Spring 2013 UCALL Course Offerings
Tuesdays, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
African American Literature in the 20th Century (and Beyond)
Course Text: John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead and articles provided by instructors.This interactive class will focus on 20th Century African American Literature. Billie Bennett-Franchini, Assistant Director, Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership at UAlbany will begin with the foundations of literature in cultural traditions: spirituals, work songs, and blues, then examine the major literary periods including the Harlem Renaissance. Derik Smith, Assistant Professor of English at UAlbany, will follow with late 20th century African American poetry and African American literature in the 21st century. We encourage you to be prepared with the assigned readings. The text will be for sale at the Union College bookstore. Shaffer Library will have the text and photocopied articles on reserve, which will also be sent by email if you give us your email address upon registration.
Coordinator: Jenny Overeynder
9:30 to 11:30 AM
Participants will travel through the mountains, lakes and wilderness within the “blue line” of the Adirondack Park. Many do not realize that we citizens of New York have, within our borders, a gem not found anywhere else in the world. The Adirondack Park, established by state constitutional law (Article XIV) in 1894, contains a mixture of private lands and forest preserve owned by the state. The course will be well-illustrated and will cover Adirondack wilderness, natural history of the Adirondacks, politics of preserving the character of the Park, water quality of lakes, climate change and ongoing state purchases of private lands such as those of the former Finch/Pruyn Company. Lecturers will all be Adirondackers and will include: Carl Heilman, well known for his photographs and videos of the Park; Peter Tobiessen and Carl George, emeriti professors of biology, Union College; David Gibson and Daniel Plumley, partners of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.
Coordinator: Margaret Schadler
12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1
Deficits, Debt, and Money in the US: Why Federal Austerity and Budget Cuts are the Enemies of Long-Term Prosperity
Are we headed toward national bankruptcy, an end to social security as we know it, or high inflation because our national debt is out of control? Must we raise federal taxes, slash federal spending, and curtail monetary growth or face an apocalypse? Beginning with Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), Union College Economics Professor Brad Lewis argues that conventional wisdom about our debt, deficits, and money is mostly incorrect. Instead: Conditions for restoring prosperity include federal deficits, and the deficits decrease when higher employment and savings return; Eurozone problems are caused not by profligate countries but by bad policies; We more likely face deflation rather than higher inflation. Professor Lewis will use American economic history for insights.
Coordinator: Jenny Overeynder
9:30 to 11:30 AM
Food for Thought
Expert speakers present thought-provoking subjects: Washington Irving as Folk Historian – Dr. Elisabeth Paling Funk, author and independent scholar, describes Washington Irving’s role in preserving early Hudson Valley Dutch popular culture; Caravaggio: A Troubled Life Filled with Extraordinary Art – James C. Moore, Esq, will talk about Italian Michelangelo Merisi da Carravagio (1571-1610), one of the greatest painters of all time, whose prodigious talent emerged from a disorderly life filled with crime and murder; The Hudson-Mohawk Region: Silicon Valley of the Nineteenth Century – Cultural Historian P Thomas Carroll argues that, anticipating California's semiconductor revolution, the internationally significant Hudson-Mohawk region used the most advanced technology of the early 1800s to become a model of modern urban-industrial living; Cornelius Vanderbilt – Did the infamous "robber baron" have allies in his business wars? UCALL regular Karen Watkins, extending her Spring 2012 talk, explores whether he cooperated with his great rival, Daniel Drew, to demolish common enemies; The Naval War of 1813 - Greg Sauer describes the rebirth of the American Navy, the Six Frigates and their technologic innovations, the frigate battles that shook the Royal Navy, and naval engagements on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.
Coordinators: Jenny Overeynder, Jim Comly, Phil Adams
12:30 to 2:30PM
Thursdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2
Great Musical Masterpieces
UCALL’s revered opera expert, Josef Schmee, presents Musical Masterpieces beyond Opera. He focuses on five large-scale musical works that require an orchestra, a chorus and vocal soloists. Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with its bawdy, medieval texts and its joyful music is forever an audience favorite. Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is smaller in scope and force than his second and third, but its view of heavenly delights more than makes up for its smaller scale. Some call Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem his best opera – Many conductors prefer to perform it in an opera house rather than a place of worship. Berlioz composed his Roméo et Juliette supported by an adoring Paganini. The voices tell the story, while the orchestra mimes the interaction of the two lovers. Some call Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion the greatest masterpiece of Western music. It is a deeply moving oratorio providing broad insight into the human condition.
Coordinator: Manny Aven
9:30 to 11:30 AM
Another Look at the American Revolution and World War I
In the first hour of each session, UCALL regular Jim Sefcik will explore new interpretations of American Revolution history: The Boston Tea Party; Why Americans Fought; After Yorktown, 1781-83; George III; and the Founding Fathers and Slavery. A bibliography will be provided each week for further reading. In the second hour each week, UCALL regular Bob Mulligan will address World War I, which saw four empires overthrown and began an era of alien “isms” which dominated world affairs until the fall of the Berlin Wall. He will focus on the French, German, and British armies of World War I in a semi-illustrated lecture format, and then in an illustrated format, on “Memories of Sammy Doughboy,” what the common American soldier saw and did. The final lecture will feature the War in the Air: planes, pilots, tactics, and the future of air power.
Coordinator: Rich Holt
12:30 to 2:30 PM