In these individual and unique lectures, Jill Carroll will explore topics in applied ethics. • February 6: An Introduction to ethics, including ethics vs. morals • March 6: Terrorism and the ethics of war • April 10: Economic justice and distributive ethics • May 8: Animal rights and environmental ethics
This class is a continuation of the beginning level Spanish class. The language materials used are part of a new series authored by Dr. Urrutibéheity titled El Español Actual (Today´s Spanish). Intensive speaking practice continues to be the main feature of each class. Participants are encouraged to express themselves in Spanish and progress at their own pace. The grammatical structure of spoken Spanish is given more emphasis than in the preceding level. Special pronunciation and grammatical contrasts will be discussed. Participants will be given CDs with the contents of each lesson and will be expected to do written exercises to reinforce the learning of new vocabulary and structures. (A limited enrollment class)
Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, as he usually spelled his name, was probably the most famous child prodigy in history. He was advertised in London as the “the most amazing genius, that has appeared in any Age.” He was a virtuoso pianist, a celebrated composer, and a very entertaining letter writer. He invented the modern piano concerto and wrote some of the most poignant, insightful, and comic operas in the repertory. In this course, we will listen to his instrumental music and watch scenes from his operas. We will also hear excerpts from his correspondence with his father, Leopold, who fought bitterly against Mozart as he settled in Vienna to establish an independent career and start a family. We will deftly explore the music of the world’s most famous composer, Wolfgang Mozart, within the context of his life and career.
In this class we will examine selected events in Middle Eastern history from ancient times to the present, focusing on the individuals responsible and the specific motivations behind their actions. Our topics will include the advent of Islam, wars and elections, the founding of Israel, the atrocities of ISIS, and more. In each case we will see who was involved, what they did, and how their actions have contributed to the many conflicts in the region today. Students will learn about religious movements, political movements, emirs, sultans, dictators, terrorists, the intrigues of European and American diplomats and companies, and the wide variety of people who populate Middle Eastern countries. (This class will not meet April 23.)
They’re coming! Scientists tell us there will be three billion or more of them. They will journey north from Central and South America to various destinations throughout the United States and Canada. The migrants making these intercontinental flights are birds. Some, like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, are so small that it is inconceivable that they could fly the 600 miles across the Gulf and beyond to Canada. Other tiny birds make epic journeys filled with life threatening dangers—not just once but twice they undertake these flights. These pilgrimage flights are truly miraculous migrations. Come learn about the migrations of a variety of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other animals that can be observed in and near Texas as well as throughout North America. Find out when and where to experience these amazing events and join us for an eye-opening and mind-boggling inquiry into the world of phenomenal migrations of North America. (This class will not meet April 11.)
Ancient Greece and Rome are foundational to western civilization. One area of lasting influence is literature; books from Greco-Roman antiquity have been read for millennia and have shaped countless authors and books. This course will examine some of the outstanding works of ancient literature. Our interest will be to understand what makes these books classics and why they are relevant today. We will approach the issue from aesthetic and thematic perspectives; we will also consider how the works were transmitted over time and became canonical. Authors will include Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, and Virgil.
Normandy’s charming villages with half-timbered houses and thatch-roofed cottages recall the tie with England which began in 1066 when William the Conqueror, a descendant of the Viking chief Rollo, defeated the Saxon Harold at Hastings. The battle is depicted in scenes embroidered on a 900-year-old strip of linen on display in a museum in Bayeux. Monasticism took root early in Normandy and produced a multitude of abbeys, including the island monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel. The Gothic cathedrals of Rouen, Bayeux, and Coutances bear witness to the prosperity of this rich agricultural region. After the Hundred Years’ War many churches were rebuilt in the late Gothic style with intricate stone carvings and magnificent, stained glass windows. The course will also spotlight the picturesque fishing village of Honfleur, the historic center of Rouen, eye-catching manor houses and châteaux, including a stronghold built by Richard the Lionheart on a cliff above the Seine. As monuments are entwined with history, the narrative of Normandy’s past will accompany the presentation of the region’s rich architectural heritage.
