2020 Fall Online Courses

A Second Civil War in the USA?  Alarming Polarization 2020/1860

Group Leader: ED QUATTLEBAUM
Meets on: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/6/2020
Sessions: 4
Class Size: 16

In December 2019, if you googled “Articles and books fearing a second civil war in the USA” you’d find at least a dozen readings, many followed by hundreds of readers’ angry comments.  One example:  September 30, 2019, a New York Times op-ed, “Why Trump Tweeted About Civil War.”  Its ending tried to reassure: "We’re no closer to a (frankly ridiculous) civil war than we were two days or two weeks or two years ago."  But it feels to some like we could be, and that matters. The cycle feeds…

Beethoven and His Times: Encore Edition

Group Leader: BRADFORD CONNER and BENJAMIN SEARS
Meets on: Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/6/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: Unlimited

2020 is the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. He was born during the Age of Enlightenment and into a time of political revolution in America and France, the Era of Napoleon, the rise of humanism, and the beginning of the Romantic period in Western arts and writing. Beethoven was the leading musical revolutionary in Western music and is considered the first of the nineteenth century Romantic composers. He exerted a powerful influence on the music both of his time and after, an influence which still reverberates…

Colonial Entrepreneurship 1620 to 1700: “Massachusetts Inc.”

Group Leader: JOHN F. HODGMAN
Meets on: Thursdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/8/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 20

The Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Plymouth Plantation are generally thought of as communities of refuge for English religious dissidents. They were also entrepreneurial ventures financed by English investors. This course examines the history of these ventures and some of the entrepreneurial characters engaged in these enterprises. One can look at the ventures as three stages that are typical of entrepreneurial companies. The “startup” phase from 1620 to 1640. The “going concern” phase from 1640 to 1690. Finally, the “corporate takeover” phase that was solidified from 1690 into…

Design with Nature: An Approach to a More Sustainable City

Group Leader: SCOTT HORSLEY
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: unlimited

Green infrastructure (GI) is an evolving, community-based approach to integrating alternative, nature-based technologies into city design and lifestyle. GI includes public parks, street trees, and community gardens as well as less obvious practices such as rainwater harvesting, green roofs, green walls, and wastewater recycling. These practices can be implemented on both public and private properties. In many cases they provide cost-effective alternatives to conventional infrastructure such as storm sewers and wastewater treatment plants and provide an enhanced living environment at lower public costs. Many “empty-nesters” are moving into…

Music and Representation

Group Leader: LAURENCE BERMAN
Meets on: Thursdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/8/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24

What is it that makes a piece of music meaningful to us? It cannot simply be a question of its structure – of how it is put together – for the greater number of music lovers are untrained in musical grammar and yet are deeply affected by their listening experiences. How to explain their responses? The common wisdom that musical expressivity is due to the emotional dichotomy of happy/sad may be looked upon by the authorities as simplistic and uninformed, but it is nevertheless a reliable starting point…

Nationalism and Its Discontents

Group Leader: GEORGE THEODOSIOU
Meets on: Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24

Nation, Nation-State, and Nationalism are integral parts of an evolutionary process in societal development with multiple determinants including demographic, technological, economic, scientific, sociologic, etc., etc. This course’s approach will be a historical view. With deep roots going back to Reformation, it evolved in Europe as a by-product of Enlightenment’s search for governmental legitimacy. Like all concepts, it developed from an elites’ doctrine to a governmental political ideology (Nazism). Nationalism became a major determinant in the rise of Political Science as a discipline. In six weeks, we will study…

Pioneer Women on the Northern Plains

Group Leader: LINDA BERGER
Meets on: Mondays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/5/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 24

In the settlement of the American West, we can distinguish between the mining frontier, starting with the Gold Rush in California, and the agricultural frontier. This is a course about the agricultural frontier of the middle of America, and the pioneers who farmed it. Extending from Texas up to Canada, this area was labeled the Great American Desert on early 19th century maps, and in the 20th century was known as The Dust Bowl. Many people refer to it today as the Great Plains. The material we will…

Producing Live Theatre: From Backstage to Centerstage

Group Leader: MATT CHAPURAN
Meets on: Mondays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/19/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: Unlimited

Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to produce a play in Boston today? Here is your chance. In this course, Lyric Stage Company of Boston Executive Director, Matt Chapuran, will guide you through the process and steps of creating live theatre. Participants will be encouraged to pitch a title of the play they would like to see produced and the class will explore the narrative, why it’s relevant at this moment in time, and the challenges that a producer would face with a particular production.…

Rembrandt in Context: His Horizon of Expectations

Group Leader: AMY GOLAHNY
Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 50

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is enjoying much attention in 2019 on the 350th anniversary of his death. This course examines his work in context of his training, his network, and his impact on artists of his time, taking into account recent research. Rembrandt’s background includes a fine education at the Leiden Latin school, which included drawing. He trained with two artists, Jacob van Swanenburg and Pieter Lastman, who gave him secondhand experience with Italy and Italian art currents. We will discuss works by Rembrandt with respect to this…

Solving New England’s Biggest Environmental Challenges

Group Leader: BRAD CAMPBELL
Meets on: Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/6/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: unlimited

Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has been a leader of significant environmental victories in New England. A local advocacy group, CLF has been a prime mover in bringing clean energy online using law, science, and markets to create change. CLF President Brad Campbell and other advocates — all on the frontlines of environmental advocacy — will share the tactics and strategies used to outpace the nation on environmental issues, such as: - Ocean and marine life conservation- Rising waters and Boston’s waterfront- The future of clean energy- Environmental justice…

Speaking in Tongues: Language, Langue and Parole

Group Leader: GEORGE MESZOLY
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 50

Mr Callahan: “O’Neill, what do you know about French Syntax?” O’Neill: “I didn’t know they had to pay for it, sir.” While almost all of us speak at least one language, we seldom stop to think about what an incredible instrument language is: phonology, vocabulary, inflection, syntax and semantics, all individually complex enough, unite in one even greater complexity which we all daily navigate with complete fluency and hardly any conscious effort. In this seminar, we learn how to lift the lamp of consciousness over this unlit terrain.…

Stem Cell Medicine: Regenerating the Future

Group Leader: AMY TSURUMI
Meets on: Thursdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/8/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24

This course will focus on emerging stem cell based technologies. Studies show that stem cells could provide promising avenues for a wide variety of conditions including cancers, orthopedic aging and injuries, cardiovascular conditions, neurological diseases, and infertility. In lay terms, we will cover background knowledge of different types of stem cells (embryonic, adult, and induced pleuripotent stem cells), their cellular and molecular properties, and sources from where they are derived. We provide an overview of recent research work involving the different types of stem cells and reflect on…

The Pacific War

Group Leader: JOE HERN
Meets on: Fridays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/9/2020
Sessions: 7
Class Size: 32

The War in the Pacific was an all-out struggle between two emergent world powers who had never before clashed. But that oversimplifies it, for before that war broke out in late 1941, Japan was mired in four years of war in China. And from 1941 there was also a protracted four-year Japanese campaign in Southeast Asia with the British Empire that brought Japanese troops almost to the gates of India. Finally, the Soviet Union arrayed against Japan in the final week of the war. While the course will…

Understanding Current Events: Both Domestic and Foreign

Group Leader: ANDY HERTIG
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 20

Andy Hertig will lead six weekly discussion sessions on topics of current interest. Likely examples include the presidential election, the state of the economy, and the course of the coronavirus. Since each of these also has foreign policy implications, our relations with the wider world will be considered when appropriate. Relevant articles, mainly from the New York Times, will be emailed to participants to stimulate conversation for each meeting. Group members should feel free to offer their own suggestions. Class Recordings: Class 1 - October 7, 2020 Class…

We the People: The 500-Year Battle Over Who is An American

Group Leader: BEN RAILTON
Meets on: Fridays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/9/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: unlimited

“We the People.”  The Constitution begins with those deceptively simple words, but how do Americans define “We”? In this class, we will trace how competing yet interconnected concepts of exclusion and inclusion have battled to define our national identity and community, focusing on a handful of exemplary topics and histories:• the Revolutionary period and its debates on whether African American slaves were enemies or exemplary new Americans • 19th century conflicts over Indian Removal and Chinese immigrants • 20th century discriminations against Filipino and Japanese Americans. Carefully exploring…