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Fall 2022 Course Schedule | Wednesday

All classes will be on Zoom unless otherwise marked.

View the Fall 2022 Course Catalog.

Sort the course list by day of the week, class period, topic or duration.

Fall 2022 courses begin the week of September 12 and run through the week of November 28. There will be no courses September 26-27, October 5, or October 10. Monday 5b courses will begin the week of October 31, Tuesday and Wednesday 5b courses will begin the week of October 24, and Thursday 5b courses will begin the week of October 17. View the Fall 2022 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.

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


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

H&G3-10-Wed1
Writing...The Greatest Invention
Sandy Bornstein

SCI4-10-Wed1
Two Centuries, Two Pandemics, Two Viruses and Their Impact
Estherann Grace

SCI3-5a-Wed1
How Not to Be Wrong
Gary Feldman
5 week course - September 14 - October 19
(No class October 5)
Please note that this course will take place in-person at 60 Turner Street.

H&G6-5a-Wed1
The History of US Labor and the Future of Work
Mark Erlich
5 week course - September 14 - October 19
(No class October 5)

FILM2-5b-Wed1
The Golem: Artificial Humans and Monsters from Kabbalah to Film
Henry Morris
5 week course - October 26 - November 30
(No class November 23)
Please note that this course will be hybrid. There will be the option to participate via Zoom or in person at 60 Turner Street.

Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

ART1-10-Wed2
Three Bohemian Artists from the School of Paris: Modigliani, Soutine and Chagall
Nancy Alimansky
Please note that this course will take place in-person at 60 Turner Street.

LIT3-10-Wed2
The City as Character: The Role of the Urban Landscape in Literature
Kathryn Bloom

H&G4-10-Wed2
American Foreign Policy Since WWII
Ollie Curme

MUS1-10-Wed2
Paris in the 1920s: The Birth of the Music Avant-Garde and Cross-Cultural Collaborations
Cecilia Dunoyer

SOC5-10-Wed2
Can Journalism Be Fair & Truthful in 2022? You Decide
Terry Lee

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Break

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

H&G8-10-Wed3
Italy, 1919-1925: Death of Democracy and the Dawn of Dictatorship
Amy King

CE1-10-Wed3
Current Events (Section 1)
Lois Sockol

SOC4-10-Wed3
Introduction to Israeli Society: A Tossed Salad rather than a Melting Pot
Steven Klein

H&G1-5a-Wed3
Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Fall: A Stroll through America's First Garden Cemetery
Helen Abrams
5 week course - September 14 -October 19
(No class October 5)
Please note that this course requires travel to selected sites 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.

SCI6-5a-Wed3
Conservation in Our Backyards: Opportunities and Threats
Jonathan Regosin
5 week course - September 14 -October 19
(No class October 5)
Please note that this course requires travel to selected sites 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.

REL1-5b-Wed3
Encounters with a Hindu Classic: The Bhagavad Gita or “Song of the Lord”
Bennet Comerford
5 week course - October 26 - November 30
(No class November 23)

SOC3-5b-Wed3
Why Don’t You See It My Way? How Culture Affects How We Think And Perceive
Ashley Gilliam

5 week course - October 26 - November 30
(No class November 23)


H&G3-10-Wed1 Writing...The Greatest Invention

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Sandy Bornstein

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description Stories, propaganda, advertising, love songs…where would we be without writing? What are the origins of writing and for what purposes has it developed? Thousands of years ago, before the development of writing, a message to someone had to be relayed in person. In its beginnings humans used writing to make marks on clay tablets to record how many sheep they had, and how many sheep they wanted someone else to buy for them. Writing soon served to record the names of important people, what they did, who was in charge, and what happened in war. Centuries later, people were able to record their hopes and dreams and even poems and great literature. How did we get there?

This course will examine the earliest forms of writing, some of which are still undecipherable. People wrote on clay tablets, turtle shells, stones, papyrus, silk, and paper, using sticks, knives, pens, brushes and printing presses. Each technology influenced the society from which it developed. The Chinese have used pictographs for thousands of years, while other cultures developed flexible alphabets using symbols that could be combined in endless variations. How is it that some scripts run from left to right, and others run from right to left? Of course, what is writing without someone to decipher what was written? We will therefore look at reading, literacy, and the impact of illiteracy.