Since the advent of film, we’ve been turning novels into movies—often repeatedly and obsessively. There are, for example, at least seventeen screen versions of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" (we will be focusing on a modern day, romantic comedy that focuses on characters obsessed with Jane Austen). Why are we fascinated with filming and refilming stories we’ve read? There’s no doubt that we love seeing our favorite novels “come alive” on the screen, represented by the imaginations and talents of others. But what gets lost in translation from the page to the silver screen? How do different types of media often represent the same story so differently? In this course, we’ll pair novels with films they inspired, spending one week on a text and the next on its adaptation. In the process, we’ll consider how and why movie producers make certain changes to novels and what this says about the different forms of storytelling. • The Aftermath, Rhidian Brook, 2014 Movie with Keira Knightly, 2019 • Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy, 1874 Movie with Carrie Mullins, 2015 • The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler, 1939 Movie with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, 1946 • The Color Purple, Alice Walker, 1982 Movie with Whoopi Goldberg, 1985 • Austenland, Shannon Hale, 2007 Movie with Keri Russell, 2013
An innate element in human nature compels us to tell stories. And yet, every writer has experienced the wall—the overwhelming details of life, the fear of not having the precise words, and the fear that the precise words will alter one’s life in unexpected ways—these are the unwanted barriers that prevent us from sharing our stories. This class is designed to break through these barriers by providing the impetus for writers to pursue their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imagination. By exploring the characteristics of a variety of genres, students will have the opportunity to perfect their unique voice and style. Each week participants will engage in reading and writing exercises designed to hone their skills. In addition, students will have the opportunity to share their stories in a receptive environment designed to produce writing confidence. Students will also receive written critiques from the instructor. (If available, please bring an example of your writing to the first session. A limited enrollment class)
Musical Theatre is a true American art form—no other theatrical presentation can boast the same pedigree. Through extravagant singing and dancing, they capture our hearts and minds anew each season. The magic of the musical happens in the music—we are able to understand and empathize with the protagonists in a way that is deep, complex, and effortless. We will delve into your favorite musicals and learn how the composers and the playwrights crafted the shows that you love, why opinions differ so widely in the appreciation of this art form, and listen to some great music. The musicals we will cover in this session include: Oklahoma, Anything Goes, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, On the Town, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Chicago, and Sweeney Todd. You will be humming a tune after each class!
This course on Shakespeare will focus on great speeches from the Comedies, Histories, Romances and Tragedies. Shakespeare’s deepest insights and most challenging thoughts appear as his characters search their minds, working out the answers to profound questions in extended monologues and soliloquies. As we untangle his language we will be rewarded with often breathtaking depths of meaning encoded in his metaphors, similes, and images. At the end of the course we will have succeeded in understanding some of the finest expressions of thought in the English language and assembled our own anthology of Shakespeare’s greatest work. (A limited enrollment class)
The phenomenon we now know as the Crusades has to serve as a, possibly the, watershed moment in the history of relations between the European West and the Muslim East. We will talk about how and why they started as well as the 200-year history of the Latin Kingdoms in the Levant. The story does not end there and we will examine that legacy through a closer look at the military orders, particularly the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, who later became known as the Knights of Malta. The Hospitallers first came to light in the 11th century, offering medical care in Jerusalem to all, regardless of religion or place of origin. To further serve those who came to the Holy Land, however, they developed into a military organization, contemporaneous with the Templars and the Teutonic Knights, and they played a similar role in protecting pilgrims. We will trace their activities during the period of the Latin Kingdoms, then follow them as they retreat, first to Cyprus and then to Rhodes and Malta, after the Mamluks forced the remnants of Christian rule out of Palestine. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the last military order founded during the Crusades, survive even today.
This course will focus on an in-depth discussion of breaking stories and broader trends in U.S. foreign policy. Subjects could include the Trump Administration's approach to foreign affairs, the ongoing tragedy of Syria, U.S. and North Korean tensions, the Iran nuclear deal, Moscow's policies in Europe and the Middle East, the short to medium term prospects for Chinese-American conflict, as well as a myriad of other issues that could emerge onto the international scene. The object throughout is to have an open, thought-provoking discussion that will allow students to move beyond sound bites in order to better understand the international challenges we face as a nation.
