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

Evergreen Forum: Spring 2023 Course List

Evergreen Forum corporate sponsors for spring 2023:
Brandywine Living: Princeton, Pennington, & Serenade at Princeton, Capital Health, Homewatch CareGivers,
McCaffrey’s Food Markets, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Stark & Stark Attorneys at Law




Leader: Stan Katz
Mondays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting February 27 through April 3 for 6 sessions
Virtual — Lecture/Discussion — Unlimited

This course will look at a complex and contradictory decade of recent American history. For months, many Americans have noted that we are currently living through one of the worst political decades they can remember. This course will suggest that as bad as things have been in the recent past, American politics are not as tragic as they were in the decade of the 1960s. We tend to remember the Beatles and the Great Society legislative triumphs of the years from the election of John F. Kennedy to that of Ronald Reagan. But we should not forget the tragic character of the decade: the assassinations of the two Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, the urban rioting and burning of countless American cities, the appearance of the Black Panthers and the decline of the civil rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis, the coming of the Viet Nam War. The decade was a political and emotional roller-coaster, and this country is still coming to terms with the resolution of the severe political, economic, and foreign policy problems that emerged in the 1960s. This course will attempt to sort out the dynamics of a very complicated decade in American history.

There is no assigned reading, but the suggested background reading will be Kevin, Boyle, THE SHATTERING: America in the 1960s (WW Norton, 2021).

Stan Katz is a former professor of public policy at Princeton University, former head of the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a scholar of legal history, constitutional law, and philanthropy.


Leader: Harold Kuskin
Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting February 28 through April 11 for 7 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture — Unlimited

This course will survey the history of the exploration of the world’s most remote, coldest and windiest continent—Antarctica. Beginning with an overview of the Continent’s geography, weather conditions, and research facilities, this course will examine: a) the journeys into the unknown of Captain James Cook, James Weddell, James Clark Ross, and other nineteenth century explorers; b) the incredible struggles for survival of the heroes of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration—Roald Amundsen, Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton; c) the expeditions of Admiral Richard Byrd and Edmund Hillary; and d) solo crossings of the Continent. The course will conclude with a look at the Antarctic exploits of a very senior citizen.

Harold Kuskin, a retired lawyer and judge, is passionate about Antarctica and fascinated by the sagas of fortitude, survival, and tragedy of Antarctic explorers. He has traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula twice and to the Ross Sea and has made two trips to South Georgia Island. For the past six years, Harold has taught courses at the Evergreen Forum about another passion, opera.


Leader: John Kucich
Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m.– noon starting March 1 through April 19 for 8 sessions
Virtual — Discussion — Max 18

In this course, we’ll study and discuss two celebrated Victorian novels: Emily Brontë’s masterpiece, Wuthering Heights (1847), and George Eliot’s semi-autobiographical The Mill on the Floss (1860). We’ll address whatever topics interest the class, but we’ll pay particular attention to a clash between two great literary traditions—romanticism and realism—that helped produce these and other “classic” British novels of the nineteenth century. Romanticism, emphasizing imaginative vision and subjective depth, celebrated an individual’s power to transcend worldly obstacles. Realism, attentive to the ways class, economics, gender, national and imperial politics, and other social forces shape personal identity, documented how individuals submit to worldly fates they are powerless to change. Focusing on only two novels will give us time to “close read” the productive tensions between these clashing world views in theme, plot, character, and form. We’ll also read a small selection of background materials to help contextualize each novel.

John Kucich is distinguished professor emeritus at Rutgers and professor emeritus at the University of Michigan. He has written several books and many essays on Victorian literature and culture.


Leader: Wendy Worth
Tuesdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting February 28 through April 18 for 8 sessions
Virtual — Lecture — Max 50

Dada and Surrealism: We often use the word surreal, but do we know what it really means? Dada and Surrealism were the two great art movements between the wars. Dada broke boundaries while Surrealism captured the unconscious in art. It is a story of war and peace. Dada was a reaction to the bloodshed of WWI and used provocation as art. Surrealism started in 1924 in Paris which was at peace. It was connected to Freud’s psychoanalytic theories; and artists plumbed the dream world, visualizing its secrets. They were the first art movements to include women artists on an equal footing with men. Both movements laid the groundwork for the contemporary art of today.

