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Fall 2021 Course Schedule

Most Fall courses will take place online, however those marked in person will take place at 60 Turner Street.

Click here to view a PDF version of the Fall 2021 Course Catalog. 

Click here to sort the course list by day of the week, class period, topic or duration.

Fall 2021 courses will begin the week of September 20 and run through the week of November 29, with no class October 11 or November 23-25. 5a courses will begin the week of September 20 and end the week of October 19 for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday classes, and end October 25 for Monday courses. 5b courses will begin the week of October 25 for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday courses, and will begin November 1 for Monday classes. All 5b courses will end the week of November 29. Click here for the fall 2021 schedule.

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

All times refer to the Eastern Time Zone.


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

Underscoring with Jazz: An Exploration of Jazz, Film, and the Evolving Media of American Entertainment
James Heazlewood-Dale
In Person On Monday, and over Zoom on Wednesday

 
Whodunit? International Mysteries-Part 2 
Marilyn Brooks

 
Economics in Our Daily Lives: 5 Economic Concepts Applied to Our 21st Century World
Howard Barnstone
5 week course - November 1 - November 29


A History of the Sonnet from Petrarch to Terrance Hayes
Ryan Hitchcock


Taking the Stage with Athol Fugard
Sue Wurster
5 week course - September 20 - October 25

Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

The Aeneid
Len Aberbach


The Shirt Off Your Back: The History and Cultural Meaning of Textiles
Sandy Bornstein


Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy: the United States, Canada, China, and Israel
Scott McKnight


Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Traditional Wedding to the Yiddish Theatre
Hankus Netsky
In Person
5 week course - September 20 - October 25
(No Class October 11)


Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Concert Hall to the Hit Parade
Hankus Netsky
In Person
5 week course - November 1 - November 29


Seeing Photographs: Critiquing the Art of the Camera
Michael Sandman
5 week course - November 1 - November 29


The Land Down Under: A Search for Identity in Australian Films
Kate Seideman
5 week course - September 20 - October 25
(No Class October 11)

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Break

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Revelations and Retrospective Reassessments in Proust's The Fugitive
Hollie Harder
5 week course - September 20 - October 25
(No Class October 11)

 

Our Radical Foundations: These Truths, the Democratic Ideal, and Radicalism in American Political History
Bridget Kelleher
In Person 


Can we Avoid Climate Disaster?
Carl Lazarus

 

Race and Reunion: The American Civil War and the Mythology of the ‘Lost Cause’
Rachel Stephens 


The Making of Modern China, 1900 to the Present
Joey Low
5 week course - November 1- November 29


Augmented Intelligence in the Workplace: Are Humans Redundant or Essential?
Henry Morris
5 week course - November 1- November 29


MUS2-10-MonWed1  Underscoring with Jazz: An Exploration of Jazz, Film, and the Evolving Media of American Entertainment

Study Group Leader (SGL) – James Heazlewood-Dale

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

This course will meet in person in the Gathering Space at 60 Turner Street, Waltham on Mondays and online on Wednesdays. Enrollment in this course will be approximately 40.

Description   This 10-week course will investigate the interaction between the media of jazz music and cinema. These two great American art forms run parallel in their evolution throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. When these popular entertainment media intersect, jazz transcends beyond the dance halls, concert halls, clubs, and late-night jam sessions to transport the viewer into the world of the film. Participants will develop an understanding of how film music is an essential part of immersing the viewer into the narrative, characters, locations, time, and drama of the motion picture.

     Directors and composers throughout moving picture history have utilized jazz styles in a wide variety of cinematic contexts. This stylistic diversity is reflected in the choice of films we will be exploring, ranging from Louis Malle's Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (1958) to Clint Eastwood's acclaimed biopic, Bird (1988). By looking at the works of composers such as Duke Ellington, Elmer Bernstein, John Lewis, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, this course aims to address how jazz music can enhance the cinematic experience. No prior knowledge of musical theory or film studies is required. 

NOTE: This course will meet twice a week – one session devoted to jazz styles and jazz composers, one session devoted to a discussion of the film. This course is considered a full BOLLI course load.  If you get this course in the lottery, you will not get any other course. You may be able to get a “third course” if there is space after the lottery.   

Readings   The SGL will send weekly emails containing a link to the film, the CD release of the soundtrack (when applicable), and an assigned reading in PDF format. Participants are encouraged to listen to the CD release prior to watching the film in order to familiarize themselves with the musical themes. 

