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Fall 2017 Course Schedule | Thursday

Fall 2017 Course Schedule | Thursday

 Click here to view a PDF version of the Fall 2017 Course Catalog. 

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

Fall 2017 courses will begin the week of September 25 and run through the week of December 4, with a break the week of November 20. There will be no courses on Columbus Day, Monday, October 9. For the Fall 2017 schedule, click here.

If needed, make up classes will be held December 11-14.

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





Time Class

Period 1
9:30 a.m. to 10:55 a.m.

Photographers and Photographs That Changed the Way We See the World
Mitch Fischman
5 Week Course - September 28 - October 26

Get a Move On: How and Why Things Move the Way They Do
Jerry Baum
5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7

Literary Conversations: Pairing Past and Present Ethnic American Writers
Ben Railton

Hidden Gems – Ins and Outs of Four Small Art Museums
Elaine Dohan
5 Week Course - September 28 - October 26
*This course will run during periods 1&2

The Truman Presidency: The Buck Stopped There
George Model

Period 2
11:10 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.

You Are There: The Framing of the US Constitution
Steve Messinger

Dare To Tell: A Memoir Writing Course
Marjorie Roemer

The Drama of the Family
Michael Kaufman

Beyond the Headlines: Exploring Contemporary Issues In Depth
Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer
5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7

12:35 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Lunch, Learning, and Social Life

Period 3
2:10 p.m. to 3:35 p.m.

From Dreams To Nightmares: Five Great African American Women Playwrights
Jyl Lynn Felman

What’s The Right Thing To Do? What Is Just?
Steven Perlmutter

Klezmer: A History
Eric Elder 
5 Week Course - September 28 - October 26

Resistance and Resilience in Politics -- and in Life
Eleanor Jaffe
5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7

ART7-5a-Thur1  Photographers and Photographs That Changed the Way We See the World        

Leader  –  Mitch Fischman

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

         5 Week Course - September 28 - October 26

Description   Photographs influence the way we see the world as well as our reactions to what we see. In this course, we will examine how the work of photography giants such as Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Paul Strand, and Brassai have influenced the way we see the world, particularly during photojournalism’s “Golden Age” between 1930-1950 (Depression, WWII). We will examine the influence of early photojournalism such as Matthew Brady’s Civil War photographs, Walker Evans’s Americana experience, and Lewis Hines and Jacob Reiss’s social documentation. We will consider the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (including his “street photography”), Gary Winogrand, Vivian Maier and others who have shaped our view of daily city life. We will examine iconic photographs such as Huynh Cong Ut’s “The Terror of War”, showing napalm bombing of a Vietnamese village, and “The Flag in the Plaza”, in which the American flag was used to attack an African-American man walking across Boston’s City Hall Plaza during the 1970 busing crisis. Optionally, class members may send their own “street photographs” to the SGL throughout the five weeks. A portion of each class will be devoted to showing these class photos. A professional photographer may attend as a guest lecturer/participant in one of the classes. The course will be a combination of lecture, discussion, voluntary reports and examination of member photographs.

Readings   Photography: The 50 Most Influential Photographers of Our Time by Chris Dickie, 2010 (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.)

The Street Photographer’s Manual by David Gibson, 2014 (Thames & Hudson) 

A handout of supplemental readings (at an additional fee) will accompany the weekly assignments.

Preparation Time  2-3 hours.

Biography    Mitch Fischman is an amateur “street photographer” who attends every possible photography exhibit and reads extensively about photographers. A Boston native, he works as an urban planning and permitting consultant to developers, universities and hospitals in securing approvals for their real estate development projects. He holds a Masters in Urban Planning from University of Pittsburgh, BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Northeastern University. He served as an Alderman/City Councilor in Newton for 12 years. In addition to this course, he has led  “The Boston Skyline: Boom or Bust” in 2014-2015 at BOLLI and in 2017 at LLAIC. He was a co-SGL at BOLLI for an earlier course on green buildings.

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SCI5-5b-Thur1  Get a Move On: How and Why Things Move the Way They Do        

Leader  –  Jerry Baum

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

         5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7 

Description   We live in a world of moving objects, from human-sized (baseballs and cars) to gigantic (cruise ships and freight trains), from incredibly fast (bullets and planets) to stationary (a salt shaker or 60 Turner Street).  Yet the motions of all these disparate objects can be described by only three laws: Newton’s Laws of Motion.  We will start with Aristotle’s concepts of motion; concepts so ‘obvious’ that, even today, they are the way most people (mistakenly) understand the world.  The course then skips two thousand years and moves on to the astronomers Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo, and Kepler (circa 1500-1600), who set the stage for the intellectual revolution of Sir Isaac Newton (c. 1700).  Sir Isaac’s revolutionary ideas about moving objects form the majority of the course, as we come to understand how his three laws describe the motions you experience every day.  We’ll conclude with a whirlwind visit to Einstein’s space- and time-bending theories of special and general relativity.  No technical background is needed, just a willingness to observe and to think about motions in the world around you.  The focus is on how Newton’s Laws of Motion explain your observations, using SGL presentations and demonstrations, and class discussions.  We’ll also see how scientists come to believe what they believe and how they test those beliefs.  And we will learn that rockets don’t move because of “action-reaction,” there is no such thing as centrifugal force, and Einstein said one physical quantity is always constant, not relative.

