Past Minicourses

Since 1992, the Minicourses program has offered the Madison community and the surrounding area over 280 courses in history, political science, literature, poetry, art, and science.

Fall 2021 (Virtual)

  • The History of U.S. Constitutional Themes and Concepts – Ian Drake
  • Churchill – Dr. Jonathan Rose
  • 19th-Century European Art: Romanticism to Post-Impressionism – Kimberly Rhodes

Summer 2021 (Virtual)

  • Rock-n-Roll and the Sixties – Dr. James Carter
  • American Architectural History and Materials: The Stuff of Dreams – Janet Foster

Spring 2021 (Virtual)

  • The Romantic Symphony (1820-1910) – Dr. Robert Butts
  • Italian High Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture – Dr. Margaret Kuntz

Winter 2021 (Virtual)

  • Exhibitions Interrupted – Dr. Barbara Tomlinson
  • Great Thinkers in the History of Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx – Dr. Ian Drake

Fall 2020

  • Gothic Art (virtual) – Dr. Rita Keane

Summer 2020

  • The Story of the Symphony (virtual) – Dr. Robert Butts

Winter 2020

  • The World of Exhibitions – Dr. Barbara Tomlinson
  • Religious Pluralism in America – Dr. Jonathan Golden
  • The United Nations in a Changing World – Dr Carlos Yordan
  • How Things Work II – More Physical Concepts in Our Daily World – Dr. Robert Fenstermacher

Fall 2019

  • Nice Presidents Finish Last: The Evolution of Presidential Power — Dr. Dan Cassino
  • Alienation and Civic Culture in America and Europe:  From Kennedy Campaigning to 2020 — Dr. David Cowell
  • Supreme Court of the United States: ‘Top Ten’ Cases You Need to Know and Understand —  Dr. Bruce Peabody
  • Music in America —  Dr. Robert Butts
  • Slavery and the Founding Fathers — Dr. Nicole Yanoso

Summer 2019

  • Utopias in History and Literature — Dr. John Lenz
  • Musicals on Film: Part II — Dr. Robert Butts
  • Short, but not Small: Notable American Short Fiction from Jack London to Lucia Berlin — Laura Driver

Winter/Spring 2019

  • Art That Can Take Your Breath Away — Dr. Barbara Tomlinson
  • How Things Work–Physical Concepts in Our Daily World — Dr. Robert Fenstermacher
  • Romanticism and Modernism: The Story of Russian Composition from Glinka to Shostakovich — Dr. Robert Butts
  • The World Wars and the Great Dictators: Europe 1914-1945 — Dr. Jonathan Rose
  • Franklin Roosevelt and American Democracy: 1933-1945 — Dr. Perry Leavell
  • Tchaikovsky: Russia’s Greatest Composer — Dr. Robert Butts

Fall 2018

  • New Jersey Forests: Diversity, Ecology and Challenges – Sara Webb
  • Mozart: The Creativity of Genius – Robert Butts
  • Memory and the Brain – Graham Cousens
  • Romantic Poetry-British Romantic Extremes – Robert Ready

Summer 2018

  • Looking and Thinking Outside the Box – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Musicals on Film – Robert Butts
  • The Reformation at 500 – David Cowell

Spring 2018

  • The Great War and Modern Memory – William Rogers
  • Natural Beauty and the Appreciation of Natural Environments  –  Erik Anderson
  • Exploring Beethoven  – Robert Butts
  • Great Leaders and Political Ideas from Ancient Greece and Rome  –  John Lenz
  • Music from the Films of Alfred Hitchcock  –  Robert Butt
  • Using Poetry as Access to the Universal – Sean Nevin

Fall 2017

  • A New Era for American Foreign Policy  – Douglas Simon
  • Challenges to Democracy in America – J. Perry Leavell
  • New Jersey at 350+ – David Cowell
  • The Operas of Giacomo Puccini – Robert Butts

Summer 2017

  • Morris County, USA: A Living Tapestry – DelGiudice
  • Leonard Bernstein and American Music – Butts
  • Globalization, Migration and the Refugee Crisis – Goldman

