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Spring 2022 Course Schedule

All classes will be on Zoom unless otherwise marked. All times refer to the Eastern Time Zone.

Click here to view the Spring 2022 Course Catalog. 

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

Spring 2022 courses will begin the week of February 28 and run through the week of May 9, with no class April 18-21. 5a courses will begin the week of February 28 and end the week of March 28. 5b courses will begin the week of April 4. All 5b courses will end the week of May 9. Click here for the spring 2022 schedule.

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

If you have questions about what courses might be right for you, please email our team of course advisors at bolli@brandeis.edu

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Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

Leonard Cohen: A Pop-Star-Poet
Julian Moreen

 

Whodunit?: An Historical Mystery Tour (Section 1)
Marilyn Brooks

Lincoln's Liberalism: Natural Rights, Religious Hopes, and the Future of our Republic
Will Grogan and Avi Bernstein

Stravinsky and His Worlds
Jared Redmond
5 week course - February 28 - March 28

SCI2-5b-Mon1 **Note the change to 5b**
Sensation and Perception: The Doorway to the Brain
Kathleen Maigler
5 week course - April 4 - May 9
(No class April 18)

Augmented Intelligence: Are Humans Redundant or Essential?
Henry Morris
5 week course - April 4 - May 9
(No class April 18)

 

Introduction to Sculpture: A Global Perspective
Kate Werwie
5 week course - April 4 - May 9
(No class April 18)

Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

Conversos/Marranos/Secret Jews: Keeping a Jewish Identity During the Inquisition
Sandy Sherizen

Ready to Take the Plunge?  It’s Time to Lead Your First Study Group!
Quinn Rosefsky and Ollie Curme
Registration for this course will not impact your study group assignments.

London in a Time of Cholera and Flint, America’s Poisoned City: Water - Politics and Science - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Georgia Weinstein
5 week course - February 28 - March 28

 

Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Traditional Wedding to the Yiddish Theatre
Hankus Netsky
5 week course - Feb 28, March 7, 14, 28 and April 4*
*Please note the adjusted dates for the course, which differ from other 5a courses.

 

From the Shtetl to the Hollywood Bowl – Reclaiming Jewish Musical Roots
Hankus Netsky
5 week course - April 11, 25, May 2, 9 and 16*
(No class April 18)
*Please note the adjusted dates for the course, which differ from other 5b courses.

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Break

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

China vs. America: Can They Get Along in Today’s World?
Fred Kobrick

Making Italians: Building National Identity Across One Hundred Years of a United Italy
Amy King

Music Theory: Understanding the Language of Musicians
Gil Harel

Temporality, Transfigurations, and Transcendence in Proust’s Time Regained
Hollie Harder

Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Spring - Two Zooms and Three Tours!
Helen Abrams
5 week course - April 4 - May 9
(No class April 18)
*Please note that this course requires travel to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA and outdoor meetings. You are responsible for providing your own transportation. This course consists of a combination of site visits and Zoom sessions. Sessions of this course may be postponed due to weather. The SGL will work with the class to schedule make up sessions.


MUS2-10-
Leonard Cohen: A Pop-Star-Poet

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Julian Moreen

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   Leonard Cohen lived a life of contradictions: even though he “never thought he could sing,” his iconic voice, crooner-like stage presence and his mesmerizing lyrics turned this gifted poet and writer from Montreal into an unusual pop star. Despite an unprecedented depth of poetic meaning, his songwriting has appealed to a worldwide audience. Cohen was a nostalgic, yet hopeful, depressed, yet humorous person. He was a Jew who used Christian imagery while practicing Buddhism. He was no stranger to the ‘60s hippie and sex-drugs-and-rock’n’roll way of life, but he was a suit-wearing gentleman, middle class and almost tame.

In this course, we will look at Cohen through the lens of his work, becoming familiar with his albums, songs and poetry. We examine how his music, his writing, and his persona have evolved over the course of his life and how they influenced each other. Finally, we will ask ourselves how Cohen was able to transcend the boundaries normally separating high art and popular culture, and what teachings we can find in his work and way of life. 

Readings   Poems, interview excerpts, articles and films as well as Spotify and YouTube playlists will be provided.

