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Spring 2018 Course Schedule | Thursday

Click here to view a PDF version of the Fall 2018 Course Catalog. 

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

Fall 2018 courses will begin the week of September 24 and run through the week of December 3, with a break the week of November 19. There will be no courses on Columbus Day, October 8. For the Fall 2018 schedule, click here.

If needed, make up classes will be held December 10-13.

Please be sure to click on the name of the course to read the description before signing up.


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday


Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

LIT13-10-Thur1
Reel Literature #3: The Genius of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense
David Moskowitz
*NOTE: This course will run during Periods 1 & 2 on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be Period 2 only.

ART8-10-Thur1
Photography: Creating Better Photos
Arthur Sharenow

ART3-5a-Thur1
Hidden Gems: Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums
Elaine Dohan
5 Week Course - September 27 - October 25
*This course will run during periods 1 & 2. 

WRI3-5a-Thur1
“You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!” Crafting Dynamic Creative Nonfiction
Sue Wurster
5 Week Course - September 27 - October 25

SOC5-5b-Thur1
“Sundown” America
Sue Wurster
5 Week Course - November 1 - December 6

Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

LIT13-10-Thur1 
Reel Literature #3: The Genius of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense
David Moskowitz

*NOTE: This course will run during Periods 1 & 2 on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be Period 2 only.

ART3-5a-Thur1
Hidden Gems: Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums
Elaine Dohan
5 Week Course - September 27 - October 25
*This course will run during periods 1 & 2. 

ART5-5b-Thur2
Frank Lloyd Wright: Flawed Genius
Carl Lazarus
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6

ART7-5a-Thur2
The Genesis of Modern American Architecture: 1870s To Early 1900s
Caroline & Larry Schwirian
5 Week Course - September 27 - October 25

EDU1-10-Thur2
Harari’s Sapiens and the Theory and Practice of Adult Learning
Avi Bernstein

H&G1-5a-Thur2
American Treasure: Mount Auburn Cemetery - Nature, History, Art, and More
Helen Abrams
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

H&G9-5b-Thur2
Democracy in Peril: America At the Crossroads
Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch, Learning, and Social Life

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

CE2-10-Thur3
Current Events (Section Two)
Lois Sockol

LIT6-10-Thur3
Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues: Five Female Playwrights
Jyl Lynn Felman

LIT14-10-Thur3
Rewriting Genesis: Milton’s Paradise Lost
Reza Pourmikail

MUS1-5a-Thur3
Meeting Music Halfway: What Music Has to Tell Us, and How We Shape the Message
Eric Elder
5 Week Course - September 27 - October 25

SOC3-5b-Thur3
Aging with Enthusiasm, Grace and Cheerfulness
Sandy Miller-Jacobs
5 Week Course - November 1 - December 6




LIT13-10-Thur1 Reel Literature #3: The Genius of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense

Leader – David Moskowitz

Thursday – Course Periods 1 & 2 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am
*NOTE: This course will run during Periods 1 & 2 on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be Period 2 only.

Description   This repeats the third “Reel Literature” course offered by this SGL; its predecessors considered works of authors Graham Greene and Elmore Leonard. The concept involves studying the underlying literature one week and then, in the following week during a double period, collectively viewing the film adaptation to discuss what succeeds and what doesn’t, additions/deletions made, casting, role of soundtrack, etc. The focus has moved from the author being the constant to it now being the director/filmmaker as its common thread, essentially a reverse approach. The SGL has long admired the films of Alfred Hitchcock and read many works on which his films were based, selecting four novels and one short story principally on their literary merits and moderate length, and how the movie reflects its source. So, five authors sharing one director. We will be studying how Hitchcock and the screenplay authors translated these works into film. Is there a truly distinctive Hitchcock voice? In reading these works do we, the readers, instantly sense what a wonderful suspense-laden film it might make? Is there a commonality in these films so that if we were unaware that they shared a director it could have been intuited? Hitchcock's stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. Additionally, he framed shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. Members must read each work in its entirety before that work is discussed in class.

