Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to Search
Mobile Menu

Spring 2019 Catalog

Courses and Lectures

All courses and lectures with their descirptions for spring are listed below. Registration opened on January 3,, 2019.

Hot Topics, 2019 with Chris Doyle

Tues., Jan. 22; 6–7:30 p.m.; KF Room
Mon., Feb. 25; March 11; April 15; May 6; 6–7:30 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $80; Fellows, $60. Register online.

Each week, we will focus on a topic drawn from current events. This course is structured as an informal seminar, with suggested readings and an occasional guest speaker.

First session: The phenomenon of "fake news" and explore the claim that Western Civilization has entered an age of "Post Truth."
Second session: The debate about whether democracy is dying globally.
Third session: Focus on the #MeToo movement—its successes, limits, and how it's reordering gender relations.
Fourth session: Analyze income inequality and its implications nationally and internationally.
Final session:  A look into the new science of happiness—an amalgam of psychology, brain science, social science, and statistics.

Chris Doyle holds a PhD in history, is a former academic, and currently teaches history and government at Avon Old Farms School. Doyle publishes on history, education, contemporary adolescence, and other current events. His commentary writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Baltimore Sun, Education Week, and elsewhere. His academic work has appeared in The Journal of Southern History, Teaching Philosophy, The American Educator, Perspectives—The News Magazine of the American Historical Association, The Virginia Magazine of History, and elsewhere. An award-winning educator, his teaching has been the subject of stories in the New York Times, bloomberg.edu, and National Public Radio affiliates.    

 

Imperial Stirrings: Britain 1650–1700—Politics, Religion, and the Arts with Humphrey Tonkin

Mon., Jan. 28; Feb. 11, 18, 25; March 4; 10:30–noon; KF Room
Cost: $95; Fellows, $75. Register online.

In the half-century from 1650 to 1700, Britain moved from the devastation and dislocation of civil war and republican government to an emerging United Kingdom and the growth of empire. This was the half-century in which constitutional monarchy was established, personal rule gave way to functional oligarchy, fortunes were made and lost, and parliamentary government began to manifest itself in modern forms.

The British Isles were still divided between Scotland on the one hand, and England, Wales and Ireland on the other—but a single head of state ruled over the two nations. Thus, when the republican form of government established by the English Revolution in the 1640s came to an end in 1660, Charles II, newly restored at the behest of the English oligarchy, ruled over both kingdoms.

When his brother succeeded him as James II, James’s Catholic sympathies were enough to bring his rule to an end, leading to his replacement, again with the support of the oligarchs, with the joint rule of William and Mary. The new régime brought profound cultural changes.

While the Elizabethan style of the previous century looked back to the English medieval past, mid-century style took its inspiration from the legacy of Greece and Rome. Shakespeare was rediscovered in new classicized adaptations, and with female actors, and new forms of comedy and tragedy catered to the London theatrical crowd in newly built theaters. The Great Fire in the City of London led to the architect Christopher Wren’s astonishing output of churches and public buildings, and architects Nicholas Hawksmoor and John Vanbrugh took ecclesiastical and domestic architecture in new directions. Science advanced, led by Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and others. English opera was born in the work of composer Henry Purcell. John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, Pepys wrote his diary, and the modern novel began to emerge, led by such figures as Aphra Behn, whose novel Oroonoko, protesting the slave trade, simultaneously addressed imperial aspirations and gave voice to women writers.

Humphrey Tonkin retired recently as University Professor of Humanities and as director of the Presidents’ College, which he was instrumental in founding when he was president of the University of Hartford in the 1990s. His second book on Spenser, The Faerie Queene, was reissued in 2015, and recent work includes essays on the literature of exile and the phenomenon of world literature.

How to “Read” a Film: Hitchcock’s Rear Window with Mark J. Schenker

Fri., Feb. 1; 2 p.m.; McAuley Lecture, McAuley Retirement
Cost: $20 for McAuley series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

An introduction to and how an appreciation of the visual aspects of a movie can deepen our enjoyment and understanding of film as a form of art. Ample “clips” of Rear Window (1954) will be “read” as a way of enabling viewers to consider elements of point of view, montage, genre and Hitchcock’s distinctive style.

MARK J. SCHENKER has been at Yale College since 1990. He is currently a senior associate dean of the College and dean of academic affairs. A former lecturer in the English Department at Yale, he received his PhD from Columbia University with a concentration in 19th century and early 20th century English literature.

