Class Descriptions

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alumni College Check-in

Time: Thursday, 4:00–8:30 p.m.
Location: Student Village I residence at 10 Buick Street

Flight landed early or can’t wait? Check in at the Student Village residence (StuViI) for your Alumni College materials, and visit Arts Boston for arts inspired events happening throughout the city!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Alumni College Check-in

Time: Friday, 9 a.m.–11 a.m.
Location: Student Village I residence at 10 Buick Street

Check in at StuViI, find your roommates, and get settled in. Commuter guest? Head directly to our welcome lunch to collect your materials for the weekend.

Welcome Lunch & Plenary Session: I Remember Better When I Paint

Time: Friday, 11 a.m.—1:30 p.m.
Location: Student Village, 18th floor, 10 Buick Street

I Remember Better When I Paint Film Screening & Discussion
Dr. Robert Stern, Professor, School of Medicine; Director,
Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core

I Remember Better When I Paint is a 2009 international documentary film about the positive impact of art and creative therapies for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The film, narrated by Olivia de Havilland, features personal stories of how arts impacted the lives of those with Alzheimer’s, including interviews with Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter of Rita Hayworth.

Nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and adult day care programs that use creative arts, including drawing, painting, and museum visits as effective therapies, are producing positive results for people with Alzheimer’s, improving the quality of life of both the patient and the caregiver.

The documentary includes interviews with renowned clinicians and researchers who explain how creative activities engage areas of the brain that are less damaged by the disease and reawaken a sense of personality, identity, and dignity.

Classroom Electives: Session 1

Time: Friday, 1:30–2:50 p.m.

Classroom electives begin at 1:30 p.m. Don’t be late! The following elective-style classes occur simultaneously. Please choose one.

  • Science and Art: Reimagining Nature Through Poetry
    Daniel Hudon, Lecturer, Core Curriculum, College of Arts & Sciences
    Nature has long been the muse to poets, from William Wordsworth to Mary Oliver. But what can we learn about nature through poetry? This seminar will explore how poets past and present have examined our relationship with nature—and illuminated some of our environmental problems.
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 213
  • Art & The Individual: Rembrandt’s Self Portraits
    Michael Zell, Associate Professor, Department of History of Art and Architecture, College of Arts & Sciences
    Over the course of about forty years, Rembrandt created an unprecedented number and diversity of self-portraits in painting, printmaking, and drawing. But these works were far from transparent biographical statements as they embodied the artist’s aesthetic ideals and professional ambitions. The works offer vivid insight into how identity can be both explored and constructed in a life that embraces the arts. Michael Zell will explore Rembrandt’s work in relation to his career as a history painter in the distinctive cultural and social conditions of seventeenth-century Holland.
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 214
  • Listening to Mozart Again… For the First Time
    Roye Wates, Professor, Music, College of Arts & Sciences
    Have you stopped and really listened to Mozart? Join Professor Roye Wates for an interactive listening and discussion session on the music and composer you think you know. No previous musical experience required.
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 211


Time: Friday, 2:30–2:45 p.m.
Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Core Curriculum Office, Room 119

Grab a cup of coffee while you gear up for your next Alumni College elective!

Class Electives: Session 2

Time: Friday, 3:25–4:45 p.m.

The following electives occur simultaneously. Please choose one.

  • The Arts of War
    Kyna Hamill, Lecturer, Core Curriculum, College of Arts & Sciences
    How does art express the horrors of war when words are not enough? This seminar will pay special attention to artists who devoted a deep examination of war and its aftermath to their work, such as Jacques Callot (France), Francisco Goya (Spain), Otto Dix (Germany).
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 213
  • Bob Dylan and the Charge of Misogyny—or Just Like a Man?
    Christopher Ricks, Professor, Core Curriculum, College of Arts & Sciences
    Should the charge of misogyny be brought against Bob Dylan for writing and singing “Just Like a Woman?” (We’ll call that Exhibit A.) And does the charge stick? The case grows stronger with Exhibits B, C, and D: “Rainy Day Women #12 and 34,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” and “New Pony.” Other suspects we’ll consider: John Donne for “The Curse,” “Song: Go and catch a falling star,” and “Farewell to Love,” and T.S. Eliot for “The Waste Land.”

    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 211
  • The Masks of Venice
    James Johnson, Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Arts & Sciences
    “Jim Johnson is the kind of historian who wants to get inside people’s heads.” – BU Today
    In researching his latest book, Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic (University of California Press, 2011), Professor Johnson uncovered that Venetians wore masks six months out of the year. Join Professor Johnson as he explores the subject of identity by focusing on the role that makes played in 18th-century Venice.
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 214

Boston University Favorite Poem Project

Time: Friday, 6:30

Join Professor Robert Pinsky, 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, as he brings his Favorite Poem Project to campus for Alumni College. The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting, and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. This inaugural program will feature members of the BU community as they share their own treasures, the poems they love, with our Alumni College participants and friends.

Are you interested in sharing your favorite poem? Alumni College participants have the option of submitting their favorite poem and their connection to it. Select poems and readers will be invited to share their poem on the evening on June 8 at Alumni College. Interested? Email for more information!