Readings   To Catch a Thief by David Dodge
It Had to be Murder by Cornell Woolrich [This is the short story on which Rear Window was based and will be distributed by SGL via email]
Vertigo by Boileau-Narcejak (In translation from D'entre les morts)
Psycho by Robert Bloch
Marnie by Winston Graham

Preparation Time   Per Goodreads, all four novels are under 250pp and collectively total 869pp. The only preparation time is to read these four novels plus one short story, so there is approximately 90 pages to read on average per week. NB: Films can be watched by members on their own within two days of the class showing.

Biography   David Moskowitz holds a BS degree from the Wharton School and a J.D. from Harvard. His legal career was spent predominantly as a general counsel, including 11 years as Brandeis’ initial general counsel. This is his 9th BOLLI-led course (19th time leading), and sixth literature course. This course combines David's interests in literature and film in a format that was successfully implemented with the novels of Graham Greene and Elmore Leonard. The SGL encourages dynamic, vibrant class discussions to which he adds humor.

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ART8-10-Thur1 Photography: Creating Better Photos

Leader – Arthur Sharenow

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

Description   This is a course for people who would like to go beyond snapping pictures and to become more serious about taking and creating more interesting images using a digital camera. It assumes some familiarity with cameras, though not expertise, and a willingness to try to get more out of their cameras than is possible by taking everything on automatic settings. It will be an interactive course, where participants will be encouraged to take photos every week and share them with the class.

Readings   No readings are required, but the SGL recommends that class members check out the monthly magazine “Outdoor Photography” available on better magazine stands (ex. Barnes and Noble)

Preparation Time   Class members are required to shoot and send in three or four photos every week. It will require as much or as little time as it takes for the class member to be satisfied with his or her accumulated images.

Biography   Arthur Sharenow graduated from Brandeis University (1955) and Harvard Law School (1958). After practicing law briefly in Boston he and his wife Judy bought Camps Kenwood and Evergreen, a children’s summer camp in New Hampshire, where he directed camp for forty-four years.
During his years as a camp director he took thousands of photos of children at play, at leisure and in sports, becoming quite expert at sports photography. After he retired he branched out into many aspects of photography. He has had several exhibits and has enjoyed teaching Photo courses at BOLLI (nine previous courses).

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ART3-5a-Thur1 Hidden Gems: Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums

Leader – Elaine Dohan

Thursday – Course Periods 1&2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

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

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

Preparation Time   1-2 hours

Biography   Elaine Dohan has led this course four times. In the past she also co-led two literature courses and has served on several committees at BOLLI where she has been a member since 2000. In a previous life she was a middle school teacher in Sudbury.

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WRI3-5a-Thur1 “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!” Crafting Dynamic Creative Nonfiction

Leader – Sue Wurster

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

Description   Lee Gutkind of Creative Nonfiction magazine says that creative nonfiction, “true stories told well,” has become the most popular way to write. The goal of this kind of writing is to make our personal narratives, opinion or “op-ed” pieces, feature articles, travel writing, reviews, and more just as captivating and enthralling as fiction. After all, we know that “you just can’t make this stuff up!” In this course, we will focus on a different genre of creative nonfiction each week, writing our own items to share with the group for response.

Readings   On Writing Well by William Zinsser -- will be sent to participants in pdf form

Preparation Time   There will be a short reading assignment for each week (15 minutes or so) as well as a piece of writing to produce (however long that takes to create).

Biography   Sue Wurster earned BS/MA degrees in communications from Ohio University, taught speech at St. Cloud State, writing at Elizabeth Seton College, drama at the Chapin and Calhoun schools, and English/humanities at Nashoba Brooks School. She studied at Northwestern’s School of Speech, NYC’s New Actors’ Workshop, Bank Street College, and Columbia University. She served as national chair of the high school division of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, director of New York State’s Forensics League, and co-founding chair of the Massachusetts Middle School Speech League. (She is often referred to as “Wurster, the Wily Word Woman.”)

