Past Lectures Series

Fall 2023

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe
Presented by Dr. Olivier Courteaux

Tuesdays, October 17 to December 5, 2023
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

October 17 – The truth and the fake: History as a weapon
The outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine was years in the making. Nobody believed it would ever happen, yet both sides have long been getting ready for the possibility. When Vladimir Putin gave the order of attack on 24 February 2022, memorial battles had been raging for years. A battle Eastern European countries could relate to all too well.

October 24 – Russia: a policy of violence?
The current conflict in Ukraine brought back images of horrors and violence against civilians, not seen in Europe since the wars of the 20th century; and particularly felt in Central and Eastern Europe. Are they specifically Russian? And how did they shape Eastern Europe’s response to the Russian unprovoked invasion of Ukraine?

October 31 – In the shadow of Moscow. 
At the end of WW2, the Soviet Union spread its authority over the whole of Eastern Europe, both through the presence of its armed forces and the influence of its ideology. To fully understand Moscow’s policy towards Eastern Europe, we must bear in mind two key principles: first, since 1917 and, even more so, since the German invasion of June 1941, the Soviet Union has considered itself under the constant threat of Western capitalist states; second, as the first socialist state and founder of international communism, the masters of the Kremlin sought to spread their ideology worldwide, starting with Eastern Europe. A look at the forced partnership imposed by Moscow to Eastern Europe and its long term consequences.

November 7 – Eastern Europe, the collapse of the communist regimes and the difficult transition to democracy. 
When the communist regimes  collapsed in 1989, the peoples of Eastern Europe, once again free to determine their future, looked towards the Economic European Community (soon to be renamed European Union) to find solutions to all their problems.  Unfortunately, their transition to democracy, coupled with the end of planned economies, proved painful. A two-tiered Europe was born. It remained a reality until the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

November 14 – Europe: towards a common defense policy?
Since the Cold War, the Europeans have desperately negotiated the terms of a common defense policy, but without much success. The Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the dynamic altogether. Beyond the renewal of NATO, can Europe achieve at last its long-term goal: to defend itself? And what role are Eastern European countries playing?

November 21 – NATO and Russia:
The era of continental coordination and partnership, which began in the late 1990s, is over. The war in Ukraine led NATO to consider Russia as “the most important and most direct threat” to European security. As for the Russian authorities, they have claimed, repeatedly since the summer of 2022, that NATO is, for all intents and purposes, at war against Russia. A look at three decades of a tumultuous relationship, which has led to the renewed tensions between NATO, the world’s largest military alliance, and Russia.

November 28 – Poland: a new centre of gravity in Eastern Europe. 
As Russia re-emerged as a significant threat to European security, Poland, together with other Eastern European countries, is bound to become the new centre of gravity in Europe, while benefiting geopolitically from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.  A look at the difficult Russo-Polish relations since the 19th century and why Poland can become a major actor in Central and Eastern Europe.

December 5 – NATO: what perspectives for the future? and conclusion.
In the end NATO proved neither “obsolete” (Donald Trump, 2017) nor “brain-dead” (Emmanuel Macron, 2019). The so-called Russian “special military operation” against Ukraine and the transformation of a high intensity war gave NATO a new lease on life, not to mention fresh perspectives. What are they, and what role for Eastern European countries?

One Hundred Years of Jazz
Presented by Dr. Mike Daley

Thursdays, October 12 to November 30, 2023
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

October 12 – From Africa to the New World
We start by considering some of the musical and cultural origins of jazz, from the West African jungle and savannah to the scourge of slavery and some African-American idioms of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including cakewalks, ragtime and blues. We’ll also touch on the white marching band and minstrel traditions that predated and influenced early jazz.

October 19 – New Orleans, The Cradle of Jazz
The unique situation of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century – its race politics, its gumbo of cultures – gave rise to the new music called “jass.” The release of the first recordings of jazz in 1917 caused a worldwide sensation. We’ll look in detail at some classic recordings of the era to understand the exciting New Orleans style, and finish with an overview of classic New Orleans jazz in present-day Toronto.

October 26 – The Twenties: the “Jazz Age”
The newfound popularity of jazz was received with suspicion by some and welcomed by others. While Paul Whiteman’s well-meaning vow to “make a lady out of jazz” has often been criticized, he brought jazz to the concert hall in 1924. Meanwhile, innovators like Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington were creating an artful language out of jazz, transforming popular music in the process.

November 2 – The Swing Era
The challenges of creating jazz for large dance bands were brilliantly answered by early pioneers like Art Hickman and Fletcher Henderson, and by the 1930s Benny Goodman (who hired Henderson as a staff arranger), Glenn Miller and Count Basie were reaching new heights of popularity playing for throngs of young dancers and listeners. Social dances like the Lindy Hop and the jitterbug expressed the spirit of the time. Swing remains popular today, and we will conclude this lecture with a glance to the present-day Toronto swing scene.

November 9 – The Jazz Singers
While Al Jolson incorporated jazz-like phrasing into his vaudeville-styled singing as early as 1913, it was Louis Armstrong’s inspired improvisations and Bing Crosby’s jazz-influenced “cool” crooning style that defined jazz singing in the 1920s. The jazz singers of the 1930s and 1940s like Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald built upon these foundations.

November 16 – Bebop
The popularity of big-band swing created a great deal of employment for young musicians during the years between the wars. As these musicians began to expand the musical parameters of jazz, a “jam session” culture began to arise. The technically brilliant, harmonically complex bebop style emerged in the early 1940s, led by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. As swing declined in popularity, bebop rose to become the mainstream of jazz, albeit with a decidedly “art music” self-image. We’ll look at some of the implications of jazz’s shift from entertainment to art.

November 23 – Cool
At the same time that bebop was being forged in New York nightclubs, a newly refined jazz style later to be called “cool jazz” was emerging. As white musicians, many from California, adopted the complexities of the bebop language, they brought their own interest in composed sections, the use of orchestral instruments like French horn, and a generally refined approach to jazz. The result was some of the most commercially successful “pure jazz” of the century, with artists like Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck creating masterworks within the new long-playing album record format.

November 30 – Hard Bop
Some of the most exciting jazz of the 1950s and 1960s came out of the “hard bop” style, another extension of bebop that, partly in reaction to cool jazz, brought earthy black styles like blues and gospel into the mix. Miles Davis (who innovated in several jazz styles), John Coltrane and Charles Mingus were some of the leaders in the hard bop movement.


Spring 2023

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

The Roaring Twenties in New York, Paris and Berlin
Presented by Dr. Peter Harris

Tuesdays from April 11 to May 30, 2023
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

April 11: Berlin and Paris in the Early 1920s
Berlin in this period was gripped by civil wars, rampant inflation and a wild social cultural scene. Meanwhile, Paris was playing host to two colonies of US expats, the “Lost Generation” in Montparnasse and the “Paris Noir” Black jazz musicians in Montmartre.

April 18: New York City
NYC in the early 1920s was the epicentre of four major events: Prohibition, the 19th Amendment, the Harlem Renaissance and backlash nativist laws against immigrants.

April 25: Flappers and Speakeasies
All over North America, the image of the newly emancipated female flapper took hold, fuelled by prosperity, the new jazz and the lure of new dances in clubs and “speakeasies.”

May 2: New Technologies and New Science
New or radically improved technologies revolutionized society: electricity, radio, gramophone, airplanes, automobiles…. Radical new scientific ideas like quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity challenged the old stable world of Newtonian physics.

May 9: The “Movies” Come of Age
Berlin became the European centre of cinematic innovation. A steady stream of German cinematic talent was lured to the USA. At the same time, Hollywood was entering the studios’ golden age with the advent of “talkies.”

May 16: Art Déco Meets Skyscrapers
The thriving cultural scene in Paris produced Art Déco, which rapidly spread internationally. In New York it became the fashionable style for new skyscrapers, like the Chrysler Building.

May 23: The Bauhaus, Epic Theatre
The Bauhaus school pioneered modernist design in everything from typeface to chairs to houses. Berlin also developed innovative theatre: Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera featured sharp political comment in a radical new theatrical form known as Epic Theatre.

May 30: The Roaring Stops: The Crash and Its Aftermath
The stock market crash in 1929 brought the decade-long party to an abrupt halt – not just in the USA but also in Germany. The resultant depression ushered in the Third Reich in Germany. In France the heady “années folles” gradually died out. In the USA, the agony of the Depression was compounded by the Dust Bowl.


Eight Meals that Changed the World
Presented by Dr. Laura Carlson

Thursdays from April 13 to June 1, 2023
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

April 13: King Tut’s Final Feast (1325 BC)
A great opportunity to open the series through an examination of ancient foodways through Egypt’s most famous pharaoh. This lecture will look at how culinary culture developed in ancient Egypt: its complexity and “global” nature that relied on an expansive trade route stretching from modern-day France to India.

April 20: The Last Meal of Pompeii (79 AD)
An exploration of the dining culture of the Roman Empire, preserved through one of the most famous natural disasters of history. We will explore the complexity of Roman food across the classes, from aristocratic dining rooms to the prevalence of “fast food” in the classical world.

April 27: Caliphate Cooking in Medieval Baghdad (10th century AD)
Dig into one of the oldest cuisines in the world by travelling to medieval Baghdad, capital city of the Abbasid caliphate. Using an encyclopedic cookbook written by a palace chef, we will look at the culinary scene at the caliphal palace in the tenth century. We will examine Baghdad’s banqueting traditions that drew on ancient Persian recipes and a spice network stretching thousands of miles.

May 4: Montezuma’s Last Meal (1520)
Upon arriving in North America with a fleet of ships and soldiers, Hernando Cortes began sending a series of letters to the Spanish Crown to describe his exploration of the Aztec Empire. He and his men visited Tenochtitlan, capital city and home of Emperor Montezuma, and Cortes’ letters are filled with the sights and sounds of the metropolis, noting in detail the rich variety of Aztec cuisine. We will explore Aztec cuisine and foodways before the arrival of the Spanish. We will also see how these foodways were drastically altered after European contact, ushering in what has traditionally been called the “Columbian Exchange.”

May 11: The Last Potatoes of Paris (1783)
This lecture examines the turbulent political culture of Paris during the late 18th century by looking at the humble potato. Although the French had been aware of potatoes since they were introduced to western Europe following contact with the Americas, many in Europe believed the plant to be toxic, even a potential cause of leprosy. But, eventually, the humble potato became a royally sponsored plant, with Queen Marie Antoinette even wearing potato blossoms in her hair to show her support for the tuber that was feeding the nation.

May 18: Commodore Perry Visits Japan (1850s)
Home to millennia-old culinary traditions, Japan’s food and cultural scene was upended in the mid-19th century by the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry. On a mission to end Japan’s isolationist foreign policy, Commodore Perry sailed from the U.S. to Tokyo Bay in the early 1850s. As part of negotiations, the American and Japanese delegates hosted banquets for each other, each representing the unique culinary traditions of their lands. We will explore the food served at each of these banquets, what was served and how it was received. We will examine how these seemingly minor culinary events marked a turning point in Japanese politics in both the end of Japan’s feudal shogunate and the forced opening of the Japanese economy to the Western world.

May 25: Last Dinner on the Titanic (1912)
With her sinking arguably the most famous maritime disaster of all time, the Titanic represented a microcosm of Edwardian society. Using surviving menus from the first-, second- and third-class dining rooms from the night the Titanic sank, we can take a peek into what life was like on board the most luxurious steamship in the world at the time. We will learn stories of immigrant families making their way to the New World as well as the epic multi-course feasts served to the Astors, Vanderbilts and other titans of industry from the period.

June 1: The Party at Kennedy’s Camelot (1962)
In August of 1962, President John F. Kennedy hosted a cavalcade of internationally renowned artists, scientists and writers at a White House dinner, the largest held during his administration. Called the greatest meeting of minds since Thomas Jefferson dined alone, the banquet and the guest list represented the idealism and activism of the 1960s. This lecture will not only focus on the guests who attended the meal but will also explore the White House as the backdrop for presidential dinners for more than two hundred years. It will also touch on America’s changing culinary culture during the 1960s.


Winter 2023

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presented by Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Brief Introduction to Understanding Current Indigenous Issues

Thursdays from January 12 to March 2, 2023
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

January 12, 2023: What’s in a creation story?

Cynthia discussed the value of Indigenous stories and knowing your own creation story. Indigenous creation stories have informed the survival and resiliency of Indigenous peoples and are still taught and regarded as foundational instructions for living by elders and knowledge keepers.

January 19, 2023: What does Indigenous prophesy tell us?

Looking at what Indigenous peoples were and are saying about past, present and future conditions and the possibilities for illuminating today’s fight against climate change. Tribal groups across Turtle Island have been trying to tell the western world what was coming and what to do. What is your response to these messages?

January 26, 2023: The story of treaty in Canada

There is a complete foundation of knowledge, experience and history that has formed the relationship between Indigenous and government leaders, agreements and outcomes. The treaties of Canada are living documents that have not been fulfilled. They are the promise of our ancestors and perhaps a pathway back to the land for all humanity.

February 2, 2023: Legislation and following the trail of critical reports

How have federal legislation, cumulative white papers and government reports worked together to dismiss Indigenous claims, demand assimilation, manifest racism against Indigenous peoples and support the trajectory of colonialism in Canada? A discussion of some of the critical reports and legislation that have framed the relationship to date.

