UCALL

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UCALL Spring 2022 Program

Psychology Research at Union College
Mondays, April 4, 11, 18, 25 & Thursday, April 28
10-11:30 a.m.
This class meets online via Zoom Webinar

Professors from the Union Psychology Department will present their current research. Cay Anderson-Hanley: Move it and use it: The role of physical and mental exercise in brain health. Timothy George: Cognitive psychologists study phenomena related to memory and attention, but what can these phenomena tell us about creativity? How we get in (and out) of mental ruts when we are trying to solve problems and generate new ideas. Conor O’Dea: Confrontation has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice and discrimination. Understanding the motivations people have for activism and the implications of each of these motivations for interracial relations. Chad Rogers: How the brain listens to language and what can be learned from studies on aging and hearing loss. George Bizer: Persuasion and social influence: Some of social psychology’s biggest hits, and some of my contributions to the field.

Northern Italy 1300-1500: Change and Innovation from “Middle Ages” to “Renaissance”
Mondays, April 4, 11, 18, 25 & May 2
1-2:30 p.m.
This class meets online via Zoom Webinar

Many of us have a vague idea that the Renaissance changed Western European culture, and that it was somehow different (and “better”), than the long Middle Ages that preceded it. Union College Professor Louisa Matthew will put the two back together, even though conventional history would put 1300-1400 in the Middle Ages and 1400-1500 in the Renaissance. We will see a continuum of dramatic change and innovation – one full of almost unimaginable paradoxes. This class will be based on an interdisciplinary series of specific case studies that will be based on art and architectural history, and material culture in general.

The Place Beyond the Pines: Local Historians Present Schenectady County’s Past
Tuesdays, April 5, 12, 19, 26 & May 3
10-11:30 a.m.
This class meets online via Zoom Webinar

Local historians, Denis Brennan (Town of Niskayuna), Bill Buell (Schenectady County), Beverly Clark (Village of Scotia), Jessica Polmateer, (Village of Alplaus) and James Schaefer (Town of Rotterdam) will present local history as a reflection of the lives of everyday people – people who might have been our own family, neighbors or friends. Week 1 “Origins, Culture, and Transformation:” Geological foundations, Indigenous cultures, European influences and trade all preceded and guided the creation of Schenectady County. Week 2 “Moving People, Moving Things:” The movement of people and transportation for trade or pleasure was integral to the county’s growth and prosperity. Week 3 “Mind Your Own Business:” During the county’s first century, agriculture dominated its economic life, including broomcorn and dairy farming. In the second century, the trend was the transformation of many towns into residential communities. Week 4 “Ain’t Got No Culture:” Life in the county was more than work, war and the economy. Social life, education, community service and simply having fun were instrumental in creating thriving communities. Week 5 “Cast of Characters:” No place has been active as long as the towns of Schenectady County without significant and influential personalities. Learn about several who made their mark.

Turning Points in American History
Tuesdays, April 5, 12, 19, 26 & May 3
1-2:30 p.m.
This class meets in CPH M102A and online via Zoom Webinar

Kenneth Aslakson, Union College associate professor of history, will discuss five turning points in the growth and development of the United States. He’ll begin in 1619 with the arrival of the first slaves, laying the groundwork for the system that has repercussions even until today. Moving forward, he’ll discuss the Revolutionary War and the formation of the United States. The next turning point will be Westward Expansion, covering such things as the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clarke, the Mexican War and the Gold Rush. The Civil War and Reconstruction will follow, with the Great Depression and the New Deal being the final class.

Classics of Western Literature
Wednesdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27 & May 4
10-11:30 a.m.
This class meets in CPH M102A and online via Zoom Webinar

What is the place of the classics of western literature in our world today? This course will consider five texts. Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller will look at Homer’s Iliad. Professor Stacie Raucci will consider Homer’s Odyssey. Professor Tommaso Gazzarri will discuss Dante’s Inferno. Professor Anastasia Pease will speak about Cervantes’ Don Quixote, and Professor Patricia Wareh will explore Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Great Composers of the Romantic Period
Wednesdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27 & May 4
2-3:30 p.m.
This class meets in the Reamer Campus Center Auditorium and online via Zoom Webinar

Josef Schmee will discuss great composers of the Romantic Period, especially Schumann, Chopin Berlioz, Liszt and Brahms. Mendelssohn and Schumann were born one year apart. Yet Schumann always looked up to and defended Mendelssohn. His wife, Clara, supported him to the end. He began to write complex piano pieces in his twenties, adding songs, chamber music, symphonies and concertos as he matured. Schumann the critic praised the music of Chopin, not bothered by the fact that Chopin composed almost exclusively for the piano, because in that genre he excelled with the greatest. Schumann treated Berlioz and Liszt with much less approbation, if not hostility. To him, Berlioz seemed to indulge in large scale orchestration mostly for effect and Liszt supposedly preferred technical brilliance to musical substance. Today we look at both as great musical innovators with far-reaching influence. Then there was Brahms. Schumann publicly declared the young Brahms a genius when he was hardly known to the musical world. Today Brahms is one of the most frequently performed composers in the concert halls of the world. His chamber music, his concertos and his symphonies captured a spirit that has never left the musical world, while his musical forms connect to the earlier classical period. This course will involve a mixture of biography and musical context with extracts from various pieces by each composer.