders on probation; for teachers and administrators. But my greatest challenge was a series of week-long seminars for the highest ranking federal officers, with the theme of effective leadership.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617 -332 -3347 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00p.m.

Flm2-Th3 Courtroom Cinema

Leader Marty Aronson

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 and 4– 1:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Courtroom drama brought to the screen with the following 5 films:  Twelve Angry Men; Kramer vs. Kramer; A Civil Action; The Verdict; To Kill A Mockingbird. We will collectively view and discuss these films on alternate weeks (movie week one, discussion of it, the following week, etc.). The movies include portions of trial scenes plus the events leading up to the courtroom drama. Discussions will include: (a) reality/unreality; (b) the workings of our justice system; (c) depiction of trial lawyers; (d) credibility; (e) whether or not the film achieves a meaningful purpose. Enjoy the exciting mix of the cases, the trial scenes and cinema as well as our stimulating discussions. Caveat: Excepting for Twelve Angry Men, classes will cover two class periods on the weeks when the films are shown.  On days when the films are shown, the class will utilize both afternoon time slots in order to allow sufficient time for the films to be shown in their entirety. On discussion days, the class will run only during the first afternoon time slot. Persons signing up for this course should not sign up for another course in the later afternoon time slot.

Readings I will provide detailed summaries (average length: 25 pages) of each movie as well as questions to help guide our discussions.

Preparation Time Approximately one hour every other week to read the summary and questions.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I will e-mail the summaries and questions.

Biography I have a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.  I am an Adjunct Professor at Boston College Law School where I have taught Trial Advocacy and continue to teach Dispute Negotiations.  I am a past President of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocacy. I practiced as a trial lawyer for 41 years and currently serve as mediator and senior counsel to the Boston law firm, Parker/Scheer.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-739-5038 during reasonable times or by email.

Mus1-Th4 An Introduction to Choral Music: Oratorio, Mass, Requiem, and Song Symphony

Leader Bob Keller

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description The principal objective of the course is to introduce choral music to beginning students, thereby encouraging them to listen to this type of music and attend choral concerts. The course will begin with a brief discussion of the history of choral music and will continue with listening to and discussing a number of works. I will try to provide each student with a score of certain critical sections of the piece to support music listening in class. We will listen to examples of five types of choral pieces: the oratorio (Israel in Egypt, Creation, Elijah), short pieces for small chorus (Lassus, Bach, Faure), the mass (Lord Nelson Haydn, Martin), the requiem (Mozart, Verdi), and the Mahler song symphonies. Students will be expected to familiarize themselves beforehand with the music to be covered by listening to sections on the class eBoard. Suggested recordings of the entire works may be purchased or borrowed from libraries if there is interest. The SGL will also provide access to all written information through a class eBoard. Students will have the opportunity to prepare and present 15 minute reports on related subjects such as the relevant composer’s life at the time of choral composition, influences on the composer’s work around the time of composition, etc. Prior musical knowledge is not required.  Because comparisons will be made between musical examples, it is helpful to attend every week. It is expected that there will be a minimum of 45 minutes of listening in each class.

Readings Will be on eBoard.

Preparation Time Maximum 1 hour of listening and 30 minutes reading

Computer Use Required. All outside of class communications by email. Use of eBoard required.

Biography I have a background in finance and non-profit management. My education includes Harvard College (BA) and MIT, Sloan School, (MS ). I have been on two Boards: Newton Choral Society and Mazie Foundation. I was also past President of All Newton Music School. Although I am not a trained musicologist or music historian, I have sung with the Newton Choral Society for the past 35 years, performing in over 100 concerts. I have performed ALL musical examples in the course. My interest and knowledge of the subject comes from performance.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Sci1-Th4 An Anthropologist on Mars: Clinical Novels from Oliver Sacks

Leader MaryAnn Byrnes

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description How does a painter adjust to a life without colors? What about someone whose vision is restored after 45 years of blindness? Imagine finding it easier to understand the emotions of animals than people. Each time Dr. Oliver Sacks shares the story of one of these fascinating people, I relish their creativity and resilience. Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Sacks discusses the neurological conditions related to these disorders, but focuses on the people and how they view the world and live their lives. This course will profile seven (or maybe 9) of Oliver Sacks’ amazing adaptable people. The sessions will be highly interactive, focused on the Clinical Novel of that day. In small and large groups, participants will discuss reactions to the person who is the focus of the day’s profile as well as to perplexing questions that I will pose. No prior knowledge of the topic is required, but participants are encouraged to contribute reflections, questions, and additional information on the week’s Clinical Novel Interviewee.  There will be no requirement for oral presentations, but high levels of on-topic contributions are desired and will be impossible to resist.

Readings Sacks, Oliver, 1996,  An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales. ISBN- 0679756973

Preparation Time Weekly reading selections range between 30 and 50 pages; the time may differ based on your reading speed.  Focus questions will guide reading for the week. Participants may find that the chapters interest them to further exploration of the week’s topic - the Internet has a host of information and I can provide resources as well.

Computer Use Not Necessary. There are numerous YouTube videos on Oliver Sacks, the subjects of this book’s stories, and related topics. While these might be of interest to participants, they are not required for the sessions.

Biography Everyone adapts to life changes, sometimes more easily than others.  I have always been fascinated by the creativity with which individuals address challenges in their lives.  As a teacher, special education administrator, and educational consultant, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with others about hundreds of unusual learners. I recently retired from UMass Boston as an Associate Professor in Special Education. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Chicago, my masters (in Learning Disabilities) from Northwestern University, and my doctorate (in Learning Theory) from Rutgers University. I’m looking forward to this, my first BOLLI course as an SGL.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781 890-7355 between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. or by email.

H&G6-Th4 The Remarkable Roosevelts: Franklin, Eleanor and World War II

Leader Fran Feldman

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m.- 4:45 p.m..

Description In her very succinct and extremely readable book No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin gives us an intimate glimpse into the Roosevelt White House during the long and difficult years of the Second World War. Through the text the reader gains a new and very clear understanding of how Roosevelt’s White House functioned, the role of the First Lady, the challenges facing the Administration and, indeed, the country during the war, and the unique qualities that FDR and his wife brought to the presidency. As we read through the chapters, we will examine not only the text but also peripheral, and no less important, issues that arise, such as isolationism, qualities of presidential leadership, the job of the First Lady, Roosevelt as politician and diplomat, the failure to save European Jewry, and Roosevelt family/friend relationships. In this election year we will compare and contrast the role of the president and First Lady in the 1940s and today. The course will rely on a lively discussion of questions distributed ahead of time. Class members are encouraged to report on issues of special interest to them.

Readings Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time

Preparation Time There will be anywhere from 60 to 90 pages to read each week, which could take up to 3 or more hours.

Computer Use Not Necessary.

Biography My interest in government and politics has been ongoing, starting when I majored in Government at Smith College, received an M.A.T. in Teaching at Yale, and taught Social Studies in middle school for several years thereafter. I embarked on a second, 15-year career in editing for Sunset Books when I moved to Palo Alto. After returning to the Boston area, I became the administrator of the German Department at Harvard and now work part-time as a staff trainer in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Office of Finance. My passions are golf, traveling, and volunteer work.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-863-8586 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.