Where do we go from here and what do the 10 principles and the 94 calls to action bring to this critical discussion?

February 9, 2023: Seven teachings and seven generations

What are the seven grandfather teachings and how are they used to teach and inform indigenizing and decolonizing processes? What is the story of seven generations back, seven generations forward, and igniting the eighth fire?

February 16, 2023: What is historic and intergenerational trauma?

There have been significant impacts from historic and intergenerational trauma, with the results showing up in child welfare, MMIW, intractable poverty, many insecurities, and ongoing discrimination in education, health and justice. What do these impacts look like today? What have the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and Cindy Blackstock placed on the table?

February 23, 2023: Land claims and self-governance

Once we understand the treaty process we have access to the land claims process and why continuing resolution will benefit Canadians. What are land claims, and why do they matter today and into the future? Cynthia will describe some significant and recent land claims settlements and open a discussion on what they mean for Indigenous peoples.

March 2, 2023: Implementing UNDRIP and reconciliation in Canada

We will take apart the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to work out an understanding of where and how this declaration will play a role in the future of Canada. We will look at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and work together to unbundle what reconciliation is, means, and could be if we had access to the full truth, as well as the role it plays in changing the trajectory of human relations.

Presented by Carolyn Harris

The Nordic Nations: A History

Tuesdays, January 10 to February 28, 2023
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

January 10: Introduction to the Course and the Vikings

An overview of the course, including the diverse landscapes of the various Nordic Nations, the earliest evidence of settlement in the region and the contacts between northern Europe and the Roman Empire.  The beginning of the Viking Age in the 800s, Viking culture in Scandinavia, including shipbuilding, weaponry, religious ritual and the family.

January 17: The Vikings in Europe and North America

The influence of the Vikings on the wider world. The Vikings travelled as far west as Newfoundland, as far east as Russia and as far south as Constantinople and Baghdad. In the north they were raiders and in the south they were traders, but they shaped the course of history everywhere they travelled.

January 24: Christianity, Renaissance and Reformation

Religious change transformed Viking society as first monarchs and then the wider population converted to Christianity. During the Reformation, the Nordic Nations embraced Lutheran Protestantism and allied with Protestant nations in Europe.

January 31: The Golden Age of Sweden

During the 17th century, Sweden emerged as a major European power, controlling much of the Baltic Sea region. King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden introduced key military innovations and his daughter, Queen Christina, became a cultural patron. The Golden Age of Sweden ended with the Great Northern War and the rise of Russia as a major European power during the reign of Peter the Great.

February 7: The Grand Duchy of Finland and Royal Denmark

In the 19th century, the borders shifted in the Nordic Nations. Finland became part of the Russian Empire, Sweden and Norway were ruled by the same monarch and Denmark lost territory to Germany. The Danish royal family was closely connected to other European royal houses and exerted diplomatic influence through its connections with other reigning houses.

February 14: Emigration to North America

The upheaval of the 19th century resulted in waves of emigration to North America and the wider world. Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish emigrants remained interested and engaged in European events shaping the Nordic Nations, including the Norwegian independence movement in the early 20th century.

February 21: Art and Literature, Science and Exploration

From Viking sagas and jewellery-making, the plays of Henrik Ibsen and the paintings of Edvard Munch to modern Nordic architecture and design, Nordic art and literature continue to engage the wider world. For centuries, the Nordic Nations have produced influential mariners, explorers and scientists. The Nobel Prizes have been presented in Sweden and Norway for more than 100 years.

February 28: The Second World War and the Nordic Nations in the Modern World

The modern history of the Nordic Nations from the Second World War to the strengths and challenges of the present day.


Fall 2022

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presented by Olivier Courteaux

China: The History and Geopolitics of a Superpower

Tuesdays, October 11 to November 29, 2022
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

11 October 2022 – Xi Jinping and China’s “Great Renewal”

At the end of the 18th century, imperial China was the largest and wealthiest country in the world. But its power proved fragile. As early as the mid-19th century, China was not able to stop the repeated interventions of the West and Japan. Unable to modernize itself, the empire entered a period of decline that led to its demise and a long period of civil war – a war ultimately won by the Communists in 1949. Since then, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has done everything to help China regain its rightful place on the global stage: the number one spot!

18 October 2022 – China, Russia and the War in Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022 caught Beijing by surprise. Yet the Chinese authorities quickly offered their support to Vladimir Putin’s move against Ukraine, at least in words and through an active pro-Russia propaganda. What are China’s motives? And how long can it maintain an increasingly precarious balancing act between its political and economic partnership with Russia and its economic ties with the West?

25 October 2022 – Hong Kong and Taiwan: Political and Territorial Challenges for Beijing

Following its decision to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong, a move that ended the territory’s limited political autonomy, China set its sights on Taiwan. Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, is an invasion of Taiwan imminent? A look at China’s complicated relationships with Hong Kong and Taiwan.

1 November 2022 – The True Ambitions of Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping is the architect of China’s modernization and economic development. In power between 1978 and 1992, he is considered one the great political figures of the 20th century. He transformed poor and backward China into the world’s second-leading economic power and ended its isolation on the global stage but remained uncompromising in the face of political dissent.

8 November 2022 – The New Silk Roads: Strengths and Weaknesses of a Global Project

In 2013, President Xi Jinping resuscitated the mythical silk roads – a gigantic project welcomed by some countries but prompting mistrust and paranoia in others. What is China’s ultimate goal?

Central Asian countries are caught in the middle of increasing tensions between China and Russia. How has China managed to impose its political and diplomatic influence in Central Asia?

China’s “new silk road” faces much resistance from India, and for good reasons. Beijing’s grand project is threatening India with commercial, geostrategic and military encirclement. No wonder the government of New Delhi is bent on thwarting the Belt and Road Initiative at every turn. But for how long?

15 November 2022 – The People’s Liberation Army: a Serious Competitor to the U.S. Army by 2050?

The People’s Liberation Army is getting stronger by the day. In recent months, numerous displays of force have strengthened the perception of a growing Chinese military threat among neighbouring countries and foes, not least the U.S. What is the state of China’s military today? Can it match the U.S. military by 2049, the centennial of the communist regime? If so, what are the consequences for Asia and the world?

22 November 2022 – China’s Strategy in the South China Sea

According to most experts in international relations, China’s repeated claims over the South China Sea have no legal basis. And yet China has refused to modify its maritime strategy in the region, arguing it is merely defending its “historical rights.” Can China be stopped in the South China Sea?

29 November 2022 Will the 21st Century Belong to China?

Asia is bound to play a dominant role in the 21st century, in part because of its economic growth and demography. China or India: which of the two powers has the greatest chance of leading the pack? Is there anything the West can do to stop, or at least slow down, its perceived decline?

Presented by Howard Mednick

What Is This Thing Called Classical Music?

Thursdays, October 13 to December 1, 2022
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

13 October 2022   Symphonies – I Hear a Symphony

The symphony represents the ultimate in classical music because all the familiar instruments of the orchestra are involved. Even watching a symphony can be exciting – almost like a team sports event. Each member of the orchestra has a specific task to do or position to play, and the conductor, or head coach, must make sure it is all done in a coordinated manner. That is called teamwork, in both sports and music. Get ready for the start of this program when the conductor blows the whistle – or rather, raises the baton.

20 October 2022   Piano Concertos – One Plays the Piano with One’s Mind (Glenn Gould)

A piano concerto is very much like a symphony, but it features a great solo performance by a pianist in coordination with the rest of the orchestra. The piano itself is a wonderful instrument in that it has 10 individual instruments, also known as fingers, to play music in harmony with the rest of the orchestra. It is no surprise, then, that many of the great composers, who were accomplished pianists themselves, chose to highlight their favourite instrument.

27 October 2022   Violinists – Virtuosos or Virtuosi?

Not to be outdone by the piano, the violin is a particularly important instrument in the orchestra. The violin is a difficult instrument to include in solo with the rest of a large orchestra. Many composers created concertos that featured the violin, but not nearly as many as for the piano. As well as concertos, many other pieces feature one violin along with the rest of the orchestra. What is important with the violin is the violinist him/herself. That is often the key to hearing a great violin piece. Virtuoso or virtuosa, pick up your bow and let’s begin.

3 November 2022   Other Concertos – Don’t Forget These Instruments

Although most concertos highlight the violin or piano along with the rest of the orchestra, in many concertos other instruments are featured in solo.  In some cases, small combinations of instruments are featured in solo, along with the orchestra. It is a bit unusual to hear these, but they still create wonderful pieces of music. Examples include the trumpet, harp, viola, cello, guitar, saxophone and clarinet. The composers did not want them to feel neglected, so we will pay special attention to them in this lecture.

10 November 2022   Sonatas – Performing Solo

In a sonata, the performer of the instrument plays alone without a full orchestra for accompaniment. In some cases, there is only a piano to accompany the soloist on another instrument, usually a violin or a cello. Although the musicians in the performance number only one or two, the music that was written for these situations is delightful.

17 November 2022   String Ensembles – Yes, Strings Attached

When the string instruments – violin, viola, cello and bass – are grouped together by themselves, they present a sound that in some cases rivals that of a full orchestra. It is no surprise that many composers wrote an abundance of music for these instruments alone. We will hear them as a trio, quartet, quintet, octet and even as a full string orchestra. No matter how many are involved, it is great music to listen to.

24 November 2022   Opera – A Night at the Opera with The Marriage of Figaro

How can you discuss classical music without opera? In this case the featured opera will be The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. Some people say this opera was an important factor in initiating the French revolution in 1789. There were many reasons for the revolution, and this opera reflects those times and provides insights into some of the factors leading to the overthrow of the French monarchy. But most importantly, it has some great music, both orchestral and vocal, and a crazy comic farce of a story. You will hear the highlights of this opera along with a narrative of the story. Vive la France! Vive Mozart!

1 December 2022     Not Elsewhere Classified – A Musical Potpourri

The previous lectures in this series have covered a wide range of topics and formats in classical music, but still not everything. This lecture will present examples of some well-known and perhaps some not so familiar works that do not quite fit the previous lectures’ categories. Nevertheless, these pieces should be included in any discussion of classical music because there is always something for everyone to enjoy.

Spring 2022

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Franco Gallippi

Italy’s Visible and Invisible Cities

Tuesdays, 12 April to 31 May 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 12 – Torino (Piedmont)

The importance of this city goes back to the movement that brought about the unification of Italy. It is the city of FIAT, and the hope of prosperity and a better life for countless southern Italians who came to work in the factories of Torino in the sixties and seventies. Close by are the cities of Alba and Asti, famous not only for their wines, but also for Italians who have defined Italian identity across the globe.

April 19 – Venezia (Veneto)

What is the best way to experience a city like Venice? Is Venice a museum/Disneyland or the city of the future? Its university, Ca’ Foscari, brings new life to the city, as does the flow of tourists. From Giotto to Tintoretto to Palladio, Italy has given the world a city that should not exist, yet it does. For this, all effort is made to “save” it.

April 26 – Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Pasta and tortellini, towers, the oldest university in the world – and more. Bologna la dotta (learned)/ grassa (fat)/ rossa (the red) is also known as the city of water. On the coast we find Ravenna and Rimini, respectively the home of extraordinary mosaics and the birthplace of the great film director Federico Fellini.

May 3 – Perugia (Umbria)

Learn the secrets behind the making of the famous baci perugina chocolate. Located in the region that gave the world Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy. Francis’ biography reveals much of the character of the people of Perugia and Umbria – hard work and stamina in difficult conditions.

May 10 – Aquila (Abruzzo)

A university town, Aquila is located beneath the highest peak of the Apennine mountains. It is the place that held Mussolini under arrest in the summer of 1943. Close by is Sulmona, the birthplace of Ovid, Civitaretenga, home of the best Italian saffron, and Tocca da Casauria, famous for its 70% liqueur, Centerba.

May 17 – Napoli (Campania)

There is the Naples that sings, that chatters, that seduces you with song and poetry. The Naples of craftsmanship and artisans, of mothers who sacrifice themselves for their children. The Naples of unwritten laws and rival clans. And finally, the Naples of rare beauty and ancient mysteries, hierarchies reminiscent of the feudalism that has marked its history.

May 24 – Matera (Basilicata)

A city that was viewed as the “shame of Italy” became the most spectacular city in Italy after WWII and was designated a UNESCO site in the early 1990s. Featured in a number of well-known novels and films, Matera was the European Capital of Culture in 2019 and is home to one the best cheeses of Italy – “caciocavallo.”

May 31 – Reggio di Calabria (Calabria)

Many people visit to see the two Greek bronze statues that were found in the 1970s off the coast of Riace. In antiquity, this area of Italy was part of the “Magna Grecia” (Great Greece). We will discover what makes it great still.

Presenter: Bob Bryden

The Glorious Hollywood Musicals: From Fred Astaire to Lady Gaga

Thursdays, 7 April to 26 May 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 7          1927–1940

A foundation in opera, operetta, minstrel shows, vaudeville, revues and the early “talkies.” From Al Jolson to Fred Astaire. The Warner Brothers and the meteoric rise and impact of Busby Berkeley. Composers George Gershwin and Jerome Kern.

April 14        1940–1950

The War years. Keeping the home fires singing and dancing. Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. The reign of MGM and its competitor, 20th Century Fox. Rodgers and Hammerstein emerge.