Preparation Time   40 minutes for the reading and roughly two hours for the film

Biography   Growing up in Australia, James discovered a passion for playing jazz double bass.  After receiving first-class honors in jazz performance at the Sydney Conservatory, he relocated to Boston to study music performance at Berklee School of Music and New England Conservatory on full scholarships. James is currently a PhD candidate at Brandeis University in musicology, focusing on the relationship between jazz and multimedia. James has been an SGL for numerous BOLLI courses, including All That Jazz, The Beatles, and Protest Music of the 1960s.      

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LIT5-10-Mon1  Whodunit?: International Mysteries-Part 2

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Marilyn Brooks

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

Description   What makes murder mysteries so satisfying to readers?  There are many different types of mysteries including the thriller, the detective story, the cozy, the police procedural, and the spy novel, and we will discuss them all.  What is most important to us—the characters, the plots, the setting?  Some of us seek out books of only one type, while others favor certain kinds of characters.  How do the differences in geography and culture impact our perceptions?  In this world-wide tour that takes us to mysteries in the Falkland Islands, France, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, South Africa, and the United States, we will explore the similarities and differences between the various countries we are visiting and ours.  On this journey, we may think of ourselves as non-judgmental, or we may become aware of certain prejudices and stereotypes that we may bring with us when we read a novel in a place where we don’t live.  Interviews on YouTube will enable us to see many of the authors and think about whether they look/talk/present themselves as we would expect.  While sharing our viewpoints, we can hopefully introduce others to new writers and ideas.  Acting in a way as investigators, we will examine the clues as to what makes a mystery worth reading.  Then, as we meet together in the “library,” perhaps we can come to an answer that satisfies us all. 

     Note: the course is similar to a course by the same name taught in spring 2021, but covers different books. It is not necessary to have completed Part 1 in the spring to enroll in Part 2.  

Readings   We will read a book a week for eight weeks, starting with the second class and continuing through the ninth.  Any edition is fine—hardcover, paperback, Kindle, or other ebook sources.  Physical copies are available at libraries and new and used books sites such as Amazon and Thriftbooks. The print copies will range from 300-375 pages each.

Death in a Strange Country (Italy) – Donna Leon

Little Black Lies (Falkland Islands) – Sharon Bolton

The Saturday Morning Murder (Israel) – Batya Gur

Bruno, Chief of Police (France) – Martin Walker

The Mist (Iceland) – Ragnar Jónasson

Smokescreen (South Africa) – Dick Francis

A Dangerous Crossing (Greece) – Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Kind Worth Killing (United States) – Peter Swanson

Preparation Time   Participants should plan to spend 3-4 hours reading each book.  

Biography   Marilyn Brooks has been a devoted reader since her elementary school years when she discovered Nancy Drew.  She reads three or four mysteries a week to search out the best books for her classes and her blog.  She admires police detectives, private investigators, and amateur sleuths equally.  She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America.  Her blog, marilynsmysteryreads.com, has appeared weekly since 2010.  Some of her posts have been reprinted in the BOLLI Banner under the title Mystery Maven, and she is a frequent contributor to the Mainely Murders Newsletter.  Marilyn has taught eight previous Whodunit? courses.   

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 ECON1-5b-Mon1 Economics in Our Daily Lives: 5 Economic Concepts Applied to Our 21st Century World

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Howard Barnstone

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

5 week course - November 1- November 29

Description:   Our world today is shaped by income inequality, globalization, and economic booms and busts. How do we make sense of these major influences in our daily lives? This five-week course will explore five core economic concepts, and apply them to issues we are exposed to daily that profoundly shape our quality of life.  Each class will be dedicated to a specific economic concept. There will be an overview of the subject followed by an open discussion of how the economic issue manifests itself in our daily lives. Topics will include: the business cycle – capitalism vs. democracy; Marxian economics– capital and labor; inflation –supply and demand; Federal Reserve – how it works; wealth inequality- John Maynard Keynes, government transfer systems.  Each class will be dedicated to one of these topics. This course will provide you with the basic understanding of key economic concepts that drive our world economy and profoundly affect our society today.

Readings   All materials will be posted online for each class.

Preparation Time   Participants should plan to spend 30-45 minutes prepping per each class.

