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

Evergreen Forum: Fall 2021 Course List

Evergreen Forum corporate sponsors for Fall 2021:
Capital Health, Homewatch CareGivers,
NightingaleNJ Eldercare Navigators,
Penn Medicine Princeton Health & Home Health,
and Stark & Stark Attorneys at Law

ALL COURSES ARE VIRTUAL ON ZOOM

FALL 2021 REGISTRATION HERE

Request to be added to the waitlist here.

Courses begin the week of September 27

DOWNLOAD OUR NEW ONLINE PRINTABLE BROCHURE HERE

 

(Click on course title for full course description)

THE ARAB WORLD’S DEMOCRACY DEFICIT: ANOMALY OR HARBINGER

Leader: John Waterbury
Mondays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

For decades, the Arab world has puzzled outside observers by its lack of progress toward democracy, despite rapid urbanization, rising literacy, and a growing middle class. The term “Arab exceptionalism” was coined to describe this. The pro-democracy Arab uprisings of 2011 seemed to end this exceptionalism, but autocracy still reigns supreme. Moreover, democracy seems to be in retreat everywhere, raising the question, “Can the Arab world help us understand the weakening of democratic practice?” This course will explore the evolution of Arab autocracy over the past half century with consideration of the critical role of outside powers in shaping outcomes.


ART FROM ALL ANGLES

Leader: Linda Hayes
Wednesdays: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

What do you see when you look at a work of art? As a rule, each of us sees something different. We all approach art from our own unique vantage point—from our own angle.

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.

The topics include:
Faces – Jeanne Johnson
Fashion – Adria Sherman
Food – Ellen Rogers
Creatures Great and Small – Linda Hayes
Line, Shape, and Color – Judy Langille
Use of Positive and Negative Space in Art – Brian Langille

Student participation in the course is enthusiastically encouraged. We look forward to lively give-and-take discussions.


CONTEMPORARY ECONOMIC ISSUES WAITLIST ONLY

Leaders: Milton Grannatt and Kurt Steiner
Mondays: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

This course will explore economics, global business, and the pandemic-related impact on contemporary institutions. In particular, the course addresses inequality in income and wealth, the significance of national debt and the risk of inflation, the rapid development and distribution of vaccines against Covid-19, the fallout from the pandemic on higher education, the growth of robotics and advances in artificial intelligence, the ways to support displaced workers associated with structural job loss, the path toward electric vehicles, the surprise of the Texas power-grid collapse, the explosion of  cryptocurrencies, the changing patterns of trading stocks, and economic concerns in the twenty-first century. The course is appropriate for students of all levels of economic sophistication. Readings will be from a variety of publications and will be suggested a week in advance of each class. No purchase of subscriptions or books is required, although reading The Wall Street Journal and/or The Sunday New York Times (Business Section) may be helpful.


DICKENS’S DAVID COPPERFIELD: NOVEL AND FILMS

Leader: Dianne Sadoff
Tuesdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” So opens Dickens’s David Copperfield (1850), his most autobiographical narrative, which the course will contextualize with letters and the autobiographical fragment. Participants will ask how retrospective narration shapes self-writing and how writing produces the self. Do the films engage twentieth-century audiences by being “faithful” to the autobiographical tale (Personal History of David Copperfield, Film 4, 2019; David Copperfield, dir. Simon Curtis, 1999; David Copperfield, dir. George Cukor, 1935)? Discussion will focus on literary, cinematic, and historical forms of Victorian culture.


EARLY JOYCE

Leader: Lee Harrod
Wednesdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

James Joyce (1882–1941) began writing stories about Dublin life while he was still in school. He left Ireland in 1904 for self-imposed exile; his stories, many completed before he left, were finally published as Dubliners in 1914, after years of squabbles with publishers. The next year, 1915 , his autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man appeared; in both form and content, it is an argument for the artist’s rejection of middle-class (or as Joyce would say in Finnegans Wake, “muddle-crass”) conventions and values. The class will examine these two powerful books, still among the most important in the English language. (A bonus: Many of the minor characters in Ulysses make their first appearances in these books.) In these two works of his young adulthood, Joyce introduces the major themes, images, and technical innovations that make him among the most important literary artists of the twentieth century. Suggested texts: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics editions of both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are preferred. These editions have excellent introductions and notes.


ELIZABETH STROUT, AGAIN: FOUR NOVELS WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Lois Marie Harrod
Wednesdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This discussion course for avid readers explores four of Pulitzer-Prize-winner Elizabeth Strout’s novels—including her first, Amy and Isabelle, and her last-to-date, Oh William (forthcoming October 19, 2021)—as well as Abide with Me and The Burgess Boys. These novels, like her other four books, contemplate love, marriage, infidelity, divorce, trauma, terrorism, aging, art, depression, poverty, class consciousness, religion, anger, and grief—e.g. modern life. Two of these novels are set in Strout’s familiar Maine and two in New York City. All ardent readers are welcomed whether first-time readers of Strout or long-time fans.