April 21        1950–1954

Widescreen and stereophonic sound. The musical reaches its peak. From Annie Get Your Gun, An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain and Calamity Jane to The Band Wagon, Kiss Me Kate, Brigadoon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Doris Day, Howard Keel, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson.

April 28        1955–1959

The song-propelled story musical. Oklahoma, with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Fox triumphs with The King and I and South Pacific. Fred Astaire continues his reign. Funny Face – and Audrey Hepburn dances. MGM scores with Gigi.

May 5           1960–1964

A new sophistication emerges with West Side Story. Disney’s triumphant Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews, fresh from Broadway’s Camelot. The Warners strike gold with The Music Man and My Fair Lady. The French connect with Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

May 12         1965–1969

After The Sound of Music’s astonishing success, Hollywood flounders with a few bloated commercially unsuccessful productions: Doctor Dolittle, Half a Sixpence, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hello Dolly, and Star – but Oliver is a hit.

May 19         1970–1979

Fiddler on the Roof, Willy Wonka, Man of La Mancha carry on the old tradition. Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar serve as inspiration for the youth. Conversely, the age of the cynical musical emerges with Cabaret and hits a low with the most bitter of all, All That Jazz. Ingmar Bergman proves Mozart the father of popular musical theatre with his film The Magic Flute.

May 26         1980 to the present

The grand escapism of the golden age of Hollywood seeps away. The replacement comes in the form of the animated musical beginning with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The truly modern musicals arrive. A Chorus Line, Chicago, Rent, Into the Woods, etc. A failed attempt to revive the “live-action” musical with Newsies produces a rebound back to Broadway where the stage version becomes a smash hit. We all go to La La Land, Mary Poppins Returns and Lady Gaga scores with the remake of A Star Is Born.

Winter 2022

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Nicole Anderson

The Aging Brain

Tuesdays, 11 January to 1 March 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

January 11, 2022 – What’s Normal and What’s Not in Cognitive and Brain Aging
This lecture will define various cognitive functions and describe if and how they change with healthy aging. We will also discuss how the brain changes with healthy aging, and when cognitive and brain aging starts. We will wrap up with examples of cognitive slips that are a normal part of healthy aging, and other examples of cognitive slips one should maybe worry about.

January 18, 2022 – When Things Don’t Go as Planned
In this lecture we will cover stages prior to dementia (subjective cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment) and various forms of dementia. We’ll also discuss any treatments that currently exist or that are promising in the clinical trials pipeline. Finally, the session will wrap up with a discussion of dementia risk and risk reduction.

January 25, 2022 – Feed Your Brain
The evidence linking healthy eating to brain health will be covered in this lecture. We will discuss specific food contents as well as “whole foods” approaches to healthy eating, and how they influence brain health. I will share the Brain Health Food Guide that we developed at Baycrest.

February 1, 2022 – Jog Your Memory
This lecture will discuss the evidence linking various forms of exercise to brain health, and the dangers of being sedentary. We will talk about the recommended amounts of exercise and ways you can work that into your daily routine.

February 8, 2022 – Get Your Brain in Gear
In this lecture we will discuss how keeping your mind active is related to good brain health. We will explore various activities you can engage in, and where you can find opportunities for cognitive engagement.

February 15, 2022 – Social Connection is Brain Power
This lecture covers the benefits of social networks and social support to brain health. We will discuss a variety of ideas about how you can connect with more people, as well as more deeply with those people.

February 22, 2022 – Strategies to Remember More
In this session a variety of memory strategies will be presented. Each will be described, and then attendees will have the opportunity to put them into practice.

March 1, 2022 – Putting it All Together
As we learned in last week’s lecture, spaced repetition is a great way to solidify long-term memory. So this session will be a recap of the highlights of this entire lecture series.

Presenter: Ken Bartlett

The Italian Renaissance

Thursdays, 13 January to 3 March 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

January 13, 2022 – Florence and the Birth of the Renaissance
Why did the Renaissance first become visible in Florence at the beginning of the fourteenth century? We will focus on the development of the Florentine republic to illustrate how new cultural models and a new vocabulary for secular life animated the ruling elite. A new ideology known as humanism and based on antiquity combined secular, mercantile and individualistic culture. We will look at the spread of humanist values and how these became the culture of the elite.

January 20, 2022 – Florence and the Medici Dominance
Florence not only cradled the Renaissance but also institutionalized its values, so the city itself became a Renaissance work of art. This lecture will follow the Medici family as political powerbrokers and as patrons of art and architecture. Social status became increasing identified with a cultivated style of life, enabled by wealth and learning. One result was the competitive search for ever-greater painters, architects and sculptors.

January 27, 2022 – Rome: The Rebirth of Ancient Glory
The rebirth of classical antiquity was an essential element of Renaissance culture. Nowhere was that heritage more visible than in Rome. We will learn how ancient structures were used and reused to create a Renaissance monument to the classical past and papal present. These became a source of inspiration for Renaissance artists and architects. After the mid-fifteenth century, the papacy used the memory of Rome to define a universal papal authority in which the pope was the successor to both St. Peter and the Emperor Constantine.

February 3, 2022 – Rome and the Papacy
The emperors of Rome gave way to popes as rulers of the eternal city. This lecture will show how ancient structures, learning and humanist principles were used by the Roman church to create a new imperial papacy with strong memories of the ancient past. The return of a single pope to Rome in 1420 was the impetus to revive Roman power and splendour. The subsequent need to confront the disasters of the Protest Reformation and the 1527 Sack drove popes to attempt to reshape Rome into a new imperial capital to rival the ancient centre of the Roman Empire.

February 10, 2022 – Renaissance Venice
As a fabulously wealthy maritime republic with strong local traditions, Venice was the mediator between East and West. Until the 14th century Venice had enjoyed a unique vocabulary and style, supported by the vast wealth of its mercantile class. Because of its early Eastern connections, the Renaissance came late to Venice, but when it did its style transformed the aloof character of the republic and brought Venice into the culture of the Italian mainland.  A Venetian Renaissance emerged, heavily dependent on classical models but idiosyncratic, as with all things Venetian.

February 17, 2022 – Mantua
The small, highly cultivated courts of the princes of Renaissance Italy developed a culture all their own, taking ideals of civic humanism and art as propaganda and applying them to their particular needs. Mantua is an ideal example. The ruling Gonzaga family lived by mercenary warfare but needed the patronage of art and culture to celebrate their dynasty and give them status. Fortunately, the wealth and cultivation of the Gonzaga marquises and dukes permitted the employment of geniuses who transformed the small Lombard city into a living work of art during the 15th and 16th centuries. Mantua enjoyed a period of fame, which cemented it to the mental geography of Italy and Europe.

February 24, 2022 – Courtly Culture: Urbino
Under Duke Federigo da Montefeltro, Urbino was one of the most civilized places in human history. We will visit the court of Urbino in the second half of the fifteenth century to experience this court culture that was built into the very bricks and mortar of the great ducal palace. And we will meet some characters formed in this environment who changed the nature of the Renaissance: Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Castiglione.

March 3, 2022 – Domestic Life in Renaissance Italy
Most people in the Italian Renaissance cities lived their lives in the contexts of their own homes and families, rather than in courts and magistracies. This illustrated lecture will bring the Renaissance home. By investigating a wide survey of images, we will look at how birth, marriage and death were portrayed and how the physical environment of the privileged home reflected the values of Renaissance humanism.

Fall 2021

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Peter Vronsky

A Brief History of Espionage

Tuesdays, 12 October to 30 November 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

A Brief History of Espionage

This series will cover the dark arts of covert and clandestine operations in the form of election interference, regime changes and assassinations. We will look briefly at the pre-modern evolution of espionage but focus primarily on the 20th and 21st centuries and the founding and operations of the adversarial American, Russian and British intelligence agencies, with some secondary coverage of German, Canadian and Israeli intelligence history.

12 October 2021      Spy vs. Spy Part 1 – The Art and Science of Espionage and Counter-Espionage

19 October 2021      Spy vs. Spy Part 2 – The Art and Science of Espionage and Counter-Espionage

26 October 2021     A Brief History of Spying in the Pre-Industrial World

2 November 2021   The British Intelligence Agencies MI5 and MI6 and the First World War

9 November 2021   The “Sword and Shield of the Revolution” Soviet Intelligence Agencies

16 November 2021 The American Intelligence Agencies

23 November 2021 World War II and the Cold War Espionage

30 November 2021 Espionage, Counter-Terrorism and Privacy in the World of Electronic Surveillance

Presenter: Laura Carlson

Women Who Helped to Shape the Modern World

Thursdays, 14 October to 2 December 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Discover eight women who shaped history, leaving powerful legacies that continue to affect our world. Shrewd politicians, insightful thinkers, advocates for change: these women navigated extraordinary circumstances to hold positions of authority and influence. Each of these complex and often controversial women from ancient Egypt to twentieth century America challenged conventions of a rightful woman’s place. In this series of lectures, we will uncover the true stories of these legendary eight women who helped build our modern world.

14 October 2021 Cleopatra (69–30 BCE)The last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Egypt, Cleopatra has been defined by her role as femme fatale. But who was the woman behind the legend? Daughter and wife of Egyptian royalty, Cleopatra ruled Egypt as queen for more than two decades, an astute political actor who understood the changing political landscape of the ancient Mediterranean and the growing shadow of mighty Rome.

21 October 2021 Empress Wu Zetian (625–705 CE)The only woman in 3,000 years of Chinese history to rule in her own right, Empress Wu Zetian has often been the subject of scandal and intrigue. Discover the details of her legacy, which teeters between accusations of murder and landmark technological innovation. Ruling for fifty years, Empress Wu presided over the Tang Dynasty, an era often remembered as a golden age of Chinese civilization.

28 October 2021 Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204)Duchess, queen, and regent: Eleanor of Aquitaine’s influence can be seen throughout most of the western medieval world. As ruler of Aquitaine, Eleanor controlled one of the most sought-after lands in medieval Europe. Her marriages, first to Louis VII of France and later to Henry II of England, shaped the futures of both countries for centuries and redefined the role of queen.

4 November 2021 Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519)A member of the infamous Borgia family, Lucrezia Borgia has often been considered a synonym for the excesses and evils of the Italian Renaissance. Daughter of notorious Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia’s multiple marriages and torrid affairs have left a legacy of crime and corruption attached to her name. Rather than a pawn to men’s political and personal whims, Lucrezia Borgia might have been a shrewder spider in the web of Italian politics than many have given her credit for.

11 November 2021 Christina of Sweden (1626-1689)Remembered as one of the most learned women of the 17th century, Queen Christina’s rule over Sweden was as unexpected as it was short. During her brief reign, Christina transformed Sweden’s artistic and intellectual circles, attracting scholars, scientists and artists from around the world to Stockholm. Crowned sole queen and ruler, Christina enjoyed unusual political power as a woman in the 17th century, especially given her public refusal to ever marry.

18 November 2021 Catherine the Great (1729-1796)Famed for both her political and her private life, Catherine the Great assumed the turbulent imperial throne of Russia with an aim to bring the country into full participation with the political and cultural life of Europe. Ambitious as she was charismatic, Catherine’s reign witnessed cataclysmic changes to all levels of Russian society. With a firm grip on the throne, Catherine navigated the perilous path of a woman in power in the 18th century. Over the course of her twenty-year reign, Catherine achieved feats unthinkable by her male predecessors.

25 November 2021 Harriet Tubman (c. 1820–1913) Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet Tubman is one of the most beloved and respected abolitionists in the history of the United States. Born into slavery, Tubman found her own way to freedom before dedicating her life to leading more than 300 fugitive slaves to Canada via the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman’s life spans a time of pivotal change in the United States. In this lecture, we will explore both the truth and the legends of Tubman’s long, full life.

2 December 2021 Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) In the concluding lecture of the series, we look at Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most widely admired and powerful women of the twentieth century. A woman who reshaped America’s idea of a First Lady, Eleanor refused to adhere to society’s expectations of a politician’s wife. Eleanor was not defined by her marriage, building a legacy out of her advocacy for housing reform, child welfare and equal rights for women and minority communities.

Spring 2021

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Brian Carwana

Religion, Liberalism and Secularism

Tuesdays, 6 April to 1 June 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 6, 2021 – The Axial Age

In a short 500-year period about 2,500 years ago, the major religious systems – Jewish monotheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Greek philosophy – were all born. We still live with these outlooks dominating the way we look at the world (and no system from before then is dominant). Why is this and what happened during this pivotal period?

April 13, 2021 – We’re all Protestants! How the Protestant Reformation Birthed the Modern West

The most brilliant political science professor I ever met claimed that the most important political event in the history of the West was undoubtedly the Protestant Reformation. We will explore how this earth-shaking event changed so much of how Europeans saw themselves and society. The Reformation upended society in ways both intended and unforeseen.

April 20, 2021             **NO LECTURE THIS WEEK**

April 27, 2021 – What Drives Religiosity

For perhaps a century, innumerable scholars have been trying to figure out why some societies are more religious than others, and what accounts for religion’s growth and decline. We will explore some of the best research produced to date.

May 4, 2021 – American Exceptionalism?

While religion has declined massively in almost all Western countries, the largest outlier to this pattern has been the United States. In this session, we will explore what is unique about our neighbour to the south and what accounts for its “exceptional” status.