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SOC5-5b-Thur1 “Sundown” America

Leader – Sue Wurster

Thursday – Course Period 1 – 9:30 am to 10:55 am
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6
(No Class on November 22 for Thanksgiving Break)

Description   As we well know, the history of race relations in the U.S. is extremely complex and deeply disturbing. And while today various African-Americans occupy positions of prominence in our society, hidden aspects of our history of racism and segregation still persist in this country. In this course, we will spend some time looking at aspects of black history that many may have missed, but the bulk of our time will be devoted to a particularly striking dimension of that history—a hidden dimension known as the “sundown” phenomenon in which towns (and even entire counties) all across the North, West, and non-traditional American South became all-white…on purpose. We will look at how the legacy of that tradition is, surprisingly, still very much with us today, hampering our efforts to move forward and to make sure that all lives truly matter.

Readings   Online materials (reading/viewing) will be provided; will be available in print form for those who need/prefer hard copy
Recommended and Optional Material will be suggested

Preparation Time   Approximately forty to sixty minutes of reading/viewing per week

Biography   Sue Wurster earned BS/MA degrees in communications from Ohio University, taught speech at St. Cloud State, writing at Elizabeth Seton College, drama at the Chapin and Calhoun schools, and English/humanities at Nashoba Brooks School. She studied at Northwestern’s School of Speech, NYC’s New Actors’ Workshop, Bank Street College, and Columbia University. She served as national chair of the high school division of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, director of New York State’s Forensics League, and co-founding chair of the Massachusetts Middle School Speech League. (She is often referred to as “Wurster, the Wily Word Woman.”)

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ART5-5b-Thur2 Frank Lloyd Wright: Flawed Genius

Leader – Carl Lazarus

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6
(No Class on November 22 for Thanksgiving Break)

Description   Nearly sixty years after his death, Frank Lloyd Wright is still America’s best-known architect. He designed more than 1,000 buildings, of which 532 were completed, some in the 21st century. He also designed furniture and stained glass for his buildings. Wright pioneered the Prairie School of Architecture, the Usonian house, and open floor plans. His ideas of Organic Architecture and green buildings resonate today. His genius and creativity was matched only by his ego: “Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasions to change.” “Honest” might not be the right term; Wright was often a teller of alternative facts and frequently didn’t pay his bills. In this course we will look at both his works and his life, the influences that shaped him and how he influenced other architects. We will view slides and videos of his most interesting buildings, and discuss common themes in his works. Short student reports on different aspects of his work will be strongly encouraged. Classes will be a mixture of lecture and discussion. In addition to the regular class meetings, there will be an optional field trip to Wright’s Zimmerman House in New Hampshire.

Readings   The Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas A. Heinz, 2016, Chartwell Books. Hardcover or paperback.
There will also be links provided to short online materials.

Preparation Time   We’ll cover about 80 pages per week of the book, but a majority of this is pictures, so it will not be a heavy reading load.

Biography   Carl Lazarus studied chemistry at Yale and biochemistry at Brandeis, but subsequently studied computer science at MIT and made his career in information technology. He wrote software and managed software development for the health care industry, and later managed various online services. He has been a lifelong fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, visiting numerous Wright buildings around the US and reading avidly about Wright. Carl has led a variety of BOLLI courses starting in 2015, most recently on energy prospects and challenges for alleviating climate change.

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ART7-5a-Thur2 The Genesis of Modern American Architecture: 1870s To Early 1900s

Leaders – Caroline & Larry Schwirian

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

Description   The architects of our new American nation borrowed from the European styles of classical architecture. In the 1870s to the early 1900s, a number of events, inventions and people led to the creation of our own “American” architectural styles. In New England, H.H. Richardson, inspired by Romanesque architecture, modified and adapted it to become Richardsonian Romanesque. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that consumed 17,500 buildings and left 100,000 homeless, architects flocked to Chicago to help rebuild. Development of inventions such as the passenger elevator, the Bessemer process for making steel and innovations in construction methods allowed these architects the freedom to build higher and more economically. To explore this exciting time in the development of modern architecture we will look at its beginnings inspired by Richardsonian Romanesque, the effect of the Chicago World Exposition of 1893 and First Chicago School, which was not really a school but a modern movement of architecture from which skyscrapers emerged. Primary architects to be discussed are: H. H. Richardson, Fredrick Law Olmsted (landscape architect) and the architects of the First Chicago School: William Le Baron Jenny, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and his City Beautiful Movement , and John Wellborn Root. We will touch on Frank Lloyd Wright’s very early career and the influence of the Arts and Craft Movement. The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion.