For over 30 years, Schenker has lectured on literature and film and has led book discussion series in more than 100 venues in Connecticut, including public libraries and retirement communities, museums, and cultural centers. For a decade, he presented programming at public libraries in association with the annual summer productions by the Shakespeare on the Sound theater company located in Fairfield County, and since 2007 he has conducted Literature and Medicine Programs to health care providers at Connecticut hospitals. His affiliation with the Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme) has resulted in over 100 sessions there on literature, film, and the visual arts.

Schenker also conducts monthly book discussions for a number of private reading groups in Connecticut. In 2001, he received the Wilbur Cross Award for Outstanding Humanities Scholar, presented by the Connecticut Humanities Council.

Two-Part History Lecture with Warren Goldstein

Cost: $20 for Duncaster series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

Part I: The African-American History You Never Learned—And Need to Know to Understand Modern America with Warren Goldstein

Tues., Feb. 5; 4:45 p.m.

Part II: The Latinx History You Never Learned—And Need to Know to Understand Modern America with Warren Goldstein

Tues.,, March 5; 4:45 p.m.

In the past 30 years or so, professional historians have transformed the writing and understanding of U.S. history to show how the experiences of women, African-Americans, and Latinos shaped that history in fundamental ways. And yet, during this time, popular understanding of American history—even in the great musical Hamilton—rarely moves beyond hero narratives focused overwhelmingly on white men, from the founders through Doris Kearns Goodwin’s favorite presidents—Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson.

This two-part lecture series will offer an alternative look at American history, first from the point of view, experience, and impact of African-Americans, beginning the year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, through Barack Obama’s presidency, and second, the experience of Latinx Americans, who were even earlier North American residents, and whose history rarely enters the consciousness of Americans living east of the Mississippi. Among the questions these lectures will address are: “Why does Reconstruction matter so much?”,  “Why do historians hate Gone with the Wind so much?”, “Why should we care about the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo?”, and “Why have most of us never heard of Mendez vs. Westminster?”

There will be no required reading or homework required to attend—only open minds.

Warren Goldstein is a prize-winning historian, essayist, and commentator. Chair of the history department at the University of Hartford and the University’s Harry Jack Gray/ NEH Distinguished Teaching Humanist, he is author or coauthor of six books for scholarly and general audiences. His essays on history, higher education, race, religion, politics, crime, and sports have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, Boston Globe, Newsday, Miami Herald, The Nation, Christian Century, Commonweal, Tikkun, the Yale Alumni Magazine, and The Huffington Post

The Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series at Presidents' College withLarry Alan Smith

Cost: $40; Fellows, $20. Register online.

The Hartt School’s nationally acclaimed Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series, celebrating its 10th anniversary season, is partnering with the Presidents’ College to offer a two-session course. The first session will feature performers from the historic Handel and Haydn Society in conversation with longtime Hartt faculty member Larry Alan Smith, the curator of the Garmany Series. The special guests for the second session will be the members of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. If you are planning to attend the Garmany performances on Feb. 7 and March 28, these sessions should not be missed.  For more information please visit  hartford.edu/garmany.

PERFORMERS FROM THE HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY in conversation with Larry Alan Smith, Dean of The Hartt School.

Wed., Feb. 6;  3–4:30 p.m.; Millard Auditorium

Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and is unique among American ensembles for its longevity, capacity for reinvention, and distinguished history of premieres. H+H began as a choral society founded by middle-class Bostonians who aspired to improve the quality of singing in their growing American city. They named the organization after two composers— Handel and Haydn—to represent both the old music of the 18th century and what was then the new music of the 19th century. In the first decades of its existence, H+H gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Between 2014 and 2016, H+H celebrated its Bicentennial with two seasons of special concerts and initiatives to mark 200 years of music making. Since its founding, H+H has given more than 2,000 performances before a total audience exceeding 2.8 million. 

CUARTETO LATINOAMERICANO
Wed., March 27; 3–4:30 p.m.; Millard Auditorium

Larry Alan Smith sums it up like this: “This is going to be an absolutely amazing concert. I have admired the Cuarteto Latinoamericano for many years, and the ensemble’s recording of the 17 string quartets of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos is one of my favorite recordings of all time! We will not only hear two of the Villa-Lobos quartets, but Hartt alumnus (2006) Dan Román is writing a new work for the Cuarteto that will have its world premiere on the Millard Auditorium stage. Finally, the great Cuban composer Leo Brouwer will be represented on the program. Brouwer also studied at Hartt! Could there be a better way to end Garmany X? I don’t think so!”