Biography   Howard Barnstone, who holds an MBA from Northeastern University, spent 25 years in the financial information technology business where he held senior positions in the areas of: strategic planning; mergers and acquisitions; and strategic partnerships. He has applied these skills in pro bono consulting activities for several not-for-profit organizations and is a past member of Newton’s Economic Development Commission. In addition, he has lately focused upon his lifelong interest in furniture making.

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 LIT9-10-Mon1  A History of the Sonnet from Petrarch to Terrance Hayes

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Ryan Hitchcock

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

Description   Can a history of poetry be told through the history of a single poetic form? In this course, we will survey a history of the sonnet, and by doing so we will encounter a lyric tradition that extends from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary letters in which the sonnet and the sonnet sequence has become one of the most paradigmatic, ubiquitous, and flexible modes of poetic expression. Most famously associated with love poetry, the sonnet has adapted itself to various concerns, from the erotic, to the political, to the theological. Likewise, while the sonnet is narrowly defined as a 14-line poem with specific meters and rhyme schemes, it has lent itself to enormous formal innovation from the Petrarchan to the Shakespearean to the curtal sonnet and beyond. In this class we will examine both traditional and transgressive sonnet forms, while exploring three major thematic concerns of the sonnet sequence: as love poetry, as devotional poetry, and as a meditation on the power and practice of poetry itself. Our readings may include poems by Petrarch, Wyatt, Surrey, Anne Locke, Shakespeare, John Donne, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rilke, Mallarme, John Berryman, Adrienne Rich, and Terrance Hayes. This course is meant to be both accessible to the “poetically un-initiated” as well as stimulating for the “poetically experienced” alike. Our primary project will be to read and reflect on powerful poems together as a group of collaborative, creative, and inquisitive readers. 

Readings   The Poetry of Petrarch translated by David Young.  Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 978-0374529611.

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes.  Published by Penguin, ISBN 978-0143133186.

Both texts are available in paperback. Additional readings will be made available as pdfs.

Preparation Time   Class members should plan to spend around 3 hours a week reading poetry for this course. 

Biography   Ryan Hitchcock is a doctoral student in the English department at Brandeis, and focuses on literary modernism with an emphasis on poetry. He has previously led courses at BOLLI on literature and place, modern poetry, the novels of Vladimir Nabokov, and on modernist fiction.

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LIT14-5a-Mon1   Taking the Stage with Athol Fugard

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Sue Wurster

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

5 week course - September 20 - October 25

(No class October 11)

Description   In this course focused on dramatic literature, we will look at the life and work of playwright, novelist, actor, and director Athol Fugard.  Fugard is considered to be South Africa’s greatest playwright and, in 1985, was acclaimed “the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world” by Time Magazine.  Best known for his political dramas opposing the system of apartheid, he has written over thirty plays, a wealth of work spanning a wide range of issues, ideas, and individuals reflecting the spectrum of life in his country.  He has received numerous honors and awards, including a 2011 Tony Award for lifetime achievement.  In this course, we will look at the period of apartheid in South Africa and will read and discuss five of Fugard's works:  A Lesson from Aloes; Master Harold and the Boys; The Road to Mecca; My Children, My Africa; and Playland. The course will include lecture/presentation, discussion, and reading key scenes aloud as a group.  

Readings    The Samuel French acting edition of A Lesson from Aloes and Master Harold and the Boys are available from ConcordTheatricals.com. Additional reading/viewing materials will be available on the course Google Site.

Preparation Time   Approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours of reading/viewing per week.

Biography   Sue Wurster has B.S./M.A. degrees in Theatre & Communications from Ohio University, taught at St. Cloud State University (MN), Elizabeth Seton College (NY), the Chapin and Calhoun schools (NYC), and Nashoba Brooks School (Concord).  She received fellowships in speech, theatre, and writing from Northwestern, NYC’s New Actors’ Workshop, Bank Street College, Harvard, and Columbia. Sue served on the executive board of the American Alliance for Theatre in Education, as director of the New York State Forensic 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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LIT1-10-Mon2 The Aeneid 

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Len Aberbach

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

10  week course - September 20 - Nov 29

(No class October 11)

Description   This course, the third in a three-semester sequence, will cover Virgil’s Aeneid. This epic poem connects the Rome of Augustus to the distant mythic past of the devastated Troy through Aeneas, a Trojan prince, who is compelled by the Gods to leave the dying city and found a new people and nation. The Aeneid was immediately accepted as the foundational myth of Rome and the Roman people. This epic will be read very closely, focusing on the most important details and story lines, as well as on a tantalizing array of issues that Virgil leaves us to puzzle over.  Continuous comparisons and references will be made to the Iliad and Odyssey, as Virgil, in numerous ways, is paying homage to Homer and his extraordinary epics. The value of reading these epics in sequence is that they build on one another while discovering characters, whose passions, flaws, nobility, and frailties exemplify a humanity that we can readily relate to today. 

