Spring 2013 - Course Descriptions



“Doomed Love in the Western World"
Location:  New Haven
Professor Annabel Patterson
Abstract:  This short course will consider the striking predominance in the novel or the drama of the concept of love that is doomed by circumstances. In film we tend to prefer a romance to end happily; but somehow, in a novel where the end is disastrous, the longer space of the genre permits our feelings of commiseration to satisfy us, while also allowing for the ethical dimension of the plot to deepen.  A classic instance is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which uses the old Roman topos of parental opposition, as well as stressing the fatal role of coincidence.  But the genre changes as social experience turns up more varied causes. The point of the course is to identify the cause or causes. After Romeo and Juliet we will read, in this order, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856), Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1873-77), Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), and Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2000).

“The Poetry of Yeats"
Location:  New Haven
Professor Traugott Lawler
A few poems will be read in Yeat's early romantic manner, but there will be a concentration on his 20th Century Collections, starting with "In the Seven Woods" (1904), reading chronologically and focusing constantly on his continued growth as poet right into his old age and "Last Poems" (1939). In all, three collections will be studied in the first meeting, and after that, as the great poems start tumbling out, one collection for each meeting.

“The Health Care Crisis: How it arose, and what is to be done"
Location:  New York
Dr. John Hughes
Through a series of short presentations and interactive discussions, the course will examine how and why health care costs have been rising uncontrollably in all developed nations, but especially in the United States. The relative contributions to rising costs will be examined, including the increasing use of technology, the aging population, and the misplaced economic incentives for the U.S. health care system, particularly the availability of insurance and fee-for-service payment. The structure and financing of the U.S. health care system will then be reviewed, building toward an examination of the major options for containing health care costs, including markets, regulation, capitation based payment, ACOs, and hospital focused strategies.  The course will conclude with a review of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, giving consideration to how effective it will be in in both expanding access and containing costs.

“A History of the English Language"
Location:  New York
Professor Fred Robinson
The course begins with the identification of the place of English among the world’s languages, and reviewing major historical events that have impacted the English language. This would be followed by a brief discussion of the history of English grammar, leading to a discussion of the vocabulary of English – where English words come from, how new words are formed, and foreign sources of English words. Next would be a discussion of semantics – how the meaning of English words develop and change over time. Then there would be a review of lexicography – how English dictionaries are made, what the major dictionaries of English are, and how to use them.  The concluding segment would address English and American regional and social dialects.