May 11, 2021 – Feeling God is Real

For many us, God’s reality is as obvious as the sun. For others, deities seem clearly untrue. Here we will follow an anthropologist who invested herself in religious communities she was not part of and combined her own experiences (and those of others) with thoughtful psychological research. There’s a lot to learn here about the human mind and how our understandings of reality can go down one path or another. God’s reality will be beyond us, but we can learn about ourselves.

May 18, 2021 – Liberalism and the Secular State – A dissertation in an hour (?)

In the last 72 hours before defending my thesis, a series of penetrating questions by the external examiner (an academic from outside the university) made me realize the full potential of my project. I want to share that with you here. We will discuss individualism, emotions and reasoning, and what this all has to say about liberal politics.

May 23, 2021 – Family Values Politics

Politics and religion in Canada and the United States centres mostly on so-called “family values” issues – LGBTQ rights, abortion, sex education, etc. The irony is that early Christians did not see themselves as family values advocates. We will explore the history of sexuality in Christianity and ask how it is that sex and family have become the beating heart of modern conservative Christian politics.

June 1, 2021 – Some Lessons from 20 Years of Studying Religions

For 20 years, I have had the privilege not only of studying and teaching about religions, but of visiting religious communities, taking part in their rituals and bringing others to places of worship to meet leaders and experience some sense of lived religion. In this talk, I will try to share with you some of the things I think I have learned. I hope you enjoy it.

Presenter: Olivier Courteaux

Propaganda: Mass Manipulation Through the Ages

Wednesdays, 7 April to 26 May 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 7, 2021 – Introduction: a few preconceived notions about propaganda

Propaganda is the daughter of democracy. The totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and their use of propaganda on a scale never seen before gave the word its pejorative connotation. Propaganda as an organized effort to propagate beliefs and specific ideas first emerged in Ancient Greece. If the French Revolution paved the way for modern political propaganda, the democracies at war between 1914 and 1918 invented mass propaganda. The totalitarian regimes only followed in their footsteps.

April 14, 2021 – Influencing the masses: WWI and techniques of mass manipulation

The Great War gave birth to mass propaganda. As the conflict turned into a bloody stalemate, governments at war set up the first official propaganda services in history. The British learned quickly and became masters in the art of mass manipulation. The techniques of persuasion they developed proved so effective that Hitler and Goebbels later claimed that a significant part of their own propaganda technique was modelled after British propaganda.

April 21, 2021 – Public relations, marketing and advertising: creating a consumer society

Modern propaganda owes a great deal to advertising and its close relatives, marketing and public relations. Advertising was born in the U.S. in the 1920s. A look at the new techniques of economic manipulation and how they became an unescapable cultural phenomenon.

April 28, 2021 – The 20th century: the golden age of political propaganda

In 1939, Russian émigré scientist Sergei Chakhotin popularized the expression “rape of the masses,” which describes the techniques of persuasion used by political propagandists. A look at the techniques used in 1930s Germany and the Soviet Union, techniques based on the study of crowd psychology: individuals react differently in a group.

May 5, 2021 – The power of photography and film

During the interwar period (1919-1939), the propagandists discovered the value of the photographic image. Meanwhile, films from a mass entertainment industry revealed the extent of its propagandist potential between 1914 and 1918. In this lecture we will look at some of the most powerful images and films, the “best instruments of propaganda” until the U.S. “war on terror.”

May 12, 2021 – Television: persuasion and disinformation

“The medium is the message,” wrote Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan in 1964. For most of the second half of the 20th century, television remained the main support to propaganda. Why? Because television, by associating image and comment, simplifies the messages it conveys to the public.

May 19, 2021 – Donald Trump: the “truth disruptor-in-chief”

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 paved the way to a new age of propaganda and, above all, our perception of the truth. His victory appears to be the result of a strategy of conquest based on scandal and provocation. “If you are different or scandalous, the media will write about you,” he declared in 1987. We will look at techniques of disinformation, “fake news” and “alternative realities” under Trump.

May 26, 2021 – Political propaganda and the internet

The digital revolution has had a deep impact on the methods and techniques of propaganda, as well as on mass manipulation. Today, more and more people get their news from Facebook, a phenomenon that greatly contributes to the extreme polarization of our societies. A look at the digital revolution and how it is reshaping politics.

Winter 2021

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Julia Zarankin

The Soviet Experiment: Russia’s Tumultuous 20th Century

Tuesdays, 12 January to 2 March 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

From the Bolshevik Revolution to Putin, Russia’s history in the 20th and early 21st centuries has been tumultuous. As the 20th century began, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire and 20 years later, Moscow became the capital of the Soviet Union, with St. Petersburg renamed Leningrad. By the end of the century, the Soviet Union crumbled, Leningrad transformed back into St. Petersburg, and Moscow became capital of the Russian Federation with a new, modern-day dictator at its helm. We will examine how this head-spinning historical trajectory plays out in Russia by focusing on the evolution of Russian culture – including art, music, literature, film and architecture – from Soviet to post-Soviet times. This course will begin with the 1905 Revolution and explore Stalin’s reign of terror, Khrushchev’s thaw, Brezhnev’s stagnation and Gorbachev’s perestroika in order to make sense of Putin’s current socio-political climate in present-day Russia.

January 12, 2021 – Twilight of Empire
Russian culture at the turn of the 20th century. Cultural splendour in Russia comes hand in hand with imperial decay. Avant-garde movements.

January 19, 2021 – Revolutionary Energy
Russia had three revolutions, the first in 1905 and two in 1917. The end of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. How modern Russian artists, poets, writers and theatre directors embraced the spirit of the Revolution. St. Petersburg renamed Petrograd and the capital of Russia moves to Moscow.

January 26, 2021 – Visions of Utopia and Homo Sovieticus
The formation of the Soviet Union after the death of Lenin, the rise of Stalinism and the Socialist Realism doctrine for the arts. The emergence of a new cultural icon, and a new human being: the invincible Homo Sovieticus. Five-year plans, forced industrialization, Stakhanovites, collectivization. St. Petersburg renamed Leningrad.

February 2, 2021 – “Life has Become More Joyous”
Stalinism in Russia. Terror, the gulag, the purges and the barbaric 1938 show trials of former Bolsheviks. In the midst of Stalinist purges and the terror, musical comedies thrive in the Soviet Union. Propaganda and the creation of an entertainment industry. Dimitri Shostakovich.

February 9, 2021 – The Thaw and De-Stalinization
After the Great Patriotic War and the death of Stalin, Khrushchev’s regime erases the stains of Stalinism and what follows is brief period of reprieve. Russia’s first cosmonauts conquer space. The perils of reform. Joseph Brodsky’s trial and the arts. The end of Khrushchev.

February 16, 2021 – Stagnation and the Ruins of Utopia
Living in the sham that is Brezhnev’s Soviet Union. The Olympics in 1980. Maintaining a façade amid the disintegration and erosion of Soviet ideology.

February 23, 2021 – Glasnost, Perestroika and the End of the USSR
Moving toward a new order. Opening up toward the west, dismantling communism, Gorbachev’s reforms, Yeltsin, and the 1993 coup. Leningrad becomes St. Petersburg again and the Soviet Union collapses.

March 2, 2021 – Beyond Communism
Putin’s Russia and his new cult of personality. Russian nationalism and rewriting of the country’s Communist past. Corruption. Post-Soviet art and literature. Where is Russia headed now? What does it mean to live in Putin’s Russia today? Reflections on the “Soviet Experiment.”

Presenter: Tony Davis

Special Places and Remarkable People

Thursdays, 14 January to 11 March 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

​As some of you know, I’ve travelled a lot doing field work, teaching and bonding with my two sons. With travel out for most of us during the pandemic, it might be relaxing, entertaining and instructive to revisit some of my destinations, but not as purely a picture show. By design or accident, each of these places has an attachment to a famous historical figure or cultural group. How to talk about the Galapagos without mentioning Charles Darwin? His picture stands reassuringly on my night table. How to speak about Pacific travels without invoking James Cook and anti-hero William Bligh? Impossible to talk about North Atlantic islands without reference to the commonly maligned Norse. Even Inner Mongolia has its “famous” connections – with Genghis Khan.

January 14, 2021 – Darwin, Evolution and the Galapagos
Like all oceanic islands, the Galapagos Islands have a peculiar suite of plants and animals. Endemic animals include flightless cormorants, marine iguanas and Darwin’s finches. Notable among plant endemics are prickly pears and tree daisies. Although Darwin’s finches get the main billing, it was the Galapagos mockingbirds that first caught his attention. The islands were not discovered until 1535, and not settled until the early part of the nineteenth century. Now, increasing tourism and the impact of introduced species has the potential to destroy what is still a largely pristine biota.

January 21, 2021 – Genghis Khan, the Yellow River and the Loess Plateau
This area in north central China is known as the Cradle of Civilization. The earliest dates for agriculture in China come from the middle section of the Yellow River. Xian, the largest city in the region, was the first capital of a unified China. The region became a battleground for the Han and the Mongols. Genghis Khan made major inroads and grandson Kublai Khan briefly occupied the whole of China. The yellowness of the river stems from the huge amounts of silt flushed into it as it crosses the Loess Plateau. The region is being rapidly desertified. Erosion creates spectacular landscapes and impoverishes agriculture. Frequent and massive flooding downstream has earned the river its “China’s Sorrow” tag. Rapid industrialization adds to the region’s environmental problems.

January 28, 2021 – El Nino and Pre-Columbian Societies in South and Central America
Central and South America produced a series of spectacular and generally short-lived cultures characterized by large settlements supported by intensive agricultural systems, massive architecture, huge earthworks and complex societies. Some became victims of European exploitation but most became increasingly susceptible to environmental calamity. The major culprit seems to have been El Nino, the Boy Child. In some places, repeated flooding was the major cause but in central America, drought appears to have been the driver.

February 4, 2021 – Chasing Captain Cook – 1 – New Zealand
James Cook (1728-1779) made three round-the-world voyages. He had a strong Canadian connection. Besides mapping the west coast during his first global voyage, he spent summers between 1759 and 1767 mapping the coast of Newfoundland. On his trips to New Zealand he took with him two famous naturalists: Joseph Banks, later to be the first President of the Royal Society, and Daniel Solander. In New Zealand, Cook’s main task was mapping the coast. What did he see? How different was his New Zealand from that of the present day?

February 11, 2021 – Chasing Captain Cook – 2 – French Polynesia and Hawaii
On his third voyage, Cook explored the west coast of Canada and attempted to find the Northwest Passage. He visited Tahiti, Moorea and some of the other Society Islands. With him was William Bligh, later of the Mutiny on the Bounty infamy. The breadfruit story starts here. Cook was killed on Hawaii in 1779. What was Cook’s Hawaii like? Polynesians had been there for a thousand years before his arrival. What impact had they had?

February 18, 2021 – The Viking Realm – 1 – Erik the Red, Iceland and the North Atlantic
During the tenth century, the Vikings expanded across the North Atlantic, through the Baltic and the Mediterranean into the Black Sea and the Caspian. The reasons are unclear. Most of this movement involved colonization rather than plunder. Iceland was settled from 874 CE. The population was always small and subject to the threats of the Icelandic environment, particularly its volcanism. Erik the Red was exiled from Norway to Iceland, but was soon in trouble there, too. In 986 he established a colony in Greenland. Why was life so difficult in Iceland? Why was the Greenland settlement doomed?

March 4, 2021 – The Viking Realm – 2 – Vikings in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
In the late eighth century, early in the age of expansion, Vikings occupied the northern isles of Scotland (Shetland and Orkney), the Hebrides, the region around Dublin and the northeastern part of England centered on York. The settlement involved the establishment of several kingdoms and earldoms. We’ll look at the nature of their settlement in the northern and western islands of Scotland. How did they occupy their new realm? How did they make a living in what today seems like a forbidding environment?

March 11, 2021 – Life on the Fringes of the Emperor Hadrian’s Empire
The Roman Empire reached its maximum extent during the reign of Hadrian. Life on the fringes had many of the trappings of normality – impressive cities and fortifications, etc. – but it was unpredictable. In England, Roman Britannia, life at the edges is well documented at Hadrian’s Wall. In Jordan, the spectacular ruins of two cities, Jerash, north of Amman, and Petra in the south, attest to the scale of Roman commitment. Both were thriving trade centres until routes shifted and both declined. An earthquake near Petra in 363 CE destroyed many of the buildings and the complicated irrigation system on which the city depended. Volubilis in Morocco was a thriving Roman city for about 200 years. Its fortunes were based largely on olive oil. It fell to local tribes in 285 CE and was never reoccupied.

Fall 2020

Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Presenter: Ian Greene

Tuesdays, October 6 to November 24, 2020
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 6 – Introduction to Ethics in Politics
We will start by recalling some serious ethical breaches on the part of Canadian politicians with dire consequences for their governments, including:

  • Conflicts of interest and the 1991 defeat of B.C.’s Social Credit government
  • The Pearson Airport terminals contracts scandals in 1992-1993
  • The Saskatchewan communication expenses fraud that destroyed the province’s Conservative party and sent several cabinet ministers to jail
  • The resignation of Joe Fontana, mayor of London, Ontario, because of a conviction for fraud
  • The gas plant cancellation that dogged the McGuinty and Wynne governments

These examples will introduce the concepts and principles of ethics, morality and law that are to be used in this lecture series. We will look at:

  • The role of ethics in democracy
  • Political leaders’ obligations to uphold ethics in government
  • The consequences of failure to do so, including defeat of governments

October 13 – Conflicts of Interest

What happens when public office is used for personal gain or to help family members or friends? Do you remember:

  • The 1986 inquiry by Justice Parker involving federal cabinet minister Sinclair Stevens
  • The scandals involving several cabinet ministers in Ontario in 1987 that led to the appointment of the world’s first independent Integrity Commissioner
  • The Sponsorship scandal from 1995to 2005 that contributed to the defeat of the Liberal government
  • Stephen Harper and the Duffy affair
  • Conflicts of interest on Toronto City Council involving the Ford brothers
  • Even closer to home, the conflict of interest of a former mayor of Mississauga?