Readings    Some handouts (likely electronic) will be given and some online reading and video viewing will be recommended. There will be some book recommendations for optional reading, but no books will be required.

Preparation Time    Maybe an hour or two: to observe and record examples of motions as you go about your daily activities, to read handouts and online articles, and to view online videos.

Biography    Jerry Baum is a science communicator, with the ability to speak "science" to both technical and non-technical audiences.  Those audiences have included high school students, research colleagues at conferences, and museum visitors.  Jerry has a BS degree in physics, with a minor in education, and an MS also in physics.   He taught high school for ten years, to students with abilities ranging from AP-level to ‘non-academic,’ where he emphasized lecture-demonstrations and hands-on laboratory experiences.   He retired in Spring 2016 after twenty-seven years on the research staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.  While at Lincoln, he volunteered on a team that collaborated with the Museum of Science to create an exhibit kiosk and played a key role ‘translating’ between the Lincoln engineers and the Museum staff members.

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LIT11-10-Thur1  Literary Conversations: Pairing Past and Present Ethnic American Writers      

Leader  –  Ben Railton

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

Description   There’s much to be learned through pairing lesser-known writers from earlier periods with 21st century authors from similar cultures. Continuities and changes across the cultural and social worlds they reflect, the historical and political realities they engage, and the genres and styles they utilize, help us analyze ethnic and national communities, individual identities and experiences, and literary and artistic forms.  In this course we will read stories and essays by Sui Sin Far, the first published Asian American creative writer, alongside some by Gish Jen; early 20th century Native American author Zitkala-Ša alongside Sherman Alexie; a novel by the Progressive Era African American writer Charles Chesnutt in conversation with one by David Bradley; stories and essays by Gilded Age Russian Jewish American author and journalist Abraham Cahan paired with Yelena Akhtiorskaya; and the post-Civil War California writer Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton linked to Sandra Cisneros. This class will combine brief lectures by the SGL with extended discussions.

Readings   Two books: Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition (1901); and David Bradley’s The Chaneysville Incident (1981). The rest of the readings will be online (as many as possible) or handouts distributed by the SGL at the start of class.

Preparation Time   Typical week’s pages will be something like 50-100 (longer in the two weeks when we have novels in front of us).

Biography   Ben Railton is Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University. He is the author of four books, most recently History and Hope in American Literature: Models of Critical Patriotism. He also writes the daily AmericanStudier blog and contributes to the Huffington Post and many other sites.  He received a BA in History & Literature (American) from Harvard University, and a PhD in English from Temple University.

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ART8-5a-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 28 - October 26
       (Note: This class will run during course periods 1 & 2)

Description    Most of us know about the famous art museums in the Boston 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.  The tentative list includes: Addison (Andover Academy), Davis (Wellesley College), Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton) and the Rose (Brandeis University). Our first class will be a lecture on contemporary/modern art.  On each of the subsequent four weeks we will car pool to, or meet at one of the museums listed above. 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.  To the extent that we may revisit pieces from permanent art collections in one or more of the museums this is a repeat course.  However, the emphasis will be on the new exhibits in each.

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

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

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

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H&G2-10-Thur1  The Truman Presidency: The Buck Stopped There       

Leader  –  George Model

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

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

Readings   Truman by David McCullough

Preparation Time   About 65 pages per week

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

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H&G9-10-Thur2  You Are There: The Framing of the U.S. Constitution  

Leader  –  Steve Messinger

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

Description     The United States is governed by a constitution that has seen only 27 changes in 230 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 230 years to comprehend the pressures, issues and concerns they faced. We will relive the months of debates, 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 both the 27 amendments that have been ratified and the six that were submitted to the states but not approved. The class will also have the opportunity to choose by voting what they believe should be the 28th Amendment. The course will be lecture with discussions in the class. Eight class members will be requested to make short, ten minute presentations on key members of the Constitutional Convention.