Preparation Time   1-2 hours 

Biography   Julian Moreen is a German singer-songwriter, pianist and music producer.  While studying jazz piano, composition and conducting at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, he discovered the music of Leonard Cohen, which inspired him to fully commit to songwriting. He now works as a songwriter, producer and accompanist for jazz, folk, and pop artists.  He has toured  Asia, Europe, and the United States, and has given university masterclasses in songwriting.  He has won multiple awards as a jazz pianist and songwriter and is currently working on his debut album, which is due for release in 2022.

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LIT14-10-Mon1  Whodunit?:  An Historical Mystery Tour (Section 1)

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Marilyn Brooks

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   How do geography and culture impact our perceptions about life, decades even centuries ago?  In this world-wide historical tour we’ll read mysteries set in the distant and not-so-distant past, and explore similarities and differences between the countries and time periods we are visiting and our own. We’ll look at how people in a variety of historical periods have been influenced by their history, culture, political structure, technology, and social behaviors.

The class will read a different mystery each week, beginning in ancient Greece and continuing on to ancient Rome, medieval England, 18th century United States, 18th century China, 19th century England, and 20th century Germany and Iceland. Through interviews on YouTube with many of these authors, we’ll learn how they became interested in writing historical mysteries, and why we should care about events that took place in the distant past.  While sharing our viewpoints, we hope to introduce others to new writers and ideas.  Acting as investigators, we will examine the clues as to what makes a mystery worth reading.  

Readings   The class will read a book a week, beginning with the second class and going through the ninth. Any edition is fine. The print copies will range from 300-375 pages each.

The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby (ancient Greece)

Roman Blood by Steven Saylor (ancient Rome)

The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters (medieval England)

A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns (colonial America)

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart (18th century China)

The Inheritance by Charles Finch (18th century England)

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (India)

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indriason (1940s Iceland/present)

Preparation Time   Each novel should take between three and four hours to read.

Biography  Marilyn Brooks has been a devoted reader of mysteries since her elementary school days, beginning with the Nancy Drew series.  She reads three or four mysteries a week in order to find the best books for her BOLLI classes and her weekly mystery review blog, marilynsmysteryreads.com.  Some of her blog posts have appeared in the BOLLI Banner, and she is a frequent contributor to the “Mainely Murder” monthly newsletter.  She has taught nine previous Whodunit? courses.

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 H&G11-10-Mon1  Lincoln's Liberalism: Natural Rights, Religious Hopes, and the Future of our Republic

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Will Grogan and Avi Bernstein

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   What do we as Americans need to know and understand about our political tradition in order to have and keep it? This course invites us to investigate what is distinctive and compelling in American liberalism and become fluent in its streams and tributaries, especially the natural rights legacy bequeathed to us by the founding generation, and the religious dimension conveyed to us by untold numbers of elite actors and ordinary citizens of the 18th and 19th century. We have somehow lost touch with both, the first because our age eschews metaphysics, the second because it fears theocracy. However, we lose touch with both at our peril. In this course we follow influential scholarship: Harry Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided (1959), Jill Lepore’s These Truths (2018), and David Blight’s Frederick Douglas: Prophet of Freedom (2018), each insisting in its way that we cannot keep our Republic if we are not conversant with its revolutionary democratic and republican ideas and prepared to interpret, and defend them anew. Our investigation will be organized around the ideas of the brilliant moralist and statesman Abraham Lincoln, and a few of his most incisive interlocutors, John C. Calhoun, Stephen A. Douglas, and Frederick Douglass. 

Readings   Andrew Delbanco, The Portable Abraham Lincoln, Penguin Classics Edition 2009

ISBN: 0143105647

Noah Feldman, The Broken Constitution, Macmillan, 2021

David Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, Simon & Schuster, 2019

Preparation Time   3-4 Hours

Biography   William Grogan holds a M.T.S. in the Philosophy of Religion from Harvard Divinity School and a M.A. in Philosophy from Brandeis University. Previously at BOLLI, he has taught the popular Theories of Justice course, along with the Summer Lecture Series, Existentialism at the Café in 2019, and An Introduction to Religious Existentialism in 2020. William is also a visiting instructor in philosophy and biomedical ethics at MCPHS University. Avi Bernstein is the Executive Director of BOLLI.