What has resulted from the recommendation of the 1991 Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing that political parties develop their own bottom-up, enforceable codes of conduct?

October 20 – Lobbyists and Ethics

What lobbyists do, and what ethical guidelines they need to observe federally, provincially and municipally. Different kinds of lobbyists – “hired guns,” in-house lobbyists, trade associations and “astro-turf” or fake lobby groups. Major Canadian lobbyist scandals include:

  • Airbus (1988–2008), which led to the Oliphant Inquiry into Karlheinz Schreiber and Brian Mulroney
  • The computer leasing scandal in the City of Toronto (1998–2004), which resulted in a new ethics regime for the city
  • The 2010 case of former MP Rahim Jaffer who became a lobbyist and did not register, but nevertheless tried to use his influence with former colleagues

Comparisons will be made with lobbyist activity and regulation in the U.S. and other countries.

October 27 – Whistleblowers

We will look at some well-known cases of whistleblowing, such as:

  • Richard Colvin’s disclosure of the mistreatment of Afghan detainees by Canada’s mission (2007)
  • Edgar Schmidt’s exposure of the federal government’s failure to scrutinize draft legislation for breaches of the Charter of Rights (2012)
  • Sylvie Therrien’s revelation of fraud in the Employment Insurance program (2012)
  • The exposure of misuse of funds and substandard equipment at ORNGE Air (2012)

Most of these whistleblowers paid a heavy price for their honesty because of the inadequacy of effective legislation to protect whistleblowers. Effective whistleblowing legislation might even have helped to prevent the shocking number of deaths in Ontario long-term care homes because of COVID-19.

November 3 – Donald Trump and the Future of Ethics in Politics

After a brief review of the Donald Trump impeachment saga and a list of ethics transgressions since 2016 – especially mishandling the COVID-19 crisis – we will look at why the American system for preventing and addressing ethics breaches generally does not work as well as Canada’s system.

We’ll see that the struggle – national and international – to promote ethics in politics is never-ending, shaped for example by:

  • Skepticism from those who think that ethics in politics is unimportant or unachievable – perhaps an oxymoron rather than a necessity?
  • Citizen participation to apply existing rules and make them better, including, for example, the roles of the OECD, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, various U.N. agencies, Transparency International, and the World Council of Churches
  • Evidence of the relationship between higher ethical standards in government and higher levels of both economic development and individual happiness
  • Evidence of the relationship between attendance at religious institutions and attitudes toward public sector ethics
  • How ordinary citizens promote ethics in politics through voting and activism

November 10 – The SNC-Lavalin and the WE Charity Scandals

Today we will first consider the decades-long struggle in Canada for deferred prosecution legislation to combat the bribery of foreign officials by Canadian companies. This hit the headlines with the SNC-Lavalin affair and the tension between Justin Trudeau and Jody Wilson-Raybould as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, as well as the report of Mario Dion, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Then we’ll look at how Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau should have recused themselves from participating in the decision-making process that led to the cabinet’s endorsement of the WE Charity to deliver a program to encourage students to participate in volunteer activities. How serious was this ethics breach? Why did it happen?

November 17 – Patronage

Struggles have lasted over two centuries to abolish the practice of patronage appointments in the public service. Patronage practices have lingered in Canada, especially in the Atlantic provinces.

  • Premier John Savage of Nova Scotia (1993–1997) abolished patronage in public service appointments but he annoyed many in his Liberal party by doing so and eventually had to resign
  • The patronage appointments that prompted the unforgettable election debate between Brian Mulroney and John Turner
  • Some notorious examples of patronage during the Mulroney and Harper eras and their impact in the machinery of government
  • The failed attempt of the Doug Ford government to appoint Ford’s friend, Ron Taverner, as head of the Ontario Provincial Police in 2019
  • Justin Trudeau’s attempts to reduce patronage appointments to the Senate and the judiciary

November 24 – The Canadian Model of Parliamentary Ethics

Examples of promoting ethics in Canadian politics and public life:

  • Canada’s relatively new system of independent conflict of interest commissioners in Parliament, every province and territory, and many cities, such as Toronto
  • Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s recent decree that Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland may not have contact with former ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton because he broke the conflict of interest rules
  • Canada’s lobbyist commissioner investigating whether the WE Charity broke the lobbyist registration rules

How well is our system of ethics commissioners, lobbyist registrars and whistleblowing (“wrong-doing”) commissioners working? Have they resulted in higher ethical standards and more trust in our elected politicians? What works and what doesn’t? Bottom line: how important is ethics in politics?

In spite of some shortcomings, Canada is a world leader in promoting ethics in politics and public life, as compared with the U.S., the U.K., other Commonwealth countries and Europe.

Note: Many of the examples mentioned here are taken from Ian Greene and David Shugarman, Honest Politics Now: What Ethical Conduct Means in Canadian Public Life (Toronto: Lorimer, 2017).

Download the PDF – Ian Greene – Ethics in Politics: Oxymoron or Necessity? – Suggested Readings

Presenter: Peter Harris

Thursdays, October 8 to November 26, 2020
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

The “Swinging Sixties” swept across the West like a tsunami, bringing with it a torrent of powerful personalities and events. We will examine how the decade’s most notable people and movements emerged and whose aftershocks are still felt today. Just a few examples: the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, the (not-so-) Quiet Revolution in Quebec, the raucous new Canadian flag debate, the excitement of Expo 67, the Paris student rebellion, the emerging separatist/terrorist groups, some remarkable women (Carson, Jacobs and Friedan), the Beatles, the Byrds and the rock music revolution, the Berlin Wall and Stonewall.

October 8 – Into the ‘60s

The ‘60s did not spring from a void. We trace earlier seminal events leading into this decade: the Cold War and the proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam, McCarthyism, the economic boom and the baby boom, the civil rights movement, the shock of Sputnik. Television revolutionizes the social and political landscape.

October 15 – The Dawning of a New Era

“The Pill” revolutionizes sexual relations. A “sex symbol” telegenic young US President generates euphoria among baby boomers with his visions for the Peace Corps and a man on the moon. The Cold War turns alarmingly hot in Berlin and Cuba. Three remarkable women – Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs and Betty Friedan – shake up the intellectual landscape in North America.

October 22 – Living the Dream

Folk music re-emerges from the McCarthy-era chill, inspiring young musicians like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and, in Canada, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Ian and Sylvia, among others. Andy Warhol immortalizes Campbell’s Soup cans. The civil rights movement makes almost daily headlines, reaching a euphoric climax in Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. But the Dream is shattered by a tragedy: the assassination of JFK.

October 29 – The LBJ Era: The Great Society vs. Vietnam

An anxious crop of university students is traumatized by JFK’s assassination and then by the perception of the Warren Commission as a “whitewash.” The rapid rise of the Vietnam crisis under the new President Lyndon Johnson exacerbates the testy mood of the young boomer generation. The Free Speech Movement in Berkeley provides the tactical model for the rise of militant student activism across the USA. President Johnson passes a series of ambitious reforms to support civil rights and combat poverty, but the surging military commitments in Vietnam conflict sharply with his lofty Great Society aspirations.

November 5 – Canada’s Place in the Sun

During the Quiet Revolution of the PQ and the BQ – and the (definitely NOT quiet) revolution of the FLQ – in Quebec, Prime Minister Pearson launches the super-charged debate on a new national flag. Emotions run high, but a design is finally chosen. Now we can prepare for the national celebration of our Centennial, climaxing in Expo 67 in Montreal. Toronto also gets into the spirit of the times, particularly with two new downtown buildings that radically alter the sleepy post-colonial order: the TD Centre and the New City Hall. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs get with it.

November 12 – Folk Rock > Rock

0The earlier growth of contemporary folk artists begins to morph into high-power Rock, catapulted by the 12-string guitar virtuosity of the Byrds and the phenomenon of a young group from the UK: the Beatles. By the summer of 1967, hippies are in full flower, especially in San Francisco.

November 19 – 1968

In 1968 cultural and geopolitical upheavals reached a fever pitch with the surging violence in Vietnam, the revolutions in Prague and Paris, the rise of terrorist groups in Germany, Quebec and elsewhere, and a series of traumatic assassinations in the United States, followed by the debacle of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Societies across the planet seemed near a breaking point.

November 26 – The Sixties Draw to a Close

Nixon struggles to end the Vietnam War, and Canada copes with the October Crisis. Three remarkable events close out the decade: Woodstock, the raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York, and the moon landing. Neil Armstrong’s famous words sum up this world-changing decade: “… a giant leap for mankind.”

Download the PDF – Peter Harris – The 1960s: From Berkeley to Berlin – Reading List

Spring 2020

Lectures Cancelled due to COVID-19 Virus

Presenters: Multiple

Wednesdays, April 8 to May 27, 2020
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 8 – Dr. Richard Shulman, Mental Health First Aid Psychiatrist, Service Medical Director, Seniors Mental Health Services – Trillium Health Partners

Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment is available, mental health first aid is given until professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves. This lecture will address how to manage mental health problems in ourselves, family members and friends.

April 15 – Dr. Sudarshan Devanesen, Challenges of Aging Family Physician, Public Health Activist, Member of the Order of Canada

Dr. Devanesen will cover the challenges of mobility and other issues that older people face. He will talk about ways to improve our quality of life, including how technology can help.

April 22 – Dr. Ian Koo, Naturopathic Medicine and its Benefits Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Registered Acupuncturist

Where naturopathic doctors fit in our health system. What naturopathic principles and modalities guide their practice. Why your DNA isn’t your destiny: a discussion of epigenetics.

April 29 – Dr. Sudarshan Devanesen, Historical Evolution of Global Illness

May 6 – Dianna Drascic, Palliative Care is NOT about Dying Consultant, Educator, Practitioner of Palliative Care

Palliative care is about living each day to the fullest, preparing for the worst and expecting the best. Advance care planning ensures that your family knows what you want and will not live with regret. Every death from illness has the capacity to be a Good Death.

May 13 – Amanda Li, In Search of the Perfect Diet for Longevity Registered Dietitian, Instructor at George Brown College

This talk will explain how to eat for optimal energy and vitality and bolster your body. How to assess calorie and protein needs and the top foods to boost mood, memory and mental health.

May 20 – Dr. Nafeesa Jalal, Health Issues in Developing Countries Researcher, Professor at Seneca College, Doctorate in Public Health

Dr. Jalal’s experiences working with local populations in Bangladesh and South Africa, including photos and stories to offer a glimpse into the health systems and cultures of these two remarkable countries.

May 27 – Brenda Jasmin, The Science of Happiness Speaker, Workshop Facilitator, Certified Life Coach

We will learn about some research-based strategies for boosting individual happiness, and the six core elements of the leading model of happiness: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Vitality.

Presenter: Matthew Wilkinson

Thursdays, April 9 to May 28, 2020
10:00 AM. to 12:00 noon

April 9 – ABCD: Accidents, Blazes, Calamities and Disasters

This presentation recalls some of the darker chapters of Mississauga’s formative years, from early train accidents and plane crashes through devastating fires, epidemics and major storms.

April 16 – Bullets, Bombs and Bomb Girls: Lakeview and the Arsenal Lands

A look at the military connections of the Lakeview area of historic Mississauga, including the Long Branch Rifle Range, the Long Branch Aerodrome and the Small Arms munitions factory.

April 23 – The Governor’s Road: A History of Dundas Street

The earliest route of planned transportation through our city was first surveyed as a military road in 1796. Dundas Street connects to the earliest settlement in historic Mississauga – and there are a lot of reminders of our history along its route.

April 30 – Flying into History: Remembering the AVRO Arrow

A.V. Roe Canada designed, built and flew the jet interceptor CF-105, better known as the AVRO Arrow, in Malton between 1957 and 1959. The day the Arrow was cancelled, leaving thousands out of work, became known as “Black Friday.”

May 7 – Journey to the Past: The Lost Villages of Mississauga

There is little visible evidence that Toronto Township was once made up of small villages, hamlets and crossroads, all with their own stories. Peaking between 1850 and 1900, most “lost villages” had faded into obscurity by 1915. Only sparse memories are left of Barberton, Britannia, Burnhamthorpe, Derry West, Elmbank, Frogmore, Hanlan, Harris’s Corners, Hawkins’ Corners, Lisgar, Mount Charles, Palestine, Pucky Huddle, Sheridan and Summerville.

May 14 – Layers in Time: Remembering the Credit Mission Indian Village, 1826 – 1847

The Credit Mission Village was built along Mississauga Road for the Indigenous Mississaugas under the direction of Kahkewaquonaby, Reverend Peter Jones, one of the most significant individuals to ever reside in Mississauga. The story of the Mission site continues after the Mississaugas left this area in 1847.