     Whether you are completely new to the Aeneid or have read it in high school or college, your understanding and appreciation will be profoundly greater as a mature reader. Through our study of the poem we will explore the values and morals of the society, the complex relationships between humans and their Gods, and the nature of interpersonal relationships in a world frequently dominated by war. 

Readings   The Aeneid, Virgil, translated by Robert Fagles, Viking Press ISBN 0670038032. This translation is mandatory for the study group, as study questions refer to lines from this translation. 

Preparation Time   3-4 hours each week to read the assigned text and think about the study questions. 

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

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H&G4-10-Mon2  The Shirt Off Your Back: The History and Cultural Meaning of Textiles

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Sandy Bornstein

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

10  week course - September 20 - Nov 29

(No class October 11)

Description   Why was purple reserved for royalty?  Did you know that silk was used as money?  And that the secrets of how to make it were snuck out of China by industrial espionage?  That the Industrial Revolution came about because we needed better ways to manufacture cotton?  Or that the modern fashion industry is one of the world’s worst polluters? 

     Anything made of fibers woven together is a textile.  This includes clothing and carpets of course, but also sails, backpacks, ropes, yurts, and even baskets and paper.  The making of textiles is the original industry in all cultures from prehistoric times onward.  Both the methods and the production traditionally belonged to women.  We will look at what textiles are made of, how they are produced, and what they mean in each culture.  They are responsible for the development of trade networks, business practices, Pasteur’s germ theory of disease, computers, conquest and competition, and the spread of religions and technologies.  Who knew your camel needs knee covers?

Readings   The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel  (Basic Books, 2021)

Internet articles & YouTube videos which SGL will send each week. 

Preparation Time   40-50 pages per week, plus articles…up to 2 hours. 

Biography   Sandy Bornstein has always been interested in how things work, and who invented them, perhaps because her father was a mechanical engineer.  So the recent publication of a new book on textiles piqued her curiosity and generated the idea for this course.  In her professional life Sandy was Cantorial Soloist and choir director at Temple Isaiah in Lexington for 20 years.  She was also a professional soprano appearing in oratorio and recital performances throughout New England and taught voice for 25 years at Harvard University, the Cambridge School of Adult Education and in her home studio.

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ECON2-10-Mon2  Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy: the United States, Canada, China, and Israel

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Scott McKnight

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

10 week course- September 20- November 29

  (No Class October 11)

Description   How and why did Silicon Valley emerge as the home of several globe-spanning tech giants? How did China and Taiwan end up as robust manufacturing hubs for things like semiconductors, smartphones and bicycles? Why did Canada, a high-income country and stable democracy, fall behind in practically every metric of innovation? These, as well as several other innovation-related questions, are the focus of this course. What conditions and government policies brought about these success stories, these failures and the many mixed outcomes in between? 

     This course introduces broad theories of innovation policy while also going in-depth in various case studies, including the United States, China, Canada and Israel. 

These discussions naturally touch upon various factors – history, culture, law – but the general focus will be on politics and the role of the state. By the end, students will have knowledge of innovation policy, major changes therein, as well as knowledge of concepts and some theories that frame innovation-related questions.  

Readings   Dan Breznitz, Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World (Oxford University Press, 2021).  Available at a 30% discount at https://global.oup.com/academic/store/cart?cc=us&lang=en  using discount code ASFLYQ6.  Also available from Amazon.

Other materials will be on a Google site https://sites.google.com/view/politicsofinnovation/home. The SGL will also periodically send additional (optional) materials for further reading or viewing in emails after the class.

Preparation Time   1-2 hours (25-40 pages per class)

Biography   After receiving his PhD in political science from the University of Toronto, Scott McKnight became a postdoctoral fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs.  His research focuses on the comparative political economy of energy. For his doctoral dissertation, he conducted fieldwork in Brazil, China, Ecuador and Mexico.  After completing his undergraduate degree in public affairs and policy management at Carleton University in Ottawa, he completed a Master’s in International Relations (in Chinese) at Renmin University of China, where he later spent two years as a lecturer. He is fluent in five languages.  