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


Leader: Bernard Abramson
Thursdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 2 through March 23 for 4 sessions
In-Person — Lecture — Max 40

There is more misinformation and deliberate deceit in politics, advertising, health claims, and news than ever. You need to be able to protect yourself from acting on disinformation and to be alert to misleading errors. A functioning democracy requires a populace prepared to understand and challenge claims of fact in political statements. Misunderstanding data or probability can have fatal consequences. The misinformation may be false or biased data but just as often numbers are selected or presented to deceive. Graphs and charts can be especially misleading: a picture speaks more directly to our emotions. Topics include fake news, sample bias, different “averages,” charts and graphs, very large and small numbers, commonly used statistical terms, and fallacies in analyzing data. The goal is to cultivate a healthy skepticism so you can better detect numerical sleight of hand, deception, and errors. This does not require advanced mathematics, just basic arithmetic and common sense.

Bernard Abramson was a corporate chief information officer and has international management and consulting experience. He is a former adjunct professor in the Master of Technology Management program at Polytechnic University.


Leader: Robert Ross
Mondays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting February 27 through April 17 for 8 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Max 20

The course will first summarize the history and vision of today’s World Order. The lecturer will then focus on the institutions behind the World Order, how it operates in the real world and assess its impact on global peace, poverty, the environment, and human rights.

The lecturer was raised in a Foreign Service family and spent his professional life expanding the economies of developing countries by investing in entrepreneurship and trade.


Leader: Matias Zaldarriaga
Fridays from 3:30–5:30 p.m. starting April 28 through May 19 for 4 sessions
In-Person — Lecture — Max 40

Quantum mechanics describes nature exquisitely well and sits at the center of our most successful physical theories. However, quantum mechanics is profoundly counterintuitive and, as a result, debates about its meaning and conceptual implications have continued since its birth. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 was awarded jointly to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.” In this set of lectures, the lecturer will discuss the background for the prize and the award-winning research. He will also use it as a springboard to discuss related ideas in physics and cosmology.

Matias Zaldarriaga, professor of astrophysics and cosmology at the Institute for Advanced Study, has made many influential and creative contributions to our understanding of the early universe, particle astrophysics, and cosmology as a probe of fundamental physics. Much of his work centers on understanding the clues about the earliest moments of our universe encoded in the Cosmic Microwave Background, the faint glow of radiation generated by the Big Bang, and in the distribution of matter in the late universe.


Leader: Robert Nolan
Thursdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 2 through April 20 for 8 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture — Unlimited

For Europeans the French Revolution was as significant as anything that had ever happened. Revolutionaries eliminated the French monarchy and eviscerated French society by assaulting the distribution of its power, the concentration of its wealth, the influence of its religion, the education of its children, and the norms of its culture. Then they began to focus on the rest of Europe. A century later the British scholar Lord Acton wrote that the Revolution had “imperishable effects of which will be felt by every one of us, to the last day of his life.” Yet the Revolution itself perished. It was destroyed by its radicalism and was terminated by Napoleon Bonaparte. He brought Empire to France and war throughout Europe. A man of vivid imagination, unquenchable ambition, and military renown, Napoleon also changed forever the artistic profile of Paris and the law code of France. In their twenty-five year span the French Revolution and Age of Napoleon dramatically impacted the character of the Western World. This course tells their story.

Robert Nolan is an attorney who has a history degree from the University of Scranton, where he has been on the adjunct faculty, a law degree from Harvard, and has previously presented Evergreen Forum courses on America’s Revolutionary War, Civil War, Old West, Vietnam, World War I, Shrouded Pillars of Western Civilization, and Africa.


Leader: Dave Saltzman
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting March 2 through March 23 for 4 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Unlimited

Geography is informed by geology, history, politics, and ecology. This course will explore interesting and sometimes whimsical ways that New Jersey’s geography has (literally) helped shape our state, and vice-versa. Among the topics to be covered are how New Jersey’s external and internal borders were decided; controversies over governance such as home rule and town consolidation; demographic trends; and infrastructure issues such as flooding, pollution, and planning.

Dave Saltzman has a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers College and an MBA from New York University. He is a lifelong New Jerseyan and past president of the Princeton Senior Resource Center Board.


