New Haven



Dante's Divine Comedy - Part 1                                     Registration Info

Traugott Lawler, Professor Emeritus of English

Tuesdays, October 3 - November 21, 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Location: Rose Alumni House, 232 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Course Description: 

This course will run for two semesters.  In the fall we will read Inferno and half of Purgatorio; in the spring we will finish Purgatorio and read Paradiso.  Please read the first eight cantos of Inferno before the first class in the fall, and cantos 18-25 of Purgatorio before the first class in the spring.  It's a poem, not a treatise of theology, and we will aim to treat it that way.  Our text has both the Italian and a pretty literal translation, and your pleasure in the poetry will be far greater if you spend some time on that left-hand page, which you can do, using the translation as a guide, even if you have no Italian at all.



We will use John Sinclair's translation (the set availabe new from Oxford University Press for $60; many used copies available from; it's also in many libraries and there is a Kindle edition).


Syllabus: TBD

Week 1- Oct. 3: 

Week 2- Oct. 10: 

Week 3- Oct. 17: 

Week 4- Oct. 24: 

Week 5- Oct. 31: 

Week 6- Nov. 7: 

Week 7- Nov. 14:

Week 8- Nov. 21:


Registration Info

Professor Traugott Lawler

Traugott Lawler is a specialist in medieval English and Latin literature and a former Master of Ezra Stiles College.  He and Peggy, his wife of 59 years, live in Hamden.  After earning his doctorate from Harvard, he began teaching at Yale in 1966, left in 1972 to teach at Northwestern, and returned in 1981 as Professor of English.  He retired in 2005, but has continued to teach and do research, coming to his office at Yale daily.  He fell in love with English literature in high school, thanks to two charismatic teachers, and has never lost that love.  During his active career, he strayed from his specialty often to teach all the major poets, and he has taken the Alumni College as an opportunity to teach Yeats, Dickenson, Joyce, Dickens, Austen, George Eliot, Trollope, Hardy, and Thackeray, the nineteenth-century novel being a special favorite of his.  He has taught in the Alumni College in every semester but one since it started, and is looking forward now to teaching Dante in 2017-18.  Traugott Lawler was presented the Yale Alumni College Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017 for his engaging courses and dedication to the success of the program.


The Cinema Of War                                                              Registration Info

Murray Biggs, Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater Studies - Retired

Tuesdays, October 3 - November 7, 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Location: Rose Alumni House, 232 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Course Description: 

This is not a course in military action but rather a study of war’s “collateral” effects: on individual combatants, civilians, occupied peoples, and those left behind.  It focuses on the two world wars, especially the second.  Participants are asked to watch two films a week as preparation for lectures  illustrated by clips.

Syllabus: (Provisional)

Week 1- Oct. 3: Introduction; All Quiet on the Western Front

Week 2- Oct. 10: La Grande Illusion; Gallipoli

Week 3- Oct. 17: Triumph of the Will; The Great Dictator

Week 4- Oct. 24: Aux Revoir Les Enfants; Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Week 5- Oct. 31:  Ivan’s Childhood; Butterfly 

Week 6- Nov. 7: Prisoner of the Mountains; The Fog of War


Registration Info

Professor Murray Biggs

Murray Biggs, semi-retired Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Theater Studies at Yale, is known throughout the campus and with alumni everywhere for his dynamic teaching style that inspires great enthusiasm and active participation. Murray Biggs was born in Britain, raised in South Africa, and returned to England as a Rhodes Scholar.  After ten years at MIT, he joined the Yale faculty in 1986 as a professor of English, Theater Studies, and later Film.  Although retired from undergraduate teaching since 2014, Biggs remains active on campus and especially among alumni, for whom he leads regular theater seminars in London, Ontario, New York, and other American cities.  Every winter he lectures in Naples, Florida, and in 2016 was Artist-in-Residence at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach.  He has published some 30 articles, mostly relating dramatic texts to theater performance.  



Facing the Challenge of a New Age: Understanding and Confronting Prejudice and Discrimination

Registration Info

Burgwell Howard, Senior Associate Dean of Yale College, Associate Vice President of Student Life 

Wednesdays, October 4 - November 1,  4:30 - 6:00 pm

Location: Rose Alumni House, 232 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Course Description: 

We live in an increasingly diverse and politically complex world.This course provides participants with an intergenerational forum in which they will learn about the psychology and implications of prejudice and discrimination. Together, we will explore our personal and social responsibilities in co-creating an inclusive community in this new age.

But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.” -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 1956

Course Goals

Participants who take this course will:

  • develop their understanding of the psychology of prejudice and its progression to discrimination,
  • examine the implications of discrimination on personal, community, and social levels,
  • reflect on their own experiences with prejudice and discrimination and better understand those of other participants,
  • explore approaches to developing a shared vision and values for an inclusive community and to effectively communicate across difference,
  • and consider approaches to bystander intervention in cases of prejudice and discrimination.


Syllabus: TBD

Week 1- Oct. 4: 

Week 2- Oct. 11: 

Week 3- Oct. 18: 

Week 4- Oct. 25: 

Week 5- Nov. 1: 

Registration Info

 Professor Burgwell Howard

Dean Burgwell “Burgie” Howard works in the Yale College Deans Office, and serves as the Dean of Student Engagement within Yale College and Associate Vice President of Student Life at the University. Dean Howard has made a career supporting students at colleges and universities, including those at Bowdoin College, Colgate University, Santa Clara University, Dartmouth College and, most recently, Northwestern University where he served as Asst. Vice President and Dean of Students. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University.  He loves dogs, lacrosse, tennis, skiing and meeting and helping students, and he never ceases to be amazed at the creativity and capacity of students. He is looking forward to exploring and contributing to the Yale community.