Readings   Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowen

Preparation Time   Weekly preparation should be 45 minutes to 1 hour

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

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WRI2-10-Thur2  Dare To Tell: A Memoir Writing Course      

Leader  –  Marjorie Roemer

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

Description   Another benefit that comes with writing life stories is how composing your memories can make you more attentive and intentional in the way you live your life – finding the whimsical, the bizarre, the poetic and the profound in all that you do.  - Pamela Des Barres

This will be my twelfth time teaching this course on memoir writing! The design of the course is simple. We all commit to writing each week and to bringing about 500 words to share at each meeting. I offer prompts, which can be used, ignored, or reshaped.  They are only suggestions, sometimes a new way to shape the materials you are working with. They try to focus us on the concrete, the dramatized, the immediate.  Most of this semester’s prompts will come from Pamela Des Barres’ book Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin’ Memoir. Our work together is to encourage and to support the efforts of each member of the group.  To that end, our response to writing is always based on listening generously, trying to understand what is being said, or what is almost said in the writing.  Because our work rests on coherence and trust, regular attendance is necessary.  You don’t have to be a skilled writer to participate. You just have to be willing to explore and to be supportive of others’ explorations.  Participants’ comments about

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WRI2-10-Thur2  Dare To Tell: A Memoir Writing Course      

Leader  –  Marjorie Roemer

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

Description   Another benefit that comes with writing life stories is how composing your memories can make you more attentive and intentional in the way you live your life – finding the whimsical, the bizarre, the poetic and the profound in all that you do.  - Pamela Des Barres

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

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

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

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

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MISC1-5b-Thur2  Beyond the Headlines:  Exploring Contemporary Issues In Depth  

Leader  –  Emily Ostrower & Beth Mazer

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

         5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7 

Description     Events here at home and around the world have helped to expose long simmering geo-political tectonic fault lines.  The forces that have been unleashed are powerful not only domestically but also internationally and have profound implications for our lives.  Taking our cue from major trending news stories, this course will explore one emerging contemporary issue each week.  Topics will be drawn from the areas of politics, domestic policy, and foreign affairs, as well as science, medicine, and technology.  Through active discussion each week we will explore one current issue, using a few interesting articles written by experts on the topic from a range of publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, New York Review of Books, and newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post.  Key questions will be provided along with the articles to organize and focus our discussion.  The SGLs will offer additional background information and serve as facilitators as each topic is explored. 

Readings    Since the topics will be guided by current news, articles will be provided electronically within 8 to 10 days of the class.

Preparation Time     Class participants are expected to read the articles each week and consider the key questions in advance of class discussion. Articles can vary in size from brief to more extensive.  Collectively weekly preparation time should take between 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Biography    Emily, who is retired from the Newton Public Schools as an elementary principal, enjoys traveling around the world, loves history and the social sciences, and is an inveterate news and politics junkie.  This course has provided an exciting outlet for her own immersion in the issues of the day and for ongoing fun discussions with Beth in preparation for the stimulating discussions at each class.

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

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LIT14-10-Thur2  The Drama of the Family 

Leader  –  Michael Kaufman

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

Description    Although the form and function of the family has changed over the centuries it has always been a unit of protection. Only since the 19th century has it become the nuclear institution we know, designed to be an effective economic, socializing and educational arena to support the procreation and nurturing of its offspring. This conventional idealized view of family life has produced rigid traditions and roles confining woman to her place, and man in his, producing 2.5 children living in picket-fenced homes in suburbia. While that pattern of the family has changed, what hasn’t is the reality that the family, no matter how constituted, is perhaps the most complex and mysterious of all our institutions. One commentator has called the family home “the back stage area,” an apt theatrical phrase that captures the inherent drama of family life. This discussion class will use several significant plays to examine the family in its historical and contemporary contexts.

Readings    Readings for the course are:  Sophocles, Oedipus; Shakespeare, Hamlet; Ibsen, Ghosts and Hedda Gabler; Miller, Death of a Salesman; O’Neill, Long Days Journey; Brecht, Caucasian Chalk Circle; Williams, The Glass Menagerie; Pinter, The Homecoming

Preparation Time  2 to 3 hours a week

Biography    Michael Kaufman has a background in literature and has taught a variety of courses in many different contexts. In addition to traditional college programs he has used literary texts to promote conversations among professionals and business people. For more than ten years he has been involved in life-long learning programs in the area.

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LIT15-10-Thur3  From Dreams To Nightmares:  Five Great African American Women Playwrights        

Leader  –  Jyl Lynn Felman

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

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

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

Note:  The total cost of purchasing these books may exceed the BOLLI preferred maximum of $45.  Library books are readily available for some of the books.

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

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

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SOC4-10-Thur3  What’s The Right Thing To Do? What Is Just?    

