Current Minicourses

Minicourses: Winter 2020
Chase Room, Madison Public Library

Sponsored by the Friends of the Madison Public Library

Registration will begin on Friday, January 3rd, 2020
Please do not mail your registration early.
Only mail received after the registration date will be processed.

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The World of Exhibitions by Dr. Barbara Tomlinson, Monday afternoons, 1-2:30 pm; Jan 27, Feb 3, 10, 17 and 24

This course will take participants on a virtual trip to some of the most exciting museum exhibitions of the last few years. (As indicated, some talks will spill over two weeks.)

January 27 and Feb 3: The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris reconstructed the art collection of Sergei Shchukin, the brilliant collector who brought modern art to Russia at the turn of the century. Never before seen in the West, Shchukin’s treasures were a revelation.  The exhibit was sold out before it opened in 2017.

February 3:  A surprising exhibition in New York City in 2018 demonstrated how important figures in major paintings could go totally unnoticed and unremarked upon.  How could the women just disappear?

February 10: The Metropolitan Museum is currently revising its American Art Galleries to include a stunning collection of Native American Art.  See these items here before seeing them in person in the Museum.  Brooklyn was the site of an exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing that added a whole new dimension to how we see her art (first half).

February 17:  Finish Frida KahloThe Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam mounted an exhibition in 2018 in which they demonstrated the influence Van Gogh has had on contemporary British artist David Hockney.  Here is the opportunity to see astonishing works by two apparently vastly different artists.

February 24:  Paper and rope–two unlikely mediums for the making of art, and yet two talented female artists have done just that.  Isabelle de Borchgrave makes the most beautiful clothing out of paper and Mrinalini Mukherjee made incredible sculptures out of rope.   (One of her sculptures is featured in the new MoMA.)

Dr. Barbara Tomlinson earned degrees from Barnard, Harvard and Rutgers and taught Western Cultural history for 20 years. She was the Course Coordinator of the humanities component of Kean University’s General Education Program before retirement.  

Religious Pluralism in America  by Dr. Jonathan Golden, Tuesday mornings, 10 am-12 pm; Jan 28, Feb 4, 11, 18 and 25 

This course will focus on topics such as separation of church and state, the First Amendment, etc.  Learn about many of the complex inter-religious encounters that are part of America’s history.

Dr. Jonathan Golden is Director, Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Comparative Religion, Drew University.  He holds a PhD in Anthropology (University of Pennsylvania), specializing in the study of ancient and modern cultures of the Middle East. Golden’s research interests include religious and ethnic conflict, terrorism, and interfaith studies.  He won the 2016 Thomas Kean Scholar/Mentor Award.  His books include Ancient Canaan and Israel: New Perspectives and Dawn of the Metal Age: Technology and Society During the Levantine Chalcolithic (Approaches to Anthropological Archaeology) and numerous articles.  He is working on a third book based on interviews with ex-combatants and victims of conflict who became peace activists.     

The United Nations in a Changing World by Dr Carlos Yordan, Wednesday mornings, 10 am-12 pm; Jan 29, Feb 5, 12, 19 and 26

Lecture 1: The Historical Foundations of the United Nations and Its Evolution: The Important Role of U.S. Interests
Lecture 2: Are the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly Talk-Shops or Have They Made a Difference in International Affairs?
Lecture 3: Challenges to U.N. Peacekeeping
Lecture 4: The UN’s Work Promoting Sustainable Development and Addressing Climate Change
Lecture 5: The UN’s Role Promoting and Protecting Human Rights

Dr. Carlos L. Yordan earned his Ph.D. in International Relations at the London School of Economics. At American University, he completed a M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies and a B.A. in International Studies. He joined the Drew University’s Department of Political Science in August 2005. Professor Yordan taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Hamilton College, was a visiting scholar at Cornell University’s Peace Studies Program, and a Visiting Fellow at Rutgers-Newark’s Division of Global Affairs.    

How Things Work II – More Physical Concepts in Our Daily World by Dr. Robert Fenstermacher, Wednesday afternoons, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Jan 29, Feb 5, 12, 19 and 26 

Are you curious about how things work?  Why the sky is blue?  Similar to HTW I the course will continue the exploration of everyday familiar devices and phenomena as the route to a better understanding of the world around us.  For example the operation of a furnace filter, laundry drier sheets, and the copier machine all depend on concepts related to static electricity.  Other possible concepts and devices to be discussed include a brief review of energy and motion; sound and musical instruments; static electricity and frizzy hair; household electrical circuits and toasters; and sunlight and the sparkle of diamonds.  The emphasis will be on non-mathematical explanations of physical concepts, and then applying these to see how a device works.  Material will be presented via illustrated lectures, demonstrations, and simulations.  It is not necessary to have taken Part 1 of the course.

Dr. Robert Fenstermacher is professor of physics emeritus at Drew University.  He has had a special interest in teaching science to non-scientists and taught the course ‘How Things Work’ to non-science students at Drew for many years.  Besides the traditional physics curriculum, he has taught courses on science and pseudoscience, the physics of high fidelity, and astronomy.  

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