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Fall 2018 Course Schedule | Wednesday

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.






Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

Muscles and Movement
Location: Gosman Sports and Convocation Center
Kat Page


Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

Current Events (Section One)
Lois Sockol

The Remarkable Roosevelts: Franklin, Eleanor and World War II
Fran Feldman

Was the Civil War Inevitable?
Steve Messinger

The Advent of American Theater: The Dean and His Disciples
Lois Ziegelman

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch, Learning, and Social Life

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Steel: The Metal That Made the Modern World
Rick Gander
5 Week Course - September 26 - October 24

Color Me White: The Literature of Passing
Laurel Brody

The Weight of This Sad Time: Shakespeare’s Tragic Vision
Michael Kaufman

En-LIGHT-enment: An Introduction to the Behavior of Light
Jerry Baum
5 Week Course – October 31 – December 5

China and the United States: Can We Avoid War? Foreign Policies on a Collision Course
Fred Kobrick

Gym1-10-Wed1   Muscles and Movement                                               

Leader –  Kat Page

Wednesday – Course Period 1 – 9:45am - 10:30am

Location    Gosman Sports and Convocation Center

There will be a $30 charge ($3 per class) to BOLLI Members. 

Registration for Muscles & Movement runs from July 16 through August 3. Spaces in the fitness course will be assigned by lottery and do not impact your study group assignments. 

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

Biography   Kat has been the Fitness Coordinator at Brandeis for five years and loves her job! She is an avid fitness enthusiast, participating in marathon running, yoga, and Crossfit. Kat has a Masters in Exercise Science from Springfield College. When she is not working out, she loves going out to eat, being out in nature, doing crafts and being around kids.

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CE1-10-Wed2 Current Events (Section One)

Leader – Lois Sockol

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

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

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

Preparation Time   1 to 2 hours 

Biography   Lois Sockol taught children and adults for 25 years. Her undergraduate degree is from Boston University with a masters from Lesley College. The bulk of Lois’ professional years were spent in the Newton Public Schools where she taught children and was a consultant to teachers. She was an educational consultant to schools throughout New England. After retirement, Lois again became a student, and a writer of short stories. Four of her short stories have been published: one in a literary journal, and three 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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H&G11-10-Wed2 The Remarkable Roosevelts: Franklin, Eleanor and World War II

Leader – Fran Feldman

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

Description   The book for the course, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, focuses our attention on the Roosevelt White House during the long and extremely difficult years of World War II. In her carefully researched and clearly written book, the author explains how the White House functioned, the significant role played by the First Lady, the overwhelming challenges facing the Administration and, indeed, the country during the war, and the unique character traits and talents FDR and his wife brought to the presidency. We will examine not only the text but also other critical issues of the day, such as isolationism, Japanese internment, qualities of presidential leadership, racism, women in the workplace, the failure to save European Jewry, and the Manhattan Project. Classes will be conducted by discussion with no lectures. Other books and resources, recordings, and videos depicting the events of the period will enhance the classroom experience. Study group members are strongly encouraged to actively participate in class and to offer reports on relevant topics based on their own research and reading. This course was last given in Fall 2016.

Readings   Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time

Preparation Time   2 to 3 hours a week

Biography   Long interested in government and history, Fran Feldman majored in government at Smith College, received a Master of Arts in Teaching (in history) from Yale, and taught social studies in middle school. Later, in California, she embarked on a second career as an editor at Sunset Books. After returning home to the Boston area, she worked as an administrator and financial trainer in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. Her passions include golf, traveling, and volunteer work. Previously at BOLLI she taught “Allies and Adversaries,” “The Reluctant Ally,” and “A Life of Purpose in 20th-Century Russia.”


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H&G7-10-Wed2 Was the Civil War Inevitable?

Leader – Steve Messinger

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

Description   One hundred fifty years ago, the United States fought the costliest war in its history - brother against brother, North against South. The hope and promise of the Founding Fathers shattered. Did it have to be? If there were polling organizations in 1840, only twenty years before the war began, a significant majority of Americans, North and South, would not have anticipated a civil war. What happened? Was it really inevitable? While many historians claim the wheels were set in motion with the United States Constitution, a branch of historians claim that better, smarter, less petty politicians could have prevented it. We will look at the causes: sectionalism, the tariff, industrialization versus single crop agriculture, honor, and of course, slavery. It is as questionable for the North to say it was all about slavery as it is questionable for the South to say it was all about states’ rights. Different societies developed in the United States over four score and seven years. Were they so incompatible that only war could recreate a United States of America? The course starts with the U.S. Constitution and its protection of slavery and concludes when Lincoln calls up the states’ militia to confront the rebellion in the South. This course is not about the war itself but why it happened and whether it had to happen. The class will be a combination of presentation and discussion. Volunteers will be encouraged to make class presentations.