Leaders: David Redman
Tuesdays from 1:30­–3:30 p.m. starting February 28 through April 18 for 8 sessions
Virtual — Discussion — Max 25

Great Decisions 2023 is a roundtable discussion course centered on eight important issues of American foreign policy as selected by The Foreign Policy Association. Each class will be set up with a number of opening questions, followed by robust group discussion, moderated by the co-facilitators. Basic information on each topic will come from the Great Decisions 2023 Briefing Book, supplemented by other materials—worksheets, handouts, newspaper, and magazine articles. We will crucially rely on the unique life experiences and perspectives of class members. The facilitators may occasionally be able to engage outside speakers on one or more of the topics, to help frame the issues.

David Redman will facilitate the class. David a retired university administrator.


Leader: David Brahinsky
Wednesdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 1 through April 19 for 6 sessions
No Class, March 15, April 5
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Max 30

This course highlights a number of philosophers and philosophic perspectives that have emerged over the past 2500 years by focusing on specific representatives in the history of Western and Eastern philosophy. Each class will begin with a summary of the philosopher’s ideas followed by a discussion. Participants can read ahead (or post class) if they like (readings can be found online—links to be supplied by the instructor—or in books) or not: homework is not required!

David Brahinsky has an MA from Brooklyn College and a PhD from Binghamton University, and has been teaching philosophy, comparative religion and humanities since 1969 at a number of colleges and universities. He currently is a professor at Bucks County Community College.


Leader: Susan Matson
Mondays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting February 27 through April 17 for 8 sessions
In-Person — Lecture/Discussion — Max 18

Did you know that the first fairy tale collection published by the Brothers Grimm was intended for adults, not children? This course examines the legacies of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, and why the stories have endured through the ages and across cultures. We will compare original versus “sanitized” versions (“Disneyized”) of the best-known tales. Leave knowing how to extract the best life lessons from each so that young listeners learn to be more resilient, brave, and self-reliant.

Susan Matson (MSc, education, reading specialist) has taught ESL, pedagogy, English, documentary film, and short story analysis in the U.S. and overseas.


Leader: Mark Schlawin
Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. – Noon starting March 1 through April 5 for 6 sessions
In-Person — Lecture/Discussion — Max 20

Participants will explore surprising and entertaining mathematics drawn from probability, logic, game theory, geometry, number theory, and operations research. Sources include work by well-known authors and original materials developed by the course leader. After brief introductory lectures, participants will work together to discuss and solve problems using pencil and paper, dice, mathematical origami, paper cutting, Legos, and “democratic math debates.” Specific topics may include the mathematics of Covid testing, Magical Egg Drops, the Truel, Deal or no Deal, Prisoner’s Dilemma, and Logicians versus Pirates. All backgrounds are welcome. There are no mathematical prerequisites—just a sense of humor, curiosity, and common sense.

Mark Schlawin has an MS in applied mathematics and an undergraduate degree in physics. His work experience includes stints as an operations research specialist optimizing paper production, as a quantitative analyst on Wall Street, and, most recently, twenty joyful years of teaching middle school mathematics and science.


Leader: Lois Marie Harrod
Wednesdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 1 through April 19 for 8 sessions
Virtual — Lecture/Discussion — Max 18

Mohsin Hamid writes a novel can often be a divided man’s “conversation with himself”; and both Hamid’s three short contemporary novels (Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and The Last White Man) and Ayad Aktar’s Homeland Elegies reveal the multiple sides, skirmishes, scuffles, and brawls that living in more than one culture creates. This lively discussion course will feature its own intense, perhaps divided, but not divisive conversations about cross-cultural and crossing-culture issues in the U.S., Britain, and Pakistan. A book club on steroids for those who love to read and discuss.

Lois Marie Harrod, life-long educator, has written eighteen volumes of poetry.


Leader: Chris Reed 
Tuesdays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting February 28 through April 11 for 7 sessions 
Virtual Lecture/Discussion Max 15 

This course, for people who are pretty sure they don’t like poetry, is bound to change their minds. A discussion fest, the class features sessions with lively local poets (Gretna Wilkinson, Lois Harrod, Maxine Sussman, Judy Michaels, and David and Eloise Bruce, with Chris Reed as host/moderator/leader), as well as selected clips from the 2022 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. The poets will read and discuss their own poems with the class as well as poems by other poets whom they particularly admire. Participants will read and discuss a book by each poet and, if they wish, write a response poem for the last session.

Chris Reed is a poet, educator, and minister.


