Classes

Fall 2017

Fall 2017: Session 1

Fall Birding

Mondays, September 11 – October 9
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Late summer and early fall are ideal times to observe the seasonal migrations of birds. Participants will meet at various locations throughout the area to view and identify birds. A schedule of meeting sites will be sent to registrants. Nominal fees may be required for entrance into some venues.

Instructor: Paul Bedell, a lifelong birder and naturalist, is principal double bass with the Richmond Symphony.

Making Sense of the Causes, Conduct, and Consequences of World War I

Mondays, September 11 – October 9
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Great War was never intended to end all wars, or to make the world safe for democracy, but in contrast to its European allies, it did represent one of the United States’ most idealistic international crusades . The conduct of the war, 1914-1918, was not so much guided by politicians and generals as by the irrefutable logic of new technologies that had never been applied to warfare before. The war brought down empires and laid the ground work for an even greater conflict twenty-one years later.

Instructor: Alan V. Briceland was educated in the public schools of Towson, Maryland and Sparta, New Jersey. He received his BA in history from the College of William and Mary and his doctorate from Duke University. He joined the RPI faculty in 1966. He was a full time VCU historian for forty years and taught part time for ten more. His teaching and research focused on the 17th century Virginia frontier, the origins of the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution, as well as the sweep of American military history.

Broadway Musicals as Remembered on YouTube – 1990 – 2010

Tuesdays, September 12 – October 10
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Bruce Miller, Founding Producer of Virginia Repertory Theatre, follows musical theatre on Broadway during the decades that brought us numerous great shows from “Bring in Da Noise / Bring in Da Funk” to “Wicked.” Combining YouTube show clips with personal anecdotes from New York and Richmond, Miller brings to life the Broadway experience as viewed from someone who’s spent his life working in professional theatre.

Instructor: Bruce Miller is the former Artistic Director of Virginia Repertory Theatre. He was an Artistic Director of Barksdale Theatre and Founding Artistic Director of Theatre IV. His work as a director has been seen around the country at prominent theatres including the Kennedy Center and the Paper Mill Playhouse.

How to Understand and Appreciate Italian Opera

Tuesdays, September 12 – October 10
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

This course aims to provide students with the skills and competencies to better understand and appreciate Italian opera while listening to it. Each week the instructor will present a different opera and a different composer. Students will have the opportunity to listen to some arias and to develop a greater appreciation for the linguistic, musical, and theatrical aspects of each of them. Classes will be organized as follows:
Class 1: Claudio Monteverdi and the beginning of opera
Class 2: Gioacchino Rossini and his “Barber of Seville”
Class 3: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “the divine genius”
Class 4: Giacomo Puccini “a master in the history of opera”
Class 5: Giuseppe Verdi: “the Italian giant”

Instructor: Rita Paolino is a native Italian who has been working as an instructor of International Studies and Italian language at VCU since January 2014. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from Ohio University and one in music from the music conservatory of Campobasso, Italy.

Up Close: Curator’s Choice

Wednesdays, September 13 – October 11
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Each week and on-site, a curator from one of our community’s leading cultural institutions will present a focused presentation on a topic, collection, or artifact reflecting that organization’s program.

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Our Uncertain Voyage

Wednesdays, September 13 – October 11
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

We realize that life’s voyage is exciting but fragile. The most certain thing we can say is that it is uncertain; where it will go, we do not know. The five plays by Shakespeare that will be examined probe deeply into the uncertain wonders of life (that enigma wrapped in a mystery): 1. The Merchant of Venice 2. Twelfth Night 3. Macbeth 4. Antony & Cleopatra 5. The Tempest

Instructor: Jack D. Spiro was the Harry Lyons Distinguished Chair of Judaic Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University and served as the founding editor of its online publication, Menorah Review. He is also Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Ahabah in Richmond. He has two earned doctorates, one from the Hebrew Union College and one from the University of Virginia. He has received honorary doctorates from the Hebrew Union College and the University of Richmond. He was recognized by Style Weekly as one of the most influential Richmonders of the 20th century.

China Today: Security, Economy, and Polity

Thursdays, September 14 – October 12
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Few question China’s importance to contemporary international affairs. Its actions cast a wide wake and impact US strategic concerns. China Today explores pivotal themes – including security, the economy, and politics – in order to enrich our understanding of China’s interests and policies. This course will appeal to the casual observer and the enthusiast, providing much-needed context for today’s headlines.

Instructor: Dr. Christopher Burdett received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he completed his dissertation on education, identity, and imperialism in late 19th-century France and England. He holds an M.A. in European Affairs and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary. Since the spring of 2006, Dr. Burdett has been an instructor in Political Science at VCU.

Up Close: Curator’s Choice

Thursdays, September 14 – October 12
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Each week and on-site, a curator from one of our community’s leading cultural institutions will present a focused presentation on a topic, collection, or artifact reflecting that organization’s program.

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Photographically Interpreting VCU Buildings – History and Modernism Coexist

Thursdays, September 14 – October 12
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

VCU is always changing, yet always connected to the past. Learn simple elements of photography and composition to help you realize your vision while documenting notable buildings. Students will create a portfolio emphasizing both tradition and change. DSLR is recommended, but not required.

Instructor: David Bromley received his MFA from VCU in 1986. His photographs have been exhibited at The Poe Museum, The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, and various Richmond art galleries. Photographic contributions to publications range from Sci-Fi World Spain to Golf Business Magazine. Formerly a portrait photographer in the era of film, he is now an architectural photographic contributor to the online site Emporis, a global provider of building information. David is a member of The Professional Photographers of America.

Richmond Imbibes

Thursdays, September 14 – October 12
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

From beer to cider to whiskey to mead, this class will focus on the hidden delights of Richmond’s alcohol scene.