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 MUS6-5a-Mon1  Stravinsky and His Worlds

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Jared Redmond 

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

5 week course - February 28 - March 28

Description   Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), who was born in a Russian Empire still thronged with music-loving aristocrats and royalty, and died on American soil in the atomic age, lived a remarkable life. His work spanned most of the major musical genres and styles of the 20th century. This course will explore the breadth and depth of Stravinsky’s remarkable work beyond the several warhorse pieces often played on concert programs. We will examine his compositions in so many styles, including Russian nationalism, ‘Primitivism,’ Neoclassical Modernism, and serial music as a springboard to discussing the evolution of a single artist through two world wars, the social-cultural politics of the Cold War, and the changing 20th Century musical scene. As we explore both his celebrated and lesser-known pieces, as well as his words and influence on broader musical culture, we will meet a Stravinsky as remarkably adaptable to contemporary aesthetic trends as he was to life on three continents. We will also meet a Stravinsky who habitually attempted to cover up his influences, to manicure his reputation and his story; a composer as lauded and emulated by musicians as he was co-opted by governments for political purposes. Finally, we will learn that what he said about himself was not always the whole truth. There may be some limited discussion of musical scores or references to music theory in class, but those without a technical background in music are absolutely welcome. Bring open ears and a curiosity for Stravinsky’s great music and the many, disparate worlds he inhabited.

Readings   Exclusively using listening and viewing assignments found freely on YouTube. Readings will be emailed personally by the SGL to members of the class, in PDF format.

Preparation Time   2-3 hours per week (combined) of listening and reading. Usually this consists of 2-3 musical pieces of short-moderate length, and 1 or 2 short readings.

Biography   Jared Redmond is a pianist-composer and music theorist. He studied at U.C. Berkeley and Brandeis, where his PhD project consisted of an in-depth study on the work of the Russian mystic, modernist composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). Currently he devotes himself to teaching and research, while maintaining activities worldwide as a composer and pianist. His interests include late Romantic music, musical Symbolism and Expressionism, music of the late 20th century avant-garde, trends in contemporary music, and Russian music of the turn of the century. Jared currently teaches in the composition department of the Seoul National University School of Music.

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 SCI2-5b-Mon1  Sensation and Perception: The Doorway to the Brain **Note the change to 5b** 

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Kathleen Maigler

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

5 week course - April 4 - May 9 (No class April 18)

Description   The relatively faithful representation of the world in our brain is dependent on our sensory systems, i.e. touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The study of these systems can be viewed as an open avenue to understanding the way the brain receives, processes and integrates information. In addition, it is by studying these systems that we begin to understand the roots of cognition in the brain. In this class we will explore the basic biology of a set of sensory systems- from detection and discrimination of a stimulus through the transmission of information via neurons to the brain and learn how both their exquisite sensitivity and limits shape the human experience. We will use excerpts from popular science texts to wade into the fascinating world of sensory biology and learn about the nuances and disorders of touch, hearing, and taste. How can we fail to feel pain, or feel pain all the time? What underlies our love of music and wine? These questions and more will open the door to understanding how our brain works.

Readings   Excerpts from popular science books (Gulp by Mary Roach, Phantoms in the brain by V.S. Ramachandran) will provide both background and discussion material, but will also be supplemented with relevant excerpts from neuroscience textbooks (Neurobiology of Sensation and Reward, Principles of Neuroscience). All materials and  excerpts will be made available to participants in PDF format via e-mail.

Preparation Time   1-2 hours

Biography   Kathleen Maigler is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Brandeis University. Her fascination with sensory system integration has inspired her passion for understanding cognition and to teach this course. Kathleen is a fellow in the Brandeis’ Science Communication Lab and has taught two courses at Brandeis.

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SOC3-5b-Mon1 Augmented Intelligence: Are Humans Redundant or Essential?

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Henry Morris

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

5 week course - April 4 - May 9

(No class April 18)

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 and 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. 

Readings   Augmented Intelligence: The Business Power of Human-Machine Collaboration (Hurwitz, Morris, Sidner 2020) (130 pages, of which – half will be assigned), ($19 e-book – ISBN 9780429589713; or $35 paperback – ISBN 9780367687878); The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines, MIT Report (2020, free download); Predicting Consumer Tastes with Big Data at Gap, Harvard Business School Case Study (2017, inexpensive download).  Links to additional case studies, articles, and short videos will be provided.

