My head is full of ideas when I leave this class; I can’t wait to come back next week.

Evergreen Forum: Fall 2022 Course List

Evergreen Forum corporate sponsors for fall 2022:
Capital Health, Homewatch CareGivers,
Penn Medicine Princeton Health,
and Stark & Stark Attorneys at Law

Class formats include in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

 

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Request to be added to the waitlist here.

Courses begin the week of September 26

DOWNLOAD OUR NEW ONLINE PRINTABLE BROCHURE HERE

 

(Click on course title for full course description)


AFRICA
LEADER: Robert Nolan
FORMAT: Hybrid
THURSDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Africa is an astonishing amalgam of mystery and majesty, poverty and pathos. Africa is where humans first became human, is the world’s most ethnically diverse continent, and has generated cultures of historic renown and kingdoms of extravagant wealth. Although Africa has amazing cultural and natural wonders, the continent has suffered. Before 1800, 80% of all transatlantic “voyagers” to the Americas were African slaves. With children constituting the majority of its population and only 3% of its land being fertile, Africa struggles to recover from centuries of colonization and exploitation. This course addresses peoples, places, cultures, sufferings, and achievements within Africa’s turbulent history.

LEADER: Robert Nolan has a history degree from the University of Scranton, where he has been on the adjunct faculty, a law degree from Harvard, and has presented Evergreen courses on the Revolutionary War Era, Civil War, Old West, Vietnam, World War I, and Shrouded Pillars of Western Civilization.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

BIRD BEHAVIOR: BIRDS AS ARTISTS
LEADER: Wendy Worth
FORMAT: Virtual
THURSDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

We see images of birds in art, but birds create astounding works of art themselves. In doing so, they offer us a new way to understand the origins of art and why it is so essential to us.

Birds existed on earth long before humans and were already pursuing artistic goals. Art may even be necessary for the existence of many living creatures. New scientific work shows that aesthetic values may determine the evolution of bird species. “Survival of the fittest” is insufficient; it is now “survival of the most beautiful.” Birds’ vivid colors and lilting songs are not a mere chance development. Is there a kind of beauty that all species, even humans, appreciate equally?

LEADER: Wendy Worth is an art historian and has an MA in conservation biology.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE
LEADER: Peter Smith with assistance from Dr. Peggy de Wolf
FORMAT: Hybrid
MONDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Now that humanity has conquered the world, it faces many challenges for its future survival. Without being too pessimistic, this course will concentrate on some of the more obvious ones such as environmental issues, resource distribution, global warming, overpopulation, and human aggression. The course will discuss ways in which evolutionary forces that led to our success as a species may have played a role in leading us into these dilemmas. Such information might also be applied to helping us resolve them.

LEADER: Peter Smith, retired from a career in pharma and IT, will lead this course with assistance from Peggy de Wolf, educator and sociologist.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

CONTEMPORARY BUSINESS & ECONOMICAL ISSUES — CLASS IS FULL
LEADERS: Milton H. Grannatt and Kurt Steiner
FORMAT: In-person
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This course enhances understanding of economics, current global business issues resulting from political strife, new technologies and legislation that affect local and worldwide business, and the continuing effects of the pandemic. The course addresses a variety of economic concerns including inflation, income inequality, the business of sports and its effects on higher education, consequences from advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, ways to support displaced workers, and the explosion and regulation of digital/crypto-currencies. The course is appropriate for students at all levels of economic sophistication. No purchase of subscriptions or books will be required. 

LEADERS: Milton H Grannatt, PhD, retired economist and vice president, Global Business Development and Licensing, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and Kurt Steiner, PhD, retired senior director, Metabolic Diseases and Nutrition Research, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

COURTSHIP AND THE QUEEN
LEADER: Lynne Cullinane
FORMAT: Virtual
THURSDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Dorothy Sayers is the widely acknowledged queen of the golden age of detective fiction. She created two memorable characters, Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey. Their long partnership in solving crimes and Wimsey’s prolonged courtship of Harriet are justifiably famous. There are also elements in the novels that reveal the world of which they are a part. In this six-week course, participants will read Gaudy Night, set at Oxford University and the first of the Vane/Wimsey crime solving novels, and Have His Carcase, set a few years later. Discussions will focus on the reasons for Dorothy Sayers’ fame as well as on the social and political issues her novels reflect.