Course Materials The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs & Pictograms by Andrew Robinson, Thames & Hudson, 2nd Edition c. 2007. Various internet articles and YouTube videos.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours/week, 30-40 pages plus internet articles

Biography Sandy Bornstein has always been interested in how technology and society interact, so she finds the invention of writing and how humans have used it fascinating. She 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 30 years at Harvard University, the Cambridge School of Adult Education and in her home studio. Here at BOLLI she has taught courses on the history of Jewish music, the beginning of the Revolution, and the history of textiles.

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SCI4-10-Wed1 Two Centuries, Two Pandemics, Two Viruses and Their Impact

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Estherann Grace

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description Before a single American soldier was wounded in battle in World War I, thousands of men died, sequestered in training camps and on military transports to Europe. Crowded conditions facilitated the spread of a mysterious, highly contagious, and potentially fatal disease. The victims presented with bleeding from their nose, ears, and lungs. The associated racking cough tore apart their abdominal muscles and rib cartilage. Their headaches and body aches were so severe they felt as if their bones were being broken. Because of limited diagnostic and treatment resources, the physicians faced an overwhelming challenge. The 1918 influenza pandemic killed between 50 million and 100 million people. More people died in one year from influenza than in a century of the Black Death.

Fast-forward to 2019 and the Covid pandemic. Despite the scientific and medical advances of the 21st century, Covid persists in its contagion rate, potential fatal outcome, residual complications, and relentlessness. As American deaths from Covid exceed one million, this course will focus on the similarities and differences between these two pandemics. What do they have in common and how do they differ with respect to economics, politics, education, mental health, and medical advancements? The class sessions will include factual presentations and member discussions. We know how the 1918 influenza pandemic ended; Covid’s end is yet to be determined.

Course Materials Book for the class: The Great Influenza by John Barry. Online resources regarding Covid e.g. The Internet, Podcasts, YouTube, CDC Bulletins, the Press.

Preparation Time 2 to 3 hours

Biography Estherann Grace spent her professional career at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital (Clinical Chief of Adolescent Medicine, Emeritus). Her students included interns, residents, fellows, and Harvard Medical School students. This course combines her medical expertise with a fascination with human nature and its response to adversity.

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SCI3-5a-Wed1 How Not to Be Wrong

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Gary Feldman

Please note that this course will take place in-person at 60 Turner Street. If warranted by changing health circumstances, in-person courses may be moved online. We will make every effort to deliver in-person courses, but your safety is our top priority.

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

5 week course - September 14 - October 19

(No class October 5)

Description This course takes its name from the title of a delightful book by Jordan Ellenberg on mathematical and logical thinking. The book opens with the following story. In World War II, planes returning from engagements had more bullet holes per square foot in the fuselage than in the engines. This led the military officials to recommend moving some of the armor from the engines to the fuselage. A mathematician advised them to do the exact opposite. This course is highly recommended for two classes of people: those who do not understand the mathematician’s advice and those who do.

Topics in this course will come from Ellenberg’s book and other sources. We will deal mainly with information which you receive: how to evaluate it and how to use it. Once explained, the ideas in this course are quite simple. The math, if any, is usually just arithmetic with a bit of freshman high school algebra occasionally slipped in. We will apply these thoughts to real-world problems that are better understood using such concepts as probability, expectation, utility, causation and correlation, chaos, and different types of statistics.

Course Materials Out of class work will be optional. Some reading or short videos may be suggested, such as How Not to be Wrong: The power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg. Also, students will be encouraged to find examples of use and misuse of information.

Preparation Time Optional

Biography Gary Feldman, a retired professor of physics at Harvard University, is still active in experimental research on elementary particles. Among many physics papers, he has published a paper suggesting a statistical procedure that has become standard in his field. The paper has had over 5000 citations.