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MUS7-5a-Mon2  Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Traditional Wedding to the Yiddish Theatre

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Hankus Netsky

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

5 week course - September 20- October 25

  (No Class October 11)

This course will meet in person in the Gathering Space at 60 Turner Street, Waltham. Enrollment in this course will be approximately 40.

Description   Eastern European Jewish musical traditions have experienced an unprecedented resurgence in recent years.  Through listening to classic recordings and reading and discussing pivotal articles we will explore major genres including klezmer, Hassidic song, Cantorial music, Yiddish folksong, and Yiddish theatre music.  We will also consider why these genres fell out of favor over the course of the twentieth century and why they now resonate with a new generation. No prior knowledge of or experience with any of the topics is necessary. 

Readings   Excerpts from a broad range of readings will be provided on a course website as PDFs.   

Preparation Time   45 minutes to an hour per week.

Biography   Dr. Hankus Netsky is chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the internationally renowned Klezmer Conservatory Band.  He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television, collaborated closely with Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, Joel Grey, Theodore Bikel, and Robert Brustein, and produced numerous recordings. His essays have been published by the University of California Press, the University of Pennsylvania Press, the University of Scranton Press, Hips Roads, Indiana University Press and the University Press of America.  Temple University Press published his book “Klezmer, Music and Community in 20th Century Jewish Philadelphia” in 2015. 

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MUS8-5b-Mon2  Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Concert Hall to the Hit Parade

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Hankus Netsky

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

5 week course - November 1- November 29

This course will meet in person in the Gathering Space at 60 Turner Street, Waltham. Enrollment in this course will be approximately 40.

Description   Through readings and recordings we will explore the evolution of Eastern European Jewish music in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. Class topics will include the rise of Yiddish art music, Yiddish folksong of the Holocaust period, the music of Yiddish cinema, the many hybrid forms of Eastern European Jewish music that developed in twentieth-century America, and the contemporary klezmer and Yiddish music resurgence. This course will work well as a continuation of the BOLLI course, “Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions,” offered in Spring 2021 online and in the 5a period of this term, but no prior knowledge of Eastern European Jewish music is required and there is no prerequisite for taking this course. 

Readings   Excerpts from a broad range of readings will be provided on a course website as PDFs.  

Preparation Time 45 minutes to an hour per week  

Biography   Dr. Hankus Netsky is chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the internationally renowned Klezmer Conservatory Band.  He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television, collaborated closely with Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, Joel Grey, Theodore Bikel, and Robert Brustein, and produced numerous recordings. His essays have been published by the University of California Press, the University of Pennsylvania Press, the University of Scranton Press, Hips Roads, Indiana University Press and the University Press of America.  Temple University Press published his book “Klezmer, Music and Community in 20th Century Jewish Philadelphia” in 2015.

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ART8-5b-Mon2  Seeing Photographs: Critiquing the Art of the Camera

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Michael Sandman

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

5 week course - November 1- November 29

Description   When photography first emerged, the art world viewed photographs with condescension.  After all, what skill did it take to simply record what the camera saw?  But photographs ultimately were recognized as a new form of art.  We’ll examine photography from Daguerre to the selfie by viewing images from each stage of development.  We’ll discuss the principles of photography criticism; explore what gives a photograph impact and look at where the art of photography is headed.  Since making a photograph requires both art and science, we’ll consider how photography has co-evolved with technology. Although we’ll discuss how photographers produce their work, this is not a course in how to take photographs, but rather in how to see them.  Nonetheless, photographers interested in improving their work will learn to look more critically at their own results.  

Readings   Photography: The Definitive Visual History – by Tom Ang; available as a special order from bookstores; as a new hardcover on Amazon for about $26 depending on the vendor; and used on Amazon for about $15

Additional online reading will be assigned.    

Preparation Time   1 1/2 – 2 hours/week

Biography   Mike Sandman is an amateur photographer who has won numerous Boston Camera Club awards.  His photographs have been featured on the cover of Eastman Magazine, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and on the Brookline Community Foundation, Brookline Parks Department, and Eastman Community Association websites.  Most recently he has exhibited at the New England School of Photography. This course is a repeat of a well-received course offered at BOLLI in the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020.