Spring 2017

  • In Search of a Visual Language – DelGiudice
  • Great Art Exhibitions – Tomlinson
  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art – Anderson
  • Va Pensiero: the Operas of Verdi – Butts
  • The Politics of Ireland  –  Cowell
  • The 60s and the Vietnam War –  Carter

Fall 2016

  • Music of the 1960s  – Butts
  • Waging Peace – Cowell
  • Greek Tragedy and Comedy – Lenz
  • Five Social Theorists – Reader

Summer 2016

  • Five Centuries of NJ Architecture  –  Foster
  • East Meets West  –  Golden
  • Great Film Scores V – Butts

Spring 2016

  • Art Museums of Washington – Tomlinson
  • The Self and the Illusion of Self – Anderson
  • Introduction to Poetry – Occhiogrosso
  • Key Issues for American Foreign Policy – Simon
  • Music in the Modern Era 1900-1920 – Butts
  • From  Famine to Freedom – Mullan

Fall 2015

  • The Mind-Body Problem – Anderson
  • Topics in Amer. History – Leavell
  • Music in the 1890s – Butts
  • Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey – Lenz
  • Rome – Hamilton
  • What’s going On in Europe? – Cowell

Summer 2015

  • The Middle East in the New Millennium – Jonathan Golden
  • Go for Baroque – Robert Butts

Spring 2015

  • How a Linguist Looks at English –  James Hala
  • Music in the Fifties – Robert Butts
  • America in the Sixties – J. Perry Leavell
  • Five Great Challenges for Philosophy – Erik Anderson
  • Shakespeare: An Introduction – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • The Art of the Italian Renaissance –  Roberto Osti

Fall 2014

  • Churchill: His Britain, His World – Jonathan Rose
  • Music in the 1940s – Robert Butts
  • Egypt Rising: The Making of Modern Egypt – David Cowell

Summer 2014

  • New Jersey at 350 – David Cowell
  • Great Film Scores !V  –  Robert Butts

Spring 2014

  • Artists Who Happen to be Women – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Music in the Twentieth Century: Between the Wars, Part II – Robert Butts
  • Non-State Actors Shaping the International System  – Doug Simon
  • The Poets of Tin Pan Alley – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • America in the Forties and Fifties – J. Perry Leavell
  • The Hebrew Bible and the Religion of Ancient Israel – William Stroker

Fall 2013

  • Causes and Aftermath of the Great Recession – Marc Tomljanovich
  • New Jersey at 350:  A Survey of New Jersey’s History  – David Cowell
  • A Brief History of American Photography  – James DelGiudice
  • Religion and Social Ethics  – Darrell Cole
  • Music in the Twentieth Century: Between the Wars  – Robert Butts
  • America in the Twenties and Thirties  – J. Perry Leavell

Summer 2013

  • Great Film Scores III – Robert Butts
  • The Art of Medieval Europe  –  Alison Poe

Spring 2013

  • Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • Changing Nature of National Security – Douglas Simon
  • The Operas of Giacomo Puccini – Robert Butts
  • Five Weeks in Philadelphia – Barbara Tomlinson
  • America in the Progressive Era –  Perry Leavell
  • The Gnostic Gospels — William Stroker

Fall 2012

  • The World of Islam – Christopher Taylor
  • The Renaissance Reconsidered – Barbara Tomlinson
  • A Brief History of Business in America – Perry Leavell
  • Irish Poets and Playwrights since 1900 – Christine Kinealy
  • Political Psychology and the 2012 Presidential Election – G. Scott Morgan
  • Romanticism, Revolution, Realism: The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi – Robert Butts

Summer 2012

  • Music of the Cinema II – Robert Butts
  • The Emergence of Modern Turkey  – David Cowell

Spring 2012

  • Russian Musical Genius: Despite Stalin – Robert Butts
  • The English Sonnet – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • The Power of the American Presidency, 1945 to the Present – Perry Leavell
  • Biomedical Ethics – Darrel Cole
  • History, Society, and Memory in Great French Novels – Andre Benhaim
  • The Religions of Ancient Israel – William Stroker

Fall 2011

  • Art for the Masses – Barbara Tomlinson
  • China’s Rise to Superpower Status – Catherine Keyser
  • The American Presidency from the Civil War to World War II – Perry Leavell
  • Beethoven’s Symphonies and Concertos – Robert Butts
  • The Geologic History of New Jersey – Don Monteverde
  • Classical Greek and Hellenistic Art – Alison Poe