Leader: Lincoln Hollister
Thursdays between 1:00–4:00 p.m.* starting March 23 through April 20 for 5 sessions 
*Times vary. Please see one-pager for exact timing of lectures and field trips. The rain date is April 27. 

In-Person Lecture/Field Trips Max 12 

This five-week course is a combination of lecture and field exploration. The in-class discussions will cover the origins and diversity of the geology of New Jersey. Participants will learn how to interpret geologic maps and discover why New Jersey and Morocco are geologically similar. During our nearby field trips, participants will study rock formations that make up the “Princeton Ridge” and Herrontown Woods, learn why the piles of boulders in Princeton are not a glacial deposit, understand the life cycle of vernal pools, and discuss the rocks that comprise the façades of Princeton University buildings. The ability to walk on uneven trails is required for field excursions. 

Lincoln Hollister is professor emeritus of geosciences at Princeton University and taught geology there from 1968 to 2012. His studies included the origin of mountains in Alaska, British Columbia, The Himalayas of Bhutan, and New Mexico. 


  • March 23 — 1:30–3:30 p.m. at 101 Poor Farm Road 
  • March 30 — 1:00–4:00 p.m. in the field 
  • April 6 — 1:30–3:30 p.m. at 101 Poor Farm Road 
  • April 13 — 1:00–4:00 p.m. in the field 
  • April 20 — 1:00–4:00 p.m. in the field 
  • April 27 — Rain Date for field trip 



Leader: Alan Chimacoff
Fridays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 3 through April 28 for 8 sessions
No Class, March 31
Virtual — Lecture — Unlimited

What does it mean to “understand” buildings? From the outside, as we first confront them? From the inside, as we experience them? We can understand buildings in simple, pragmatic terms—how they work for what they are supposed to do—and we can understand them as architecture. This is a brief introduction into the logic of architectural form and space—the phenomena, the principles, characteristics, geometries, and themes at the basis of making and understanding architecture—irrespective of time. It will seek to define the “define-able” while acknowledging that much of the soul-stirring power of architecture eludes definition.

Alan Chimacoff is an architect and photographer in Princeton, New Jersey. He taught architecture at Cornell and Princeton universities for thirty years and has designed buildings for campuses across the nation—including Arizona State, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Syracuse universities. In 2019 he received the New Jersey American Institute of Architects Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award, its highest honor. His photographs have been shown in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and Dallas, at various places in New Jersey, and in a solo exhibition at the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell University. They are in the Cornell University collection and on permanent display in Maclean House at Princeton. He has degrees in architecture from Cornell and Harvard universities.


Leader: Harold Heft
Fridays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting March 3 through April 21 for 8 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Max 65

Science in the News is a course designed for all those who wish to become more informed about current scientific and medical topics. Two lectures on different subjects are presented weekly by members of a panel of scientists. The course covers a wide range of fields and strives to remain easily accessible to people of varying backgrounds and current knowledge. A variety of sources are used, and pertinent references are provided in advance for each of the topics covered. All are welcomed, regardless of science literacy. Presentations by class participants are encouraged but not required.

Harold M. Heft is a retired automotive and defense industry executive whose academic research focused on biopsychology and philosophy of science. He is joined by a panel of physicians and scientists with wide experience and interests.


Leader: Lloyd Gardner
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting March 2 through April 20 for 8 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Unlimited

This course will cover the development of the atomic bomb from 1939 to 1945, and the development of early atomic policy from 1945 to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The history of the development of the atomic age policy will also be discussed through the rivalries and anxieties among those who imagined it, developed the science, built the bomb and debated about its use against Japan and the building of the hydrogen bomb. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have a political as well as a military history that continues to be debated to this day. Debates over the Cuban Missile Crisis also continue. The course will discuss the related matter of atomic espionage as epitomized in the cases of Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs, and the enveloping Cold War fears that determined policy.

Lloyd Gardner is professor emeritus of American history at Rutgers University, where he taught from 1963 to 2012. He is the author of over fifteen books on American foreign policy, as well as “The Case That Never Dies: The Lindbergh Kidnapping.”


