This lecture series will trace the development of the institution of prophecy in the biblical societies of ancient Israel and Judah. We will consider the distinctive careers of nine key figures— Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, and Zechariah—in the context of the political fortunes of the ancient biblical states, the evolution of the Israelite religion and the emergence of scripture as a central feature. We will also consider the broader cultural impact of the Hebrew prophets from the New Testament to the Qur’an and Handel to Martin Luther King, Jr.
A band of medieval princes from the steppes and forests of Eastern Europe built one of the largest empires in history. This course traces the centuries-long history of the Russian empire, from its beginnings in the 10th century, to its violent collapse at the dawn of the 20th century. Lectures will provide a thorough sweep of Russia’s dramatic past, and offer a historical foundation for understanding some of today’s most important geopolitical questions.
Military historian John Bradley will focus on the great campaigns of the German-Soviet War during World War II—the bloody land war of Barbarossa, Blue and Bagration, and the key battles such as Moscow, Stalingrad, and Kursk. As the largest war in modern history and one of the four wars contained within World War II, it devoured soldiers and civilians alike as large armor and infantry units supported by huge numbers of guns and aircraft gave no quarter as they clashed in ferocious combat over large distances, in cities, and in horrible weather. Mr. Bradley will set up the story by outlining the development of the German and Soviet forces; amplify it by highlighting the leadership actions of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin and their key generals; and broaden it by relating the campaigns to those in North Africa, Italy, and Western Europe. In addition, he will discuss options not taken, the terrible atrocities, and the tragic legacies of the war.
In the English peerage, the title of Earl is third in rank—after Duke and Marquess—but, in historical terms it is the oldest and most important title. Its name derived from an old Norse and Anglo-Saxon term for a powerful governing individual, often second in power only to the King himself. From the reign of Richard II, the title was generally hereditary as well. Today, there are almost 200 active, titled Earls and four Countesses—an Earl’s Consort—in their own right, and we will consider a number of these active Earldoms in the course; but we will also take into consideration several of the earlier, powerful and often, infamous figures of the past whose titles reflected their continued status and authority in the long, colorful history of Britain. A principal part of this course will be the inclusion and discussion of a number of significant and often little-known country houses, vital reflections of the status and power of these important figures who are properly addressed as “Our Right Trusty and Right Well Cousins.”
Using his life-time career in public service and foreign affairs, Ambassador Untermeyer will draw upon his experiences and observations to examine a number of 20th century personalities and the obstacles that they faced, and overcame, on their way to leadership. In this course we will look at how Franklin Roosevelt dealt with physical disability through solid determination; how Eleanor Roosevelt conquered shyness and self-doubt by forcing herself to do the things she feared; how Winston Churchill survived disaster and defeat by refusing to give in; how Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated what one person can do; how Katharine Graham assumed sudden significant leadership of the Washington Post by simple concentration on the job at hand; how T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) fulfilled his mission by deftly “leading from behind”; how Lyndon Johnson escaped poverty and obscurity by creating his own opportunities and using the help of mentors; and how Margaret Thatcher achieved power by steadfastly “ignoring facts.”
Film has the ability to project powerful images of a society in ways conventional academic medium cannot. This is particularly true in learning about India, which is home to the largest film industry in the world. This course explores images of Indian society that emerge through the medium of film. Our attention will be focused on the following: historical India before the partition, during the partition, social structure, family dynamics including arranged marriages, and today’s India. Participants will watch an assigned movie before the class meets. During class, content discussions will be held to flesh out the nuances of the movie. Parts of the movie will be played back—but not in its entirety. (This class is skipping November 25.)
What could the financial crises in Ancient Rome in 33 CE possibly have in common with ex-Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Great Recession of 2008-09? Much more than we can imagine! In this course we will study the complex economy and financial markets from the ancient world to the present in an effort to provide us with a foundation to trace the major developments in financial markets throughout history. We will examine the major panics and crashes including the Tulip mania in 17th century Holland; The South Sea Company in 18th century London—and the subsequent downfall of Isaac Newton; the first financial bubble in the U.S.; the railroad mania of the 19th century; the crashes of 1929 and 1987; the technology bust of 1999; and the most recent meltdown in real estate and stocks in 2008-09. The challenge will be to determine what is historically similar and what is different between the crises of the past and those closer to the present to help us to be prepared for and anticipate the panics that will inevitably arise in the future. Included in the course will be the most cutting-edge research from professors in economics and history from colleges and university throughout the world.
Victims of the Holocaust still speak through fragments—letters, poems, songs, art—bits and pieces of things that accidentally survived. Better still, a few surviving diaries bring us the words of Emanuel Ringelblum, Chaim Kaplan, Moshe Flinker, Anne Frank, and a handful of others—but so few. In The Janowska Road, Leon Wells (only nineteen-years-old at war’s end) explains: “Everything depends on who…writes the history…History is usually written by the victor…Their every word will be taken for gospel. [T]hey may wipe out our memory altogether as if we had never existed, as if there had never been a Polish Jewry, a Ghetto in Warsaw, a [concentration camp]. Not even a dog will howl for us. But if we write the history of this period of blood and tears …who will believe us?...Nobody will want to believe us because our disaster is the disaster of the entire civilized world.” This is the incredible story of how the truth was saved and recovered. This is how we know what we know about the Warsaw Ghetto and the life of those who perished. This is the story of the secret archives that survived despite the best efforts of the Nazis to write the Jews out of history.