Summer 2011

  • Science of the Kitchen – James Roche
  • Music of the Cinema  –  Robert Butts
  • Changing Britain  –  David Cowell

Spring 2011

  • The World of the Future – Douglas Simon
  • The Craft of Comedy – Jennifer Plants
  • Contemporary Poetry – Peggy Samuels
  • American Presidents and the Presidency I – J. Perry Leavell
  • Varieties of Early Christianity – William Stroker
  • Bel Canto Opera – Robert Butts

Fall 2010

  • Small Details/Big Pictures – Barbara Tomlinson
  • The Culture of Japan  -Yasuko Grosjean
  • The Cold War – J. Perry Leavell
  • The Gnostic Gospels – William Stroker
  • The Music of Stephen Sondheim – Robert Butts

Summer 2010

  • Five Composers for the Cinema  –  Robert Butts
  • Waging Peace in Northern Ireland – David Cowell

Spring 2010

  • Mozart and the Creation of Modern Opera  – Robert Butts
  • America and the World 2010 – Douglas Simon
  • Ancient Greek Art  – Alison Poe
  • American Stories  – Barbara Tomlinson
  • From Isolationism to Internationalism and  Containment – J. Perry Leavell

Fall 2009

  • Painting Against the Grain – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Becoming “Paris” – Andre Benhaim
  • Victorians – Robert Ready
  • Chamber Music in the Romantic Era – Robert Butts
  • The Major Christian Celebrations – William Stroker
  • Woodrow Wilson – J. Perry Leavell

Summer 2009

  • The Making of Modern Ireland – David Cowell
  • Leonard Bernstein – Robert Butts

Spring 2009

  • Commerce and Culture in the 17th Century – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Green Economics for a Sustainable Environment – Fred Curtis
  • British Romantic Extremes: Poetry and Prose – Robert Ready
  • What Hath the Computer Wrought? – Steven Kass
  • The Evolution of Our Political Parties – Joseph Romance
  • Beethoven at Home – Robert Butts

Fall 2008

  • The Power of Art – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Ten Photographs: Images that Changed Our world – Jim DelGiudice
  • Great Poems of Walt Whitman – Merrill Skaggs
  • Wagner’s Ring Cycle: The Curse of Love and Power – Robert Butts
  • Secrets of Life: The History of Genetics in the 20th Century – Luis Campos

Summer 2008

  • The Literature of the Harlem Renaissance – Geraldine Wright-Smith
  • A Brahms Sampler – Robert Butts

Spring 2008

  • Brain, Mind, and Neuroethics – Graham Cousens
  • On The Edge: Avant-Garde Musical Masterpiece – Robert Butts
  • Shakespeare: All the Gifts of Nature – Gloria Rojas
  • Art and Architecture of the Middle Ages – Alison Poe
  • Terrorism in Global Perspective – Andrea Talentino and Carlos Yorda

Fall 2007

  • The Art Collectors – Barbara Tomlinson
  • International Relations of the Future – Douglas Simon
  • Musical Masterpieces – Robert Butts
  • Robber Barons and Reformers – Wyatt Evans
  • British Drama of the 20th Century – Brandon Fralix

Summer 2007

  • Middle East Politics – Carlos Yordan
  • The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach – Robert Butts

Spring 2007

  • African American Heritage Through the Arts – Philip Peek
  • Post Romanticism in Music: 1880-1920 – Robert Butts
  • Varieties of Early Christianity – William Stroker
  • Ancient Roman Art – Alison Poe
  • Preserving Our Historic Places – Janice Armstrong

Fall 2006

  • Global Challenges for the 21st Century – Douglas Simon
  • Exploring Alzheimer’s Disease – Roger Knowles
  • Classical Mythology- John Lenz
  • Late Romantic Passion in Music- Robert Butts
  • Goddesses, Madonnas and Whores – Barbara Tomlinson

Summer 2006

  • China in Transition – Catherine Keyser
  • The Spiritual Journey in Contemporary American Memoir and Fiction – Elizabeth O’Brien
  • Popular Music in America – Robert Butts