Speaking with a musical vocabulary that inflects the language of post-minimalism with the traditions of Puerto Rican music, composer Dan Román, DMA '06 is a polyglot. His work connects at the roots through rhythm: obsessive ostinatos, juxtaposed patterns that create evolving permutations, and the hypnotic character of a steady pulse.

The folkloric and popular traditions of Román’s native Puerto Rico find their way into his music in less directly rhythmic ways as well, whether through the lyrical qualities of the Latin American romantic bolero or the Puerto Rican Danza.

Here and Beyond: Rethinking Art and the American Experience at the Wadsworth with Thomas Loughman

Tues., Feb. 19; 10-30-noon; Library Lecture, KF room
Cost: $20; Fellows, $10. Register online.

On the heels of the landmark reclamation and rehabilitation of two thirds of the campus in downtown Hartford, the Wadsworth is turning its attention to a multi-year program to elevate the public experience within the Avery Memorial. Dr. Loughman will share a first look at how the plans have been forming, the thought process being used, and the early fruits of this concerted effort to secure more vibrant future discourse on the art of our nation.

Thomas J. Loughman is the director and chief executive officer at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. He assumed the role of the 11th Director at the Wadsworth Atheneum in February 2016, just months after the institution completed a major renovation. Previously, he served as the associate director at Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., (2008–16) as well as in a variety of curatorial, research and teaching roles in the field.
Dr. Loughman is a scholar of Italian art and has lectured and published particularly on the art, architecture, patronage, and urbanism in early Renaissance Florence. Additionally, he has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues on artists as diverse as Claude Monet, Jéan-Leon Gérôme, Jusepe de Ribera, and Nicolas Poussin. As a curator, he has spearheaded a number of projects highlighting Baroque art in Naples, printmaking in 20th century Philadelphia, a focus on sculptors as draftsmen, ancient bronzes from China, as well as the global tour of the Clark’s core collection. Other initiatives have focused on creating a corpus of early Italian paintings and the American Southwest, a course on Giotto Di Bondone, and an exhibition and related catalogue examining Sterling Clark’s career as a military officer and explorer in late Imperial China.
Dr. Loughman earned his AB from Georgetown University where he was a George F. Baker Scholar; the MA from Williams College; and PhD from Rutgers University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Kress Fellow. He lives in the Hartford area with his wife and two daughters.

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!—A Short History of Vaudeville with John Pike

Wed., Feb.27; March 6, 13; 10:30 a.m.–noon; KF Room
Cost: $85; Fellows, $75. Register online.

“If you don’t like what you see on stage…  just wait five minutes!”  

This was the brash motto of Vaudeville, America’s most unique form of entertainment. 

Part revue, part carnival, part circus, it boasted more than 25,000 singers, dancers, magicians, acrobats, comedians, jugglers, animal acts and child performers who hoped to hit the “Big Time” as they filled theatres during the early 20th century. 

This course will give you taste of the quirky, eye-popping and even inspiring acts that made Vaudeville the most popular theatre entertainment of its time.

John Pike, a professor at The Hartt School, teaches theatre history, contemporary drama, text analysis and performance. His recent directing credits include: The Farnsworth Invention (Saybrook Stage), Is There Life After High School? (Suffield Players), Fiddler on the Roof (Little Theatre of Manchester), Working, The Spitfire Grill, Edwin Drood, Little Women (OHP), Smile, Amour, Das Barbecu (Hartt), and Big (Artful Living). Also a musical director, Pike has conducted 1776, Spamalot, How to Succeed…, Gypsy with Leslie Uggams, and Seussical (CRT), Nicholas Nickleby, Coram Boy (Hartt), and A Little Night Music (Syracuse). As artistic associate for Goodspeed Musicals, he worked on 90 productions, including five Broadway transfers. He has worked at The O’Neill Theater Center and was publisher of Show Music Magazine. Pike has written for Playbill, Dramatists Quarterly and is the author of Achieving the Impossible Dream: Goodspeed Musicals at 50 and a contributing author to The Book of Broadway. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Back to the Future with Richard Freund

Wed., Feb. 27; March 6, 13; 3–4:30 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $85; Fellows, $75. Register online.

An Introduction to the New Archaeology for the 21st Century

Professor Richard Freund will introduce the origins of archaeology and trace it through to the newest discoveries in the 21st century. He will tie in the discoveries that have been made by the Maurice Greenberg Center’s work in Spain, Israel, Greece, Poland, and Lithuania that have changed archaeology and history over the past 20 years! Most important—how will we be documenting our work in the future through our creative and strategic partnership with the University of Hartford School of Communication and our students, in addition to National Geographic, NOVA, PBS, Discovery and History channels. 