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H&G6-5a-Wed1 The History of US Labor and the Future of Work

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Mark Erlich

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

5 week course - September 14 -October 19

(No class October 5)

Description The story of labor is an integral part of American history. In the late 19th century, unions established a presence in our political and economic life, facing constant violence and opposition. Workers organized on an unprecedented scale in the 1930s, leading to a long period of prosperity and labor peace in the post WWII era. Millions of Americans entered the middle class and established organized labor as a vehicle for social mobility. In the late 1970s and 1980s the business community, supported by an emerging right-wing political opposition, launched an assault on union influence and drove an agenda that diminished the percentage of American workers in unions from 35% to 10%. Globalization and the fissuring of the economy contributed to labor’s decline as well. Today, the smaller but leaner labor movement is the only major institution in our society that routinely speaks on behalf of working people. There are signs of creative forms of organizing in the changing workforce – among low-waged workers, women and workers of color, and workers in the new “innovation economy.” Some argue that organized labor is an obsolete institution; others maintain that worker organizations are needed now more than ever in the face of extreme income inequality and continued global corporate power. In our last session we will focus on the increasingly precarious conditions at work, the gig economy, as well as new forms of organizing at Amazon, Starbucks, and universities.

Course Materials Steven Greenhouse, Beaten Down, Worked Up. The book is generally available.

Preparation Time 1 hour per week

Biography Mark Erlich is a Wertheim Fellow at the Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program after retiring as Executive Secretary-Treasurer (EST) of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters in 2017. In addition to his career in the trades and the labor movement, Erlich has written and lectured extensively on labor issues. He is the author of two books, With Our Hands: The Story of Carpenters in Massachusetts (1986) and Labor at the Ballot Box (1990), both published by Temple University Press. He has also written dozens of essays, articles, and op-eds on labor history and contemporary union issues.

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FILM2-5b-Wed1 The Golem: Artificial Humans and Monsters from Kabbalah to Film

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Henry Morris

This hybrid class will consist of in-person participants and Zoom participants, all in a synchronous learning experience. This means that the class will be conducted with two kinds of students, approximately 15 online and 15 in the BOLLI Gathering Space with the SGL. This class is a pilot project. Your experience will help us understand the potential of this learning modality. At the time of registration, please choose “in-person” or “online” from the course drop-down menu. Please understand that your choice represents a commitment to participate primarily in this fashion.

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

5 week course - October 26 - November 30

(No class November 23)

Description The story of the Golem, an artificial human/monster who protects a threatened Jewish community but then gets out of control, has roots in the Bible, Talmud, Kabbalah, and Yiddish literature. In the 20th century, films spread this story around the world to illustrate the horrors of war, violence at unprecedented scale, and the dangers inherent in creating intelligent technology. After examining the origins of the Golem story, we will move on to watch multiple film treatments of the Golem concept. These include the classic 1920 German silent film The Golem: How He Came into the World that influenced later films and videos ranging from Frankenstein to the Simpsons. We’ll move on to an X-Files episode about the creation of a Golem to mete out vengeance on an anti-Semitic group. We will also discuss an Israeli film about a woman who creates a child Golem to save her community, and finally look at a film about a man who falls in love with an intelligent bot he knows only through her voice. What do these films reveal about the dangers of creating intelligent technology that advances beyond our capability to manage it? When a Jewish community looks to a Golem for protection, have humans taken over the mantle of creation from God? Has God’s relevance to the life of the community been marginalized? We will explore these timeless issues of God, humans, and creation.

Course Materials The SGL will provide links to free films, essays, and stories on a class Google site. In addition, there will be three films on YouTube that cost $2.99 each.

Preparation Time 2-3 hours per 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 and he taught a well-received course on Augmented Intelligence. Henry enjoys writing and teaching about analytics and artificial intelligence. He was a lecturer at Tufts University Experimental College and co-authored Augmented Intelligence: The Business Power of Human-Machine Collaboration (CRC Press, 2020). Henry received a BA from the University of Michigan and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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ART1-10-Wed2 Three Bohemian Artists from the School of Paris: Modigliani, Soutine and Chagall

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Nancy Alimansky

Please note that this course will take place in-person at 60 Turner Street. If warranted by changing health circumstances, in-person courses may be moved online. We will make every effort to deliver in-person courses, but your safety is our top priority.