May 21 – Roots to Routes: Origins of Place Names and Road Names in Mississauga

There is an old saying that “people do not name things after things they want to forget.” We will explore some of the stories of place and street names that remind us of the landscape of our earliest years.

May 28 – Tested by Fire: Remembering the “Mississauga Miracle”

The November 10,1979 train derailment began when 24 rail cars derailed at the Mavis Road crossing. Ruptures in butane- and propane-carrying rail cars caused massive explosions visible more than 100 kilometres away. The resulting series of expanding evacuations of more than 226,000 residents soon encompassed much of the City of Mississauga.

Fall 2019

Presenter: Carolyn Harris

Tuesdays, 8 October to 26 November 2019
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 8 – Cleopatra and Boudicca: Two Queens who Fought Rome

For centuries, the Roman Empire absorbed surrounding kingdoms, transforming them into client states. Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and Queen Boudicca of the Iceni tribe in Britannia resisted this Roman expansion, determined to maintain their political power and the independence of their kingdoms. Since their resistance ultimately ended with defeat and suicide, these queens have been mythologized as tragic figures. In reality, both women effectively wielded political power for years and gained a broad range of support for their independence activities. They were part of a larger trend toward local resistance to Roman power that included male rulers such as Caradoc of Wales and Vercingetorix of Gaul.

October 15 – Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Female Rule in Medieval England

In 1135, William the Conqueror’s son, King Henry I of England, died leaving his daughter Matilda as his only legitimate heir. Matilda was the widow of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V and had practical experience ruling during his absences for military campaigns. However, Matilda was a woman at a time when a king was expected to personally lead his troops into battle and her difficult pregnancy at the time of her father’s death prevented her from travelling to Westminster Abbey to claim her throne. Matilda’s cousin Stephen seized power, prompting a twenty-year civil war in England, a conflict so devastating that the chroniclers of the period wrote, “Christ and His saints slept.” The civil war ended when Stephen agreed to name Matilda’s son, Henry, as his heir. The future Henry II already controlled vast lands in what is now France through his marriage to Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. Henry’s attempts to assume personal control of Eleanor’s domains destroyed both their marriage and the king’s vast Anglo-French empire.

October 22 – The Monstrous Regiment of Women: The Rise of Female Rule in 16th Century Europe

In 1558, Scottish clergyman John Knox wrote, “The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.” Knox was horrified that there were so many women wielding sovereign power in the late sixteenth century. Mary I and Elizabeth I became the first uncontested female rulers of England, Mary, Queen of Scots sat on the Scottish throne, Catherine de Medici served as regent for her sons in France and Margaret of Parma was viceroy of the Netherlands for her brother, King Philip II of Spain. This unique generation of female monarchs who assumed power through dynastic accident, family relationships, marriage and motherhood set precedents that would be applied to future female rulers. Elizabeth I went down in history as “Gloriana,” Mary, Queen of Scots as a “femme fatale” and Catherine de Medici as a “black widow,” but all these queens were complex figures who faced similar challenges to their authority during Europe’s wars of religion.

October 29 – Russia’s Age of Empresses: Catherine the Great and Her Predecessors

When Peter the Great died in 1725, few male members of the Romanov dynasty were alive to continue his program of reform and westernization. Instead, the eighteenth century became Russia’s Age of Empresses as four female rulers exerted their own influence on Peter’s legacy. The most famous of these empresses is Peter’s granddaughter-in-law, Catherine the Great, who reformed the law code and created the famous Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg. However, Catherine’s female predecessors also had a significant impact on Russian history. Peter’s widow, Catherine I, sponsored the expeditions of Danish explorer Vitus Bering. Anna, Peter’s niece, prevented the development of a constitutional monarchy in Russia by refusing limits on her rule, and Peter’s daughter, Elizabeth, made Saint Petersburg an architectural and cultural centre, setting the scene for the achievements of Catherine the Great.

November 5 – Dowager Empresses and Warrior Queens: Royal Female Rulers in Japan, China and India

In 2005, a succession debate took place in Japan. At the time, Emperor Akihito had only granddaughters and the Japanese parliament debated whether to allow women to succeed to the Chrysanthemum throne, with critics arguing that there had been over a hundred generations of male rule. In fact, eight empresses have reigned in Japan, including one who bequeathed the throne to her daughter, and women were not formally barred from succeeding until the 19th century. There was only one Empress Regnant in Chinese history but the mothers of emperors wielded power behind the scenes. In India, from ancient times until the 19th century, there was a tradition of warrior queens who assumed power as honorary men. Despite myriad barriers to female participation in political life until recently, these women were able to seize and hold power.

November 12 – Queen Victoria and the 19th Century Woman

Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, a period that saw the emergence of widespread popular debate about the role of women in their families and society as a whole. The Queen identified with the values of middle-class English women of the period, presenting her marriage and family as a model of contented domesticity. Victoria shared the predominant worldview of her times, opposing women’s suffrage despite her position as sovereign. At the time, her example had a profound impact on the daily lives of ordinary women. She popularized the white wedding dress, made childbirth anesthesia socially acceptable and helped create the modern idea of the family vacation and the family Christmas. Her daughters and granddaughters supported greater education and vocational opportunities for women. The cultural influence of Queen Victoria and her family continues to shape the lives of women around the world today.

November 19 – The Stateswoman: Perceptions of Female Leadership in the 20th and 21st Centuries

In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected prime minister of Sri Lanka, the first female head of government elected to office in the modern world. Since this groundbreaking election, women have been elected as presidents and prime ministers all around the world, ushering in a new era in female leadership. Although stateswomen are now accepted figures in politics everywhere, coverage of female leadership continues to employ the language applied to ruling queens in past centuries. Bandaranaike was described as “the weeping widow,” like dowager queens of the past. The United Kingdom’s Margaret Thatcher was “the Iron Lady” in the tradition of warrior queens and Golda Meir was described as the “mother” of Israel. The reputations of historical queens remain relevant to the experiences of female political leaders today.

November 26 – Creative Women: Female Architects in the 21st Century

Until very recently, the profession of architecture in the Western world was completely dominated by men. Architectural historian Marta O’Brien will introduce some of the profession’s most influential, creative and successful women architects. In 2004, Zaha Hadid, whose buildings seem to defy gravity, became the first woman to win the most important prize in architecture. Chicago’s Jeanne Gang specializes in innovative residential towers and teaches at Harvard. Based in Ireland, Róisín Heneghan’s firm has won many international competitions, including for the new Great Museum of Egypt. Toronto’s own Brigitte Shim is respected internationally for her unique designs, and has taught around the world. We will see how these women are overcoming the challenges and biases that still exist.

Presenter: Mike Daley

Thursdays, 10 October to 28 November 2019
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 10 – Background

We will examine the family backgrounds and childhoods of the Beatles, as well as the larger backdrop of postwar Liverpool. Their formative cultural influences, from Elvis and Lonnie Donegan to the Goon Show, will also be covered.

October 17 – The Early Beatles

From the formation of John Lennon’s teenage band, The Quarrymen, through early club dates in Liverpool and Hamburg, we’ll look at the evolution of the Beatles before fame. Germany sparked something in the young Beatles, and their rise was rapid from this point. We’ll take the story up to their signing with EMI and first few singles.

October 24 – Beatlemania

The Beatles conquered England in 1963 after “Please Please Me” went to #1 on the charts. The phenomenon dubbed “Beatlemania” followed. We will track the halcyon days of worldwide Beatlemania, including their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and their first film, A Hard Day’s Night.

October 31 – The Beatles in Canada – Guest Lecturer Piers Hemmingsen

The Beatles’ Canadian connections, including family members who lived in Canada, a couple of Canadian interviews – probably John and George – and an overview of their nine Canadian concerts.

November 7 – Recasting Popular Music

In 1965 the Beatles rewrote the rules of rock and roll music, particularly in the recording studio. In 1966 the Beatles continued experimenting in the recording studio and stopped touring. We will look at their rapid artistic evolution in this period and their epochal album, Revolver.

November 14 – Peak of Creativity

With their innovative 1967 recordings, including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the Sgt. Pepper album, the Beatles sealed their position at the top of pop music. But the sudden death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in August 1967 threw the band into organizational turmoil.

November 21 – Dark Clouds

1968 saw the Beatles creating a sprawling double album and starting their own company, Apple. While their success continued with hits like “Hey Jude,” relations within the group were becoming strained and the band was looking for a new direction.

November 26 – The Breakup and Aftermath

The ill-fated Get Back film project was an attempt to return to form, but inter-band relations were in decline, aided by drug abuse and simmering personal resentments. The final breakup was acrimonious and played out over years in the courts. In the wake of their breakup, the individual Beatles began their solo careers. We’ll discuss these later years and the Beatles’ legacy today.

Presenter: Brian Carwana

Mondays, October 21 to December 9, 2019
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 21 – To See, To Be, To Do: The Landscape of World Religions
This introductory talk offers an insightful yet compact overview of the world’s major religious families. You will come away with an appreciation of how diverse faith traditions understand fourteen underlying principles.

October 28 – Judaism: A People Set Apart

For Judaism, history is the page upon which God’s story is written. The class traces the narrative through a timeline of significant events that follow the evolution of the tradition through three major stages.

November 4 – Christianity: But I Say Unto You

Christianity reinterprets the Jewish story from a past record to a future prediction. This session explores how scriptures develop, the shift from a Jewish movement to a gentile one, and ends with a provocative claim about how Christianity has shaped the fundamental outlook of both believers and non-believers in the modern West.

November 11 – Islam: And Muhammad is His Messenger

The youngest of the Abrahamic traditions is also the fastest growing. We consider Islam’s Five Pillars, the religious and political contributions of Muhammad, and the rise of two major branches – Sunni and Shia.

November 18 – North American Indigenous Spirituality

We will explore the spiritual traditions of First Nations peoples, including intriguing ideas about complimentary dualism, the linking of the physical and spiritual worlds, and novel ways of using the body to effect a spiritual transformation.

November 25 – Hinduism: Thou Are That Guest Speaker: Dr. Raj Balkaran

Hinduism is the world’s oldest and perhaps its most diverse religious tradition. It has followed a collector practice for thousands of years, always adding and rarely pruning. We will watch how concepts have layered on top of others in India, including the idea that each person has divinity within them.

December 2 – Buddhism: All is Mind

“All that we are arises with our thoughts” are the opening words of one Buddhist scripture. We consider how the Buddha’s life and teachings identify the mind as both the cause and cessation of suffering.

December 9 – Daoism: The Way and its Power

A tradition of the Far East, Daoism is as distant from Western thought as it is in geography. The class explores this unique tradition that espouses no action, no belief, no ritual and a founder with no public ministry.

Spring 2019

Presenter: Anthony Davis

Tuesdays, April 2 to May 21, 2019
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

The Clash of Nature and Culture on Oceanic Islands

Until recently oceanic islands were perceived as exotic, mysterious and remote. Their remoteness has conditioned the evolution of peculiar and vulnerable floras and faunas while that isolation and size have severely constrained human occupation. They are laboratories for evolution and succession as well as for human behaviour and for the testing of nuclear and biological weapons, serving as extensions of empire, prisons, asylums, places of quarantine, military bases, tourist destinations and offshore tax havens. None has completely avoided the consequences of settlement and some have become uninhabitable because of human impact. Although much damage can be attributed to European colonization, many islands were severely affected before that phase. Today, those that were colonies are having huge difficulty adjusting to the realities of independence and many face bleak futures. Immediate threats are consequences of global warming, notably rising sea levels.

April 2 – Baptism by Fire – Iceland, Hawaii, the Galapagos

Island types and numbers. Oceanic islands are volcanic in origin. Their distribution is determined by plate tectonics. This produces island chains and hot spots. The natural hazards of island living.

April 9 – The Peculiar Floras and Faunas of Oceanic Islands – New Zealand, the Galapagos

Islands have low species diversity, high endemism (species found nowhere else) and high vulnerability – largely a function of island size and degree of isolation. There are often distinctive and peculiar evolutionary responses (dwarfism, gigantism, flightlessness, etc.).

April 16 – The Settlement of Islands – Phase 1

The human diaspora and island settlement. The peopling of the Pacific. Polynesian migrations; successes and failures. Navigation and boatbuilding. Widespread distribution of the Polynesian “package” (taro, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, the kiore). Ecological and environmental impacts.

April 23 – The Settlement of Islands – Phase 2 The Caribbean, Hawaii, Fiji

European colonization and extension of empire. Many islands were essentially plantations of sugar, tea, etc. The system brought genocide, disease, slavery and other social and economic legacies.

April 30 – Islands as Prisons and Laboratories for Plants, Animals and People

Isolation has its attractions and problems. Islands as utopia, sanctuary and places of incarceration – St. Helena to Norfolk Island. Biological globalization and its impact on island plants and animals.

May 7 – Islands at War and In Peace – Midway, Okinawa, Diego Garcia, Bikini, Enewetak Atolls

Islands as strategic locations. Testing of nuclear and biological weapons and human displacement .

May 14 – Paradise Lost and Preserved (For Now) – Madagascar, the Galapagos, Nauru, Rapa Nui

The use and abuse of island resources and the myth of sustainability. Disasters and success stories.

