All Courses

Write Up (or down) the Summer

▲ REGISTER
Price: 175.00 USD
6 Weeks

07 - 14 - 2020, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 2020-07-14 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

*This class is closed. If you would like to register, please call the office at 713-529-7123. For most of us, the summer of 2020 is about social distancing, cancelled vacation trips, virtual rather than physical presence at business and family occasions—and eating mostly at home. Not what we expected. But the disruption has cleared the path for more reading and also more writing. In this class, we will explore how recent and past reading influences our thinking and emotions as we toggle between confronting our worries and celebrating our blessings. Suggested themes will incorporate items from our 3 a.m. worry lists: racial conflicts, environmental threats, divisive politics, the economy. But also the joyous serendipities of unscheduled time. The stack of books on the nightstand and the thriller on the beach towel can enrich our writing as we note the writing tactics that build suspense and the vivid scenes that make a family from long ago and far away feel so familiar. Our zoom sessions will be preceded by writing prompts: excerpts from fiction, non-fiction and poetry that depict coping with the “down” realities within stories and excerpts that portray happiness and success. Prompts, however are not assignments. The online format of reading and discussing will adapt to your own new idea or current project.  *Note: A limited enrollment class. This will be a Live online meeting in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. A full experience, interactive class where students will be seen, heard, and able to ask questions of the professor as they so desire.

More Great Short Stories: Modern and Contemporary

▲ REGISTER
Price: 175.00 USD
6 Weeks

07 - 15 - 2020, 01:30 PM - 03:30 PM 2020-07-15 01:30 PM - 03:30 PM

*This lecture is closed. If you would like to register, please call the office at 713-529-7123. The best short stories leave you with a strong emotional response and a sense of awe at how quickly and masterfully a deft writer can create a world and connect you to its characters. What techniques help authors achieve these effects? And what, beyond word count, defines the unique, dynamic genre of the short story? How exactly does the length of a piece of writing connect to its expression as a work of art and our interpretation of it? In this course, we’ll consider “shortness” as a challenge authors undertake, investigating the ways they weave complex tales into brief, often pithy, masterpieces. We’ll read an array of short stories that unite the Victorian, modern, and contemporary moments, seeking to understand what unifies cultures across space and time. We’ll investigate the ways genre and culture converge to shape the stories we tell and the way we tell them. Featuring selections by Joyce Carol Oates, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Carmen Maria Machado, Kurt Vonnegut, and J.D. Salinger, among others. *Note: Selections will be communicated to students prior to the class start date and will be new content. **A limited enrollment class. This will be a Live online meeting in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. A full experience, interactive class where students will be seen, heard, and able to ask questions of the professor as they so desire.

Armchair Travel—Museums in Athens "Behind the Scenes": Modern and Contemporary Greek Art

▲ REGISTER
Price: 25.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 10 - 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 2020-08-10 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

In this richly illustrated lecture Dr. Anna Tahinci will offer a virtual journey to her hometown of Athens, Greece and will be sharing her expertise in Art History and Museum Studies. We will be virtually visiting a curated selection of Modern and Contemporary Greek Art Museums: the National Gallery of Athens, the National Glyptotheque in Goudi, and the Benaki Museum. *Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.

Trump, Biden and US Foreign Policy

▲ REGISTER
Price: 25.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 10 - 2020, 01:00 PM - 02:15 PM 2020-08-10 01:00 PM - 02:15 PM

The November election will provide voters with a clear choice on US foreign policy. While President Trump’s approach to foreign affairs is difficult to classify, it does exhibit clear themes. These include a strong protectionist bent, disdain for international organizations, a highly personalized style and a penchant for thinking of foreign policy in zero-sum terms. Former Vice President Biden, in contrast, is a conventional liberal internationalist likely to attempt a restoration of former President Obama’s approach to world affairs. Where do the two candidates differ on the key foreign policy issues confronting us, such as China’s rise, instability in the Middle East, and the role of international bodies like the World Health Organization? Join Joe Barnes – a US foreign policy expert at Rice University's Baker Institute – as he assesses the policy positions of Trump and Biden. Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.

Jill Carroll Explores Black Voices in America—MLK's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (Free Lecture)

▲ REGISTER
Price: 0.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 11 - 2020, 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM 2020-08-11 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM

Recent events have shown us that, despite whatever progress has been made, racism remains deeply woven into the fabric of the United States. In many ways, black (and brown) citizens live in and experience a very different America than white citizens. In these sessions, we will learn from two of the most important voices in American history on issues of race and white supremacy: Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both these pieces - a speech and a letter - are extraordinary examples of some of the best writing, speaking and thinking in American history. More specifically, they point us - especially those of us who are white - in the direction of understanding more clearly the racist structures that still undergird our society. As Maya Angelou says, "We do what we know; when we know better, we can do better." "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/letter_birmingham_jail.pdf *This lecture is underwritten by Mary Lee and Jim Wallace **Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.

MacArthur

▲ REGISTER
Price: 25.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 13 - 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 2020-08-13 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is the most controversial American general since Winfield Scott. Some people love him; others hate him. Brilliant, heroic, thin-skinned, egotistical, political, and long serving like Scott, he served on active duty from 1903 to 1950 and participated in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. MacArthur conducted the most brilliant campaign in American history when he invaded Inchon and virtually destroyed the North Korean Army in days. John Bradley who first learned about the general during World War II in the Philippines, saw MacArthur close up and tried to meet the general in February 1945 in Manila, monitored his actions in Korea, saw his return to San Francisco after his dismissal, heard his speech to Congress in 1950, wrote about his campaigns in the Southwest Pacific, discussed MacArthur with biographer William Manchester, and has lived with his legend all his life, will review MacArthur’s career, highlight his campaigns, try to distill the essence of the man, and provide a perspective of a complex and fascinating man, the American Shogun. *Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.

Aurisch on Art: Puzzling Out Pictures

▲ REGISTER
Price: 20.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 17 - 2020, 01:00 PM - 02:15 PM 2020-08-17 01:00 PM - 02:15 PM

Dr. Helga Aurisch, curator at MFAH, will explore iconography, symbols and the hidden meanings that are revealed in various works of art. Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.

Misunderstanding the Bible

▲ REGISTER
Price: 25.00 USD
0 Weeks

08 - 18 - 2020, 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM 2020-08-18 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM

The Bible is the number one book that Americans like to pretend to have read. This lecture will be an overview of some common misconceptions about the Bible, from translation errors to thorny interpretive problems. Examples of misinterpretations we will touch on include the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (hint: it's not an apple), the Ten Commandments (hint: it's not about "killing"), and the virgin birth (hint: it's not about sex). Rabbi David Segal is the Texas Lead Organizer for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, headquartered in Washington, D.C. He helps congregations in Texas deepen their justice work and guides them into interfaith social justice coalitions. He is also a writer and teacher. Rabbi Segal was born and raised in Houston, TX where he attended St. John’s School. He is also a freelance writer for the Houston Chronicle’s Belief section. *Note: This will be a Live online webinar in which students will participate via Zoom at the designated day and time. Students will not be seen or heard but will be able to type questions to the professor during the session. Registrants will receive a link for participation.