2022 Fall Online & In-Person Courses

China and the United States: Can this Marriage be Saved?

Group Leader: CARROLL PERRY
Meets on: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/11/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 5 | Class Size: 20

It would appear that globalization, as we recently knew it, is rapidly on the wane. The developed world is breaking up into three more tightly defined regions – Europe, the United States, and China – with the emerging markets fitting in as best they can. The United States we can at least pretend to understand. We are Americans. Europe we can also follow and hope to sort through.  China is the big unknown and perhaps the key player in a prosperous global future. To an extent we are…

Exploring Dutch Art at the Museum of Fine Arts

Group Leader: AMY GOLAHNY
Meets on: Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/12/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 4 | Class Size: 50

This online course will highlight works in the newly opened Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Through the remarkable generosity of two Boston families, the museum was greatly enriched by over a hundred paintings and many art objects that present the seventeenth century in the Netherlands (Dutch Republic and Spanish Netherlands) in full. Current research in this field is widening its focus from the obvious artists, including Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Dou and others, to the lesser-known artists. The latter include women…

Finding Her Voice: Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Group Leader: DIANE THOMPSON
Meets on: Fridays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/7/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 4 | Class Size: 28

At the age of eight, Marguerite Johnson stopped speaking after a traumatic event. Fifty-seven years later, Marguerite, now known as Maya Angelou, would be the first Black woman poet to recite her work, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at a presidential inauguration, that of Clinton in 1993. How did the silent girl become the woman whose voice was heard by millions? In this course we will spend four weeks reading Maya Angelou’s first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We will travel with Marguerite/Maya from Missouri,…

In Hot Water: A Survey of Metro Boston’s Water Challenges

Group Leader: SCOTT HORSLEY
Meets on: Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/12/2022
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

The course will consider six case studies involving water in metropolitan Boston that illustrate the broad range of challenges and threats to drinking water, streams, groundwater, wetlands, and coastal waters. Each case study will present the issues, challenges and potential solutions, including both traditional engineering technologies and emerging alternative nature-based approaches. Class presentations and discussions will focus on such matters as Boston groundwater, emerging contaminants, the EPA’s new stormwater program, depleted water flows at the Ipswich River, and the threat posed to water by Chapter 40B affordable housing…

Late Antiquity

Group Leader: GEORGE THEODOSIOU
Meets on: Thursdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/6/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 8 | Class Size: 20

Late Antiquity is a confusing period in history, despite also being one of the most transformative. Since the Roman Empire’s third century crises, history witnessed the emergence of three different monotheistic religions, the impact of barbaric invasions, the fall of Rome and the traditional Western Empire, the rise of the Eastern Empire, the destruction of the Persian Sassanid world, and the expansion of the Islamic world. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon characterized the years after the Empire as the Dark Ages, a…

Mozart's German Operas (Hybrid Online)

Group Leader: BRAD CONNER & BEN SEARS
Meets on: Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/4/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart was a master of both the Italian operatic style and of German opera, or singspiel.  A singspiel, performed in German and interspersed with spoken dialogue rather than sung recitatives, was intended for lower and middle class audiences and predominantly featured comic plots.  This seminar will focus on The Abduction from the Seraglio (1782), with its scandalous Turkish harem, and The Magic Flute (1791), a fairy tale allegory of good and evil.  These operas reflect some of the political and social issues of the time, including…

Mozart's German Operas (In-Person)

Group Leader: BRAD CONNER & BEN SEARS
Meets on: Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/4/2022
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart was a master of both the Italian operatic style and of German opera, or singspiel.  A singspiel, performed in German and interspersed with spoken dialogue rather than sung recitatives, was intended for lower and middle class audiences and predominantly featured comic plots.  This seminar will focus on The Abduction from the Seraglio (1782), with its scandalous Turkish harem, and The Magic Flute (1791), a fairy tale allegory of good and evil.  These operas reflect some of the political and social issues of the time, including…

Music and Words: An Alternative Relationship

Group Leader: LAURENCE BERMAN
Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/12/2022
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

The reader of the above title is no doubt wondering, “alternative to what?” The short answer to that question is the following: Contrary to the long-held view that the musical aspect of a vocal work “captures” the text, the contention here is that music, full of its own meanings and conventions acquired over centuries of cultural development, works with the text along “parallel” lines. Rather than the musical meanings being directly — one might say, inexorably — dependent on those of the words, the music complements the words;…

Ninth Street Women: Artists of Abstraction and Their Genius

Group Leader: LAURA BECKER
Meets on: Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/4/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 10 | Class Size: 16

In mid-20th-century New York, the Abstract Expressionist movement took over the art world. Although the movement was dominated by male painters, the historic 1971 Ninth Street Show included the works of five female artists who ultimately changed the trajectory of the art world: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler.  These women burst on the art scene and went on to become international celebrities. Our primary text, Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel, will be the basis of our discovery of the roots…

Pioneer Women of California

Group Leader: LINDA BERGER
Meets on: Mondays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/3/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 5 | Class Size: 40

In 1841, Nancy Kelsey, carrying her infant daughter Ann, crossed the Sierra Nevada on foot.  She was the only woman in the first organized overland pioneer party to California.  There were no maps or guides, and the wagons had to be abandoned to cross the mountains.  In 1844 eight women came west to California in another organized party, and by 1846 hundreds were traveling the California Trail to America’s new frontier. This course will explore the lives of some of the women who were part of the pioneer…

Putin’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine: Exploring the Geopolitical Implications and the Challenges for Liberal Democracies

Group Leader: MARK YESSIAN
Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/12/2022
Venue: Chilton Club
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 16