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description While Picasso and Braque were experimenting with cubism in Montmartre there was another community of emigrant artists living together in an apartment building called La Ruche in the Montparnasse section of Paris. Many of them were Russian Jews who had escaped from Russia to pursue an artistic life in France. As happens with many immigrants they felt more secure living together, especially because many of them spoke only Yiddish. Though the Dreyfus affair was in the past, anti-Semitism was still an issue in Paris. Some art critics called the group “the School of Paris,” although they didn’t share a common artistic philosophy and their work was quite diverse. We will concentrate our study on three of these artists: Amodeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Marc Chagall. Modigliani was Italian but felt a connection to the other Jewish artists in La Ruche. He was especially close to Soutine. Chagall initially lived in La Ruche, but ended up returning to Russia right before the outbreak of World War I. He too had close ties with the other La Ruche artists. We will analyze their work, learn about their lives and also study the historical context in which they lived.

Course Materials Shocking Paris by Stanley Meisler. Additional readings and videos will be posted on a class Google site.

Preparation Time There will be approximately 30 pages of reading/week. The preparation time should be about 3 hours including additional reading, study questions and videos.

Biography This will be Nancy Alimansky’s 23rd teaching experience at BOLLI. For 26 years she was an Associate Professor at Lesley University, teaching management and technology as well as studio art. For three years she conducted tours as a docent at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Nancy has a BA from Wellesley College, an MAT from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an MBA from Boston College. She has been a professional artist for more than 30 years.

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LIT3-10-Wed2 The City as Character: The Role of the Urban Landscape in Literature

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Kathryn Bloom

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description “…the residents of Manhattan are to a large extent strangers who have pulled up stakes somewhere and come to town, seeking sanctuary or fulfillment, or some greater or lesser grail…New York…can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” Writing in 1948, E.B. White summed up the siren’s call of the city in his essay “Here is New York.” In this course, we’ll look at literature about cities—including fiction, essays, and poetry—and consider the ways in which writers have described the unique appeal of some of the world’s most fascinating urban areas and discuss the ways in which each city plays a distinctive role in the narrative.

During our time together, we’ll travel from the Dublin of James Joyce’s Dubliners to the St. Petersburg of Gogol’s The Nose to the Los Angeles of Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locust, and, of course, to the Boston of Edwin O’Connor’s The Last Hurrah. We’ll even look at some poetry about cities. You won’t need a passport, a visa, or proof of COVID vaccination in order to join this journey, just an open mind, enthusiasm, and great curiosity! Please note: there will be a lot of reading in this course. Please plan on devoting at least 3-4 hours /week to preparation.

Course Materials The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West. The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor. Other readings will be provided via email as PDFs or links to online materials.

Preparation Time At least 3-4 hours of reading/week

Biography Kathryn Bloom, PhD, has taught a variety of literature courses at BOLLI over the past few years. She retired from a career in public relations and holds the BA from Rutgers University (Douglass College), MA from University of Toronto, MJLS from Hebrew College, and PhD from Northeastern University. Her op eds, feature articles, short stories, blogs, and scholarly essays have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Boston Globe, Boston, Herald, Philip Roth Studies, Lilith, and The Times of Israel. She also teaches at Orchard Cove, North Hill, and Congregation Shir Tikvah (Winchester, MA).