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FILM2-5a-Mon2  The Land Down Under: A Search for Identity in Australian Films

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Kate Seideman

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

5 week course - September 20- October 25

 (No Class October 11)

Description   Australia is an English speaking country on the other side of the world. Although small in population relative to its size, it is a wealthy, stable and influential democracy close to Asia.  But what is the country really like? Who are Australians? Are they different from the British who came to Australia in 1788 to establish a penal colony? Have they become more like Americans? What can we learn about Australia and its people from its films? In this short course we will explore historical and contemporary life in Australia through the lens of five iconic Australian films, including Australia, Gallipoli and Rabbit-Proof Fence. Each week we will discuss the merits of the film and what it reveals about Australians. We will debate how much these films tell us about real lives or mythologize them. And we will use historical information to examine how Australians have navigated the physical challenges of Australian geography and the persistence of colonial attitudes to forge their own multicultural identity. To allow time for lively and provocative discussion, films will be viewed for homework. By the end of the course, you should have a better understanding of Australia, Australians and what films can reveal about other cultures.

Readings   Films: Australia, (2008), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), Gallipoli (1981), Looking for Alibrandi (2000), The Castle (1997). Each film is available for rental at $3.99 or less without a subscription on YouTube, and may be available on some popular subscription services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. Additionally, the SGL will make movies available via Google docs in case other methods are unavailable.

Recommended and required readings (excerpts, videos, books) will be posted on a Google Site

Preparation Time   1.5 - 2 hours per week to watch film plus 0.5 - 1 hour additional reading    

Biography   Kate grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She went to college (undergraduate and graduate) in England before moving to America for post-doctoral research. Since coming to Boston she has worked in research or early product development for several large high tech companies addressing issues of collaboration and ease-of-use. She has been a BOLLI member for over 5 years. This will be her first course as SGL. Kate retains her Australian citizenship, her Australian friends and some of her accent.

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LIT8-5a-Mon3  Revelations and Retrospective Reassessments in Proust's The Fugitive 

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Hollie Harder

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

5 week course - September 20- October 25

  (No Class October 11)

Description   Why is Proust often called the greatest French writer, comparable to England's Shakespeare, Spain's Cervantes or Argentina's Borges? How can Proust's seven-tome novel, which explores the seamy undersides of human existence, have the reputation of being a witty, enchanting, and philosophical book that lends readers a distinctive lens (a "Proustian lens") through which to see life in fundamentally new and innovative ways?

     The Fugitive, volume six of Proust's seven-volume masterpiece, details the protagonist's attempt to move beyond his emotional losses and overcome his anxieties, especially those worries concerning Albertine, the young woman with whom he has carried on a jealously obsessive love affair. In order to do this, he must reassess past incidents and come to terms with his past selves as well as with the many Albertines associated with those former selves. He realizes that to move forward, he needs to forget Albertine, but just as we cannot conjure up past experiences on demand, we cannot forget on command either. Forgetting takes time, and this volume is full of the deep pain that precedes the quiet calm of forgetting. The protagonist's long-awaited trip to Venice offers him an immersion in Italian art that reveals aesthetic achievements but also reawakens memories and uncovers still more errors of interpretation and understanding.

     The course is designed to accommodate first-time and experienced readers of Proust, and familiarity with the first five volumes is not assumed or required. The SGL will provide an overview of the preceding volumes before the first class.

Readings   The Fugitive by Marcel Proust (volume 6 of In Search of Lost Time)

We will read the Modern Library edition, which also contains The Captive, volume 5 (ISBN 0-375-75311-7). Readers can use other editions, but it is preferable for reasons of discussion if most readers use the Modern Library edition. 

Preparation Time   The Fugitive contains 373 pages, so we will be reading and discussing about 75 pages per week.  

Biography   Hollie Harder is Professor of French and Francophone Studies (outside the tenure structure) at Brandeis University, where she teaches all levels of French language, literature, and culture and directs the language programs in French and Italian in the Department of Romance Studies. Her most recent work on Marcel Proust is “On the Beach and in the Boudoir: Albertine as an Amazon Figure in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time,” published in French Forum, Fall 2019.

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H&G11-10-Mon3  Our Radical Foundations: These Truths, the Democratic Ideal, and Radicalism in American Political History

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Bridget Kelleher

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

This course will meet in person in the Gathering Space at 60 Turner Street, Waltham. Enrollment in this course will be approximately 40.

