Fall 2015 Drew Mini-Course Offerings

Registration begins Monday, August 31.

Register now

The Mind-Body Problem in Philosophy

Instructor: Erik Anderson
Five Mondays: September 21, 28; October 5, 12, 19; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

According to the renowned contemporary philosopher Thomas Nagel, “Consciousness is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable.” In this course, we will look in detail at the mind-body problem as it has been passed down to us in the Western tradition.  In successive weeks, we will go on to look at some proposed solutions to this problem, and then finish by approaching the problem from an alternative, Eastern perspective, involving the Buddhist doctrine of “no mind.”

Erik Anderson is National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Distinguished Professor at Drew and member of the Philosophy Department.  He taught a very popular mini-course for us in the Spring Term this year.

Topics in American History

Instructor: J. Perry Leavell 
Five Tuesdays: September 29; October 6, 13, 20, 27; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Five pivotal moments in American history.  (1) American Democracy and Andrew Jackson.  The Revolution and Constitution established an American republic, but there are many different types of republics.  In the 1820s and 30s Americans decided that their republic would be democratic; Jackson was at the center of this decision.  (2) Reconstruction:  An American Failure.  The death of slavery created an opportunity to establish democratic racial relations in America, but the failure of this effort shaped American race relations for the future.  (3)The Industrial Revolution and the American Dream.  The American economy in the late 19th century established an economic base for democracy and a level of prosperity unprecedented in human history.  How and why this happened.  (4)Woodrow Wilson and the Versailles Treaty.  This was a critical moment in the emergence of the United States as a world power.  I’ve lectured on this topic many times, and I’m still trying to get it right.  (5)World War II:  Total War and Social Democracy.  An exploration of the many ways that the Second World War affected the United States and the world.

Perry Leavell is emeritus professor of History at Drew and has become one of our most popular lecturers.  Warning: his courses always sell out very quickly.

Music in the 1890s

Instructor: Robert Butts 
Five Tuesdays: September 22, 29; October 6, 13, 20; 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

The 1890s were a decade of massive social and technological change.   The transportation and entertainment worlds were forever changed by the spread of automobiles, airplanes, electricity, broadcasting, recording and film.    Musically, the worlds of “classical” and “pop” music started to diverge.  In the popular music sphere were the beginnings of jazz, Broadway and the pop tunes of Tin Pan Alley.    The classical music sphere was marked by the final works of Romantic composers like Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak as well as early modernists like Ives, Debussy and Schoenberg as well as those who were both modern and romantic like Mahler, Sibelius, Strauss, Elgar and Ravel.   Part of both worlds was the new style called ragtime, most famously popularized by Scott Joplin.  In the musical theater world, the popularity of Verismo style opera spread across the world in the works of Mascagni, Leoncavallo and Puccini.

Dr. Robert W. Butts is a widely noted conductor, composer and teacher whose lectures on music history have been a mainstay of the mini-course program for seventeen years.

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey         

Instructor: John Lenz
Five Wednesdays: September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

This mini-course introduces you to the stories and themes of Homer’s epics, to the ‘heroic age’ and its values, and to historical and archaeological evidence for a possible Trojan War (the first great war between west and east).  Love, war and peace, the most beautiful woman inAnderson4.mp3 the world, Olympian gods, heroic demi-gods, stunning art:  the Iliad, “the greatest poem about death and suffering ever written,” teaches us about life, giving us much to ponder today.  Why do heroes, and all humans, strive, fight and die?  How does Odysseus (Ulysses) overcome every threat from the Cyclops, Sirens, and seductive goddesses to finally reach home and restore order?  What do we make of their gods?  We consider both universal human themes and specific evidence for this foundational phase of our own civilization, including new archaeological and written evidence from Asia in the 1200s BCE.  The five sessions:  1.  Homer and Early Greece:  background; The Iliad (i):  The Anger of Achilles ;  2.  The Iliad (ii):  Themes of war and peace, life and death;  3.  The Odyssey (i):  Odysseus as a hero ;  4.  The Odyssey (ii):  Odysseus’ homecoming;  5.  The Trojan War in archaeology and history.

John Lenz is associate professor of Classics at Drew.  He taught two previous mini-courses for us in 1998 and 2006.

Rome: A City, An Idea

Instructor: Louis Hamilton 
Five Wednesdays: September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28; 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Rome is more than the first great city of Europe; it has shaped the very idea of what it means to be European. This mini-course will move at a dizzying pace through the history of Rome from its pre-historic origins to the present. We will consider how climate and topography were combined and engineered to create the ancient world’s greatest city – a city for imperial government and display. Centuries of war decimated the city, but, as the popes looked northward for safety, it provided the seed for a new European culture. Its first great re-flourishing was in the Middle Ages, but it continually reinvented itself, nourishing geniuses such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Bernini. Toured by the English aristocracy and conquered by Napoleon, it remained the heart of European identity even as power and wealth shifted elsewhere. Conquered again on 20 September 1870, it became the seat of a new Italian government. We will also examine the Fascist remodeling of the city, its ancient and unique Jewish community, and the rapid transformations that followed the Second World War.

Louis Hamilton is associate professor of Religion at Drew in the Department of Comparative Religion. His areas of research include: liturgy and ritual in the Middle Ages, papal politics, medieval Southern Italy, and Italian cities.

What’s Happening in Europe?

Instructor: David Cowell 
Five Thursdays: September 24; October 1, 8, 15, 22; 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

European politics in the early 21st century, focusing on European responses to the world economic crisis, uncertain United States leadership, the Euro and Pound Sterling, parliaments and referenda, Russian self-assertion, and the rise of the radical right.  In a short fifteen year period the shared dream of a better post-Cold war world, a leading economy, expanding community membership, a strong Atlantic partnership, safe and at peace appears gone and replaced by uncertainty and increasing domestic strife.  The course attempts to assess the European experience and to project the strategic options in preparation for the next presidency. Topics will include: The Greek Crisis, a symptom or unique event? Austerity, Self-Investment or Change? Uncertain United States Leadership; The Common Currency and Common Financial Policy; Parliamentary Government and Referendum; The Russian Re-Assertion; The Rise of the Radical Right.

David Cowell is emeritus professor of Political Science at Drew.  He has taught a number of very popular mini-courses for us.