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H&G4-10-Wed2 American Foreign Policy Since WWII

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Ollie Curme

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description We’re at a critical juncture in American foreign policy: our two military crusades, the Cold War and the Global War on Terror have ended and we’re facing a very uncertain world. In order to understand where we might be headed, we’ll first take a look back to understand our history since WWII. We’ll use some conceptual frameworks from the field of International Relations to study the Cold War and the Global War on Terror. Along the way we’ll look at questions such as: Why in the name of freedom and democracy, did the United States so often help to overthrow democracies and replace them with repressive totalitarian regimes? How is America planning for nuclear war? How does the military-industrial complex influence policy? And why is it that the most powerful military on earth was defeated in Afghanistan by a peasant insurgency? Armed with that review, the last section of the course will be a debate as to the near term future of American foreign policy. Will we restart a Cold War, this time with China and/or Russia? Will our military replace the WWII tools of jets, aircraft carriers and tanks with drones, sanctions and cyber warfare? Or will America relinquish its hegemonic role and share power in a multipolar world?

Course Materials The course materials will be presented on an expansive web site:

https://sites.google.com/view/americanforeignpolicy/home. One reference book will also be used: American Foreign Policy Since World War II by Steven W. Hook and John Spanier, published by CQ Press, 2015, ISBN 10: 148336853XISBN 13: 9781483368535 (available used for around $5 from abebooks.com)

Preparation Time Approximately 2-3 hours of reading per week

Biography Ollie Curme has been at BOLLI since 2019. He has led study groups in the areas of history, politics and religion. Ollie is also a member of the Study Group Support Committee.

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MUS1-10-Wed2 Paris in the 1920s: The Birth of the Music Avant-Garde and Cross-Cultural Collaborations

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Cecilia Dunoyer

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description For struggling artists, writers and poets, wealthy Americans, exiled Russian aristocrats, dancers, and fashion designers, Paris was the place to be in the 1920s. After the Great War, an international cast of characters turned Paris into a place of celebration of all the arts, characterized by “International Patriotism.” Collaborations flourished, notably those sparked by Serge Diaghilev, the genius impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, who brought together composers, poets, and artists (Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Utrillo...), fashion designers (Leon Bakst, Coco Chanel…), and choreographers (Nijinsky, Fokine, Balanchine...). In this course, we will follow the emergence of the musical avant-garde in Paris, where composers fleeing the excesses of German Romanticism and Symbolist sensuality found inspiration in Parisian cabarets, cafés, and music halls, as well as in American popular entertainment —jazz, Charlie Chaplin’s films, and performers such as Isadora Duncan and Josephine Baker.

We will focus on two of the most charismatic musical figures: Erik Satie, the musical “godfather” to a younger generation of composers who would come of age in the 1920s, and Francis Poulenc, one of the great melodists of the twentieth century, who crafted an unmistakably personal style by piecing together wide-ranging influences, including a strong affinity for poets and painters. Both sought to fuse art with everyday life, disregarding the traditional separation between classical and popular music. Weekly guided listening assignments and videos will fuel discussions and enhance our appreciation of the artistic collaborations and vibrant spirit of Paris in the 1920s.

Course Materials An extensive and thoroughly illustrated course google site will provide much of the course material: articles, YouTube videos, internet links, pithy quotes and colorful visuals aiming to convey the vibrant spirit of music and the arts in Paris in the 1920s.

https://sites.google.com/view/paris1920

Preparation Time Two hours at the most, depending on how much music people wish to listen to. Very little reading.

Biography ​​Cecilia Dunoyer, French pianist and teacher, has concertized in Europe and the Americas. A passionate teacher, she has shared her love of music, beauty, and a joyful pursuit of excellence with young and older adults for over 35 years. Her expertise in French music has led to regular appearances at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC presenting lecture-recitals and leading courses. She authored Marguerite Long, A Life in French Music, simultaneously translated into French, and Debussy in Performance, and received BM, MM and DMA degrees. Cecilia relocated to Boston three years ago.