Leader  –  Steven Perlmutter

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

Description    This course virtually brings BOLLI lifelong learners into Professor Michael Sandel’s Justice class in Sanders Theater at Harvard University to consider the elusive concept of what is just. Each week, we  will watch one of Professor Sandel’s lectures. We will then discuss and exchange ideas about the notion of justice presented during the week’s lecture.  The course is reputed to be one of Harvard’s most popular classes with nearly 1000 students taking it at a time. It is about what Justice is, or what is the right thing to do, concepts about which the world has been disagreeing for thousands of years. What makes the course so interesting to so many is that Professor Sandel, a Brandeis graduate, uses contemporary issues as the vehicle for drawing out and challenging our views on justice. Topics include, but are not limited to, affirmative action, income distribution, assisted suicide, surrogacy, same sex marriage, CEO pay, the role of markets, Bill Clinton’s tryst with Monica, Aristotle’s defense of slavery, the Bulger brothers, debates about abortion and stem cells, debates about human rights and property rights.  Although Professor Sandel draws upon the works of the great thinkers (Aristotle, Bentham, Mill, Locke, Nozick, Kant,  Rawls and others) what makes the course so exciting and riveting is that it brings lifelong learners into the Harvard classroom to observe, think about and discuss the dynamic interaction between Professor Sandel and his students. It is like going back to college to be taught by a master teacher. This course was given in the Spring 2017.

Readings    Sandel, Justice, What Is the Right Thing To Do? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009). There is optional on-line reading.

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

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

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MUS2-5a-Thur3  Klezmer: A History  

Leader  –  Eric Elder

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

         5 Week Course - September 28 - October 26 

Description    In this five-week course, we will explore the history of klezmer. We will begin in the middle of things, so to speak, by constructing a model of klezmer as it existed in the Jewish communities of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe. Going back to the Medieval Period, we will examine some possible musical antecedents that have been suggested by various scholars, comparing these to our Eastern European model. We will then turn to the evolution of klezmer in twentieth- and twenty-first-century America. Throughout, we will consider the music and its development in terms of the cultural significance it has held for the Jews and non-Jews who made and enjoyed it, and for those who continue to do so today. This will lead us to reconsider carefully much of the received wisdom—the common knowledge—that has informed our understanding of the complicated history of the global phenomenon that we call klezmer.

Readings    Primary readings will be taken from Henry Sapoznik, Klezmer! Jewish Music from Old World to Our World, 2nd ed. (New York: Schirmer, 2006). ISBN: 0-8256-7324-0. The first edition (1999) will also serve.

Supplementary readings will be taken from the book, distributed in class, or occasionally provided as PDF files via email.

Preparation Time     Weekly primary readings will be approximately 40 pages long. Supplementary readings will vary in length, but they are certainly not required for adequate class preparation.

Consistent, independent listening is the most important component of preparation. Class members are encouraged to find twenty minutes each day for listening to suggested selections and other related music.

Biography   Eric Elder is currently pursuing the PhD in Musicology at Brandeis University. A music theorist and historian, his historical research focuses on Jewish music theorists in fin-de-siècle Vienna and the role their work played in establishing music theory as a discipline in mid-century America. Eric has presented papers at meetings of the American Musicological Society–New England, the New England Conference of Music Theorists, and numerous graduate student conferences. He holds an MFA in Musicology from Brandeis, an MA in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University, and a BM in Jazz and Commercial Music from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

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H&G10-5b-Thur3  Resistance and Resilience in Politics -- and in Life        

Leader  –  Eleanor Jaffe

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

         5 Week Course - November 2 - December 7 

Description     If anxiety is the belief that terrible things MIGHT happen, then millions of Americans share this anxiety about government and civil society under the Trump Administration.  Widespread anxiety is not simply a psychiatric condition, it is now a political condition (New York Times Magazine, 4/23/17).  We older Americans, in particular, fear that cherished democratic legacies may be weakened or destroyed, leaving a very different world to our children and grandchildren. In this class, we will examine three issues under historical and current lenses to see their evolution in both intent and practice over time to the present. These issues may be immigration, clean air and water (environment), and freedom of the press. Topics may change based on current issues. We will consider how to apply lessons from past tyrannies of the 20th century (fascism and communism) to confront present challenges.  A critical guide will be “On Tyranny” by Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian.  What kinds of activism make sense to citizens, especially to us older ones?

Readings “On Tyranny” - Timothy Snyder, $7.99

“The Plot Against America” - Philip Roth, paper back

Relevant articles from current periodicals, either reprints or on-line

Preparation Time     Up to 2 hours per class meeting.  SGL recommends the reading of “The Plot Against America,” prior to the first class meeting.

Biography  Eleanor Jaffe’s career progressed from  a  high schoolteacher of English in NYC to guidance counselor, to social worker and psychotherapist.  She has been an SGL 8 times, 4 of those times focusing on aspects of immigration; the others, on aging issues.  She writes a blog, “Senior Moments” in the BOLLI Bulletin. Eleanor has been a lifelong liberal democrat, but was an activist only once:  in 1968, she was the McKinley County coordinator for the “ McCarthy for President” campaign,  successfully led her delegation to the New Mexico State Democratic Convention, and was appointed a delegate to the bloody 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.  She made a difference in 1968.  She asks, Can we make a difference in 2017?

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