Leader: Larry Danson
Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting February 28 through April 18 for 8 sessions
In-Person — Discussion — Max 18

We’ll read “Hamlet,” “Othello,” “King Lear,” and “Macbeth,” with careful attention to language and stage action, devoting two weeks to each play. Whether you’re coming to the plays for the first time (and we hope that there will be participants for whom it’s a brave new world) or the umpteenth, we’ll find that these plays continue to surprise and (for all the occasional horrors) delight. Hamlet looking at, and smelling, the skull that tells him to this end he must come; Othello blowing out the candle that no Promethean heat can reilluminate; King Lear howling on the stormy heath, stripping himself to feel what wretches feel; Macbeth and his Lady stained with the blood that all the perfumes of Arabia cannot sweeten: these images have written themselves deep into world culture. The plays are thrilling, on stage or on the page; and we’ll read them for the stringent pleasures they afford.

Lawrence Danson is the author of “Shakespeare’s Dramatic Genres,” among other works. He taught Renaissance drama at Princeton University for forty-five years.


Leader: Donn Mitchell
Fridays from 1:30–3:30 p.m. starting March 3 through April 14 for 6 sessions
No class, April 7
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Max 25

Although socially guaranteed economic security is an internationally recognized human right, in the United States, criticism of government and fear of bureaucracy often obscure the countless acts of love that brought the federal social safety net into being. This course examines the religious life of Frances Perkins, whose concern for the poor and for workplace safety led to the creation of the Social Security system. It also examines the life and work of her many colleagues and provides insight into current debates about privatization and the adequacy of the retirement system.

Donn Mitchell began his career as a newspaper reporter, specializing in environmental affairs, eventually becoming a public interest activist on behalf of clean water, gay rights, and workers’ rights. He also worked to promote these concerns within the Episcopal Church, later undertaking historical studies at the Episcopal seminary in New York. Since that time, he has focused on the life and work of Frances Perkins. He is the author of Tread the City’s Streets Again: Frances Perkins Shares Her Theology.


Leader: Nancee Goldstein
Wednesdays from 1:00–2:30 p.m. starting March 1 through April 12 for 6 sessions
No Class, April 5
Virtual — Lecture — Max 20

Lead by Princeton University Art Museum docents, this six-week Zoom program will cover stories with an international cast of characters. As participants closely examine the details in the art, the plot thickens. Will there be an emotional connection? Sign up for the course and see.

Our docents are an integral part of Princeton University Art Museum’s educational initiatives and its front-line team in presenting the treasures that make up the museum’s world-class collection. Six of our docents will be presenting in this course.


Leader: Ryanne Domingues
Mondays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting February 27 through April 3 for 6 sessions
Hybrid — Lecture/Discussion — Max 30

“Theatre Appreciation, from Page to Stage” will walk students through the play development process from beginning to end. Students will better understand the duties of the people who work both on and offstage to create a piece of theatre, while also learning about different techniques that are used when making new work. Students will be asked to read one musical libretto and one one-act play in their entirety, plus a few handouts, in order to gain a better understanding of different theatrical forms. In-class group projects and short videos will also help the student to better understand the theatrical process.

Ryanne Domingues has been working in the professional theatre for more than twenty years and became the Artistic Director of “Passage Theatre” in Trenton in 2017. Having worked on both coasts, she received her MFA in Directing from the University of California, Irvine, and is currently on the adjunct teaching faculty of Rider University.


Leaders: Nancy Kanach and Victor Ripp
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m.–noon starting March 2 through April 20 for 8 sessions

In-Person — Lecture/Discussion — Max 20

War and Peace follows the lives of dozens of characters as they move through the palaces and battlefields and country estates of early nineteenth century Russia. The scope of the book is impressive, but it can also be daunting. To narrow the focus, in our reading we will pause to consider those key passages that help to illuminate Tolstoy’s persistent themes as well as his artistic technique. Tolstoy was a man of strong opinions, and some of these find their way into War and Peace, most prominently his thoughts on history and historians. But other issues of the day, including pedagogy and the role of women in society, also influenced the writing of the novel and deserve comment. Reading assignments will be approximately 150–200 pages/week. Classroom meetings will be a mix of short lectures and open discussion—the latter is highly encouraged.

Victor Ripp was a professor of Russian literature at Cornell University and is the author of Turgenev’s Russia (Cornell University Press) and, most recently, of Hell’s Traces (Farrar Straus & Giroux). Nancy Kanach has a PhD in Russian literature from Cornell University and taught Russian literature at Princeton University while serving as a dean in the Dean of the College Office.

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