With the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates, a major slowdown in the Chinese economy, and tariffs threatening to negatively disrupt global trade, are the good times over for stocks and bonds? Wall Street analysts are very concerned since some of the worst periods for stocks and bonds have occurred when the Federal Reserve continued to raise interest rates. In addition, the last time the global economies entered a trade war, financial assets did not fair well. In this class we will focus on how to survive in a rising interest rate environment, learn ways to help control risk, and examine the strategies of some of the best minds on Wall Street and in the academic community. (A limited enrollment class)
Building bridges not walls is seemingly a modern cry, but building bridges is one of the oldest creations of civilized man and often, an artistic one as well. Bridges often define a particular place. Who can think of San Francisco, London, Sydney, Florence, Venice, Prague, or Brooklyn without the image of their famous bridge? In this class we will look at the history, art, architecture, and engineering of bridges, as well as explore how bridges unite communities and commerce. We will consider a plethora of famous bridges and their builders —Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Telford, John Roebling, Santiago Calatrava, and perhaps the greatest of them all, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Do you want to update the interior of your home but don’t want to spend a fortune in the process? Featured in the 2014 Houston Chronicle, Margaret Shilstone was described as “a heck of a do-it-yourselfer.” In this class learn money saving tips on simple, cost-effective ways to refresh your look—DIY tricks for both the inside of your home and your outdoor spaces. See creative and unique ways to decorate for a party, develop an eye for finding treasures in a consignment shop, and learn how to “flip” your unwanted decorative items and make money in the process. The first lecture will be at the WI, followed by three weeks of exploring the areas most popular consignment shops. (A limited enrollment class)
Our lives can be cluttered in so many ways. Our closets, garages, and storage facilities can be bulging with boxes of memorabilia and "must-keep" items from years past. In this class, we will learn some extremely effective clutter-clearing techniques from professionals like Marie Kondo, feng shui expert Karen Kingston and others. We will explore ways to get rid of clutter utilizing the benefits of our technical devices. Through discussion as well as book and video excerpts from professionals, we will find practical solutions to implement. Exploring the practices and principles of overcoming clutter will bring a new perspective, leading us to simplify our lives. Handouts will be provided. (A limited enrollment class.)
This class is designed for students who have completed prior Spanish classes at WIH or who possess, in their estimation, an advanced command of the language. News articles from all over the Hispanic world will be used as main conversation topics. Idiomatic expressions not commonly found in text books will be introduced gradually. In addition, some grammar points rarely found in text books will be discussed and practiced. Differences between variants of Spanish will be analyzed and special emphasis will be placed on the Spanish spoken in Mexico. Class participants will be expected to purchase a DVD of a well-known Spanish-language film designated by Dr. Urrutibéheity. Segments of the film will be discussed during several class periods. (A limited enrollment class)
Participants in this class will have the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and witness the creation of a classic ballet, "Coppélia", from studio to stage. Tuesday, April 23, 10:00 – 12:00 at The Women’s Institute A background on Houston Ballet with an introduction to "Coppélia" and its history with the company given by Director of Education and Community Jennifer Sommers. Tuesday, April 30, 10:00 – 12:00 at Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance Visit Houston Ballet’s Costume Shop and receive an in-depth look at "Coppélia" costumes with Head of Costumes Laura Lynch. (601 Preston Street) Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 – 8:00 at Houston Ballet Center for Dance Conversation with Houston Ballet Artistic Staff on the history and importance of character dancing featured in "Coppélia" and "The Merry Widow" productions, moderated by Jennifer Sommers. Participants are invited to attend a special wine and cheese reception before the conversation. (601 Preston Street) Friday, May 17, 2:00 – 4:30 at the Wortham Theater Center View a full company dress rehearsal of "Coppélia" with an intermission discussion with Jennifer Sommers. (Meeting at 601 Preston Street and walking to the Wortham via skybridge.) (A limited enrollment class)
Jerusalem, a city that is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, continues to be at the center of our religious imagination. It is also the source of much strife and contention. Using a few specific sites in Jerusalem as examples, Dr. Henze will look at the significance of Jerusalem in antiquity and discuss the role the same sites play today in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On December 10, 1989 the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in “the struggle of liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence.” Most people around the world recognize the title His Holiness the Dalai Lama and associate it with Buddhism. But who is the Dalai Lama? Is there more than one Dalai Lama? Why is he so popular? How did he manage to have such political power and impact? (This class will not meet May 13 or May 27.) In this class, we will explore the progression of Buddhism, different Buddhist schools, Tibetan Buddhism, reincarnation, and the lives of historic and present Dalai Lama.