Readings   Assignments will be a combination of articles and videos.

Preparation Time  Approximately 1 hour per week.

Biography   Lawrence and Caroline Schwirian met in architecture school at Case Western Reserve University. As licensed architects for over forty years, they have worked for a number of prestigious architectural firms in the Boston area including The Architects Collaborative, SOM, Stubbins, Don Hisaka, Sasaki, Shepley Bulfinch and Goody Clancy. Larry has taught at Boston Architectural College, Wentworth Institute and New England School of Art and Design. They live in an architect-designed house dating from 1849 and are involved with historic preservation. They spearheaded the effort to create the Auburndale Local Historic District in Newton and have given many talks on the history of Auburndale as well as walking tours. Now semi-retired, their firm, Caroline and Lawrence Schwirian Architects, provides consulting and are involved with historic preservation and design for small commercial and residential work. Having worked primarily on the more technical side of architecture, they look forward to helping others to better understand the essence of architecture.

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EDU1-10-Thur2 Harari’s Sapiens and the Theory and Practice of Adult Learning

Leader – Avi Bernstein

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

Description   What characterizes a successful BOLLI course? To be sure, there’s more than one approach to deep and delightful BOLLI learning. One provides a glimpse of a body of knowledge in an academic field like impressionism or civil war history; another aims to introduce skills worth having, e.g. photography, memoir writing, or storytelling; a third tackles classic narratives like The Odyssey, Hamlet or Crime and Punishment. The purpose of this course is to introduce a fourth alternative that will prove straightforward and fun to implement for the average BOLLI SGL. While there is no requirement that class members go on to teach at BOLLI, this course will assume that students have an interest in pedagogy, syllabus construction, and the theory and practice of adult learning. The central text of this course will be Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Harari, whose book has been widely reviewed, has given us a sweeping narrative of the human species out of the disciplines of biology, anthropology, and history – what one reviewer called “70,000 years of history in 400 pages.” This course will change your view of what it takes to design and organize a BOLLI course, and will whet your appetite to join BOLLI’s faculty. Don’t believe it? Take a try!

Readings   Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Additionally, occasional readings and videos will be distributed electronically. Finally, each student will identify and read a book of their own selection. Criteria for selection will be provided on the first day of class.

Preparation Time   60 to 90 pages per week. It would be useful, though not necessary, to read the book prior to the start of class.

Biography   Avi Bernstein is the director of BOLLI and holds a doctorate in religious studies. Previous BOLLI courses have taken up the literary work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Iris Murdoch, and Virginia Woolf.

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H&G1-5a-Thur2 American Treasure: Mount Auburn Cemetery - Nature, History, Art, and More

Leader – Helen Abrams

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

Description   Founded in 1831 and always non-denominational, Mount Auburn Cemetery began the “rural” cemetery movement out of which grew America’s public parks. Its beauty and historic associations make it an internationally renowned landscape, an arboretum, an important bird-watching site and a National Historic Landmark, as well as a place of comfort and solace to the grieving. The class will explore the Cemetery’s history, famous “residents,” monuments, artists, Civil War connections, women reformers and Jews whose inspiring stories have been researched by the SGL. As an extra treat, the SGL will offer a walking tour through the Cemetery, organized around the interests of the class, for those who wish to join it.

Readings   There will be links to articles about Mount Auburn Cemetery and free copies of the monthly magazine, Sweet Auburn, with features relevant to the class topics.

Preparation Time   One hour per week at most.

Biography   Helen Abrams has been a volunteer docent at Mount Auburn Cemetery for 12 years and has led tours and given talks on many topics including art and artists, symbols of passage, explorers and inventors, Jews buried at Mt. Auburn, the Civil War, women reformers and photography. She has been a BOLLI member for four years; retired for three.