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SOC5-10-Wed2 Can Journalism Be Fair & Truthful in 2022? You Decide

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Terry Lee

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description What does it mean to say that news reporting is fair, balanced, or even-handed? How can one know when a news story is slanted or biased? Is it possible to report news from an objective standpoint? U.S. journalists in 2022 are under scrutiny perhaps as in no previous period of history, a time when their work is critically essential to sustaining our democracy. Journalists make complex decisions when reporting and editing stories, including when to—and whether to—publish stories that harm. In fact, journalists have a duty to harm, given their constitutionally protected role as watchdogs. But where do they draw the line? In their work to inform and empower citizens, journalists live in a world of facts. Some scholars suggest, however, that facts are not enough, that we need a pragmatic objectivity in which contextual and interpretive news reporting is essential to get at the truth. But how does a reporter or editor interpret without slanting a story? What obligations should citizens fulfill as consumers of news? This 10-week class will use brief essays by scholars and former journalists, as well as current stories that we read in real time from the print and online news media. There will be some online reading of brief Op-Ed/ Personal Essay columns. This is largely a discussion class in which we will analyze U.S. news media—with a focus on print and online news reporting—from many perspectives.

Course Materials All readings will be posted as PDFs on the SGL's website and/or as web links. Subscriptions to online or print news media are NOT required.

Preparation Time Two to three hours.

Biography Terry Lee’s first career was as a journalist for Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y. He later earned a PhD in British literature and had a thirty-year career teaching journalism and literature. He retired from Christopher Newport University, a public college in Virginia, in 2017, where he spent the last fifteen years also producing short films on aging, caregiving, and hospice. His work is available on his professional website, www.risingpress.org. He has taught adult learners in Virginia, at the Washington Heights Hebrew Y in Manhattan, as well as Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn, N.Y.

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H&G8-10-Wed3 Italy, 1919-1925: Death of Democracy and the Dawn of Dictatorship

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Amy King

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description “The age of mass politics has begun,” Mussolini declared, standing before a small gathering of his supporters in 1919. But how did this sweeping statement become Italy’s reality for more than twenty years? Antonio Scurati’s prize-winning M: Son of the Century is a fictional recreation of Mussolini’s rise to power. Combining prose with excerpts of speeches and newspaper articles published at the time, the book’s narrow focus (1919-1925) helps us to understand the day-to-day dawn of dictatorship and the responses of those who experienced it.

Each week, we’ll read a section of Scurati’s book and reflect on a particular theme that emerges from the text. We’ll cover topics including the appeal of Fascism to veterans of World War I, the daily threat of violence and the importance of martyrdom in building support for the Fascist cause. We’ll also discuss specific historical events that marked a turning point in the rise of Fascism, such as the murder of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti and Mussolini’s symbolic March on Rome. Guided by Scurati’s book, we will develop our knowledge of Italian Fascism and begin to understand the broader social and political contexts in which dictatorship develops – a question that remains pertinent even one hundred years after Mussolini’s seizure of power.

Course Materials M: Son of the Century by Antonio Scurati. Additional resources will be provided on a Google site.

Preparation Time The book is around 700 pages. Class members will be asked to read around 70 pages per week. The text is made up of short sections and excerpts from newspaper articles – it is fast paced and very easy to read.

Biography Dr. Amy King is a lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Bristol. A specialist in Memory Studies and Italian Fascism, 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 a book on the memory of a political attack on a far-right family in Rome, 1973. This will be Amy’s third BOLLI course.

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CE1-10-Wed3 Current Events (Section 1)

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Lois Sockol

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

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

Course Materials Before class each week, the SGL will send pertinent articles by email, with the topics selected from a variety of newspapers and magazines. The student should also have access to newspapers, news magazines, and web sources.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours per week

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

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SOC4-10-Wed3 Introduction to Israeli Society: A Tossed Salad rather than a Melting Pot

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Steven Klein

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

10 week course - September 14- November 30

(No class October 5 and November 23)

Description Did you know that non-Jews now make up the majority of new arrivals in Israel, and that they are challenging the notion of what it means to be Israeli? They are just the latest additions to a society far more diverse than the one the country’s founders envisioned. Rather than a melting pot, Israel has become a tossed salad of communities, living side by side but separately. While the State of Israel is often viewed, dichotomously – a Jewish state contending with an Arab minority – the reality on the ground is far more complex. Some Jewish citizens strive to secularize the state, yet some Arab citizens openly support the country’s Jewish character. Both separate and overlapping identities govern relationships among the country’s residents. For example, while non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews clash over issues like conversion, marriage, burial and the army draft, non-Jews struggle with completely different issues like housing, employment and family rights.