EXPLORATIONS

Leader: Barbara Kirsh
Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

Exploring seems to be hard-wired into what it means to be human. Our earliest relatives peopled the earth and continued exploring their environment, making new discoveries and establishing new cultures and social structures. Early civilizations explored new trade routes, religious and scientific ideas, and discovered music, art, and writing to pass on their knowledge to new generations. Join us in considering the many kinds of explorations we humans continue to pursue. In this series of eight lectures, experts present explorations of infectious diseases, subatomic particles, the natural world around us, the cosmos, movements of early humans, and how art, poetry, and literature explore humanity and interpret our world. The format will be weekly presentations, followed by a question/answer discussion session.


FOR THE PEOPLE: FEDERALISM AND DEMOCRACY

Leader: Elaine Jacoby
Wednesdays:, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The U.S. Constitution divides power between the federal government and the states. Is this system anti-democratic? Or does it have advantages that outweigh its deficits? As voting rights continue to be restricted by state laws and the Electoral College dominates presidential elections, many Americans feel that their votes do not count. This course will examine the pros and cons of federalism, including its effects on American politics and culture, asking whether changes are necessary to achieve the goal of a government “for the people.” Active involvement of class members will be important to this process.


GREAT ART FROM 1715 to 1915: FROM THE ENLIGHTENMENT TO CUBISM

Leader: Wendy Worth
Tuesdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

During these two centuries, art changed dramatically: from the Enlightenment’s refined realism of Ingres’ paintings, to the dazzling colors of the Impressionists—such as Monet—to the spatial complexities of Cubism, as seen in Picasso’s work. Art will be examined through the study of how light and color form images in the Post-Impressionist works of Seurat, as well as through the reduction of form to its essence in the works of the Russian Constructionists. Architecture and design evolve during this period, such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. How do art and culture intermingle or coexist? How did war affect art? How did the advance of science change painters’ approach to art?


THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF SCOTLAND WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Peter Smith
Thursdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Scotland is an ancient country that has had a remarkable influence on the modern world. The Clans had to be forged into a national identity; the Highland clearances and the diaspora spread Scotsmen across the globe. Many Americans are descendants of Scotsmen or have visited as tourists. The course will explore Scottish geography; the landscape and its influence on agriculture and industry; its long history, from Paleolithic times (many stone circles) up to now, with waves of invaders: Romans, Vikings, English; dramatic figures such as John Knox, William Wallace, and Mary, Queen of Scots; the cultural inheritance: the music (famously the bagpipes), Robert Burns’s poetry, Sir Walter Scott’s novels, and the highly influential Scottish Enlightenment. A reading list will be recommended, as well as popular Scottish movies and TV series.


A JANE GARDAM SAMPLER WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Lynne Cullinane
Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

English novelist Jane Gardam has written seventeen novels, several books for children, and many short stories. Winner of numerous awards for her writing, Gardam, now in her 80s, is a versatile and agile author. For the Jane Gardam Sampler we will read one short novel and a collection of short stories. Those who have read such novels as Old Filth and A Long Way from Verona may be surprised by The Hollow Land, which is short, has two young boys as protagonists, is funny, sometimes hair-raising, and an overall delight.  Participants are encouraged to read The Hollow Land before our course begins. We will discuss it at the first class meeting. The rest of this eight week discussion based course will focus on the stories in the collection titled The Stories of Jane Gardam. They showcase Gardam’s range as an author in plotting, depth and range of emotion, humor and seriousness, and memorable characterization and story-telling.


MORE PLAYS OFF THE PAGE: SHAKESPEARE’S HENRY IV, PART 1

Leader: Barbara Herzberg
Thursdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I is the “sequel” to Richard II, though it was written some years later. Unlike Richard II, this play is full of action and greatly contrasting scenes and characters including the incomparable Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly. As is usual with the “off the page” courses, this is not about literary criticism or a sit-around- the-table discussion. The limits of web conferencing will prevent putting the play “on its feet”, but participants will get the words in their mouths and try to see how the playwright develops characters and action. Other topics of discussion will include the Globe Theater and the production possibilities of Shakespeare’s time as they impact the class’s re-creation of one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing plays.

Please have act one read by the first class and be thinking of which character you want to play in that act. We will change parts for each act.

TEXT: Folger Shakespeare Library edition of Henry IV, Part 1 , ISBN 978-1-9821-2251-5


OUT OF VIETNAM: NOVELS ABOUT THE WAR

Leader: Lloyd Gardner
Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

This course will combine lecture/discussion of some well-known novels, and some not well-known narratives about the war and its impact. Anthony Grey’s Saigon is an epic about two families, one American and one Vietnamese, that recounts events from World War I to the U.S.’s departure from Vietnam. Graham Greene’s classic The Quiet American sardonically traces the origins of U.S. involvement. Creina Mansfield’s The Quiet Soldier: Phoung’s Story asks what happens if a nearly silent mistress becomes a VC agent and soldier. Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers and Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato describe the ways the Vietnam War impacted America at home. Edward Wilson’s expat story, A River in May, updates Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer follows a double agent who comes to the U.S. amidst the final evacuation’s turmoil. These novels provide a framework for revisiting what was then America’s Longest War.