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H&G9-5b-Thur2 Democracy in Peril: America At the Crossroads

Leaders – Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer

Thursday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6
(No Class on November 22 for Thanksgiving Break)

Description   After the defeat of Nazism, the Allies set out to establish treaties and institutions to protect, preserve and secure democracy throughout the world. With the fall of the Soviet Union 45 years later, it appeared that democracy was indeed victorious. America and our allies were triumphant. In ensuing years, however, economic, social and political upheaval at home and around the world have sewn the seeds of nationalism and populism, threatening the foundations of democracy in many countries, including our own. Using the acclaimed book by Steven Levinsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, as well as supplemental readings and podcasts, we will explore the issues that have created fertile ground for the current rise of authoritarianism at home and abroad. The selected readings will provide a basis for a discussion course, focusing on threats to democratic rule and what it will take to again protect, preserve and secure it especially here in America.

Readings The core text will be Levinsky & Ziblatt’s book How Democracies Die. It can be purchased on Amazon for around $13.00. To probe specific topics in greater depth, we will supplement with articles from publications such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Foreign Policy Magazine. They will all be available through Internet links we will provide.

Preparation Time 2 – 3 hours per week 

Biography   Emily Ostrower, who is retired from the Newton Public Schools as an elementary principal, has co-taught a number of BOLLI courses with Beth Mazer focusing on an in-depth analysis of contemporary issues. She enjoys traveling around the world, loves history and the social sciences, and is an inveterate news and politics junkie. This new course has provided an opportunity to explore some of her own questions about America’s current challenges.

Beth Mazer has been attending BOLLI for over 10 years and in the past three years has been co-teaching courses with Emily Ostrower. Beth comes from a 30-year background in catering. She has long had a passionate interest in politics, reading avidly and widely on the issues of the day. This course is an outgrowth of that passion.

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CE2-10-Thur3 Current Events (Section Two)

Leader – Lois Sockol

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

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

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

Preparation Time   1 to 2 hours

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

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LIT6-10-Thur3 Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues: Five Female Playwrights

Leader – Jyl Lynn Felman

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

Description    From Pulitzer Prize to Obie award winners, we’ll read six women playwrights who cross literary boundaries and leap off the page in their nonlinear writing. Playwrights include Adrienne Kennedy, Dael Orlandersmith, Paula Vogel, and three others. With brilliant language and cutting-edge scripts on taboo topics, these plays will astound you. We will use the intersecting lenses of race, class, gender, and sexuality to unravel these amazing plays.

Readings   How I Learned To Drive by Paula Vogel
The Ohio State Murders by Adrienne Kennedy
Night, Mother by Marsha Norman
Wit by Margaret Edson
Watch On The Rhine by Lillian Hellman
Still by Jen Silverman.
Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith
Note: 1. The above list is a ‘working’ selection. The final list may include these or other plays. Information will be sent with the Welcome Letter.
2. Plays are available in libraries as well as through online vendors. Total cost, if purchased, could exceed the maximum $45 recommended for a BOLLI course.

Preparation Time   60 to 100 pages/about 2 hours reading time

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

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LIT14-10-Thur3 Rewriting Genesis: Milton’s Paradise Lost

Leader – Reza Pourmikail

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

Description   When John Milton published Paradise Lost in 1667, the poem’s audacity was shocking to contemporary British readers. Not only had Milton written an un-rhyming poem in the antique form of epic, but he had undertaken to rewrite the biblical story of the creation and the fall of humankind. Despite his devout Christian faith and learning, Milton felt compelled to improve upon the very word of God. Thus, at the heart of Paradise Lost lies the question of authorship: claiming one’s authority, and what is gained and lost with that claim. A sensual Puritan, a heretical Christian, and a government censor who advocated for free speech, Milton the person embodied the contradictions that we find at every turn in his writing. In this discussion-centered 10-week course, we will carefully read through the most acclaimed poem in the English language, thinking deeply about the role of the artist in social and historical contexts. Considering the important issues of Milton’s time, such as freedom and censorship, citizenship and regicide, and gender and proto-feminism, we will stress the relevance of Paradise Lost to the political and social debates of our own contemporary world. We will also learn to appreciate the aesthetic power of Milton’s verse, paying close attention to poetic form and language.

