Adventures in Lifelong Learning


9:00 am – 10:30 am

Villette: The Female Self in the Victorian World                              Helen Heineman, PhD

In this remarkable novel, her last, Charlotte Bronte treats some of the many issues in Victorian society for women, especially isolation, work, and the establishing of relationships, particularly between men and women. Her heroine and unreliable narrator, Lucy Snowe, is a plain woman making her way in an unfriendly world. It’s a favorite Bronte plot. Yet George Eliot found it “a more wonderful book than Jane Eyre….with something almost preternatural in its power.” Villette follows aspects of Charlotte Bronte’s experience more closely than any of her other novels, and we will also examine to what extent the book is veiled autobiography. It appeared in 1853 in three volumes:  I, chapter 1-15, II, chapters 16-27, and III, chapters 28-42. We will cover a volume a week, with some time given in each meeting  to an examination of Bronte’s own life. We will use the Penguin Classics Edition.

Hindu Art and Iconography                                                     Yumi Park Huntington, PhD

This course explores the visual language of Hindu art, especially the ways in which the divine and its manifestations are conveyed through symbolism in visual imagery. We will gain familiarity with the Hindu epic and Puranic literature and explore relationships between textual and visual narratives. Students will also analyze the iconography of Hindu deities and learn methods to interpret symbolic meaning in the imagery.

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

African American History to Reconstruction                    Dr. Maria Alessandra Bollettino

An examination of African American history from the colonial era to Reconstruction. This course is organized chronologically, with a focus on how Black culture, communal identity, and political thought and activism evolved over time. We will examine a wide range of Black American individuals and the organizations, institutions, and movements they created to sustain themselves as they worked to withstand and combat discrimination and exploitation, and as they struggled to ensure their freedom and their inclusion in our body politic as full and equal citizens of the United States. This course rests upon the premise that the history of the United States cannot be understood without an in-depth understanding of the history of Black Americans and that the study of African American history offers an invaluable means of assessing how cultural, economic, political, and social change happen. 


Jazz History Part II                                                                                      Paul Buono, JD

Jazz history is American history – the study of culture, society, politics, and economics of the 20th century. Its characters are the geniuses, virtuosos, outcasts, pioneers, eccentrics, revolutionaries, and champions of American history. Post-Civil War America presented tremendous division within the country, but this landscape gave rise to a form of music often referred to as America’s only true art form. The History of Jazz Part II course picks up in 1920s America, studying the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, and others. Students will examine the significant historical events that helped jazz achieve mainstream success at this critical time in history, such as recording technology, famous performances, social factors, economic and political changes, the prospect of war, and the heightened scrutiny of jazz as an art form. The course will include lectures, active listening, live performances, pictures, and videos to help give students a deeper understanding of the historical context that gave birth to jazz.

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm

The Supreme Court and the Promise of Equality                                 David Smailes, PhD

The Supreme Court plays an important but sometimes misunderstood role in the American political system.  In this class, we will explore the nature of the Supreme Court’s power as well as its relationship to the various federal and state courts in America. As part of this exploration, we will focus our attention on the nature of equality under the law by examining the role of women on the Court itself as well as the challenge of guaranteeing equality to women in American political and legal systems.