Alumni College-Course Offerings




"A History of Christian Architecture"

(Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New York
Professor John W. Cook

Abstract: Beginning with a study of early Christian sources about meetings and the uses of structures, there will be illustrations (slides) of early catacombs believed to be used for early Christian worship and descriptions of the earliest Christian House Church at Dura Europos.  Some time will be spent on the evidence from Rome, Italy concerning the uses of houses and apartments for meetings.  There is little evidence that early buildings were built for their purposes, but suggestions put forth by Dr. Richard Krautheimer will be studied. Further work on the developments that took place around the first five centuries in the Middle East and Europe will be discussed. Merovingan, Romanesque and Gothic Church Architecture will be carefully analyzed. From the Renaissance to the present will be richly covered with careful study of those developments that most changed the work.  For the modern period we will have a number of examples to consider as well as the strong influence many contemporary styles have had around the world. In conclusion we shall study the forms of architecture that are shaping the world of Christian architecture today.


“The Age of Einstein”

(Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New Haven
Professor Frank William Kenneth Firk, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Abstract:  Future historians will, no doubt, choose a phrase that best describes the 20th-century.  A strong case will be made for the phrase "the Age of Einstein"; no other person advanced our understanding of the physical universe in so many dramatic ways.  His discovery of the equivalence of energy and mass continues to have far-reaching consequences not only in Science and Technology but also in fields as diverse as World Politics, Economics, and Philosophy.   His Theory of Special Relativity will be discussed at a level that requires no more than an understanding of high school algebra. Special Relativity deals with measurements of space, time, and high-speed motion in the absence of gravity.  An introduction to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, including gravitational red-shifts, blue-shifts, and black holes will be given at a popular level.



“Is There A Crisis in Higher Education?”

 (Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New York and New Haven
Professor Michael Holquist

Abstract:  A. What is the kind of institution that can be called a university?
      1. Plato and Aristotle as school organizers (and their opponents).
      2. The European Medieval universities.
      3. Changes wrought by the Reformation.
      4. The 19th century birth of research universities outside Germany.
      5. Enter the Americans.
Readings: W. Jaeger, Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture; M. Colish, Medieval
Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition.
   B. The American University as an Institution, 17-early 20th centuries.
       1. Harvard and its Presidents (esp. Pres. Eliot).
       2. Yale and its Presidents (the 1828 report), 1st Ph. D.
       3. The Land Grants (including Yale’s agricultural school).   
       4. The rise of graduate schools.
Readings:  John R.Thelin, A History of American Higher Education.
   C. The Tumultuous 20th century
       1. W. W. I, Columbia and Core Curriculum (U. of Chicago).
       2. WW II, the role of extra-university research (IAS, Bell Labs).
       3. The rise of “Studies” programs.
       4. The changing role of the sciences and Humanities.
Readings: selected newspaper accounts from 1969-70, Tony Kronman, Education’s End;
Delbanco, College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be.
   D. The Global Challenge
       1. Campuses abroad; some case Studies (NYU, Yale).
       2. The Digital Revolution and its challenges.
       3. University presses.
       4. The For Profit Colleges.
       5. Distance learning (Sebastian Thrun).
       6. Stanford (now) New Yorker articles, Steven, “The Future of Reading”.


“The Canterbury Tales:  General Prologue and Five Tales”

(Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New Haven
Professor Traugott Lawler

Abstract:   I would like people to read Chaucer in the original Middle English, as we do in English 125, though anyone who wanted to use a modernized version could do so.  The five tales are those of the Knight, the Miller, the Wife of Bath (with her Prologue), the Nuns' Priest, and the Pardoner.



“Milton’s Paradise Lost”

(Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New Haven
Professor Annabel Patterson

Abstract:  This seminar is intended to provide different strokes for different folks: those who have never read Paradise Lost at all; those who remember reading, long ago, the first two books about Satan in Hell, angels and the later books where Adam and Eve succumb to temptation, but nothing in between; those who have read the whole poem, but would like to be reminded of it; and lastly, those who would just enjoy talking, in a group, about how to read poetry.
The success of this seminar will entirely depend on the willingness of participants to read in advance. Any edition of the poem will serve, because we will refer to line numbers, not pages, but if you wish to buy one, I recommend the Dover paperback edited by John Himes. We will begin with a short introduction to the history of the poem, and how it has become, as it were, inarguably a Great Book, a second bible; and then plunge in.

"Walt Whitman: Poet of Democracy"

(Fall Semester 2012)
Location:  New York and New Haven
Professor Alan Trachtenberg

Abstract:  We will focus on the sundry meanings of the key term "democracy" in Whitman's major poems. These will include political, cultural, and personal meanings, as well as related ideas concerning the body, nature, society, death, and poetic form. In addition to selected poems and passages from his essay on democracy, Democratic Vistas, readings will include a few essays concerning Whitman's life and criticism of specific poems.


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