Readings   Paradise Lost by John Milton
ISBN 978-0393924282; W.W. Norton & Company; Norton Critical Edition (Edited by Gordon Teskey); 2005

Preparation Time   2-4 hours of reading per week

Biography   Reza Pourmikail is a PhD student in the English department at Brandeis University. Reza received his BA in English from the University of California, Davis in 2014. His research at Brandeis is in British literature of the Early Modern period, with a particular interest in the poetry and thought of John Milton. He is excited to be teaching Paradise Lost, as he thinks it a rich text that has something to offer to everyone.

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MUS1-5a-Thur3 Meeting Music Halfway: What Music Has to Tell Us, and How We Shape the Message

Leader – Eric Elder

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 27 – October 25

Description   Music has something to tell us, but are we ready to listen? We may feel that we don’t have the education to understand music fully, or conversely, we may let our musical training get in the way of experiencing music as deeply as possible. In this course, we will work to move beyond these common barriers, meeting music halfway to better understand its messages and meanings. Each week, we will focus on a small number of pieces from the Western classical music tradition. Participants will be given guided listening activities to complete prior to class meetings, with selections drawn primarily from the works of familiar composers: Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and others. Brief readings raising and addressing topical questions will accompany our listening. Questions might include: What is musical form, and what does it tell us? How can a critic shape our understanding of a given piece? Or, what role do our own expectations play in our interpretations? Course meetings will center on group discussion of our individual reactions to, and interactions with, the week’s pieces. No prior musical training is necessary or assumed, and our conversations will be carried out in plain, everyday English, free from technical jargon.

Readings   The SGL will provide readings to accompany each week’s guided listening activities. These will be drawn from the writings of Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, and others. A CD with musical selections will also be provided, and you will need a listening device (a CD player or computer) with a time readout to assist in identifying those specific parts of the music that we want to talk about.

Preparation Time   Listening is the most important part of weekly preparation for this course, as our discussions will be based on class members’ thoughts and opinions about the music. We will consider approximately fifteen minutes-worth of music every week, and you are strongly encouraged to listen to the selections and record your responses to them every day. There will be approximately twenty pages of light reading each week, but the musical works will serve as our primary texts.

Biography   Eric Elder is a candidate for the PhD in musicology and the recipient of the Bernard and Jennie Shivek Memorial Fellowship at Brandeis University. Eric has broad interests within the fields of music theory and the history of music theory. Most of his work, however, focuses on how we perceive, interact with, and find meaning in music, and Eric’s study uncovering Rudolph Reti’s application of Alfred North Whitehead’s cosmological constructs in the 1951 book, The Thematic Process in Music, has won multiple awards. Eric has previously led courses on klezmer and lectured on the music of the Harlem Renaissance at BOLLI.

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SOC3-5b-Thur3 Aging with Enthusiasm, Grace and Cheerfulness

Leader – Sandy Miller-Jacobs

Thursday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – November 1 – December 6
(No Class on November 22 for Thanksgiving Break)

Description   What are the issues we face as we transition from the world of work and stress into the world of free time and choices, from adulthood to seniors? Our class discussions will help us explore our changing status in the world as we approach what, in our youth, was referred to as the “Golden Years.” How do we move through our elder years - our next chapters - with enthusiasm, grace, and cheerfulness, especially as life throws us unexpected curves? We will examine the life stages described by sociologists and psychologists and explore a variety of dimensions associated with the aging process and ageism. Our readings will draw upon the expertise of a wide range of writers such as Gail Sheehy, Erik Erikson, Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, Carol Gilligan, William Bridges, Daniel Pink, Cowan & Thal, and Kondo. Together they will provide new light on our journeys through our own next chapters, helping us to re-craft outdated views of the “elderly” as we discuss ways to maintain our youthful inner selves.

Readings   All readings will be sent as attachments in an email at the beginning of the term.

Preparation Time   Readings will take about an hour to two hours per week.

Biography   Sandy Miller-Jacobs joined BOLLI to start the next chapter of her life – finding a variety of new interests, some as a result of writing and photography classes offered right here at BOLLI. Unable to completely disengage from her years as a college professor, this is the third course she has developed at BOLLI. While still invested in creating inclusive programs for those with disabilities, this course takes her in a new direction - juggling her inner and outer age. She looks forward to discussing ways to maintain her inner age (even though that makes her younger than her own children).

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