May 21 – The Future of Island Nations and Their Biotas

The economic, health and environmental issues facing island nations. Old and new threats, tourism and global warming. Many are on the brink of social and economic collapse.

Presenter: Marta O’Brien

April 4 to May 23, 2019
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

We still see the influence of architects from as long ago as the 1500s. This course examines the lives and buildings of some of the West’s greatest architects, who designed iconic buildings and influenced generations. You’ll see hundreds of images and learn about the buildings of these architects and their disciples.

April 4 – Andrea Palladio 1508-1580

There is no architect whose work has been so widely imitated for so long. Palladio’s most lasting legacy is house design, with aspects seen even in the 21st century.

April 11 – Sir Christopher Wren 1632-1723

With almost all his commissions from the Crown and Church, Wren’s buildings include many landmarks. Not bad for a self-taught architect who was first an astronomer and scientist.

April 18 – Richard Norman Shaw 1831-1912

Shaw worked in several styles during his long career. With William Eden Nesfield, he developed the Old English and Queen Anne Revival styles – both of which became popular in Canada.

April 25 – H.H. (Henry Hobson) Richardson 1838-1886

Richardson was the first American architect to create a style that subsequently became national. His works may appear familiar because he had several followers in Toronto.

May 2 – C.F.A. (Charles Francis Annesley) Voysey 1857-1941

Voysey was a successful and influential designer of country houses. His work is important as a link between the Arts and Crafts and Modern movements.

May 9 – Louis H. Sullivan 1856-1924 and Frank Lloyd Wright 1867-1959

An American architect, writer and lecturer, Sullivan is known for his tremendous influence on skyscraper designs when that type of building was new.
The flamboyant Wright had a career of more than 70 years designing hundreds of revolutionary buildings. His houses illustrated his strong views on how families should live.

May 16-  Wright continued and LE Corbusier 1887-1966

Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect, urban planner, writer and theorist. His startling white houses and shocking urban plans made him a head of the Modern Movement.

May 23 – LE Corbusier continued and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe 1886-1969

Mies is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects. He was known for his precision and attention to detail, and his dedication to open, flexible spaces within buildings.

Fall 2018

Presenters: Tim Nau and David Clandfield

Tuesdays, October 9 to November 27, 2018
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Understanding Names: Their Origins, Meanings and Folklore

October 9 – Place Names
Place names reveal how we see ourselves, our environment and our past. France means “land of the free people” and Tokyo means “eastern capital.” The names of cities and towns in Canada (which, despite its huge size, means “village”) come from many different languages with a range of meanings. This lecture will feature a toponymic tour of the Great White North, starting with “Mississauga.”

October 16 – What are Street Names for?
Most Toronto streets have names but Japan seems to manage without them. When did we begin naming streets, who decides on the names and why? Street names can tell us about cultural and political priorities, which can change – as can street names, often amid controversy.

October 23 – Surnames and History
Every surname tells a story. Smiths used to smite things, people named Small were small in stature, Madison was the son of a woman named Maud, and Mr. Hill probably lived near a hill. This lecture will explore the history of surnames and the meanings behind them.

October 30 – The Elephant and Castle and Mon Repos: Houses Public and Private
The commonest pub names celebrated royalty or landed gentry. Many pub names, like those of private houses that we shall consider, too, celebrate creature comforts, popular pastimes, favourite celebrities or whimsical wordplay. We will look at quaint house names (Bide-a-Wee, Dunromin, Ersanmyne) alongside more sinister pub names like Devil in the Boot, Dead On and Last Drop.

November 6 – Whatever Happened to Tom, Dick and Harry?
Which of Mia or Winifred is more likely to be a child? Is Frank or Liam more likely to have grey hair? Names often reveal a person’s age because fashions in naming quickly change, just like fashions in dress and music. It wasn’t always so, with the most popular babies’ names remaining the same for generation after generation, saying a lot about our ancestors’ values.

November 13 – Naming to Sell
Trade names project an image or identity, vying for attention in a crowded marketplace, so they must be distinctive, descriptive, attractive. Trade names need to be memorable and avoid controversy – or must they? Cars and banks went one way, wines and boutiques another. Health matters, sensuality sells: check the products in any pharmacy. And what appeals in one language repels in another.

November 20 – Names in Fiction
Novelists and dramatists get to not only create whole worlds but also to name the characters they populate them with. Why did Congreve choose Millamant as his heroine’s name or Defoe call his castaway Robinson Crusoe? Why, in Wuthering Heights, is the protagonist called Heathcliff rather than, say, John Doe?

November 27 – From Marmalade to Beef Wellington: Naming Food
Stories are told of Welsh rabbit, Scotch woodcock, Alaska turkey, a cheese named for a celebrated gastronome and a wine for its inventor. A typical French menu reveals dishes such as tournedos Rossini, pommes Anna, chicken Marengo, crêpes Suzette, gâteau Saint-Honoré. They all have their own stories, some fanciful and some historically verifiable, all celebrated in a rich cultural history.

Presenter: Christopher Laxer

Thursdays, October 11 to November 29, 2018
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 11 – Introduction to Adaptations: Black Robe (1991)

This lecture will address what adaptations are, how they are made and what is lost (or gained) in the transition from text to screen. Director Bruce Beresford’s adaptation of Bruce Wilson’s 1985 historical novel of colonial encounter in 17th century New France is an ideal place to start a course on the filmic adaptation of Canadian fiction.

October 18 – The English Patient (1996)
With nine academy awards (including Best Picture) and a reference in Seinfeld, this film’s critical and pop-cultural success was proof that Canadian literature could conquer Hollywood. This lecture will explore whether the sweeping epic film is essentially the same as Ondaatje’s experiment with “cubist” fiction in his novel, what the process of adaptation has favoured and what it has forgotten.

October 25 – Life of Pi (2012)
The big budget Ang Lee adaptation of the novel proved that a $120 million blockbuster film could also be poetic, that a 3D movie could make the technology feel like more than a gimmick. But does the film have the philosophic depth of the novel?

November 1 – Room (2015)
An independent-film-festival favourite-turned-Academy-Award-nominee, this film adaptation has the distinction that its screenplay was written by the author of the novel. In fact, Donoghue served as executive producer on the movie and was accorded an almost unheard-of degree of agency in the adaptation of her own work. Does this involvement make the film adaptation of Room any truer to the book? Does this notion of staying true to the source text even matter much?

November 8 – Anne of Green Gables (1985, 2017)
We will compare the well-known four-hour CBC miniseries starring Megan Follows (1985) with the latest eight-episode miniseries starring Amybeth McNulty. At what point does repeated adaptation approach mythology? Who owns the stories we love?

November 15 – The Book of Negroes (2015)
Lawrence Hill co-wrote the screenplay with the series director Clement Virgo. We will examine the difficulties of adapting this relatively unknown and peculiarly Canadian story in the context of the well-established tropes of American films dealing with the slave experience.

November 22 – Alias Grace (2017)
Road to Avonlea star Sarah Polley writes this miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize-winning novel. The acclaimed Canadian director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho) directs this story of the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada. What does it mean that the miniseries is an adaptation of a novel that is itself an adaptation of a murder case? Where do the limitations of adaptation lie? Is everything an adaptation?

November 29 – The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)
With Brexit, the unexpected election of Donald Trump in the United States and the rise of far-right political movements all over the Western world, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have gone through the roof. Hulu’s ten-hour miniseries starring Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes is proof that an adaptation of a literary work can renew and revive it.

Spring 2018

Presenter: Brian Carwana

Tuesdays, April 3 to May 22, 2018
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 3 – To See, To Be, To Do: The Landscape of World Religions

This introductory talk offersan insightful yet compact overview of the world’s major religious families. You will come away with a helpful map for understanding how major religious groups are related to each other and how they compare and differ. April 10Hinduism: Thou Are ThatWewill explore arguably the world’s oldest major religious tradition,which has undergone innumerable changes and developments over time. We will learn how Hinduism’s collector nature and its multiple origins has created one of the most diverse and colourful religions on the planet.

April 17 – Sikhism: Disciples of the True Name

Five hundred years ago in India, a man torn between the Hindu and Muslim spiritual paths had an encounter with God that led him to believe the differences in these two traditions did not matter. Guru Nanak would develop disciples devoted to being learners of God. We will explore this tradition’s plain theology and immense devotion to the idea of service.

April 24 – Judaism: A People Set Apart

Judaism isanumerically small buthistorically influential tradition.It emerged, took shape, changed after major catastrophes and showed a stunning resilience to create itself amidst times of trauma. We will learn about monolatry and monotheism, temples and torahs, as this people maintained a distinct identity for thousands of years.

May 1 – Christianity: But I Say Unto You

The world’s largest religion started in a backwater of the Roman Empire but later profitedfrom its roads, its relative order, and its common language to spread its message. We will explore about how scriptures get written, how Christianity developed so many diverse formsso quickly, and how a non-Jewish religion arose from the death and resurrection of a devout Jewish man.

May 8 – Islam: And Muhammad is his Prophet

The prophet Muhammad serves as the template for ideal Muslim living. We will discuss the split into Sunni and Shi’a and the key practices and beliefs of the world’s fastest-growing religion. We will look at key sources of authority in Islam (Qur’an, hadith and shariah) and address topical issues fromrecent decades around violence and secularism.

May 15 – Rastafarianism

Rasta is a new religion, formed in the 20thcentury through the fusion of black power and Christian messianism. We will hear about the interesting life of Marcus Garvey and how this Bible-based movement found scriptural proof regarding who is the messiah, how we should live, and how the nations canbe healed.

May 22 – Mormonism

Perhaps noreligious groupcaptured the nineteenth-century American spirit better than the community founded by Joseph Smith. We will explore hisfascinating life, the development of the community after Smithwas killed, and how this quintessential American religion has moved from the margins to the mainstream of American lifewhile simultaneously spreading across the globe.

Download the PDF Agenda – Brian Carwana, World Religions Part 2

Presenter: Bob Bryden

Foreground: Original Music in the Movies –A History –Part II 1970 to 2010 and Beyond

Session 1 –1970-1974 –The Age of Williams and Goldsmith

Hawks Vs. Doves -Patton (to Apocalypse Now); The Wilderness Period: Little Big Man to Deliverance; Woodstock -The Movie; The Expanding Envelope of Permissibility: A Clockwork Orange, Last Tango in Paris and The Exorcist; John Williams -Originality in the Adapted Musical -Fiddler on the Roof; Nino Rota and the Godfathers; Nino Rota and Fellini -Satyricon -Not Your Father’s Roman Empire; Legrand’s The Three Musketeers; Goldsmith’s Chinatown; Scott Joplin in The Sting; John Williams continued -Jane Eyre and The Towering Inferno.

Session 2 –1975-1979

The Return of Period Adventures (The Man Who Would Be King, The Wind and the Lion, Barry Lyndon); The Western -An Attempted Comeback: Bite the Bullet; Williams explodes: JAWS; Composers in Exile (Herrmann in Horror, Bernstein in Comedy); Rocky; The Synthesizer Emerges -Tangerine Dream and Sorcerer; STAR WARS -Williams resurrects the grand symphonic score; The Science Fiction Revival (Logan’s Run, Close Encounters, Star Trek -The Motion Picture, Alien); Malick and Morricone -Days of Heaven; APOCALYPSE NOW -A Perfect Synthesis of Rock, Synthesizer, Original and Classical.

Session 3 –1980-1984

Williams Continues Triumphant (Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. -The Extra-Terrestrial); Dave Grusin Minimalism: On Golden Pond; James Horner Emerges -Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Brainstorm; Conan the Barbarian -Basil Poledouris’s masterpiece; Philip Glass and Koyaanisqatsi; Coppola and The Police Drummer -Rumble Fish; Another Busy Newman: Randy; Goldsmith’s Under Fire.

Session 4 –1985-1989

Another Attempted Comeback for the Western: Silverado; Morricone’s The Mission; Goldsmith’s Hoosiers; Williams’s Empire of the Sun; Morricone’s The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso; Wings of Desire; Georges Delerue -Sojourn in Hollywood; World Music Emerges -Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ; Danny Elfman Emerges -The Relationship Between Elfman and Tim Burton Begins (Beetlejuice and Batman); Hans Zimmer Emerges (Driving Miss Daisy); The Re-birth of the Animated Disney Musical -Alan Menken Emerges; James Horner Ends the Decade in Triumph: Field of Dreams, In Country and Glory.
Prepared for Lifelong Learning Mississauga by Bob Bryden[]November 2016

Session 5 –1990-1994–The Age of Elfman and Thomas Newman

Silver-Agers In Their Prime (the continued scoring successes of John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Maurice Jarre, John Barry and Jerry Goldsmith); The Successful Comeback of the Western: John Barry’s Dances With Wolves; Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands; Ry Cooder’s Roots Scores; Patrick Doyle Emerges; Last of the Mohicans (1992); Thomas Newman Emerges; 1993 -A Very Good Year (Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Searching For Bobby Fischer, Geronimo, Age of Innocence, Tombstone, The Fugitive, Much Ado About Nothing, Benny and Joon); James Newton Howard Emerges; Carter Burwell Emerges; Beauty Makes a Comeback: T. Newman’s Little Women, Horner’s Legends of the Fall and Elfman’s Black Beauty.