Challenge yourself to explore new ideas and ways to enjoy watercolor painting. In this class we will delve deeper into the usage of color as well as introduce other mediums that can be used along with watercolor paints. This is a great time to pick up your paints and brushes and continue to explore many more aspects of watercolor painting.
What happens to those powerful pangs of love several years into a relationship? How am I SO angry with this teenager, who just a few short years ago enchanted me as a three-year-old? Can I ever regain the “magic” I felt with my partner of many years? This series of lectures will explore the philosophy and psychology of the changing nature of love. We will use developmental psychology, attachment theory, Imago theory, and existential psychology to explore and understand various ways that love changes over time. You will never think about love the same way after attending this class!
The Sephardic [Spanish] Jews spent one thousand years in Spain before their Expulsion in 1492. Luminaries such as Judah Halevi, Maimonides, and Rabi Sem Tob de Carrión belong in both the Jewish world and in the Arts and Letters of Spain. Most of the Sephardic Jews settled in the Ottoman Empire, where they introduced the printing press in 1493. In 1563 Josef Caro published the Schulchan Aruch, a fundamental compendium of Jewish law. During the ensuing centuries they produced Biblical translations, commentaries, and secular writing, while preserving their language in proverbs, ballads, and other poetic forms. In this lecture, we will examine the cultural impact of their contributions over almost five hundred years.
This class is designed to teach the basic rules and skills of Mah Jongg, a game that originated in China, dating back to the time of Confucius. To this day, it remains the most popular game in Asia. Mah Jongg is a fascinating rummy-like game, combining skill and luck, played with tiles rather than cards. There are several versions of the game, including American Mah Jongg and Chinese Mah Jongg. We will learn the American version. It uses a card of standard hands, which is published by the National Mah Jongg League in NYC and changes every year. The card tells exactly what combination of tiles is needed to win. The Mah Jongg set will be provided, but each student will have to purchase a Mah Jongg card. One can be purchased for $8.00 from the National Mah Jongg League 212-246-3052 or from Where The Winds Blow 281-578-7571. (A limited enrollment class)
Poems, like everything else, have conventions that define them and rules they follow. Most of these rules become clear the more poems we read—the key is to read slowly, four or five times, reading out loud in order to feel the language. Then, you ask the questions: How is this one different than that? Why am I affected by this one but not the other? Why does the line break here rather than there? Do the vowels or the consonants most determine the poem’s sounds? Ninety percent of what a poem means is available at the literal level. Remember—we aren’t reading POETRY, just one poem at a time which is easier! We will use Joel Conarroe’s Six American Poets (Vintage Books) available on Amazon.
In this single-lecture class, Jill Carroll takes center stage to address some of the most contentious and vexing issues of our day. Hold onto your seats for this one!
In this single-lecture class, Jill Carroll takes center stage to address some of the most contentious and vexing issues of our day. Hold onto your seats for this one!
The sinking of the Titanic – probably the most famous ship of all time – in 1912 continues to attract incredible interest. Though the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage – indeed the term “Titanic” is synonymous with disaster – plans are underway for a launching of an exact replica, and recently a group of hedge funds paid $19.5 million for relics rescued from the doomed liner. The Titanic also inspired one of the top grossing motion pictures of all time. At 52,000 tons, it was considered the best ship ever built, but it sank because it ran into an iceberg. Passengers included members of some of the wealthiest families ever, the new industrial capitalists, as well as hundreds of lesser-known individuals, especially immigrants. Whether rich or poor, many perished in a debacle in which almost everything went wrong. Join Dr. Wil McCorquodale in an afternoon lecture to explore this disaster and its paradoxes.