In this course, we will look at the gamut of communities – Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and secular, mainstream and marginal, immigrant and non-immigrant – through various academic lenses. Students will be introduced to important sociological theories including constructivism, revitalization theory, social distancing and integrated threat theory. As we explore the history of relations among and between the different communities, we will ask how perceptions led to changes in the different relationships, as well as how public policy has governed intercommunal relations.

Course Materials Relevant academic and current events articles will be provided by the SGL either via email or a dedicated course Google Site.

Preparation Time About 8-10 pages a week, although reading is not required.

Biography Dr. Steven J. Klein has taught about Israeli society and Jewish peoplehood since 1992 for programs ranging from Young Judaea Year Course in Israel to Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University. He has been teaching online since March 2020, both independently and for Case Western Reserve’s Siegal Lifelong Learning program and the Rabbi Samuel Scolnic Adult Institute. Raised in Minnesota and North Carolina, he moved to Israel in 1991. He is currently a senior editor and contributor at Haaretz English Edition, living with his beloved family in Modi’in.

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H&G1-5a-Wed3 Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Fall: A Stroll through America's First Garden Cemetery

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Helen Abrams

*Please note that this course requires travel to selected sites 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.

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

5 week course - September 14 -October 19

(No class October 5)

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 walking tours covering different parts of the cemetery. In each tour, we will highlight and tell the stories of some of the people who are buried there, consider the trees, shrubs and flowers, and appreciate the outdoor sculptures and chapels. The first and last class in this 5-week course will be on Zoom – bracketing and framing the founding of Mount Auburn with a discussion in session five on where Mt. Auburn and other cemeteries are headed in the 21st century. Cameras and binoculars are encouraged. We will cover most of the cemetery over the three walking tours so that future visits will become easier and more familiar to students and their families. Maps of each tour will be provided.

Course Materials Some background material about Mount Auburn will be provided to the class before the first session through email links. The first and last class zooms will include a screen-shared PowerPoint with photographs interspersed. During the walks, there is nothing required except good shoes! If students would like to make a small contribution to the Friends of Mount Auburn (which provides programming and supports volunteer docents like the study group leader in tour preparation) or become a Friend, this would be welcomed but is not required.

Preparation Time Approximately one hour of reading before the first and last zoom classes. Otherwise, just driving to the cemetery and walking for a 90-minute period.

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 a knowledge of birds and horticulture has been a hobby of the SGL which enriches her tours about people, monuments, symbols, artists and more. Helen has a strong, clear voice guaranteed to reach all participants in the tours.

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SCI6-5a-Wed3 Conservation in Our Backyards: Opportunities and Threats

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Jonathan Regosin

*Please note that this course requires travel to selected sites 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.

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

5 week course - September 14 -October 19

(No class October 5)

Description Many plants and animals are thriving in Massachusetts suburban landscapes enabling us to enjoy nature in and around our backyards. However, many Massachusetts species are in decline and the state loses about 5,000 acres of forest each year. Should we be concerned? In an increasingly urban/suburban society, suburban habitats provide important firsthand opportunities for people of all ages to connect with nature and conservation. In this class, through a series of three case studies, we will learn more about the rich diversity of animals, plants, and habitats that can be observed in our suburban communities, conservation challenges, and actions we can take locally to address those challenges.

We will take three field trips to investigate (1) a project to restore open habitat and control invasive species to benefit both a declining bird, the American Woodcock, as well as pollinators; (2) the rich biological diversity and conservation challenges of suburban vernal pools (pools without fish that are important for amphibians and other wildlife); and (3) issues related to deer management and forest health. Through field trips, assigned readings, and class discussions this class aims to enrich students’ knowledge of wildlife in our communities, as well as the conservation actions that will benefit both wildlife and people. It will also introduce web-based tools such as iNaturalist and Go Botany that provide great opportunities for continued learning and engagement.