Saturday, June 9, 2012


Time: Saturday, 8:15–9:25 a.m.
Location: Student Village 1, 18th Floor, 10 Buick Street

Classroom Electives: Session 3

Time: Saturday, 9:40–11 a.m.

Classroom electives begin promptly at 9:40 a.m. Make sure you find a seat at the front of the room! The following elective-style classes occur simultaneously. Please choose one.

  • Why Music History Needs The Rolling Stones
    Victor Coelho, Professor, Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, College of Fine Arts
    “Satisfaction,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Ruby Tuesday”… What’s your favorite Rolling Stones song? There’s no doubt that this legendary group has made an indelible mark on the history of music. We’ll explore how in this seminar led by Victor Coelho, the author of the just-released Cambridge Companion to the Rolling Stones (Cambridge University Press).
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 213
  • Music & Mystical Experience in the Religions of Asia
    David Eckel, Professor, Department of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences
    Brita Heimarck, Associate Professor, Department of Musicology & Ethnomusicology, College of Fine Arts
    Music is woven into the fabric of life in many of the religious traditions of Asia. Not only is it important in worship; it also is used to convey an experience of the presence of the divine. This session will explore the role of music in Asian religious traditions. Learning from Islamic Sufi practices and beliefs throughout Asia, Hindu Bhakti thought in India and the Middle East, as well as Buddhism practices in Tibet, attendees will develop an understanding of how religious people in Asia use music to express their sense of the holy.
    Location: College of Arts & Sciences, Room 214

Lunch & Plenary

Time: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Take a break from the classroom sessions to talk shop and enjoy lunch with your Alumni College peers. Following lunch, enjoy a final discussion prior to departing on your off-campus excursions:

  • What Good is Art?
    Victor Kestenbaum, Professor, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences
    What is the contribution that art makes to your life? Why is it good for us to hear Beethoven’s Eroica or gaze at a Rothko painting? What is the benefit? What is the good of art and why should I desire it? Is it pleasure, relaxation, ennoblement, or insight? Why—and how—should a painting by Caravaggio or a performance of King Lear matter to a person?

    In The Use and Abuse of Art, Jacques Barzun says: “Art claims all the best moments.” During a weekend celebrating the arts, we will take time to ponder the idea that art claims “all the best moments” in order to more deeply understand why art matters. Can it help me to be a better person, perhaps even a wiser person?

Expedition Options

Time: Saturday, 2–4:45 p.m.
Location: See below

Ready to get out of the classroom? Check out these expeditions.
The following occur simultaneously. Please choose one.

  • Private Lives at the Huntington Theater
    Need a break? Take in some afternoon entertainment. Enjoy a matinee at Boston University’s Huntington Theater as the company produces Private Lives.
    In Private Lives, divorcés Amanda and Elyot meet again by accident on their second honeymoons with brand-new spouses in tow. Fireworks fly as they discover how quickly romance—and rivalry—can be rekindled in Noël Coward’s stylish, savvy comedy about the people we can’t live with… or without. Tickets are limited—enroll today!
  • Tour of the Museum of Fine Arts Classical Galleries
    Explore the relationship between art objects and the culture that produced them as you join professor S. Rebecca Martin at the Museum of Fine Arts for a walking-tour of the Museum’s Classical Galleries. Professor Martin will assist attendees in identify different mythological personages, stories, and motifs as represented in Greek and Roman art, as well as in recognizing the differences and commonalities in Greek and Roman images.
  • Victorian Tour of Boston’s Back Bay
    Boston’s Back Bay embraces one of America’s richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of this neighborhood include grand rows of townhouses, Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library and the New Old South Church.

    The Back Bay neighborhood was designed to imitate the grand boulevards of Paris and is one of the few areas of Boston where the streets are straight and the sidewalks are wide. This tour, hosted by experts from Boston By Foot, is the perfect excursion to take in Boston’s Victorian architecture.

Celebrate the Boston Pops’ 20th Anniversary of Gospel Night

Walter Fluker, Professor, School of Theology
6 p.m. – Dinner on campus
8 p.m. – Boston Pops at Symphony Hall

Kick off the 20th anniversary of gospel at Boston’s Symphony Hall with Walter Fluker, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Professor of Ethical Leadership in the School of Theology. He will discuss how gospel music has transcended its religious roots to become a major theme in American music and culture. After dinner, enjoy the rousing sounds of gospel music at the Boston Pops Gospel Night. Conductor Charles Floyd, special guests, and the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, will bring a hip and rocking performance of traditional and contemporary gospel music.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fostering the Citizen Artist

Time: 9–10:30 a.m.
Location: StuViI, 10 Buick Street, 18th Floor

Join us for breakfast and closing conversation with Dean Benjamín Juárez of the College of Fine Arts, and David C. Howse, Executive Director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. Together with your reflections about Alumni College, they will lead a discussion about the importance of developing the 21st century “citizen artist.” That is, engagement with the arts need not be solely about entertainment and self-gratification, but can also be used as a vehicle for social innovation; a lens through which we can explore what it is to be human; and a process to help us think creatively and critically, better our communities, and help make the world a better place.