LEADER: Lynne Cullinane

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

CULTURE WARS AND THE 2022 MID-TERM ELECTIONS
LEADER: Elaine Jacoby
FORMAT: Hybrid
TUESDAYS 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Will Democrats lose control of Congress? What are the potential consequences? What are the issues that may dominate the discussions? The culture wars are certainly alive and well. At the top of the list: education, including fear of so-called critical race theory and transgender people, as well as broader issues: the LGBTQ community, Black history, and “parental rights,” many of them already the subject of state legislation on curricula (e.g., book banning). The active involvement of class members will be important in tracking key races.

LEADER: Elaine Jacoby is a retired attorney who leads courses on politics.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

EXPLAINING THE IPHONE TO ISAAC NEWTON
LEADER: Bernard Abramson
FORMAT: Hybrid
MONDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This is a tour of the history of science and technology focusing on electromagnetism, optics, telecommunications, microelectronics, computing, and chemistry. The course concentrates on the iPhone: an object that fits in a hand and encapsulates 350 years of science, technology, and culture. Imagine Isaac Newton has traveled through time to this classroom where he sees a person using an iPhone and asks what it is. The course is aimed at the curious layperson. The course will review each topic to explain what makes the iPhone possible and will explore the history of the sciences. Some mathematics is used, purely for Newton’s benefit.

LEADER: Bernard Abramson, retired corporate chief information officer, with international management and consulting experience, and former adjunct professor in the Master of Technology Management program at Polytechnic University.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

EXPLORING THE EARLY NEOLITHIC WORLD
LEADER: Kay Widmer
FORMAT: Virtual
TUESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Six thousand years before Stonehenge and seven thousand years before the Egyptian Pyramids, hunter-gatherers built the first temple in the world, launching the Neolithic Revolution. After the Neolithic Revolution, the hunter-gatherer way of life changed, and people lived in settlements, became agricultural farmers, and eventually moved to towns and cities. What was life like for the people of the early stone-age? How did they build temples and villages with only stone-age tools? What are the controversies surrounding the transition to farming eleven thousand years ago? Videos, photographs, and readings will help participants explore these questions.

LEADER: Kay Widmer has taught the courses “The History and Mystery of Paleolithic Art” and “The Forest for the Trees” (on research on tree communications).

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

GO, WENT, GONE: LITERATURE OF IMMIGRATION — CLASS IS FULL
LEADER: Lois Marie Harrod
FORMAT: Virtual
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Everyone is someone else’s outsider. This lively discussion course will consider four contemporary books about the immigrant experience by writers from four different countries: Exit West by Pakistan’s Mohsin Hamid; A Mercy by Toni Morrison; Go, Went, Gone by Germany’s Jenny Espenbeck; and Lucky Breaks by Ukraine’s Yevgenia Belorusets—as well as selected poems. A course for those who want a book club on steroids. Participants will read 100–150 pages a week.

LEADER: Lois Marie Harrod has spent much of her life teaching, reading, writing. Her eighteenth book of poetry, Spat, was published in June 2021. See www.loismarieharrod.org

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

HARD CHOICES IN POLITICAL LIFE — CLASS IS FULL
LEADER: Michael Walzer
FORMAT: In-person
TUESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

The course will consider a series of cases in which political (and military) leaders and engaged citizens (revolutionaries, too) have to decide what to do in a crisis, or which side to support in a political dispute or a war, or how to maneuver when worthy causes come into conflict. Participants will begin with the problem of “dirty hands.” After that the cases will range widely, from international to domestic politics, from judicial activism (how active?) to movement struggles (when to compromise?), from risk-taking in battle to tracking in schools. There would be six sessions and twelve cases, each case introduced in a half-hour and discussed for the same time. None of the cases will be strange or esoteric; they will feature well-known dilemmas, which are, nonetheless, very difficult to decide.

