Madison Library Mini-Course Program.

 

Madison Library Mini-Courses

“New Jersey Forests: Diversity, Ecology, and Challenges” Dr. Sara Webb

Tuesday Afternoons: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., September 25, October 2, 9, 16, and 23

An exploration of New Jersey’s remarkably diverse forests, from red maple swamps to dwarf pine plains. Illustrated lectures will delve into the history, dynamics, and intricacies of these wooded ecosystems, as well as the ecological niches and adaptations of our major trees. Many forces interact to shape the vegetation mosaic, including fire, windstorms, glacial history, and a host of interesting plant-animal interactions. European/American settlers cleared the entire state, and today’s forests face complex challenges that we will examine alongside very promising conservation and restoration efforts.

Sara Webb is Professor Emerita of Biology and Environmental Studies at Drew and director of the Drew University Forest Preserve’s restoration project. Her research and teaching specialties are forest ecology and environmental science.

“Mozart: The Creativity of Genius” Dr. Robert Butts

Wednesday Mornings: 10 am – 12 pm, October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31

Everybody knows Mozart from the play and film Amadeus. While there was a great deal of dramatic license in the story, there was also a great deal of insight. Mozart was a uniquely creative genius, composing in ways that stretched the boundaries of music as he and his contemporaries understood it. Mozart's music and dramatic writing were highly influenced by the ideals of The Enlightenment as well as by the ideals of musical thought. His music could touch profoundly into the human experience, yet be at the same time extremely enjoyable and fun. This course will look at Mozart as a person and as a composer, as part of his world and at the same time a voice that continues to speak to audiences everywhere.

Dr. Robert Butts has won acclaim as conductor, composer and educator. He is the director of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey. He teaches/lectures at Montclair State University, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University, New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the College of Saint Elizabeth.

“Memory and the Brain” Dr. Graham Cousens

Wednesday Afternoons: 1:30 – 3:30 pm, September 26, October 3, 10, 17, and 24

This course will examine features of human memory and the neurobiological substrates of memory. The course will explore topics such as memory systems, short-term and long-term memory, habits and procedural memory, brain plasticity, cognition and aging, amnesia, and disease states that affect memory. Discussion will draw on a range of current and historical findings from human neuropsychological and brain imaging studies and from relevant neurobiological studies examining the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory. The course will address fundamental issues in neuroscience and psychology but assumes no prior coursework or background in these areas.

Graham Cousens, Associate Professor of Psychology at Drew, received his PhD from Rutgers and was a Post-doctoral Fellow, Yale School of Medicine and UCSF. His research involves electrophysiological and behavioral techniques that examine how the brain represents sensory information and how it maintains information over time. Areas include olfactory learning and memory, emotional processes and addiction.

"Romantic Poetry-British Romantic Extremes" Dr. Robert Ready

Thursday Afternoons: 1:30 – 3:30 pm, September 27, October 4, 11, 18, and 25

The British Romantic Period (roughly 1784-1830) remains remarkable for its many different energies that shaped the foundation of modern literature. In experiencing these energies anew, our examples will include: William Wordsworth’s recreation of the child, nature, and memory; Keats’s great odes and his breakthrough conception of “negative capability”; P.B. Shelley’s radical critique of power, empire, and sexual order; Dorothy Wordsworth’s community of living and writing; and, in general, Romantic writers’ emphasis on imagination as the informing spirit of art and life. We will concentrate on great lyric poetry but also encounter astonishing prose works like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Defense of Poetry.

Robert Ready, Baldwin Professor of Humanities and Professor of English Emeritus, Drew University, received his PhD from Columbia University. A former dean of the Caspersen School, he specializes in nineteenth-century British literature, writing fiction and graduate liberal studies.