THE POWER OF WORDS: PEOPLE & STORIES WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Ellen Gilbert
Mondays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

Inspired by the People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos program founded by Sarah Hirschman in 1972, participants in this online series will read and discuss a different short story each week. The facilitator will email a copy of each week’s story to everyone in the group just before class. After hearing it read aloud during the online session, participants will be encouraged to examine the issues and themes; tensions and contrasts; shadows; poetics; sounds of each story and, perhaps of most interest right now, how these stories resonate with this challenging time in all of our lives.


RUSSIAN LITERATURE IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT WAITLIST ONLY

Leaders: Nancy Kanach and Victor Ripp
Mondays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

Writers to be considered include Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Babel. Although their works can be read with pleasure as free-standing literary masterpieces, an awareness of the cultural and political issues of the day can enrich readers’ appreciation. Topics include Russia and the West, the rise of radicalism, and the literary tradition. Readings will be of selected shorter works with one exception: Crime and Punishment. The course will be conducted as part lecture, part discussion.


SCIENCE IN THE NEWS

Leader: Bob Robinson
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. It covers a wide range of fields, while striving to remain easily accessible to people of varying backgrounds and current knowledge. A variety of sources are used, and pertinent references are provided for each of the topics covered. All are welcomed, regardless of experience. Presentations by class participants are encouraged but not required. Internet access is required.


SOCIALISM: DEFINITIONS, HISTORY, PROSPECTS, CRITICISMS WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Martin Oppenheimer
Tuesdays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

In recent years there has been a revived interest in socialism in the U.S., triggered by the election of socialists to public office. Meanwhile there are campaigns to discredit many social policies by labeling them”socialist.” Just what is socialism? Participants in this course will seek an answer by exploring socialism’s roots, ideas, practices, and criticisms of it. Each session will begin with a short presentation followed by questions and discussion. Suggestions of  books and articles available online will be provided, some prior to the first session. There will be short video clips and perhaps some live interviews.


STORIES OF THE HASSIDIM WAITLIST ONLY

Leader: Rabbi Bob Freedman
Fridays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

Around 1750, a profound spiritual revival started to spread among the Jews of Eastern Europe. An extraordinary teacher, Israel ben Eliezer, began it. His stories celebrated the presence of divinity everywhere in the world, and his way of joyful worship could lift toward heaven even the most mundane human experience. His students and their students continued to tell stories—parables, really—that are masterpieces of exploring the spiritual life. Selections from those stories (all in English!) will be the center of study, accompanied by lots of historical and cultural background.


THE SUPREME COURT: THE HUMAN SIDE OF JUSTICE

Leader: Philip Carchman
Tuesdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

This course will study Supreme Court cases, without losing sight of the human element involved in the decision-making process and  will focus on the justices themselves as a mode of examining opinions in the cases they have decided. The course will explore the personal and professional histories of the justices to see how their experience impacted their decisions. Through this lens, the course will examine a series of cases that reflect more than just the law: they provide insight into the justices themselves and their influence on the Supreme Court.


SURVEY OF IRISH FOLK MUSIC

Leader: Bill O’Neal
Mondays: 10:00 a.m. to noon

All cultures share universal themes in their folk and contemporary songs. The eight sessions will be a mixture of discussion, listening to recordings, and watching videos of performances by popular Irish musicians and singers. The eight sessions will be a combination of cultural, historical, and geographical information about the songs. Some songs will often be presented to the group in conjunction with the lyrics so that anyone who cares to (and it is very much encouraged) can sing along at home. Participants are encouraged to bring to class recordings and/or lyrics of songs relevant to the theme(s) in discussion and share them with the group.


WHAT CAN JOE BIDEN LEARN FROM STUDYING THE NEW DEAL

Leader: Stan Katz
Fridays: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This lecture course uses history to understand current public policy. President Biden’s administration faces challenges similar to those that confronted Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932: the Great Depression—the worst economic crisis in U.S. national history—also created social crisis, with homelessness, joblessness, population displacement, and social distress and unrest. FDR’s New Deal, a program of unprecedented government intervention into economic and social management, may be the most important government experiment in American social engineering.

The New Deal attempted to modernize American governmental practices, seeking to legitimize a proactive version of federalism (the use of centralized, national, power) in a country born of a localist and governmentally minimalist revolution. Yet prior to World War II, the South forced Democrats to accept racism as the cost of reform. The challenge to Biden, like that to FDR, was how to institute sweeping social and political change and still retain the political support necessary to legislate his program. The course will cover readings from Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself; Eric Rauchway’s short introduction, The Great Depression and the New Deal and Why the New Deal Matters; as well as current newspaper articles.


YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ: DON QUIXOTE, PART 1

Leader: Charles Ganelin
Thursdays: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Don Quixote represents a great leap forward toward modernity and it is the source in Western literature for what the art of narrative—and how to understand human nature—will become. We will talk about this in an exploration and open-ended reading, in English, of the 1605 part I of Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece. The character, Don Quixote, and his squire, Sancho Panza, have become iconic figures worldwide and have generated translations into more than 140 languages, in addition to countless imitations, adaptations, and recreations in literature (most recently, Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte), music, art, children’s books, puppetry, and even cartoons.

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