LEADER: Michael Walzer is a retired professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

IMAGINING WOMEN: FILMS OF THE 1940S
LEADER: Judith B. Walzer
FORMAT: In-person
TUESDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

In the 1940s, as women characters in film became more independent, competent, and worldly, actresses needed to embody a new type of character. Where once the choice seemed limited to “innocents” and “vamps,” now a compelling adult strength was essential as well as the ability to convey it without losing audience appeal. Style in all its aspects–costume, makeup, background—was used artfully to represent women in stories that allowed them more equality with men, and pictured them as more daring in their own lives. The course will examine eight actresses and new ways of imagining women in film.

LEADER: Judith B. Walzer is a retired provost and professor of literature at the New School.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

THE POWER OF WORDS: PEOPLE & STORIES — CLASS IS FULL
LEADER: Ellen Gilbert
FORMAT: Virtual
MONDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

“What can one do but go on talking against every form of despair and deterministic pseudo-scientific absolutism? Connection and comradeship between humane people, and writings of all kinds help.” —Iris Murdoch

Thanks to the participative nature of this class, it has evolved into a particularly compelling experience, as we read remarkable short stories that help us make sense of these challenging times. Selections from writers like Yevgenia Belorusets, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Franz Kafka, William Trevor, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Grace Paley, and Jamaica Kincaid, embody the best qualities of enduring literature: rich in artistry, they revel in life’s complications, wonders, and ambiguities. No preparation is required. Copies of each story are distributed to participants prior to class. After hearing it read aloud, participants are encouraged to examine the issues and themes; tensions and contrasts; shadows, poetics, and sounds of each story. All ages and backgrounds are welcome; diversity is critical to meaningful conversations. Join us.

LEADER: Ellen Gilbert has a doctorate in library science and is a trained People and Stories facilitator.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST
LEADER: Nancee Goldstein
FORMAT: Virtual
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

“I think the role of the artist is to take whatever it is they believe in and put it out there so the public can see it,” —David “Lebo” LeBatard, Cuban American Artist

Artists, sometimes subtly other times not so subtly, show us their personal beliefs or the beliefs of the times they live in. In this course, docents from the Princeton University Art Museum will lead students through wide-ranging discussions of their reactions to different works of art. Each week will focus on a different topic using the Museum’s extensive collection as a backdrop. 

LEADER: Nancee Goldstein, who has served many roles in the field of education as lead teacher, professional development, and has been a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum since 2016.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
LEADER: Harold Heft
FORMAT: Hybrid
FRIDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Science in the News is a course designed for all those who wish to become more informed about current scientific and medical topics. A panel of scientists will present two weekly talks covering a wide range of fields. The panel strives to lecture at a level easily accessible to people of varying backgrounds (scientific or otherwise) and current knowledge. A variety of sources are used, and pertinent references are provided for each of the topics covered. All are welcome, regardless of experience. Presentations by class participants are encouraged but not required. 

LEADER: Harold Heft, a retired business executive with an abiding interest in many areas of science and the history of science, was an experimental biopsychologist researching visual perception in his former academic life.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

A SERIES OF MUSICAL EXPLORATIONS
LEADER: Barbara Kirsh
FORMAT: Hybrid
WEDNESDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Making music is part of our human experience across time and place, with early ancestors singing and dancing while playing drums, conch shells, and stringed instruments. The impulse to create, perform, and listen to music seems deeply embedded in the human species. These musical explorations will cover early European music, opera, the music of India, and more. The series will thus explore the multiple forms music takes across centuries, cultures, and traditions.

LEADER: Barbara Kirsh organized this series with Lynne Cullinane, Shashank Otiv, Peggy de Wolf, and Peter Smith; Barbara is a sociologist, retired from ETS after forty-seven years, member of the Evergreen Forum Steering Committee, and organizer of three previous Evergreen lecture series.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF OPPRESSION — CLASS IS FULL
LEADER: Martin Oppenheimer
FORMAT: Virtual
WEDNESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Why, in the twenty-first century, do groups of people continue to hate other groups and sometimes willingly oppress them, sometimes murdering them? What circumstances lead to movements that promote bigotry, scapegoating, and violence against those who are “different”? How have individuals and groups coped with and fought back against oppressive circumstances? These questions will be the framework of our discussions. Each session will begin with a short presentation. Information about readings will be provided.