Readings   The Causes of the Civil War, Paul Calore

Preparation Time   Weekly reading ranges from 11 to 41 pages

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 tenth opportunity to be an SGL.

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LIT16-10-Wed2 The Advent of American Theater: The Dean and His Disciples

Leader – Lois Ziegelman

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

Description   Until the early 20th century American theater could best be described as an oxymoron; in other words, there had been no significant body of theatrical works in America. Perhaps the only memorable performance took place on April 14, 1865 at Ford’s Theater; and probably most people can’t 32
even recall the name of the play (Our American Cousin). Then, in 1915 Eugene O’Neill arrived on the scene with a series of intensely absorbing plays. Inspired by O’Neill’s success, a number of brilliant playwrights emerged and American theater, no longer an oxymoron, attained world recognition. An opportunity will be provided for voluntary reading aloud of scenes from the plays by the “thespians” among us. This course will be mostly lecture with guided discussion.

Readings   Eugene O’Neill – Desire Under the Elms
Arthur Miller – All My Sons
Tennessee Williams – A Streetcar Named Desire
Susan Glaspell – Trifles
Thornton Wilder – The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden
Note: The SGL will copy and distribute the Wilder play.

Preparation Time   2 hours

Biography   Lois Ziegelman, PhD Brandeis, is a Professor Emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught world literature and drama for thirty-one years. She is the recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has studied, taught and performed works ranging from classical antiquity through the 20th century

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H&G3-5a-Wed3 Steel: The Metal That Made the Modern World

Leader – Rick Gander

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 26 – October 24

Description   Steel is the metal that built the modern world. When the process for making steel was standardized 160 years ago, steel began to flow from furnaces in increasing amounts at low cost. It was used to build the factories, railroads, ships, skyscrapers, bridges and weapons that made America and other Great Powers more powerful. Through our readings, videos, lectures and discussions, we will follow the growth and change in the modern steel industry from its mid-19th century birth through the present day. We will study the industry's technologies, processes, markets, competitive environment and political influences. We will address what has happened to the American steel industry since the 1980s and where it is heading today and the role of steel in the American economy and international trade.

Readings   We will read from Steel - From Mine to Mill, The Metal That Made America, by Brooke C. Stoddard, available from Amazon in hardback (with many colorful illustrations) or Kindle format, and from articles sent as PDFs or weblinks.

Preparation Time   Up to 50 pages of reading

Biography   Rick Gander studied economics, politics and metallurgy at MIT and business at Wharton. He worked as a plant metallurgist at Lukens Steel and in commercial research at Inland Steel, then as a consultant in steel, metals and mining at Arthur D. Little in Cambridge and Hatch Associates in Mississauga, Ontario. He has visited and worked at numerous steel mills, mines and raw materials facilities and steel consuming factories in the US, Canada and 15 other countries.

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LIT2-10-Wed3 Color Me White: The Literature of Passing

Leader – Laurel Brody

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

Description   There is nothing more American than expressing dissent. Social injustice appears throughout American literature. This SGL has offered a series of courses addressing social injustice in American literature and this course is no different. Together, we will read, examine and question both fiction and non-fiction on the issue of “passing.” “Passing” refers to African Americans passing as white. Does being white come with automatic privilege? Does being African American come with automatic social issues? What have we done to cause such a dramatic and life altering move? Would you change your racial identification if given the opportunity? And finally, where do shame and blame lie, if at all? This course will be mostly discussion with some SGL lecture.

Readings   The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chestnut ISBN 0-14-018685-9 (Penguin)
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson ISBN 978-0-486-28512-2 (Dover)
Passing by Nella Larsen (whichever one you get)
Black No More by William Schuyler ISBN: 978-1-61427-784
One Drop by Bliss Broyard…do NOT buy. SGL will copy important sections.
There will be a charge for a Xeroxed packet of material which will include articles and a poem. Not to exceed more than $20.00

Preparation Time   One hour

Biography   Laurel Brody has taught a series of courses at lifelong learning institutes, all having to do with voices of social injustice. These includes Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Twain and Native American Lit. It is a passion for her. Her career as a teacher of English has included stints at inner-city high schools and at universities. As a teacher of teachers, she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College. And she can tap dance!