We have endured 9/11 and its aftermath. Now we are just beginning to confront 2/24, the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, and all that will follow it. In this discussion-focused course, we will take a deep breath and contemplate the hard realities and questions likely to emerge. In our inquiry, we will give particular attention to the work of two scholars who have a deep knowledge of Russian and Ukrainian history: Tim Snyder, author of The Road to Unfreedom and Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy. But…

Rome’s Golden Age: When Art Talked to Power

Group Leader: LEE BEHNKE
Meets on: Fridays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/7/2022
Venue: Chilton Club
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 14

This seminar will examine the Augustan Age with a double lens.  For a close-up of the history and politics of the age, we will read sections of Michael Grant's History of Rome.  For the literary arts, we will read poetry by Horace, Vergil, Catullus and Ovid, as well as a section of Livy's History of Rome. We will also consider the architecture and sculpture of the age. Augustus, known first as Octavian, "ruled" Rome from 27 B.C.E to 14 C.E. with such a patient, strategic and skillful hand…

Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins: Midwife of Entitlements

Group Leader: JOHN HODGMAN
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/12/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 5 | Class Size: 20

Social Security, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, no child labor, and workers’ compensation are all integral part of our lives today. These are some of the “entitlements” that Labor Secretary Frances Perkins helped to create. The course will review how she became a passionate advocate for workers and entered a long partnership with Franklin Delano Roosevelt to establish and implement laws and regulations to improve workers’ lives. This is also the story of how the federal government expanded its role in pulling together the…

The Book of Genesis

Group Leader: OLGA TURCOTTE
Meets on: Mondays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/17/2022
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 20

In this seminar, we will read and discuss the first book of the Bible, where it all began. Each session will start with an introduction to the material, followed by chapter reading and discussion. We will try to follow the Quadriga method, approaching the text in the following four ways: literal, symbolic, moral and anagogic. No prior knowledge of the Bible or the Book of Genesis is required. Participants are encouraged to use more than one version of the Bible if possible and have access to one for…

The Cold War 1945 – 1959

Group Leader: LAWRENCE CLIFFORD
Meets on: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/4/2022
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 20

The six-session course will begin with an analysis of the failure of the Yalta Agreement, followed by the Potsdam Conference and the concerns raised there about the Soviet Union taking over all the countries in Eastern Europe. The course will then move to the Cardinal Mindszenty affair and the beginning of the Berlin Airlift, and consider why the latter was so important. The Proxy Wars come next, with discussion of the Korean War and how that war affected the relationship of the United States, the Soviet Union and…

The Great Game or The Great Power Rivalry (1830-1895)

Group Leader: MARIA LUISA MANSFIELD
Meets on: Mondays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/24/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 4 | Class Size: 25

The course is about “The Great Game,” a political, diplomatic, and warring confrontation between the British Empire and the Russian Empire that lasted for most of the 19th century. This intractable clash was responsible for the rise of espionage, looting, and trade that swept much of Europe and Asia during the Victorian period. Battles between Britain and Russia were fought across desolated regions from the Caucasus to China, with armies traversing the breathtaking mountain passes of the Pamirs and Karakorams. This warfare frequently interrupted Silk Road caravans, looted…

The Human Heart

Group Leader: STEPHEN SANDERS
Meets on: Thursdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/6/2022
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

This course will explore the workings of the human heart. Using video images, 3D reconstructions, and wax-impregnated hearts, we will examine the anatomy, physiology, evolutionary development, and embryological development of this key organ. We will explore how the heart works and what keeps it going – and discuss how things can go wrong and result in various types of heart problems. The diagnostic and imaging tools that allow physicians to examine the heart will also be surveyed, from the stethoscope and the electrocardiogram to angiography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. Childhood heart…

The Inner and Outer Worlds of Poets Robert Lowell and Maxine Kumin

Group Leader: LIZ CABOT
Meets on: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/4/2022
Venue: Chilton Club
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

Lowell once wrote to his friend Elizabeth Bishop: “My trouble is to bring together in me the Puritanical iron hand of constraint and the gushes of pure wildness. One can’t survive or write without both but they need to come to terms.” This seems to get at the heart of his poetic output. Between bouts of manic-depressive illness, Lowell wrote extended examinations of the influence of the past on New England history and culture. He also probed into his own illustrious family and his relationships with his wives,…

The Mystery of the Pompeian and Roman Murals

Group Leader: LIANA CHENEY
Meets on: Thursdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 10/6/2022
Venue: online
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 50

Ancient Romans frequently embellished the interior of their public and private buildings with frescoed paintings. These mural decorations combined compositions of intricate designs and bold colors with illusionistic renderings and fanciful perspectives. Four distinct styles of wall decorations emerged, with the subjects displayed in these murals ranging from landscapes with elaborate gardens to mythological stories. This course studies these artistic styles and subjects as well as the culture and patronage for the creation of these decorations in the ancient villas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Palatine Hill, and Prima Porta.…

They Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships…  (Call Me Fishmeal)

Group Leader: GEORGE MESZOLY
Meets on: Thursdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/6/2022
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

There was a time when the extent of the oceans was unknown; was it all one expanse of water, or were the seas divided from each other by land? And who were the people who settled this question? The exploration of three-quarters of the Earth has been the greatest adventure of all time, undertaken by merchants, adventurers, warriors, pilgrims and explorers in pursuit of trade, travel, war, piracy, holiness, exploration, colonization and migration. These adventurers ploughed the waves in vessels dwarfed by the immensity around them, bringing upon…