Instructor: Rich Griset is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, Richmond Magazine, Coastal Virginia Magazine, The Daily Press, and others. Griset has been a theater critic and arts writer for Style Weekly for the past six years and is a staff reporter for the Chesterfield Observer.

Fall 2017: Session 2

The Uncertain Prospects for Serious Education Reform

Mondays, October 16 – November 13
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Over our five sessions together we will discuss the goals and results of the education reformists and then discuss an unprecedented reform- Boston University’s takeover the Chelsea Public Schools for 20 years (1989-2009), what the goals were, the maddening opponents of reform,
the heroism of the President of B.U., and a 2017 update of the surprising results-good, bad, and very worrisome.

Instructor: Dr. Peter R. Greer has enjoyed a sterling career in education that includes teacher, elected school committee member, superintendent of schools, U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Education, Dean of the Boston University School of Education, headmaster of two private schools, and consultant. His schools have earned five “National Blue Ribbon School” and one “National School of Character” awards and he was named by Phi Delta Kappan as one of the nation’s outstanding superintendents.

Fit for a King: Art and Food through the Centuries

Mondays, October 16 – November 13
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

This course attempts to trace a history of food through its many different representations in both literature and the visual arts from antiquity to the present.

Instructor: Cinzia Corubolo, VCU School of World Studies faculty member

U.S. History: The Adolescent Years

Tuesdays, October 17 – November 14
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Included topics are Madison and the War of 1812, Upsurge of Nationalism, Jacksonian Democracy, Manifest Destiny in the 1840s, Revolution in Industry and Transportation, Social Reform and Cultural Gains, Triumph of Sectionalism.

Instructor: Harold Greer, VCU professor emeritus who taught in VCU Department of History

The Greatest Orchestral Works

Tuesdays, October 17 – November 14
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

This course identifies and celebrates some of the greatest orchestral works in the concert repertoire. Each picture presents learners with a historical and biographical context for each work via a guided tour of the work itself. The course is designed to serve learners a series of expanded program notes that explore a broad range of orchestral music composed over the last 300 years. The works featured in the course include some of the most well-known, best-loved, and most frequently performed pieces in the standard repertoire in the forms of symphonies, concertos, symphonic poems and suites. By the end of the course students will be able to understand why each featured piece is considered “great”; how each piece reflected the spirit and nature of its composer; and to what extent contemporary historical circumstances affected the composition. Classes will be organized as follows:
Class 1: Bach – Brandenburg concerto no. 2 (1721)
Class 2: Mozart – Symphony n. 41 (1788)
Class 3: Beethoven – piano concerto No. 4 (1806)
Class 4: Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2 (1902)
Class 5: Shostakovich, symphony n.5 (1937)

Instructor: Rita Paolino is a native Italian who has been working as an instructor of International Studies and Italian language at VCU since January 2014. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from Ohio University and one in music from the music conservatory of Campobasso, Italy.

Discovering 18th Century Richmond

Wednesdays, October 18 – November 15
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

As our community moves swiftly into the 21st century this class will explore the buildings and historic sites of the late 1700’s. (Additional weekly fees may be collected depending on the attraction.)

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Life’s Mingled Yarn

Wednesdays, October 18 – November 15
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

It is inevitable that we experience joy and sorrow, success and failure, fulfillment and disappointment as we journey through life. The Shakespeare plays chosen for this series make it clear that as wondrous as life is, it is indeed a “mingled yarn:”
1. Troilus and Cressida 2. Julius Caesar 3. Othello 4. The Winter’s Tale 5. All’s Well That Ends
Well

Instructor: Jack D. Spiro was the Harry Lyons Distinguished Chair of Judaic Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University and served as the founding editor of its online publication, Menorah Review. He is also Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Ahabah in Richmond. He has two earned doctorates, one from the Hebrew Union College and one from the University of Virginia. He has received honorary doctorates from the Hebrew Union College and the University of Richmond. He was recognized by Style Weekly as one of the most influential Richmonders of the 20th century.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Last 70 Days: Seventy Masterpieces Before Dying

Thursdays, October 19 – November 16
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The last 70 days of Vincent van Gogh’s life were spectacular from the point of view of art. He created what most would view today as 70 of his painted masterpieces, plus drawings, watercolors, and sketches in letters. Among his most famous paintings are portraits of his new friend Dr. Gachet, paintings of village homes, wheat fields, vineyards, and stormy skies. Many of these final paintings are in a new form, double square paintings, forty inches by 20 inches. His almost daily letters during this period give a moving portrait of his own struggles and discoveries. We will focus on his art and its dramatic setting during these 70 days of late May to late July, 1890.

Instructor: Clifford Edwards, professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies in VCU’s School of World Studies

Discovering 18th Century Richmond

Thursdays, October 19 – November 16
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

As our community moves swiftly into the 21st century this class will explore the buildings and historic sites of the late 1700’s. (Additional weekly fees may be collected depending on the attraction.)

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Britain and the European Union: The Road to Brexit

Thursdays, October 19 – November 16
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

On June 23rd, 2016, the British people narrowly voted to leave the European Union. ‘Brexit’ has since become a recurring headline, and coverage will only intensify as negotiations begin in earnest. Britain and the European Union goes behind the scenes to explore the history of Britain’s relations with the European Union from Churchill to May. This course is a vital companion to the sea change in European relations unfolding today.

Instructor: Dr. Christopher Burdett received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he completed his dissertation on education, identity, and imperialism in late 19th-century France and England. He holds an M.A. in European Affairs and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary. Since the spring of 2006, Dr. Burdett has been an instructor in Political Science at VCU.