There is no greater honor in the film industry than being nominated for an Academy Award. The red carpet and designer gowns, hosts and their jokes, and award speeches are just as much a part of the evening as is receiving one of the glittering trophies. We will discuss this year's nominees and learn what it takes to win an Oscar. Let’s go to the movies!
Many theories have been put forward to account for why the vast majority of Christians observe Sunday as the Sabbath. The causes for this momentous change lie in a complex period of religious transitions involving wars, historical coincidences, colorful characters, politics, and, of course, deep-seated religious differences that were ironically greater among Christians than between Christians and Jews. Solving this mystery requires an elaborate investigation into the complicated history of ancient Rome and Jerusalem over a period of three to four centuries. More to the point, the answers provided by scholars today do not resemble the answers you heard growing up. As I like to remind all my classes, “Nothing changes as quickly as ancient history.” The story of the jumping Sabbath Day is a great example.
These three sessions will be dedicated to the examination of nine paintings—from the Renaissance to the present —selected for their exceptional power and refinement in conveying the nature of the sublime to the viewer.
As a Jew from Asia Minor deeply influenced by his Greco-Roman environment and a zealous apostle to fledgling Christianity, Paul remains a source of fascination to scholars today for the complexity—and paradoxically, the simplicity—of his thought. Christianity began as an apocalyptic, messianic movement within Judaism during the first century of the Common Era. The focus of this class will be on our earliest evidence for this nascent movement: the apostle Paul and his letters. Together, we will explore Paul’s construction of his own sense of authority as a religious leader and expert, a founder of church communities, and how his legacy developed through those who sought to appropriate his authority over the years. We will approach the study of Paul chronologically—that is, according to the order in which the letters were written and how they help us (re)construct his biography. Together, we will examine some of the major themes in Pauline Studies (e.g., Paul’s biography; his relationship to Judaism; his attitude toward the Jewish Law/Torah; his understanding of the Resurrection; what he means by “body,” “flesh,” “soul,” and “spirit;” and questions of authorship/forgery). No prior knowledge is necessary, and all interested persons are welcome. While it is to be expected that everyone will enter with varying assumptions and expectations about early Christianity, it should be noted that we will adopt a historical approach to these texts, examining them in their historical, cultural, and social contexts. Please note, therefore, that we will not be reading these texts from confessional or devotional points of view.
In this course, we will take a deep dive into the critical issues that are emerging on the world stage and are facing the United Sates.
October 18, 2019, Robert Greenberg: "How to Listen to and Understand Music: Music as a Mirror." Dr. Robert Greenberg is Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances. A graduate of Princeton University, Professor Greenberg holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley. November 15, 2019, David Lampton: "The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds." David Lampton is George and Sadie Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and Chairman of The Asia Foundation. His book, after which this lecture is titled, is the only one to be based on extensive interviews with elite political leaders, diplomats, and others in China, the United States, and countries on China's periphery. January 17, 2020, Denise Budd: "Why Art Matters: Creation and Destruction, from Ancient Times through Today." This lecture will look at selected works of art from antiquity through the 20th Century, examining not only the importance of the works themselves, but the way that their destruction, or attempted destruction, demonstrates the power of images. Dr. Denise Budd received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2002, and she has taught courses over the past two decades that cover the entire history of art at Columbia University and Rutgers University. February 21, 2020, Jonathan Turley: "A Fishbowl Society: The Diminishing Privacy of Americans in the Twenty-first Century."Professor Jonathan Turley will explore the legal and technological changes that have laid the foundation for a fishbowl society in which citizens can be objects of continual surveillance. He is a nationally recognized legal scholar and commentator who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. A graduate of Tulane Law School, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades.
An opportunity for you and your friends to sit together.