2023 Winter & Spring In-Person Courses

Banned in Boston: How Censorship Reveals the Psyche of a City

Meets on: Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 4/11/2023
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 15

This course will examine the paradoxical nature of censorship in Boston, the “Athens of America.” Institutions such as the Boston Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library championed books even as the Watch and Ward Society was making “Banned in Boston” a national stigma. But even our cherished libraries sometimes resorted to keeping controversial books from public view. We will look at censorship through the prism of John Milton’s Areopagitica, his 1644 plea to Parliament to stop its licensing (pre-approval) of books. This seminal defense of free speech still…

Biomedical Advances: From the Bench to the Bedside and Beyond - In Person

Meets on: Fridays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 2/10/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

This course offers a series of lectures covering a wide range of cutting-edge research topics in the biomedical sciences. In partnership with the Mass General Postdoc Association (MGPA), current research fellows (MDs or PhDs) at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School will deliver talks about their ongoing research. Two researchers will be featured weekly, and each presentation will be followed by an interactive Q&A session with class participants. Featured topics will provide a high-level survey of compelling research across the fields of oncology, infectious diseases, neuroscience,…

Is Green Energy Really Green and How Can It Be Part of a Balanced Energy Policy?

Group Leader: JOHN SALO
Meets on: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 4/4/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

The United States and other developed countries are aggressively moving to replace fossil fuels used in energy production with green energy sources. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to slow global warming. But are these green or renewable energy solutions (e.g. wind, solar, biomass, battery storage, and electric vehicles) as green as they might appear to be? Are there environmental, social and economic impacts associated with these non-fossil energy sources that need to be considered as we develop and implement sustainable and reliable…

One Hundred Years of Judy Garland - In Person

Meets on: Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 2/8/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

2022 marked the 100th birthday of Frances Ethel Gumm, better known to the world as Judy Garland. The youngest of three daughters, “Baby” Gumm proved to be a natural actress at an early age, with an adult voice and a matching innate musicality. Her mother pushed her three daughters into show business as a singing trio, The Gumm Sisters. Baby quickly became a star and landed a film contract. Renamed Judy Garland, she starred in three classic films ─ The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, and A Star…

Opening Pandora’s Box: A Masterwork of Silent Cinema

Meets on: Fridays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 4/7/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 5 | Class Size: 16

This class will devote its attention to one film, a gem from the Golden Age of German cinema, Pandora’s Box (Die Büchse der Pandora, 1929), and explore the enigmatic screen presence of its magnetic star, Louise Brooks. Along the way, we’ll explore the classical myth of Pandora, Hollywood, the Golden Age of German cinema, the heady and decadent days of the Weimar Republic, modernism, sexuality, violence, innocence and, of course, the star of the film, Louise Brooks as Lulu. In Louise Brooks—a flapper from Kansas, Ziegfeld Follies dancer,…

Shakespeare's Othello: Race, Sex and Tragedy

Group Leader: TONY MERZLAK
Meets on: Mondays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 4/3/2023
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 15

What's your favorite Shakespeare play? Hamlet and King Lear are traditional choices, but of late Othello seems to be taking the honors. Why and how this shift has occurred are just two of the questions we'll be discussing in this seminar. After a thorough reading of the text we'll study key contexts, from the play's source(s); through interpretations by Coleridge, T. S. Eliot and other major critics; to performance, with YouTube viewings. Tony Merzlak will be using the outstanding Norton Critical Edition – 2017, paper or Kindle –…

The Governors: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 4/5/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 5 | Class Size: 15

This course will explore the fascinating lives of some of our most (or not) memorable Massachusetts governors.  It will highlight stories related to: John Hancock, our first governor and general bon vivant; Samuel Adams, lately known better for his beer; Caleb Strong, the longest serving governor; John Andrew, our Civil War governor and very bad bookkeeper; Edward Everett, the other guy at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery; Benjamin Butler, the 'beast' and insulter of Southern womanhood; Calvin Coolidge, whose actions during a Boston crisis catapulted him to…

The People Without History: Mongols and Vandals and Goths! Or How I Learned to Love Ghengis Khan

Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 2/8/2023
Venue: The Engineering Center
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 24

Chroniclers are seldom objective when writing about people who are invading them. Thus Scythians, Huns, Mongols, Goths, and other “barbarians” generally have a poor reputation in history sources. But did they deserve it? Were their invasions intrinsically different from the endemic warfare that gripped so many societies? And what is a “barbarian”, anyway? History, almost by definition, concerns itself with the tangible (literary, monumental, and archaeological) remnants of the past and ignores the past of those without (or with few of) these remains; thus many people are known…

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Group Leader: LAURA DUNN
Meets on: Thursdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 4/13/2023
Venue: Chilton Club
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 15

“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about,” Ernest Hemingway observed, “he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.” Ernest Hemingway’s stories “rewired” short fiction with their terse, direct lack of affect and their insistence that we read between the lines. No one before him had ever written in such a style, a style that would influence fiction…

U.S. & Latin American Relations

Meets on: Thursdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 3/30/2023
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Sessions: 6 | Class Size: 25

Although the United States and Latin America share the same historical origin, after the arrival of Europeans, their development immediately took different directions. Latin America was the better known and better developed of the two areas during colonial times. While North America was rural, Latin America was urban; the United States exercised self-government in town halls, while Latin America was ruled by centralized viceroyalties from Spain; Spaniards mixed with the Indigenous races, but North American colonists chased them out of their territories and later put them in reservations.…