Description   The struggles, upheaval, and escalation of rhetoric that 2020 generated for Americans across the political spectrum have left many people feeling unmoored, overwhelmed, and under-informed about their nation, their community, and their government. This confusion, fear, and political manipulation came to a head with the January 6th attack on the US capitol that threatened the lives and safety of lawmakers. In this course, students will work through the history of America’s radical civic and political traditions, and explore how so-called “fringe” political ideologies influence the center and often actually come from centrist ideologies. Using Jill Lepore’s These Truths as a springboard we will expand on the centrist traditions to explore how progressive, socialist, populist, libertarian, fascist, and nationalist political movements have radically shaped us from the fringes. We will cover the complex and the deceptively simple in American politics, including questions like what are populism and progressivism and how are they different? How have ideologies and politics of Black and white nationalism influenced our political history and major political parties? When and where have fascist movements had the most impact on our politics? This course will be facilitated with a firm hand by the study group leader, and will work best for members who enjoy a structured inquiry combining periodic lectures and moderated class discussion.

Readings   Jill Lepore’s These Truths, Intro to Chapter Six. Other readings provided by the SGL. Mostly readings, and some videos.

Preparation Time  1-2 Hours/Week 

Biography   Bridget Kelleher is a lifelong student of history steeped in the revolutionary traditions of New England. She is currently in her fourth year as a PhD student in the Brandeis History department, specializing in modern American history and the history of racisms. She holds a BA in History from UMass Lowell and has worked as a teacher and youth mentor in Lawrence, MA, as an intern with the National Historic Parks, as a Teaching Fellow within the History department at Brandeis, and as an instructor in the University Writing Program.

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SCI2-10-Mon3  Can we Avoid Climate Disaster?

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Carl Lazarus

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

Description   Despite many decades of warnings, the world has been hurtling toward the climate precipice. Is this because of human nature, entrenched interests, feckless leaders, or lack of technology that could solve the problem? We will see that all of these are factors. Fossil fuels and modern agricultural practices have created unprecedented, though uneven, world-wide prosperity that no nation is willing to give up. Developing nations are increasing their fossil fuel use. We’ve been told that greenhouse gas emissions need to end by 2050 and even start to go negative by then. Is this possible? There is no one magic solution, so this course will examine a variety of possibilities. Many well-meaning people focus on partial or local solutions that won’t get us nearly where we need to be. Because it is a world-wide problem, we must consider the possibilities from a global viewpoint, not a narrow US viewpoint. The youth movement symbolized by Greta Thunberg is admirable in its demand that leaders take action, but what should those actions be? Through a mixture of lecture and discussion, we will look at the history and dimensions of the problem, examine the pros and cons of possible solutions, and consider which could make a significant difference and what incentives – carrot or stick – can lead to their widespread adoption.

Readings   Bill Gates, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster, Alfred A. Knopf, 2021

Saul Griffith, Rewiring America, a handbook for winning the climate fight, download at https://www.rewiringamerica.org/handbook (small donation requested.)

Additional materials will be provided online through a class website.

Preparation Time   2-3 hours/week.   

Biography   Carl Lazarus studied chemistry at Yale and biochemistry at Brandeis, but subsequently studied computer science at MIT and made his career in information technology.  He wrote software and managed software development for the healthcare industry, and later managed various online services.  He has read extensively on climate and energy, and has attended the MIT Climate Symposium and MIT Energy Initiative talks. Carl has been a BOLLI member since 2013 and has led a variety of BOLLI courses since 2015.

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 H&G18-10-Mon3  Race and Reunion: The American Civil War and the Mythology of the ‘Lost Cause’

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Rachel Stephens

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

10 week course - September 20 - November  29

(No class October 11)

Description   This course traces the American romance with the antebellum southern United States in the post-bellum period in art and history. The class will examine how optimistic views of the “Old South” eventually took hold as white society drove the nation to prioritize white national reconciliation over African American advancement. We will weave historical understanding based on a reading of David Blight’s Race and Reunion and other works with evidence of the art and visual culture of the period to confront what Blight and others call the “Lost Cause Mythology.” This view celebrated southern culture, considered the Confederate cause heroic, and mourned the loss to an army that overpowered the Confederacy with superior resources. The course will combine a study of the history of the fifty years after the Civil War with a focus on the art and visual culture of the period, including paintings, monuments, photographs, and pen and ink illustrations.