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LIT10-10-Wed3 The Weight of This Sad Time: Shakespeare’s Tragic Vision

Leader – Michael Kaufman

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

Description   The time may have been “out of joint” in Hamlet’s Denmark, but also in Shakespeare’s London, and more than 400 years later in our own time. This course will examine a remarkable development in Shakespeare’s art: his deepening awareness of the profound complexities of human existence and the fundamental disjunctions at the heart of our experience. Hamlet, for example, begins as a perplexing mystery, expands into a plot for revenge, only to become in Shakespeare’s hands an individual’s confrontation with human destiny. We will read and then discuss Hamlet, Othello and King Lear focusing on Shakespeare’s evolving idea of tragedy, his deepening conception of character and his continuing mastery of dramatic stagecraft. The course will be conducted as an interactive seminar. Participants are encouraged to raise any issue of interest (with the exception of “Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays?”) The first class will be devoted to background material including the theatre, the state of the English language, and the political and social climate at the beginning of the 17th century. Reading Hamlet before the first class is advisable.

Readings   Any edition of the three plays

Preparation Time   About 3 hours a week

Biography   Michael Kaufman graduated with a BS, literally and figuratively, and then went on to get a PhD. (Neither his mother nor mother-in-law considered this the right sort of doctor.) He has taught literature in a variety of settings, has offered several courses at BOLLI and has a long-standing interest in Shakespeare’s plays.

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SCI1-5b-Wed3 En-LIGHT-enment: An Introduction to the Behavior of Light

Leader – Jerry Baum

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – October 31 – December 5
(No Class on November 22 for Thanksgiving Break)

Description   What is light? A wave? A particle? Both? Neither? Actually, it depends on the question you ask of light; and, no, that’s not being facetious. To learn about light, it’s more productive to ask how it behaves in particular situations. This course will examine the behavior of light using as a framework the creation of satellite images of the earth. We’ll look at how light is produced, how it interacts with and is transformed by earth’s atmosphere, land, and water surfaces, and how it is captured by cameras on satellites. Light phenomena we’ll study include transmission, absorption, scattering, reflection, refraction, emission, and the photoelectric effect. You’ll learn that everyone sees their own personal rainbow, why the sky is blue and the grass is green, and that Einstein won his Nobel prize for his theory related to light, not relativity. The course will also look at light that you cannot see (pun intended). And we’ll play “Guess the Land Mass Game”: looking at satellite images of places on Earth, see if you can identify those locations. No technical background is necessary, just a willingness to observe how light behaves in the world around you. Simple, at-home experiments with light will be assigned and used to facilitate class discussions. We’ll also see how scientists come to believe what they believe and how they test those beliefs.

Readings   Some ‘light’ readings online and some online video viewing will be recommended.

Preparation Time   Up to an hour to read online articles, to view online videos, and to perform simple, at-home experiments. Some experiment materials will be provided by the SGL and some materials are found around the house; e.g. a drinking glass, flashlight, aluminum foil.

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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H&G6-10-Wed3 China and the United States: Can We Avoid War? Foreign Policies on a Collision Course

Leader – Fred Kobrick

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

Description   “Let China sleep; when she wakes, she will shake the world.” Napoleon, 1817. China has woken, and she is shaking the world with militant behavior, and words. A troubled but rising China, is threatening peace in its region, just the way peace was threatened for several years before WWI began, and also for several years leading up to the Korean War. Yet then, as now, disbelief and or complacency dominated, dismissing the road to war. Foreign policy experts warn that once again, peace is at risk. A nation's foreign relations goals are driven mainly by national security issues and economic ambitions. Quite often, they are in conflict between nations and require expert diplomacy and compromises. China and the US are in conflict on major issues, yet are not using compromise and expert diplomacy—they are using wars of words, and escalating into trade conflicts. Trade wars can escalate into shooting wars, typically by accident. With high tensions, one of 12 countries could sink another’s patrol boat, and escalation is quick. China states that it is her time to rule the South China Sea (SCS) and surrounding areas, and America must get out of “her” backyard. Making aggressive moves against disputed islands China has threatened a number of US allies in the area, and the US is pushing back. Both sides are building greater military presence in the SCS. We will use foreign policy expertise through books and articles to analyze what can happen between our two countries.

Readings   Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline by Gideon Rachman
Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power, by Howard W. French

Preparation Time   56 pages, 2 hours

Biography   Fred Kobrick managed one of the top five mutual funds in the country for 15 years. He has a BA in Economics from Boston University and a MBA in Finance from Harvard. Fred has led a number of BOLLI classes, including Great Companies, and Cotton, Capitalism, and Globalization, and an earlier, different course on China’s foreign policy. He has taught several graduate programs at Boston University on diverse topics such as finance, economics, the global history of slavery, and additional subjects from a book he has authored.


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