Preparation Time   2-3 hours

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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ART5-5b-Mon1 Introduction to Sculpture: A Global Perspective

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Kate Werwie

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

5 week course - April 4 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   Perched atop columns, confined to niches, or simply shrouded in shadow, sculpture can be hard to see and harder to wrap one’s head around.  What’s with all the marble tree stumps? Why did the Taliban feel the need to destroy the Bamiyan Buddhas?  Why did it take Europeans so long to master porcelain?  In this course we will study historical materials and techniques, journeying from Carrara’s quarries and northern China’s ancient foundries to the silver and gold mines of the New World. We’ll watch as wax models turn to bronze and pointing machines poke plaster. We’ll learn how statues once imprisoned in medieval portals like Chartres finally broke free in the Renaissance, flaunting their newfound freedom in the civic squares of Padua and Florence; and we’ll debate the politics of public sculpture and the conditions of monumentality. Was the Walker Art Center right to remove Sam Durant’s Scaffold (2012) from its sculpture garden, and right, too, to have it burned? As wind, rain, and erosion threaten to destroy Robert Smithson’s land-art Spiral Jetty (1970), should we intervene or simply let the sculpture vanish? In the course of five weeks, we will learn to think like sculptors, watching videos, reading maker-narratives, rotating 3D-models and visiting virtual exhibitions around the world. Not just a primer on sculpture, this course will also serve as an introduction to online resources in art history for the curious adult learner.

Readings   Nicholas Penny, The Materials of Sculpture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993). 

The instructor will provide PDFs of other articles (handouts for those taking the course in class), and links to videos and online content will be distributed through the website. 

Preparation Time   2 hours per week (a mix of reading and watching of videos)

Biography  Katherine Werwie is a PhD candidate at Yale University where she studies medieval European sculpture. She has worked for the past decade as an educator and curator at museums and universities across New England and New York and is looking forward to joining the BOLLI community this semester. 

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H&G1-10-Mon2 Conversos/Marranos/Secret Jews: Keeping a Jewish Identity During the Inquisition

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Sandy Sherizen

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   Let us enter the fascinating and tragic world of the Conversos/Marranos.  This is a story of religious identity, definitions of racial purity, battles between church and state and, in a more contemporary situation, questions about what have we learned from the Inquisition?

During the Inquisition, Jews (and Muslims) were given a life-defining choice; convert to Catholicism or leave the country.  Some (many?) accepted conversion and adopted their new religion.  Some (many?) of these converts kept their identity as Jews, secretly practicing Judaism while outwardly being observant Catholics.  Today, a number of their offspring have discovered their background and in places such as New Mexico, are exploring their mixed identities.  This course will examine the history of this phenomena, review central documents, see how they survived the Inquisition and their important impact on the Americas, Europe and North Africa.  Converso literature, art, music and other cultural elements will be analyzed.

Readings   The SGL will be placing a number of articles in Google Sites.  In the welcoming letter to the course, the SGL will attach a document containing (1) the weekly topic, (2) major issues to be examined and (3) other documents and resources.  

The SGL may show selected portions of relevant videos in order to illustrate a particular aspect of conversos.

Preparation Time   2 hours

Biography   Sanford (Sandy) Sherizen was trained as a sociologist, specialized on criminology issues, and became a computer security and privacy consultant, writer and lecturer. He has taught at various universities, was invited for various media engagements, has led seminars, and given speeches in many domestic and international settings. As an ex-president, he is active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury. Having flunked retirement, he has taught ESL to adult immigrants and now serves on a patient research ethics and safety board (IRB) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At several lifelong learning programs, he has taught a variety of topics including crime and criminal justice, the sociology of “deviant” behavior, the invisible form of manipulation, the death of privacy and surviving the Inquisition as a Secret Jew/Crypto Jew. 

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EDU1-10-Mon2  Ready to Take the Plunge?  It’s Time to Lead Your First Study Group!

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Quinn Rosefsky and Ollie Curme

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Note: Registration for this course will not impact your study group assignments -- you continue to be eligible for the equivalent of two 10-week BOLLI courses in addition to this selection.  If demand for "Ready to Take the Plunge" exceeds available spots, seats will be assigned by lottery.

Description   Some have said that leading a study group at BOLLI is one of the most satisfying things that they have done.  The experience is exhilarating, the sense of shared accomplishment and camaraderie is extremely rewarding.  So why don’t more people lead study groups?  We all have doubts: What if the topic isn’t interesting?  How can I organize the course?  How can I manage the class?  Well, put those doubts to rest.  This study group will walk you through all the steps required to prepare and lead a terrific course, and we’ll do it together, in a collaborative, supportive group with two experienced study group leaders. We’ll look at what makes a great course, help you focus on a great topic, find sources, plan a syllabus, practice class leadership, build a website and even master Zoom.  By the end of the semester your course proposal will be polished, and you will be ready for an exciting new experience at BOLLI.  