Readings   Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight (Belknap Press of Harvard, 2002). ISBN: 978-0674008199 (available at any library or for about $25).

All other course materials will be articles posted to the class web site. 

Preparation Time   2-3  hours/week.   

Biography   Dr. Rachel Stephens is an associate professor of art history at the University of Alabama, where she teaches a range of courses on American art topics. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century southern art. Her first book, Selling Andrew Jackson: Ralph E. W. Earl and the Politics of Portraiture was published in 2018 with the University of South Carolina Press. 

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H&G14-5b-Mon3  The Making of Modern China, 1900 to the Present

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Joey Low

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

5 week course - November 1- November 29

Description   Napoleon once said that “China is a sleeping lion. When it wakes, the world will tremble.” Today, it has awakened, but how did it happen? Might our view of China’s rise differ by considering it from a non-Westerner’s perspective? Using Rana Mitter’s Modern China: A Very Short Introduction, we will discuss these questions through the lens of modernity. China’s most recent century was a period of dramatic upheaval and fundamental transformation. To make sense of this era, this class will attempt to view China’s modern history from a Chinese vantage point. The students will discuss topics such as the May 4th Movement, the Cultural Revolution, and the transition from socialism to capitalism in the 1980s, all the while engaged in questions about what makes China “modern.” By the end, students should grasp the origins of China’s rise to an undisputed power and the force of contingency in history and in our lives. Our goals will be both to build knowledge of China’s past and to become historically-minded thinkers. Classes will consist mainly of discussion with questions circulated beforehand and viewing occasional videos for background information.

Readings   Rana Mitter, Modern China: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Additional materials will be shared on a Google Site.

Preparation Time   20-30 Pages per Week 

Biography   Joey Low is a History PhD student at Brandeis University. He was born and raised in south-central California. He received a BA and MA in history at California State University. Currently, he is working his way towards ABD status. His field of study is on early modern China with interests in global and European history and a focus on state formation, borderlands, and comparative political economy. He has previously taught a course on the gunpowder age in China and Europe for BOLLI.

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SOC8-5b-Mon3  Augmented Intelligence in the Workplace: Are Humans Redundant or Essential?

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Henry Morris

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

5 week course - November 1- November 29

Description   Will AI take away all our jobs?  Will robots get out of control?  Though artificial intelligence is often in the news, the coverage can be sensationalized.  This course examines a dimension of artificial intelligence that is complementary to human intelligence.  “Augmented intelligence” combines human intelligence with machine intelligence to get things done that humans or machines alone could not do.  Did you know that machine intelligence can recognize a person’s mood (via image analysis) and then signal an autistic child?  Or that human audits of algorithms seek to monitor AI applications for bias and unfairness?

     We will see how augmented intelligence gets applied in real situations by analyzing a variety of case studies.  These applications cover industries and departments from law, fashion, music, healthcare, child welfare, to human resources.  What do these examples tell us about what machines can do and what capabilities are uniquely human?  Are the results beneficial or harmful to society?  What policies could be adopted to govern the use of artificial intelligence and to encourage human-centered applications?

     Classes feature lectures on augmented intelligence (technology, economics, regulations), followed by discussions of case studies. No technical background in computer software is required.  Volunteers can present short reports in the final class, proposing policies to address issues raised by the case studies.                                                  

Readings   Augmented Intelligence: The Business Power of Human-Machine Collaboration  (130 pages, of which half is required reading), (e-book – ISBN 9780429589713; or paperback – ISBN 9780367687878)

MIT Report (2020), The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines.   (free download)

Harvard Business School Case Study Predicting Consumer Tastes with Big Data at the Gap

Links to additional case studies, articles, and short videos will be provided.

Preparation Time   1-3 hours/week 

Biography   Henry Morris worked for 35 years in high tech, most recently as Senior Vice President at International Data Corporation, the global technology market research company.  He joined BOLLI last year.  Henry enjoys writing and teaching about analytics and artificial intelligence, emphasizing the need for ethical governance and control of intelligent systems.  He was a lecturer at Tufts University Experimental College (artificial intelligence and the changing workplace) and co-authored Augmented Intelligence: The Business Power of Human-Machine Collaboration (CRC Press, 2020).  Henry received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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