Richard Freund, PhD, is the Maurice Greenberg professor of Jewish History and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. He is the author or co-author of nine books and has directed, on behalf of the University of Hartford, archaeological projects in Israel including the Cave of Letters, Qumran (site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls), Yavne, Bethsaida, Nazareth, and Har Karkom. He has also a series of projects in Lithuania. His work has been a part of television documentaries made for National Geographic, NOVA, History Channel, Discovery, BBC, and CNN.

Learning to Love the Stranger: An Evangelical’s Journey into Interfaith with Joel Lohr

Fri., March 1,; 2 p.m.; McAuley Retirement, McAuley Retirement
Cost: $20 for McAuley series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

In this talk, Joel Lohr will share a little of his life story, one shaped by being raised in a staunchly Christian and yet diverse family of Dutch immigrant parents and adopted siblings from Laos and Bangladesh. Questions related to religious inclusion and exclusion, especially being “chosen” and “unchosen” by God, came to drive his later PhD and postdoctoral research, ultimately leading him to interreligious work with Jews and Muslims, all the while remaining deeply committed to his Christian faith.

Joel N. Lohr, PhD, is the president of Hartford Seminary, a leading interfaith graduate school. He is an award-winning author, scholar of religion, and passionate leader in interreligious relations and higher education. His teaching and research has focused on the Bible, specifically the Torah/Pentateuch, as well as Jewish-Christian relations and dialogue, Interreligious dialogue, and leadership in higher education. He has published 10 books, with both academic and popular publishers.

 

The Edward Lewis Wallant Award with Avinoam Patt

Tues., March 5, 12, 26; 1:30–3 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $80; Fellows, $60. Register online.

Since 1963, the Edward Lewis Wallant Award has recognized outstanding writers who have produced works of “significance to the American Jew.” Beginning in 1986, the Wallant Award has been bestowed annually at the University of Hartford, bringing some of the leading figures in Jewish literature to our community. What makes fiction Jewish? American? And what separates award winners from other writers? In this course, Professor Avinoam Patt, co-editor of an anthology of past Wallant Award winners and finalists, and current Wallant Award judge, will review selections of award-winning fiction included in the anthology The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction. The class will include readings from the 2018 Wallant Award winner and runner-up (to be announced in January 2019) and will culminate with the Wallant Award ceremony in April 2019, where course attendees will have the opportunity to meet the award-winning author at the ceremony.

Avinoam J. Patt, PhD is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization. Previously, he worked as the Miles Lerman Applied Research Scholar for Jewish Life and Culture at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, May 2009); co-editor (with Michael Berkowitz) of a collected volume on Jewish displaced persons, titled We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press, 2010); and is a contributor to several projects at the USHMM including Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938–40 (USHMM/Alta Mira Press, September 2011). He is also director of the In Our Own Words interview project with the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and is co-editor of an anthology of contemporary American Jewish fiction entitled The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction (Wayne State University Press, 2015). He is co-editor of a new volume on The Joint Distribution Committee: A Century of Humanitarianism (Wayne State, 2018) and is currently writing a new book on the early postwar memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Together with David Slucki and Gabriel Finder, he is co-editing a new volume on Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust and is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Understanding and Teaching the Holocaust (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019).

Anti-Semitism: Past, Present, and Future with Jonathan Elukin

Fri., March 8, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., KF Room; Library Lecture
Cost: $20 each; $10 Fellows each. Register online.

The lecture will survey theories of the development of anti-Semitism, with a particular focus on understanding how anti-Semitism is evolving in the contemporary political and social climate in the U.S. and Europe. Are we facing one essentially unchanging ideology that has its roots in the medieval world or should we see anti-Semitism as a collection of constantly changing ideas about Jews? Is anti-Semitism different from other forms of racial prejudice? Why does anti-Semitism seem to survive even in democratic societies?

Jonathan Elukin. associate professor at Trinity College, teaches courses in medieval history, Jewish studies, historiography, and the history of the book. He is author of, among other studies, Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in the Middle Ages. (Princeton, 2007).

American Collectors I Have Known: A Passion to Possess with Douglas Hyland

Wed., March 20, 27; April 3; 10:30–noon; Wilde Auditorium
Cost: $95; Fellows, $75. Register online.

During the last 40 years, Douglas Hyland has worked with and come to know a disparate group of distinguished Americans who have created phenomenal art collections. While many have entered the public domain and grace the galleries of art museums across the country, others have been dispersed. The course will describe and explain their areas of concentration and their particular vision. Another focus will be to try and explain what has motivated them spiritually and psychologically. Some are household names, while others have remained under the radar. All are worthy of our attention and exploration. 

