Fall 2019

Course offerings for the Fall 2019 semester include selections in Art, Classics, Drama, History, Literature, Music, Social Sciences and Writing.


L'Art de la Renaissance à Florence

12 semaines, les lundis , 18:15 - 20:15

Comment expliquer que la période de la Renaissance ait donné au monde tant d'artistes exceptionnels et tant de chefs-d'oeuvre mondialement reconnus? Quelles sont les circonstances qui permettent de comprendre pourquoi ceci s'est passé dans une période historique circonscrite—du XIVe au XVIe siècles—et dans un lieu précis—que nous appelons ajourd'hui Italie, et particulièrement la puissante cité-état qu'est alors Florence? 


Friendship in the Ancient World

12 weeks, Tuesdays, TBD

It is perhaps as friends that the ancient Greeks and Romans are most easily relatable. At the same time, a modern reader might also feel that there is something formulaic and strangely lacking in the conventions and commonplaces of Greek and Roman friendship. What is the Greek and Roman tradition of friendship? Where did it come from? Whom did it include or exclude? What did it mean for friends to be honest and genuine with each other before any widespread notion of unique individuals? How did friendships knit together the Greek and Roman worlds? 

Greek Tragedy : The Calamity of Humanity

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 6:15 PM-8:15 PM

Greek tragedy marks the birth of drama and of staged plays. As a genre, it also sets one of the great artistic benchmarks for the depiction of utmost despair. Why did despair and desolation so fascinate the Greeks? How did the Greeks of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE come to enact these feelings publicly on the stage? Death, gods, war, fate, curses—how did watching these forces play out on the stage help viewers to cope with the miseries and calamities of life? How can we relate today to tragic characters written 2,500 years ago?


Gabrielle Roy: les incarnations d'une vie

6 semaines, les mardis, 13:30 - 15:30

La détresse et l’enchantement, l’œuvre autobiographique de la romancière Gabrielle Roy, publiée à titre posthume (1984), raconte les années de formation de l’auteure. Pendant ce cours, nous lirons ce récit autobiographique et les cinq premiers chapitres de la biographie que François Ricard consacre à Gabrielle Roy (Gabrielle Roy : Une vie, 1996); et nous irons voir la pièce pour une femme seule (intitulée également La détresse et l’enchantement), une adaptation du livre, qui sera interprétée par Marie-Thérèse Fortin au Théâtre du Nouveau Monde en dix représentations dès le 22 octobre.


Joseph Conrad: Life & Legacy

12 weeks, Tuesdays, 10:00 PM - 12:00 PM

Maya Jasanoff, winner of the 2018 Cundhill History Prize, has written The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, which we will read as our core text. We will accompany Jasanoff as she sets out to find the elusive Conrad by tracing the historical, biographical, and literary footsteps of the writer.


Literature and Politics

12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

233 Ste-Claire Avenue, Pointe Claire, Quebec H9S 4E3

Writing about Henry James, T.S. Eliot commented that James had “a mind so fine that no idea could violate it.” However, despite Eliot’s and James’s prejudices, there are many literary works that do trade in ideas, especially ideas about politics. Can such works be political without ceasing to be literary? Does literature that allies itself with a particular position or cause thereby become propaganda? Is, on the other hand, all literature, even that of James, a reflection of the time in which it was created and thus of political import? 

Where Does Poetry Take Us?

12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

In this course, we will aim to experience the pleasure and surprise of poetry by reading poems aloud and searching together for the poets’ questions. We will also ask our own questions, such as why poetry, more than any other medium, provokes delight and contempt in equal measure? How does poetry succeed in expressing the desire to transcend the finite and the historical? What impulse moves poets to engage in the impossible task of expressing the inexpressible?

Dark Necessity: The (Short) Fiction of Hawthorne, Poe, & Melville

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 1:30 - 3:30 PM

Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe, though classic American writers, eschewed the commonplace 19th-century American belief in pragmatism, utilitarianism, and more generally, the optimism of the era in which they lived. While many touted the perfectibility of humanity and of the country, emphasizing the freedom of the individual and our better natures, these writers frequently portray what Melville called “the power of blackness,” a “dark necessity” that impels humankind toward depravity and evil.

The Will of the People

12 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

What constitutes the will of the people and how do we see it expressed in political revolutions? What accounts for the variety of outcomes different peoples experience with revolutionary movements? How do the social and economic conditions prevalent in countries prior to revolutions influence the resulting changes to the government and the capacity of the new government to fulfill the revolutionary will of the people?


Enjoying Jazz! (Part I)

12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 PM-3:30 PM

Where does jazz come from? How did it evolve into one of 20th century’s most important musical genres? Who are the most important jazz artists? What are the significant recordings in jazz? How should one listen to jazz? All these questions and more will be addressed in a compelling, year-long exploration, with discussion leader and jazz guitar player François Ouimet.


More About Opera

For 10 weeks every 2 weeks, Fridays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Following on last year’s overview of opera in its French and Italian incarnations, we shall continue exploring this fascinating world through more recordings of master classes by prominent singers and conductors and by examining the lives of composers and the origins of their works. As the upcoming season in HD reflects different eras and styles of opera, we shall examine these and their historical and social context.


The Lessons of History: On the Role of History in Self-Understanding

12 weeks, Mondays, 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM

When we engage in historical thinking and writing are we seeing the present moment in light of the past or are we seeing the past in light of the present moment? What shall we make of the idea derived from historical consciousness that storytelling may very well be at the heart of self-understanding? What evidence supports Santayana’s claim that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and how can we make sense of the fact that human beings so often fail to learn from experience?

Invitation to Political Economy: The Ideas & Forces That Have Propelled Capitalism

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Why is Capitalism - generally referred to as the market system - the only viable economic system existing today? What accounts for the great divide between those who believe in a laissez-faire state of affairs and those who promote a managed form of capitalism? How relevant now are earlier ideas about the workings of the market system? 

Enlightenment Soon: The Future Is Brighter than You Think

12 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Is the world really falling apart? In Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now, he recounts progress across a broad range of metrics—health, wars, the environment, happiness, equal rights, quality of life—and concludes that through the amazing achievements of modernity, humankind has never been so peaceful, healthy, and prosperous. Applying the ideals of the Enlightenment to the present, Pinker makes the case for reason, science, humanism, and progress to evaluate the state of the world today.


Writing Effectiveness Bootcamp

10 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM

Imagine if writing well were easier and more pleasurable. How much more fruitful and fun would your academic or professional life be if you could write more effectively? What if the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, and style always worked in your favour? Which aspects of your approach to writing are holding you back?

Memoir Writing: Sharing Your Life Stories

12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM

In this writing workshop, we will help you find the stories that you most want to tell and then to write them in clear, vivid and entertaining prose. Through weekly readings, short written assignments and in-class discussions we will delve into our personal treasure troves of memory and consider how to express these, using all the tools of good writing and editing.


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