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Spring 2019 Courses

Detailed information on all courses for this semester can be found on the spring 2019 catalog listing.


All courses and their descriptions for spring 2019 are listed below.

Online registration opened on January 3, 2019.

Hot Topics, 2019 with Chris Doyle

Mon., 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.

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,, and National Public Radio affiliates.    


The Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series at Presidents' College with Larry 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


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.

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.

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).

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 regarding 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Note: Tuition and fees are non-refundable.