Douglas Hyland was director of the New Britain Museum of American Art for 16 years. Previously, he served as director of the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Birmingham Museum of Art. He has a PhD in art history from the University of Delaware. He has organized numerous exhibitions and written articles and catalogs on a wide variety of European and American subjects.

Kiss Me Cole with Frank Rizzo

Thurs., March 21, 28; April 4; 1–2:30 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $90; Fellows, $70. Register online.

With the Broadway revival of Kiss Me Kate with Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase opening March 14, Variety theater critic Frank Rizzo takes a fresh look at Cole Porter to see how the show—and some of the composer’s other works—have weathered the changes in modern musical times (not to mention the #metoo era). After taking a peek at the composer’s archives at Yale, Rizzo talks about Porter's’s life and times and takes a deep dive into his two most evergreen shows: Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate.

Frank Rizzo is a writer/critic for Variety and contributes to The New York Times, American Theatre magazine, the Theatre Development Fund’s Stages website, the Tribune newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun), the Connecticut Hearst newspapers (Greenwich Time, Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Post, News-Times), and Fox 61 among other media outlets. For 34 years he was a staff arts writer and theater critic for The Hartford Courant. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in journalism and was a Shubert Fellow in playwriting in graduate school.

Democracy at the Crossroads: A Primer for the Presidential Election of 2020 with Evan Dobelle

Mon., April 1, 8, 15; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $90; Fellows, $70. Register online.

A brief overview of the history and future of elections in the United States, focusing on such specific issues as the nominating process of the two major parties, the influence of third parties, social media, voter suppression, polling, cable television, and newspaper coverage, the role of money in campaigns, and the changing demography of America.

Evan Dobelle is currently a visiting leadership scholar at the Moller Institute. He began his public career as Personal Secretary to Governors John Volpe of Massachusetts and Russell Peterson of Delaware, and Executive Assistant to U.S. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. He served two terms as mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and later served as President Jimmy Carter’s Chief of Protocol of the United States with the rank of Ambassador. He has also served as National Treasurer of the Democratic Party and National Chairman of the 1980 Carter/Mondale campaign.

Dobelle led as President six institutions of higher education, including City College of San Francisco, Trinity College (Conn.), the University of Hawaii, and Westfield State University (Mass.). He has been awarded honorary degrees from universities in America, Japan, Vietnam and India, and holds BA, M.Ed., and an Ed.D degree from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), as well as an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Vive La France! with Michael Lankester

Tues., April 2, 9, 16, 23; 10–11:30 a.m.; Wilde Auditorium
Cost: $95; Fellows: $75. Register online.

“The regardinester g of a piece of music as an artifact—a thing of planned shapes, dimensions, color, and consistency—rather than as the expression of an emotion whose end is in itself, brings the French composer nearer than any other to the painter and the sculptor.” --Martin Cooper

Michael Lankester examines the history and development of French music from the poetry and ballads of the 12th Century troubadors, through the ‘Grand Siècle’ of Versailles, to the heady days of 19th Century Paris and the Folies Bergère, and on to the 20th Century and the construction in Paris of the Georges Pompidou Centre.

Michael Lankester has been guest conductor with orchestras in Britain and North America, including the Pittsburgh, Toronto, City of Birmingham, and London Symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic, and was music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for 15 years. He studied at the Royal College of Music with Sir Adrian Boult and has had close professional collaborations with Benjamin Britten, William Walton, and Michael Tippett.

Balanchine: 20th Century Master with Stephen Pier

Tues., April 2, 9, 16; 2:30–4 pm.; Handel Performing Arts Center
Cost: $80; Fellows: $60. Register online.

Arguably the singular most important figure in 20th century ballet was George Balanchine. What was his genius? Why is it so enduring, and how has it influenced the way we look at Ballet today and indicate the future of the art?

Stephen Pier, director of the dance division at The Hartt School, has achieved a uniquely rich and varied career as dancer, teacher, and choreographer. For many years he danced with the José Limón Company, going on to become a leading soloist with the Hamburg Ballet in Germany and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has taught at the school of the Royal Danish Ballet, the Alvin Ailey School, the Martha Graham Center, Regional Dance America, and the New York International Ballet Competition, and for many notable companies in Europe, America and Asia. He was on the faculty of the Juilliard School from 1996 until 2010. He has created over 30 works for the concert stage, opera, theater, and film.