Course Materials We will read articles from magazines and journals that will be available on a course website. Reading material on the site may include selections from: Vernal Pools: Natural History and Conservation (E. Colburn auth.); Science and Conservation of Vernal Pools in Northeastern North America (A Calhoun and P deMaynadier eds.); Strategic Recommendations for Managing Invasive Plants in Massachusetts (MIPAG report); Ecology and Management of White-tailed Deer in a Changing World (W. McShea auth.); and select articles from Massachusetts Wildlife magazine on habitat restoration and management.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours per week

Biography Jon Regosin is the Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife). He formerly served as Chief of Conservation Science at the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. He has received awards from the Newton Conservators for his involvement in several local conservation efforts, and served as founding President of Newton Community Farm.

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REL1-5b-Wed3 Encounters with a Hindu Classic: The Bhagavad Gita or “Song of the Lord”

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Bennett Comerford

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

5 week course - October 26 - November 30

(No class November 23)

Description The influential Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita, or “Song of the Lord,” has been studied and celebrated for generations as a timeless text of deep spiritual wisdom that traces its origins to ancient India. In relatively few pages the Gita succinctly presents several fundamental elements of both Indian philosophy and Hindu philosophy, introduces seminal characterizations of the Hindu god, Krishna, and recounts a story that has come to be enshrined as a cornerstone of Hindu tradition. At the same time, the book has also influenced and inspired countless non-Hindus and non-Indians, such as Henry David Thoreau, Robert Oppenheimer, T.S. Eliot, and Philip Glass.

This course will facilitate a direct encounter with the Bhagavad Gita, while also introducing how and why it has come to be celebrated as one of the foremost representatives of the Hindu tradition. Throughout our five sessions we will carefully read the entire text of the Bhagavad Gita while closely considering its broader historical, literary, and religious significance. Class meetings will consist of short lectures designed to provide a basic entry-point for grasping the meaning of the Sanskrit text in translation and the broader socio-cultural world it engages. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and sharing of responses and reactions to our reading as we collectively read closely, think comparatively, question broadly, interpret widely, and negotiate a range of perspectives on and reactions to a cherished and diversely interpreted work of literature that is deeply bound to broader philosophical and theological traditions.

Course Materials The Bhagavad Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in Time of War translated by Barbara Stoler Miller and The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography by Richard Davis. Additional suggested readings and audio/visual materials will be provided by the instructor on a class website or by email links.

Preparation Time 2-3 hours per week

Biography Bennett DiDente Comerford is a doctoral candidate in the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University specializing in South Asian religions and comparative religious studies. His research focuses on the intersections of religion, literature, race and coloniality in nineteenth-century Bengal. Bennett has spent over a year and a half living and studying in India and Bangladesh with fellowship support from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Critical Language Scholarship Program and the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College.

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SOC3-5b-Wed3 Why Don’t You See It My Way? How Culture Affects How We Think And Perceive

Study Group Leader (SGL) – Ashley Gilliam

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

5 week course - October 26 - November 30

(No class November 23)

Description Have you ever wondered if people in China, India, Mexico, and the United States see the world in the same way as you do? What factors make people different and how are memory and perception shaped by these factors? In this course we’ll explore the effects of culture on cognition. We will take a nuanced view of what culture is and how to research its impact on thought and behavior. We’ll discuss the primary approaches to defining culture in Psychology as well as their potential pitfalls. We’ll also discuss cognition broadly ranging from lower-level functions like attention and perception to higher-level functions like memory decision-making and social interaction. For example, we’ll discuss how living in a region that grows rice versus wheat can impact how you view others. Remarkably, citizens of some countries have different fields of vision and prioritize different items in their memories! Would you believe that people with lower incomes might be more empathetic? At the end of the course, you may find yourself more attuned to the impact your environment has on how your brain functions!

Course Materials Course materials will be provided on a Google website.

Preparation Time 2-3 hours per week

Biography Ashley Gilliam is a PhD student in Psychology at Brandeis University. She has an MA in Psychology, a BS in Psychological Sciences, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology. Her research focuses on how culture influences cognition, particularly within-culture variation (e.g., acculturation, training, rural/urban differences).

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