Readings   No books required. All information is posted on course website: https://sites.google.com/view/taking-the-plunge/home

Preparation Time   About 2 hours.

Biography   Quinn Rosefsky is a retired psychiatrist who spent the final years of his career working with Native Americans. In retirement, he enjoys archeology, creative writing and watercolor. The multiple BOLLI courses Quinn has led or co-led have taught him that course development is both satisfying and fun. Quinn is also a member of BOLLI’s Study Group Support Committee (SGSC). 

Ollie Curme has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and an MBA. He has been retired since 2005 and has led numerous study groups in adult learning programs; this will be his fourth year of teaching at BOLLI. Ollie is a member of BOLLI’s SGSC.

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SCI4-5a-Mon2  London in a Time of Cholera and Flint, America’s Poisoned City: Water -  Politics and Science - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Georgia Weinstein

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

5 week course - February 28 - March 28

Description   If you want to hurt children, just put lead in their water. It leads to aggression, learning difficulties, organ damage, seizures, coma, and death. We have known for some time that the water we drink is key to our health and that we need our health officials to remain vigilant about what’s in it. To inspire us, we will read two celebrated page turners, The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, a history of London’s cholera epidemic that reads like a mystery novel; and The Poisoned City by Anna Clark, a book the New York Times called “a comprehensive chronicle” of the Flint Crisis. We will conclude by considering what this history means for our future. For what happened in Flint is not an anomaly: saving money on necessary infrastructure has its costs. 

Readings   The Poisoned City, by Anna Clark

The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson

Preparation Time   About 125 pages a week

Biography   Georgia Weinstein is a graduate of Cornell University in chemistry and has a doctorate from MIT in bioinorganic chemistry. She taught organic chemistry, biochemistry and environmental chemistry at Boston University from 1972-2011. Since retiring, she has discovered that she still likes thinking about scientific topics, reading Science magazine and books about science.    

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MUS9-5a-Mon2   Eastern European Jewish Music Traditions: From the Traditional Wedding to the Yiddish Theatre

Study Group Leader – Hankus Netsky

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

5 week course - Feb 28, March 7, 14, 28 and April 4*

*Please note the adjusted dates for the course, which differ from other 5a courses.

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  From the Shtetl to the Hollywood Bowl – Reclaiming Jewish Musical Roots

Study Group Leader (SGL) –  Hankus Netsky

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

5 week course - April 11, 25, May 2, 9 and 16*
(No class April 18)

*Please note the adjusted dates for the course, which differ from other 5b courses.

Description   Once considered anachronistic or even embarrassing by many in the Jewish community, Eastern and Central European Yiddish musical culture is thriving once again as a badge of pride for a new generation. Through readings, videos, and recordings, we will explore the signposts that make this culture unique, discuss how it fell out of favor for so many years, and consider the work of individuals who have helped provide access to it for a new generation. The course will serve not only to educate students about little-known musical works but will also provide a roadmap for personal ethnographic exploration for those interested in pursuing such a path.  Readings, videos, and music recordings will be provided on a course website.

Readings   Links to book excerpts, videos, and online essays will be posted on the course website.

Preparation Time   1 Hour

Biography   Dr. Hankus Netsky is co-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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 H&G6-10-Mon3  China vs. America: Can They Get Along in Today’s World?

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Fred Kobrick

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   Where do China and America go next? War or peace or tense standoff? Neither looking at history nor looking at China from the outside are illuminating, because China has undergone a massive transition in the past four decades. 

China’s rag-to-riches story has brought in the Chinese “Gilded Age,” with an explosion in personal incomes, wealth, and expectations. Paradoxically, China is seeing greater income inequality than in the United States, and a conflict between the desire to "own" high-tech information in the midst of ever-greater clampdowns on personal freedoms coupled with censorship of the press and the internet. President Xi Jīn Ping presides over a rising middle class and nearly unfettered capitalism, while exercising ever more state control over the society. Can this complex economy and mixed society be managed by such a highly controlled political system? Xi Jin Ping maintains that he can get it all to work, while attempting to establish himself as the most powerful leader since Mao. He has made himself President for life, with no successor. 