Women in Opera with Doris Lang Kosloff

Tues., April 2, 4:45 p.m.; Duncaster Lecture, Duncaster Retirement
Cost: $20 for Duncaster series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

Enter the world of opera through the perspective of women, not only as characters (why do queens sing so high and witches sing so low?) but also increasingly as conductors, directors, and executives, who perform the multifarious jobs that bring the greatest performing art-form to life for audiences around the world.

Doris Lang Kosloff is music director of The Hartt Opera, and artistic director of Opera Connecticut. A native of Brooklyn, she has held many prominent positions in the field of opera. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Queens College (The Aaron Copland School of Music) of the City University of New York, and holds a Master of Music from the Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts, where she graduated first in her class.

 

The Art of Variations with Michael Schiano

Wed., Apr. 3, 10, 17, 24; 1:30–3 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $85; Fellows: $75. Register online.

An old saying tells us that the sculptor sets free the figure that was already inside the stone. In a Theme and Variations (not sure if these should be capped), a composer realizes the implications of a theme—and, like the sculptor, will present it in a unique, personal way.

Themes and Variations can be symphonic movements or stand-alone pieces. They appear in concertos and in string quartets. They are counted among the greatest keyboard works of Bach and Beethoven. They can be modest or monumental, war horses, or hidden gems.

In this course, we’ll look closely at a variety of variations. We’ll see how they work and what makes each unique: what they tell us about their composer, and about the tradition and aesthetics of classical music.

Michael Schiano is associate professor of music theory at The Hartt School, where he teaches courses in music analysis, 20th–21st century music history, and counterpoint. He has taught courses for the Presidents’ College on Mozart scholarship, Haydn, Beethoven’s Influence, Mozart “Young and ‘Old,’” and The Beatles.

Baseball in the 21st Century: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times with Walter Harrison

Thurs., April 4, 11, 18, 25; 10:30 a.m.–noon; KF Room
Cost: $100; Fellows, $75. Register online.

This course will examine the state of major league baseball and minor league baseball since the year 2000. While both the major leagues and the minor leagues have established new records in attendance, broadened their television reach, and increased the international interest in the sport, this period in the history of American professional baseball has been troubled by scandals involving performance enhancing drugs, increasing financial disparity between the large-market franchises and the middle- and small-market franchises, and the decreasing popularity of the game among younger population groups.

The first two decades of the 21st century have also witnessed a significant switch in the way players’ and team performance are measured—moving to what is known as “advanced analytics” and leaving traditional forms of measurement behind. It has also seen a significant change in the physical conditioning of professional ballplayers, which has resulted in pitchers increasing the speed and rotation rate of their pitches, but also changing the way in which pitchers are used—and, importantly, increasing the incidence rate of injuries to shoulders and elbows. Batting swings have also changed so that batters are encouraged to hit home runs and produce RBI’s and discouraged from developing what are known as “small ball” skills.

Do all these changes in the game enhance baseball’s appeal, or change the game in ways that may signal the beginning of its demise? To answer these and other questions, we will consider a number of articles and recent books that have looked at the current state of baseball and its future, and we will have conversations with people who have had careers in major and minor league baseball management, and in sports journalism.

The course should be of interest to those who are ardent baseball fans and to those who are interested in the game and its place in American culture.

Walter Harrison is president emeritus of the University of Hartford. He served as president from 1998 until 2017, a period of growth, vitality, and transformation of the University. As the longest serving president in the University’s history, he oversaw a dramatic improvement in the University’s financial stability, a growth in the University’s endowment, which almost tripled during his presidency, and a transformation and re-design of the University’s campus, constructing or renovating 17 different University buildings during his tenure. Most importantly, he oversaw a significant growth in the undergraduate and graduate student population, new professional programs in architecture and the health sciences, and a noticeable improvement in the rigor and quality of the University’s academic offerings. The University’s libraries are now named for him, to recognize his devotion to the life of the mind.

Harrison received his bachelor’s degree, with honors in English, from Trinity College in 1968, his master’s degree in English from the University of Michigan in 1969, and his doctorate in English from the University of California, Davis, in 1980. He served as an officer in the United States Air Force, reaching the rank of captain, from 1969–72.

Harrison is a scholar of American literature, especially the modern novel. He has focused most of his academic work on the place of sports, particularly baseball, in American culture. His dissertation, entitled Out of Play: Baseball Fiction from Pulp to Art, was one of the earliest scholarly works in this field. He has continued to teach courses in American literature, American history, and sports in American culture throughout his career.