Spring 2006

  • Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World – Douglas Simon
  • A Linguistic view of Language – James Hala
  • The Early Romantic Age in Music – Robert Butts
  • The Art of Late Antiquity – Alison Poe
  • Buddhism: The Path of Enlightenment – Karen Pechilis

Fall 2005

  • Six Who Shaped American Art – Barbara Tomlinson
  • The Hebrew Bible and the Religion of Ancient Israel – William Stroker
  • Great American Musicals of the 1950s – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • The Classical Era: Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven – Robert Butts

June 2005

  • Feminine Geographies: Women Artists and Writers of the Southwest – Elizabeth O’Brien
  • Sacred Fury: The Rise of Global Fundamentalism – Charles Selengut

Spring 2005

  • The History of The Portrait – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Yeats and Joyce – Bernard McKenna
  • Public Works and Politics in Ancient Rome – John Muccigrosso
  • Bach and the Baroque – Robert Butts
  • Early Christianity – William Stroker

Fall 2004

  • Sacred Fury: The Rise of Global fundamentalism – Charles Selengut
  • The Concerto II – Robert Butts
  • 20th Century Irish and British Drama – Bernard McKenna
  • The Election of 2004: Who Will Win and Why? – Joseph Romance
  • Human Evolution – Tammy Windfelder

June 2004

  • Tuesdays with Leonardo: The Artist, the Novel and the Code – Michael Christensen

Spring 2004

  • The Evolution of the Art Museum – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Music in the Modern Era – Robert Buttts
  • Exploring the Brain – Roger Knowles
  • Great American Musicals of the 1940s – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • Faces of Our Civil War – Charles Wetzel

June 2003

  • The Third Renaissance: The History of Modernism – Mark Daniel Cohen

Spring 2003

  • Drugs and Behavior – C. Robbin Timmmons
  • How to Read a Great Book – Merrill Skaggs
  • The History and Meaning of Abstract Painting – Mark Daniel Cohen
  • Isms and Schisms: Music in the Early Twentieth Century – Robert Butts
  • A History of Zionism and the Birth of Modern Israel – Allan Nadler

Fall 2002

  • America in the Progressive Era – Perry Leavell
  • Opera Verismo: Puccini, Leoncavallo, and Mascagni – Robert Butts
  • The Great Broadway Musicals – Frank Occhiogrosso

Spring 2001

  • A Virtual Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Barbara Tomlinson
  • The History of Britain: Victoria to Tony Blair – Jonathan Rose
  • The Classic Russian Novel – Jason Merrill
  • The Music of Giuseppe Verdi – Robert Butts
  • Political Islam – Christopher Taylor

Fall 2001

  • Adams to Arbus to Avedon: A Brief History of American Photography – Jim DelGiudice
  • The Story of the Symphony, Part II – Robert Butts
  • The Poets of Broadway: Great Lyricists of the American Musical Theater, Part II – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • European Art of the Nineteenth Century – Loughran O’Connor

Spring 2001

  • Four Challenges to the Idea of Human Rights – Johannes Morsink
  • The Story of the Symphony, Part I – Robert Butts
  • Willa Cather’s Gendered quartet in Five Parts – Merrill Skaggs
  • How Things Work: Physical Concepts in the World Around Us – Robert Fenstermacher
  • The Jewish Experience: An Introduction to Judaism  – Allan Nadler

Fall 2000

  • Abraham Lincoln in American Memory – William Rogers
  • Burghers, Sultans, and Courtesans: Commerce and Culture in the 17th Century – Barbara Tomlinson
  • Mendelssohn and Schumann: Music of German Romanticism – Robert Butts
  • The Poets of Broadway: Great Lyricists of the American Musical theater – Frank Occhiogrosso

Spring 2000

  • European Art from AD 1000-1500 – Loughran O’Connor
  • The Music of Tchaikovsky – Robert Butts
  • The Congress and The Presidency at the Turn of the Century – Philip Mundo
  • The World of Islam – Christopher Taylor (repeat)

Fall 1999

  • China in Transition – Catherine Keyser
  • Russian Romanticism in Music – Robert Butts
  • The American Folk Song – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • The Short Story in 19th Century Russian Literature – Jason Merrill