We need to know the inner world of China today to understand how America can avoid battles over Taiwan, yet protect our allies. To help us do this, we will read Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos. The book has been banned in China, but has won the National Book Award in America. Along with other readings, we will hope to reach conclusions about how China and America will try to get along in this new world

Readings   Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos ISBN 978-0-374-53527-8. The paper version is preferred. The SGL will provide additional readings during the course.

Preparation Time   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 an MBA from Harvard Business School.  Fred taught in 2 graduate programs at Boston University.  He then led many BOLLI classes, including Great Companies, based on a book he authored, Cotton, Capitalism, and Globalization; several courses on China and foreign policy; Cornelius Vanderbilt: The Tycoon Who Changed America; Manifest Destiny: America’s Long War of Conquest of the West; and Presidential Leadership and Presidential Power in America’s Wars: 1812 through Vietnam.

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H&G8-10-Mon3  Making Italians: Building National Identity Across One Hundred Years of a United Italy 

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Amy King

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   “We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians.” Spoken by the Italian statesman Massimo d’Azeglio at the dawn of unification, these provocative words expose the challenge of creating a bond between the state and civil society. This 10-week course will adopt a ‘cultural lens’, using sources including monuments, artwork, and rituals to examine the impact of political, economic and social developments on Italian identity in its first 100 years of unification. We will analyze the portrayal of the great national hero Garibaldi in artwork and consider the Altar of the Fatherland monument as a projection of the new nation’s spirit. We will then move our attention to World War I and the unifying experience of fighting as one nation and honoring the dead as Italians. 

Next, we will consider how Mussolini used rallies to assert one nation and visual propaganda to build support for a new Roman Empire. The Italian Resistance and construction of a Republic founded on antifascism will be our next subjects of enquiry, before we move on to discuss the impact of the Economic Boom of the 1950s – including the mass migration it enabled – on Italian identity at home and abroad. Our final classes will bring us into the 1960s and 1970s – a period of social reform that tried to overturn rigid social hierarchies, quickly followed by political violence that threatened national unity. Students will develop their knowledge of Italy’s history and think critically about the rituals, symbols and products that contribute to national identity more broadly.

Readings   Primary text: Christopher Duggan, The Force of Destiny (London: Penguin Books, 2008)

Dickie, John. 1996. ‘Imagined Italies’. In Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction, edited by David Forgacs and Robert Lumley, 19–33 (New York: Oxford University Press). The excerpt will be sent by the SGL. Each week the class will be asked to analyze a work of art, a song, a monument, or an advertisement that can be accessed through links the SGL will provide and post on the course Google site.

Preparation Time   Around 50-100 pages per week, primarily from The Force of Destiny (see above). Students may like to read the whole book, but essential page numbers for each week will be indicated by the SGL. The SGL will also choose a work of art/song/advertisement each week to prompt discussion. Weekly analysis should not take longer than 30 minutes.

Biography   Dr Amy King is a lecturer in Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol, where she has taught a number of courses on modern Italian history and culture. A specialist in memory studies, her current research addresses the role of secular martyr stories during Mussolini’s dictatorship. While working toward a PhD, Amy held fellowships at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress, and the British School at Rome. She is currently writing her first book, on the memory of a political attack on a far-right family in Rome, 1973.

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 MUS7-10-Mon3 Music Theory: Understanding the Language of Musicians 

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Gil Harel

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer famously described music as the greatest and most abstract of all artistic disciplines. Indeed, while most people love music, its abstract nature leaves most of those music-lovers unable to explain why they appreciate what they hear. Music theory is the proverbial skeleton key that will help listeners better appreciate what they’re hearing. Whether it’s a Beethoven harmony, a Bach bass line, or a Broadway melody, understanding music theory will bring us closer to the music we love. 

In this class, we will begin by looking at the evolution of western music, going all the way back to the baroque period when the circle of fifths was born and codified. From there, we will learn to recognize and construct chords that function in ways that our brains are programmed to interpret. As we study functional harmony, we’ll see the principles manifest as they were practiced by the great composers of the canon. By understanding chord function, we will see why cadences leave us feeling satisfied, why dissonances pique our interest and have us craving resolution, and how composers wield these tools to take us on aural adventures.

As the class progresses, we will continue analyzing increasingly complex music representing genres from piano sonata to German Lieder to musical theater and opera. As we sample music across time and place, we will see how universally helpful it is to have studied so esoteric a subject.  A rudimentary ability to read music is suggested, but not necessary.  