LEADER: Martin Oppenheimer is professor emeritus of sociology, Rutgers University, where his field was political sociology. He taught this course as a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania several years ago.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

THE SUPREME COURT: REDISTRICTING, VOTING RIGHTS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE
LEADER: Philip Carchman
FORMAT: Hybrid
THURSDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

The issues of redistricting, voting rights, and campaign finance dominate the headlines. What is all of this about? The beginning of a decade generates a new census, and the Constitution compels states to reconsider their congressional and state legislative districts. This new decade has seen a dramatic rise in election cases coming to the Supreme Court. This course addresses the issues raised by these cases and how a citizen’s right to vote is affected; participants will consider how campaign finance laws and the Court’s decision in Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission changed the campaign and voting landscape. The course also explores the Court’s interpretation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and how that affected minority voting in the past and for the future.

LEADER: Philip Carchman is a retired judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

VIRGINIA WOOLF: NOVELS AND FILMS
LEADER: Dianne Sadoff
FORMAT: Virtual
TUESDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Virginia Woolf’s masterful novels represent conflicts about marriage, sexuality, culture, class, and the future of narrative. While the eponymous Mrs. Dalloway (1925) prepares for a party for her upper-class friends, the narrative counters her with a mentally ill, hallucinating World War I veteran. Although the action takes place on one day, stream of consciousness enables Woolf’s characters to remember and relive their haunted lives. To the Lighthouse (1927) portrays a family on holiday in Scotland. Again, time is permeable, since the final section takes place after a ten-year interval and a number of the family’s members deaths. The books’ film adaptations delight in Woolf’s polymorphous narrative perversity, one restrained and “faithful,” the other excessive and magical.

LEADER: Dianne Sadoff is professor emerita of English and former director of cinema studies at Rutgers University; she has also taught at Antioch College, Colby College, the University of Southern Maine, and Miami University of Ohio.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

WITTY, SUBVERSIVE, MODERN ENGLISH NOVELS
LEADER: Judith Wooldridge
FORMAT: Virtual
TUESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

In this course, participants will discuss witty, ironic, and apparently quiet English novels of the twentieth century, asking “what are these writers up to?” The focus will be on Samuel Butler, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Henry Green, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Taylor, and Hilary Mantel, and the connections among them. The works are: The Way of All Flesh, A House and Its Head, Back, Excellent Women, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, and Fludd. Participants are encouraged to read the books before the course begins.

LEADER: Judith Wooldridge has led 6 Evergreen Forum classes.

CLASS TYPE: Discussion

WOODROW WILSON: HERO OR VILLIAN?
LEADER: Stan Katz
FORMAT: Virtual
FRIDAYS 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The course will consider the accomplishments and failures in the public career of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was, arguably, one of the most important innovators in the creation of the American research university. He enjoyed some success as a state governor, and his national presidency was the occasion for some important political and institutional innovations. He was an internationally significant figure in the waging of World War I and the following peace process. But he was undoubtedly a racist—he was deeply biased against African Americans—an anti-feminist, and a moral absolutist. Should we admire or despise Wilson?

LEADER: Stan Katz is a retired university professor trained in American history and law.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture

WORLD CINEMA
LEADER: Judith Zinis
FORMAT: In-person
THURSDAYS 10:00 a.m. to noon

Although the phrase “the world is shrinking” is often used, many cultures remain foreign and unknown. That lack of understanding can lead to prejudice, war, and even genocide. Film is one way of familiarizing ourselves with other parts of the world and their people, their way of life, and their beliefs. This course will explore several national cinemas including Italian neo-realism, French New Wave, Indian cinema, Iranian cinema, and Hong Kong cinema.

LEADER: Judith Zinis has taught film studies at Ocean County College and as a Fulbright Scholar at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece.

CLASS TYPE: Lecture and Discussion

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