Spring 1999

  • The Music of Beethoven – Robert Butts
  • Mark Twain – Merrill Skaggs
  • Understanding Today’s Russia Through Its Past – Jason Merrill
  • DNA: Biotechnology for the 21st Century – Louise Temple
  • The Business of America – Perry Leavell

Fall 1998

  • Masters of American Drama – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • The Meaning of Life in Ancient Greece – John Lenz
  • The Music of Mozart – Robert Butts
  • The World Wars and the Great Dictators: Europe 1914-1945 – Jonathan Rose

Spring 1998

  • The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach – Robert Butts
  • Religions of India – Karen Prentiss
  • Three Southern Writers – Merrill Skaggs
  • The Middle East Since 1800 – Christopher Taylor

Fall 1997

  • English Poetry from Shakespeare to Auden – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • A Centennial Celebration: The Music of Johannes Brahms – Robert Butts
  • Vexing Issues in Biomedical Ethics – Donald Jones
  • The Vietnam Experience: A Retrospective – Douglas Simon

Spring 1997

  • Giacomo Puccini: Final Bloom of Italian Opera – Robert Butts
  • Criminal Justice in America – Paul Wice
  • The Theatre of Conscience – Rosemary McLaughlin
  • Ancient Civilizations of the Aztecs and the Maya – Maria Masucci
  • Art Collections and the Politics of Culture: A Journey Through the Art Museums of Russia – Lori Citti

Fall 1996

  • African and African-American Art – Philip M. Peek
  • A Tale of Two Cities: A History of New York and Newark – Kurt Piehler
  • The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: The Lyrics of the Great American Songwriters – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • Beyond Binoculars: The Natural History of New Jersey Birds – Jerald Dosch

Spring 1996

  • American Identity: Then and Now – Perry Leavell
  • The Universe: What’s Really Out There – Patricia Boeshaar
  • Classical Theories of Justice in Today’s World – Johannes Morsink
  • Don Juan on Stage and Screen: The Making of a Myth – Elaine Bunn
  • Giuseppe Verdi, Master of Italian Opera – Robert Butts

Fall 1995

  • The World of Italian Opera – Robert Butts
  • An Introduction to Islam – Christopher Taylor New Jersey at 350+
  • The Plays of Shakespeare – An Introduction – Frank Occhiogrosso
  • A Little Darwin, Then and Now – David Kohn

Spring 1995

  • Genetics in Society – James J. Nagle
  • United States Foreign Policy: Approaching the Twenty-First Century – Douglas Simon
  • Hollywood’s Golden Years: 1930 – 1950 – Charles Wetzel
  • The Novels of Willa Cather – Merrill Skaggs

Fall 1994

  • The Romantic Era in Music – Lydia Ledeen
  • Vodka and authority Under the Tsars and Commissars – Lori Citti
  • The Quest in Mythology and Folklore – Joan Chamberlain Engelsman
  • The State of the Language and the Language of the State – James Hala

Spring 1994

  • Twentieth Century Short Fiction – Jill Fritz-Piggott
  • Confucianism an Taoism: Understanding the Chinese Mind – Mai Leung Thayer
  • Economic Issues of the Developing World – Fred Curtis
  • America in the Great Depression – Perry Leavell

Fall 1993

  • America in the Progressive Era: 1900 – 1920 – Perry Leavell
  • Bright Lights, Big City – The Literature of New York – Jaqueline Berke
  • The Reality Behind the Greek Myths – Johanna Glazewski
  • The Social History of American Jazz – John von der Heide

Spring 1993

  • Fin de Siecle Vienna and the Birth of Modernity – John von der Heide
  • Men and Women in Recent Cinema – Wendy Kolmar
  • Congress: What’s Wrong and What’s Right – Philip Mundo
  • Beneath the Surface: Philosophical Questions – Johannes Morsink

Fall 1992

  • Raising the Curtain on the Classics: An Exploration of Greek Tragedy – Johanna Glazewski
  • A History of the American Presidency – Perry Leavell
  • Matisse and Les Fauves: The Wonder Years – Karen Spitzberg
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