The Arrow of Time with James McDonald

Fri., April 5, 12, 26; 10:30 a.m.–noon; KF Room
Cost: $80; Fellows, $60. Register online.

Time is interwoven throughout our existence, yet like a fish describing water, most people would find it difficult to describe time succinctly. This course will look at both philosophical and scientific theories of time and how they affect how we interact with our universe. In addition, we will look at the physics of time measurement, the idea of causality, time dilation and relativity, and how they have inspired a rich literature in fantasy and science fiction. Using examples from short stories, television, and film, we will take a look at various time travel tropes, including the Bootstrap Paradox, Alternate History, Fixed Events, the Appointment in Samarra, saving JFK and killing baby Hitler. We will also discuss the one time-travel novel that seems to be consistent with current work in the field of General Relativity.

James McDonald, associate professor in the Department of Physics and associate dean of finance for the College of Arts and Sciences, is an accelerator physicist with experience in low-energy measurements in astrophysics. His has been involved in projects in places such as the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory at Yale University, the High Intensity Gamma Source at Duke University, the Institute de Physique Nucléaire at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He holds a PhD from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Clarkson University. As an educator, he specializes in teaching introductory science using illustrations from other subjects, like art or science fiction, to convey concepts. In recent years, he has taught introductory astronomy, a University Interdisciplinary Studies course on colonizing Mars, and a course on Science in Art with the Hartford Art School’s Jeremiah Patterson.

Why Harriet Beecher Stowe Matters Today with Briann G. Greenfield

Fri., April 5; 2 p.m.; McAuley Lecture, McAuley Retirement
Cost: $20 for McAuley series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

In an era of sound bites and tweets, why should we care about a 400-page novel and its 19th century author? What lessons can it teach us about empathy, community, gender, and racism? In this program, we will explore Harriet Beecher Stowe's journey as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book that became the bestselling novel of the 19th century. We'll also learn why it's important that we continue to preserve Stowe's memory and how doing so today strengthens our own pluralistic society.  

Briann G. Greenfield is executive director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, an innovative historic house museum that promotes vibrant discussion of Stowe’s life and work and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change. Greenfield previously served as   executive director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 
Greenfield is a former professor of history at Central Connecticut State University where she administered the department’s Public History Program and taught broadly across the curriculum. 
 
Greenfield received her MA in museum studies and her PhD in American studies from Brown University. She has held fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Humanities and Winterthur Museum. In 2010, she received Central Connecticut State University’s prestigious Board of Trustees Research Award. Her areas of research specialization include public memory, material culture, and public history.

Decameron: Boccaccio's Portrayal of the Religious Other with Maria Esposito Frank

Wed., April 10, 17, 24; 3:30–5 p.m.; KF Room
Cost: $85; Fellows, $75. Register online.

In this course, we will conduct a close reading of some novellas from Boccaccio's mid-14th century work, Decameron. We will place the selected novellas in the broader historical, political, cultural, and religious context of the late Middle Ages, in order to better evaluate Boccaccio's own views of the "Other" against different and hegemonic views held by his contemporaries.

Maria Esposito Frank is professor of Italian and Renaissance Studies at the University of Hartford. Her main interests are in the field of 14th and 15th century literature and history of ideas, religion and literature, poetry (of all ages), and translation studies. She has authored a book on Renaissance Humanism, Le insidie dell’allegoria: Ermolao Barbaro il Vecchio e la lezione degli Antichi (Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 1999), and several essays on 20th-century poets as well as on late medieval and renaissance thinkers, literary figures/works, and intellectuals.

The Hidden Health Record of American Presidents–From FDR to Trump with Dr. Mike Magee

Wed., April 24; 11:30 a.m.; KF Room; Library Lecture
Cost: $20 each; Fellows, $10 each. Register online.

The American democracy relies heavily on its president as both chief executive and commander in chief. The powers of the presidency granted by Article II of the Constitution are limited, but presidential authority over the past century has expanded through inferred "inherent powers" and claims of "executive privilege." In the modern times, presidents have revealed at least partial details of their health records, but there is no law mandating disclosure. Should there be? This 90-minute slide lecture will explore the hidden medical histories and experiences of presidents from FDR to Trump, and the role that presidential health has played in defining America's health and its leadership at home and abroad?                       