Readings   Students will be using scores for which the instructor will provide .pdf files. Students will also have access to listening media via YouTube. 

Preparation Time   Approximately 1-2 hours per week in anticipation of the next class. 

Biography   Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from western classical repertoire to jazz and musical theater. Previously, he served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College (where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching”). Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Music at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he has been presented with the AFT "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College" for 4 consecutive years. In 2020, he was honored with the coveted Connecticut Board of Regents (BOR) Teaching Award. 

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LIT1-10-Mon3  Temporality, Transfigurations, and Transcendence in Proust’s Time Regained

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Hollie Harder

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

10 week course - February 28 - May 9

(No class April 18)

Description   Why is Proust often called the greatest French writer, comparable to England's Shakespeare or 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? 

Time Regained, the last volume, traces the protagonist's growing sense that he will never be a writer. Convinced that he has no literary talent, he wanders through a maze of experiences that seem to reaffirm his conviction that he has squandered his life in the vain pursuit of love and in an unsuccessful search for fulfillment as a writer. A succession of moments of involuntary memory persuades the protagonist that he does indeed have within him the material for a work of art that might help others acquaint themselves with depths of their own inner being.

The course is designed to accommodate first-time and experienced readers of Proust, and familiarity with the first six volumes is not assumed or required. The SGL will provide an overview of the preceding volumes (Swann's Way, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, The Guermantes Way, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Captive, The Fugitive) before the first class. 

Readings   Time Regained by Marcel Proust (the final volume of In Search of Lost Time

We will read the Modern Library edition, volume 6 in this edition (ISBN 978-0375753121). Readers can use other editions, but it is preferable for reasons of discussion if most readers use the Modern Library edition. SGL can give participants the beginning and end of each section so that they can figure out how far to read in their edition (or Kindle).

Preparation Time   Time Regained contains 532 pages, so we will read 50-55 pages per week.

Biography   Hollie Harder is Professor of French and Francophone Studies (outside the tenure structure) at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. She teaches all levels of French language, literature, and culture, and she is the Director of Language Programs in French and Italian in the Department of Romance Studies at Brandeis. 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&G12-5b-Mon3  Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Spring - Two Zooms and Three Tours!

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Helen Abrams

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

5 week course - April 4 - May 9 (No class April 18)

Please note that this course requires travel to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA and outdoor meetings.  You are responsible for providing your own transportation.  There will be two Zoom sessions. Sessions of this course may be postponed due to weather. The SGL will work with the class to schedule make up sessions.

Description  Founded in 1831 and always non-denominational, Mount Auburn Cemetery is the first garden cemetery established in America – before public parks!  Its beauty and historical associations make it an extraordinary place to study a spectacular collection of plants and trees while learning about the people who chose to become some of the 100,000 “residents.”  The SGL will give three 90-minute tours covering history, horticulture, abolitionists, the Civil War, reformers, art and artists, writers, poets, actors, architects and share stories about remarkable people – both known and not so well known.  

The first and last class in this 5-week course will be on -line – bracketing and framing the founding of Mount Auburn with a discussion in the final session on where Mt. Auburn and other cemeteries are headed in the 21st century.  

The SGL will be glad to adapt the walking tours based on particular interests of the students and will point out the many remarkable Jewish “residents” who have been buried at Mount Auburn from its earliest days.  Cameras and binoculars are encouraged.  We will cover most of the cemetery over the three walking tours so that future visits here will become easier and more familiar to students and their families.  Students should be able to walk for a period of 90 minutes over some roads and paths which may be uneven or require going up or downhill.  We will stop at many points along the way and the SGL will be attentive to places where people can rest/sit/lean.

Readings  Some background material about Mount Auburn will be provided to the class before the first session through email links.

Preparation Time  Approximately one hour of reading before the first and last Zoom classes.  Otherwise, just travel time to the cemetery.

Biography  Helen Abrams has been a docent and tour guide at Mount Auburn Cemetery for almost fifteen years.  She has photographed and walked there for over 30 years.  Acquiring knowledge of birds and horticulture has been a hobby of the SGL which enriches her tours about people, monuments, symbols, artists and more.  She has specialized in learning about why and how Jewish people chose to be buried here and has led tours featuring such people as Bernard Malamud, Felix Frankfurter, Anthony Lewis, Mildred Dresselhaus, and many others.  Helen has a strong, clear voice guaranteed to reach all tour participants.

 


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