Mike Magee, M.D. is a medical historian and journalist, and the author of Code Blue: Inside the Medical Industrial Complex (Grove Atlantic, 2019). He has served on the faculty of Presidents’ College at the University of Hartford, the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College, and was a Honorary Master Scholar at the N.Y.U. School of Medicine and the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus award recipient from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Beginning as a country doctor in western New England, he rose to the highest levels of his profession holding senior executive positions at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, as head of global medical affairs for Pfizer, and was a “short list” candidate for Surgeon General in 2002. Over three decades, he was a trusted adviser inside the Medical Industrial Complex to national medical and hospital associations, government scientific agencies, and industry before resigning his position at Pfizer in 2007. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, and is the author of the weekly blog Health Commentary.

Modern Music: Will Audiences Ever Learn to Love it? (Or at Least Not Hate it?) with Steve Metcalf and Larry Alan Smith

Tues., May 7; 4:45 p.m.; Duncaster Lecture, Duncaster Retirement
Cost: $20 for Duncaster series, Fellows, no charge. Register online.

It has been more than 100 years since Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring unofficially ushered in the era of “modern” music. One hundred years is an eternity in the history of music—it’s roughly the length of time between Brahms’ First Symphony and the breakup of the Beatles. Nevertheless, the rupture between composers and audiences that can be said to have begun with Stravinsky’s ballet has, in many ways, continued to the present day.

In this informal talk, Larry Alan Smith and Steve Metcalf will discuss the idea of modern music and what the term means in the 21st century, and explore the question of why audiences seem to continue to resist it.

Larry Alan Smith is dean of The Hartt School. He enjoys an international career as a composer, conductor, and pianist. Since 2015, he has also been curator of the Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series.

Steve Metcalf is the director of the University of Hartford’s Presidents’ College. For more than 20 years, he was the full time staff music critic and editor at The Hartford Courant. In 2008 he founded the Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series at The Hartt School, and curated the series for seven seasons.

 

Locked Up and Locked Out–America's Growing Prison System with Fiona Mills

Fri., May 10, 2–3:30 p.m.; KF Room; Library Lecture
Cost $20 each; Fellows, $10 each. Register online.

Since the 1970s, the number of persons in the American prison system has skyrocketed to 2.2 million. With an unprecedented rise of over 500 percent in the last 40 years alone, the U.S. now stands as the country that incarcerates more persons than any other nation in the world. Harsh drug sentencing laws stemming from the "War on Drugs" in the 1980s along with increases in the length of time served and cutbacks on release, have all contributed to this phenomenon. Not all communities have been equally impacted by incarceration, as people of color (men, in particular) comprise 67 percent of our country's prison population despite only accounting for 37 percent of the total U.S. population. 

Drawing upon the work of legal scholar Michelle Alexander in her best-selling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the work of Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and the author of Just Mercy, and Ava DuVernay's 2016 documentary entitled 13th, we will examine the racial and class inequities that undergird the American prison system. We also will explore the historical relationship between slavery, segregation, and mass incarceration.

Along the way, we will consider the long-range impacts of the prison industrial complex on various communities. This includes felony disenfranchisement, the purging of voter rolls, and the creation of new laws that greatly restrict voters in marginalized communities following the 2013 Supreme Court Shelby v. Holder decision, that dismantled key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that impacted the recent 2018 midterm elections in Georgia and Florida. As Michelle Alexander compellingly urges her readers, "No task is more urgent for racial justice advocates today than ensuring that America's racial caste system is its last."

Fiona Mills, PhD is a lecturer in the humanities department at St. Anselm College and has taught at various universities including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, Keene State College, and Curry College. She received her PhD in African American literature and Latino/a literature and theory from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has recently edited a collection of essays on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel The Help, entitled Like One of the Family; Domestic Workers, Race and In/Visibility in The Help, published this year by Cambridge Scholars Press.

Easier Said than Done: What it Takes for Public Policies to Achieve their Goals with Michael Bangser

Wed. May 15; 2 p.m.; McAuley Lecture, McAuley Retirement
Cost: $20 for McAuley series; Fellows, no charge. Register online.

We often see press announcements that tout new initiatives to address an important public issue. Sometimes these initiatives work well; sometimes, not. In this talk, we will consider concrete examples of successes as well as disappointments in areas such as education, health care, housing, and the arts. We will tease out the real-world factors that influenced whether the desired results were achieved: What went right? What went wrong? In the future, what needs to be done at the outset and along the way to enhance the prospects of genuine success?

MICHAEL BANGSER was the president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for 16 years. He is currently a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations, as well as a visiting professor of public policy and law at Trinity College. Before coming to the Hartford Foundation, he was senior vice president and general counsel at MDRC, a nonprofit organization that designs and evaluates education, social-service, and other programs across the country. He has a BA from Williams College, a JD from Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford.

Note: Tuition and fees are non-refundable.