Session 6 –1995-1999

Quirky Is In -Thomas Newman’s Unstrung Heroes; Bollywood Or Bust -A.R. Rahman; Elliott Goldenthal Emerges -Michael Collins; Mychael Danna Emerges -Ride with the Devil; World War II Never Sounded Like This -The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan; Euro-Pop and The Big Cinema Beat -Run, Lola, Run; New Impossible Missions -Schifrin and the Rush Hour series; Horner Continues Triumphant (Braveheart, Apollo 13, The Spitfire Grill, The Mark of Zorro); T. Newman’s Meet Joe Black; Scoring By Computer and Committee -The Rise of Media Ventures and Remote Control.

Session 7 –2000-2004 –The Age of Desplat, Powell, Giacchino and Zimmer

Gladiator -A Maximus Opus; John Powell Emerges; Genre Defining -The Bourne Identity; John Williams Sci-Fi Duo: A.I. and Minority Report; Howard Shores’ Lord of the Rings Trilogy Begins; Alexandre Desplat Emerges -The Girl with the Pearl Earring; Quirky Continues: Chocolat, The Royal Tennenbaums and Amelie; Elmer Bernstein’s Swan Song -Far From Heaven; Troy -The Rejected Score by Gabriel Yared; Michael Giacchino Emerges; The Pirates of the Caribbean Scores.

Session 8 –2005-2010 and Beyond…

John Powell Arrives (The Italian Job, United 93, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Stop-Loss, How To Train Your Dragon); The Firefly/Serenity Phenomenon in Music; The Spanish Incursion: Volver, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Impossible; Solid and Reliable Alan Silvestri; Return of the Song Score -Once; Isham and Beltrami; Disappointing Slumdog; Quentin Tarantino and the Ultra-Cool Anachronism -Inglourious Basterds, etc.; The ANTI-Score -Hans Zimmer and the Batman Resurgence; Steven Price’s Gravity; Beltrami’s The Homesman; The Old School Returneth: Monuments Men, 10 Cloverfield Lane; Michael Giacchino Triumphs (Inside-Out, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World); Paolo Sorrentino Music Sublime: This Must Be The Place, La Grande Bellezza and Youth; Harry Potter Scores Overview; Elfman’s Girl on the Train; Wavemeisters of the Future: Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Bear McCreary, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Download the PDF Agenda – Bob Bryden -Music in the Movies, Part II

Fall 2017

Presenter: Eliseo Zompanti

Books and the Silver Screen–The Good,the Bad and the Very Ugly
Tuesdays, October 10 to November 28, 2017
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Exploring the extraordinary stories ofhow great books were made into classic movies, along with an fascinating collection of real live characters and events, including one that left a tragic imprint on Toronto more than 120 years ago…with a movie in the works. Coordinator and presenter Eliseo Zompanti is the head of the Toronto Public Library’s Rexdale Branch in Etobicoke. For the past four years, he has been researchingand tellingthese stories to library and other later-life-learning groups in the GTA.

October 10 – Gone with the Windand The Wizard of Oz

How two best-selling books became classicmovies in the same year, with a few detours along the way.

October 17 – An encore to Gone with the Wind?

An American producer and a rising British director make the Oscar-winning Rebecca, and a British author writes a book so he canmake a highly acclaimed movie,The Third Man.

October 24 – From Here to Eternityto the genius of Hitchcock

How James Jones’novel made its way to Hollywood, and how Alfred Hitchcock fooled the American film censors with Notoriousand made Cary Grant out to be such a villain.

October 31 – The Cold War: Who knew the CIA loved novels so much?

From Doctor Zhivagoto Animal Farmand 1984, along with On the Waterfront: what happens when novelsmeet politics, collide with the Cold War, and areused as weapons.

November 7 – How Captain Bligh got a bad rap and a great whale sank a ship

The true stories behind Mutiny on the Bountyand Moby Dick, and how Alexandre Dumas got his idea for The Count of Monte Cristo. (Hint: It helps when someone works in the Paris police archives.)

November 14 – The Greatest Show on Earth, literally:The 1893 Chicago World’sFair

How the ChicagoWorld’sFair transformed the waywe live today, and how a decision made in Germany back then dramatically influencesour lives today. Westillcan’tbelieve it happened…

November 21 – The man no one suspected

How a doctor at the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair went on aremarkable murder spree–but was undone by something he did in Toronto.

November 28 – The story behind three Christmas icons of popular culture

What led Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol, how a literary nobody wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,and the book nobody wanted that became It’s a Wonderful Life.

Download the PDF Agenda – Eliseo Zompanti – The Story Behind the Story

Presenter: Mike Daley

Thursdays, October 12 to November 30, 2017
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

This course looks at the music of the rock and roll era from about 1945 to 1965. Beginning with new youth-oriented music after World War II, we take in Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and finish with the arrival of the Beatles and the folk-rock of the mid-1960s.

October 12 – The 1940’s

Rhythm and blues and country music; the breakup of the radio networks; the ASCAP ban; independent record companies; urban blues. Music of Louis Jordan, Tex Williams, Wayne Raney, Bullmoose Jackson, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Ruth Brown.

*OCTOBER 18* – The dawn of rock and roll

Crossover and rebranding; the Civil Rights movement; the New Orleans sound; Chicago and Chess Records. Music of Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith, Little Richard, Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry.

October 26 – The transformation of gospel music

Doo wop; Lieber and Stoller. Music of Billy Ward and the Dominoes, Ray Charles, Soul Stirrers, Sam Cooke, the Chords, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Coasters, the Drifters.

November 2 – Guest speaker: Paul James

Paul James is a legendary Toronto rock and roller, performing here and elsewhere since the late 1960s. He is well versed in the rock and roll music of the 1950s, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and others. Paul will play,sing and talk about 1950s rock and roll and tell stories of his musical career.

November 9 – Rockabilly

Sam Phillips and Sun Records. Music of Bill Haley and the Comets, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison.

November 16 – The reaction to rock and roll

The Cold War; 1950s conservatism and atomic fears; the McCarthy hearings; calypso; commercial folk music; the teen idols; American Bandstand; the payola scandal; Alan Freed and Dick Clark. Music of Harry Belafonte, the Weavers, the Kingston Trio, Fabian, Paul Anka, Chubby Checker.

November 23 – Rock and roll –the second wave

Surf music; instrumental rock; the Brill Building; Phil Spector and the “Wall of Sound”; Motown Records. Music ofthe Ventures, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the Beach Boys, the Shirelles,the Drifters, Ben E. King,the Ronettes, the Crystals, the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder.

November 30 – Folk-rock and the British Invasion

The urban folk revival; the British Invasion; folk-rock; rock and roll becomes rock; the counterculture. Music of Bob Dylan,the Byrds,the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Dave Clark Five, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Who, the Kinks.

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Mike Daley – The Rock and Roll Era

Spring 2017

Presenters: Multiple

Tuesdays, April 4 to May 23, 2017
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

This series explores our fascination with Shakespeare’screations in different media –stage, screen, opera, musicals. Thecontroversial: Kate, the Shrew; Shylock, the Jew; Richard III, the Monster,and the beloved: Falstaff; Romeo and Juliet. All are firmly rooted in our cultural heritage.

April 4 – “Theatre is not a nursing home”: Merchants of Venice of the Stratford Festival
Ted McGee, University of Waterloo

Drawing on the Stratford Festival Archives, this talk examines textual revisions and staging decisions of several productions, to explore how they attempted to sharpen, exploit, defuse or contain the controversial issues of the play.

April 11 – The Taming of the Shrew: Modern and Not-So-Modern Anxieties
Alan Somerset, Western University

When did Shakespeare’s play first begin to arouse anxieties about the “taming” and how have the last four Stratford productions faced, or failed to face, the issue?

*APRIL25 – Shakespeare’s “Native English”
Alysia Kolentsis, University of Waterloo

This talk explores the rich and dynamic linguistic climate of Shakespeare’s time, and it considers how we might trace the influence of the changing English language on Shakespeare’s works.

*APRIL18 – Verdi Celebrates the Bard
Linda Hutcheon, Michael Hutcheon, U of Toronto

Giuseppe Verdi set Macbethearly in his career, but then ended it decades later with adaptations of both Othello (Otello) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Falstaff–his one and only comedy).

May 2 – The Literary Setting of Twelfth Night
Elizabeth Pentland,York University

We will explore how Shakespeare took up Illyria’s ancient history as he adapted a popular Italian tale for the stage during the final years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

May 9 – Richard III –Monsteror Mr. Nice Guy?
Norma Rowen, York University

Shakespeare’s Richard III,hunchbacked, ugly, totally immoral–or seriously maligned? Examining a new Shakespeare’s portrayal. Is it itself a grievous distortion, or was Shakespeare right after all?

May 16 – Hamlet Goes to the Movies
Alan Somerset, Western University

This talk discusses four Hamlet films, starring Laurence Olivier (1948), Mel Gibson (1990), Kenneth Branagh (1996), and Ethan Hawke (2002). We will view filmclips focusing on Hamlet’s relationship with OpheliaandGertrude and looking at himself in the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy.

May 23 – Shakespeare on the Broadway Stage
Linda Beck

The Boys from Syracuse, Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story, just three Broadway musicals heavily influenced by Shakespeare. A look atwhat happens when you put Shakespeare onstagewith Rogers and Hart, Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein.

Download the PDF Agenda – Shakespeare For Our Times

Presenter: Anthony Davis

Thursdays, April 6 to May 25, 2017
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

In a relatively short time, we have transformed our planet. As our numbers and technology have increased,so have the intensity and pace of the changes we have inflicted. This series is essentially a brief history of our impact on environment. It begins with an overview of the natural world and how it works and then traces the evolution and dispersal of humans and our assault on that world. That assault begins in earnest with plant and animaldomestication and its consequences, with the effects of globalization beginning with colonization,and the accompanying effects of rapid population increase andburgeoning technology. It manifests itself today in a world that is increasingly more artificial, the Anthropocene, and on the brink of disaster. The lessons are there, but will we heed them in time?

April 6 – Natural Environmental Change – Shifting Continents and Changing Climates

Our planet is mobile internally, on its surface and in space. Internal mobility is associated with the changing geographies of land and sea, the location of landmasses, the distribution of mountain ranges, volcanic activity and earthquakes–collectively called plate tectonics. These internal processes are the major natural control on the Earth’s carbon cycle.

April 13 – Natural Environmental Change –Solar Radiation, Our External Heat Engine

Solar radiation drives the biosphere and most surface and atmospheric processes. Its effects are dependent on supply, which changes on long and short time scales, and on how the Earth’s atmosphere processes that radiation.

April 20 – Human Evolution and the Human Diaspora

We have a short history. Until 1.5 million years ago, that history was exclusively African. Why did we evolve there? When and how did people spread around the world? How was environmental change involved?April 27Plant and Animal Domestication and the Rise of CivilizationPlant and animal domestication began at roughly the same time in several widelyseparated places. Why? Whatwas domesticated? What were the short-and long-term consequences?

May 4 – The Rise of Civilization and the Use and Abuse of Resources

Plant and animal domestication allowed urbanization,the stratification of society, the development of trade, societal rivalries and warfare,and the often rapid degradation of natural resources. The demise of “hydraulic”societies in the Middle Eastandthe Indus Valley,and desertification in central China.

May 11 – Globalization –Trade, Colonialism and Disease

Trade was one consequence of civilization. Often this broadened the scope of resource exploitation, firstinter-regionally and then globally. Globalization was initially a product of colonialism. The latter brought massive transfersof crops, animals, people and,inevitably,disease.

May 18 – The Special Vulnerability of Islands

Islands have suffered disproportionately from human impact. Most documented extinctions have occurred on remote islands. Many have had their natural environments destroyed for economic or strategic reasons.

May 25 – The Anthropocene

Global warming is just one way we have modifiedour world. Some believe that the radical anthropogenic changes to the atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere warrantrecognition as a separate geologic epoch, the Anthropocene. Will that change the way we behave towardour environment? Will it matter?

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Anthony Davis – People and Planet Earth

Fall 2016

Presenter: Bob Bryden

Thursdays, October 13, 2016 to December 1, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 13 – Notes and Frames: What is the Film Score?

An examination of what a film score is and what its value is to a motion picture. By looking at clips from a range of pictures, including Citizen Kane, The Black Stallion, Dressed to Kill and Besieged, we’ll discover the vast range of emotions invoked by music.

October 20 – Sound and Vision: The Silent Era

Before movies could talk, there was the live piano player in front of a screen of a silent film. In time, recorded orchestral scores would accompany the pictures. We’ll look at films like Battleship Potemkin, Napoleon, Sunrise and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Modern Times.

October 27 – Operatic Leitmotifs: The Early Talkies

The coming of sound with The Jazz Singer changed the role of music in film. Composers were soon hired by the studios to compose original music. Many of those artists, immigrants from Europe like Max Steiner (King Kong), Franz Waxman (The Bride of Frankenstein) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (The Adventures of Robin Hood), brought the musical model of 19th century romantic opera to the creation of the dramatic movie score.

November 3 – Americana

While many of the early composers were Europeans who brought a European musical sensibility to American movies, American composers felt that some stories should be reflected by contemporary American music. As a result, composers such as Aaron Copland (Of Mice and Men), Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons) and Hugo Friedhofer (The Best Years of Our Lives) signalled that change.

November 10 – As Time Goes By: Jazz and Popular Music

If American classical music became a new component in motion pictures, so did jazz and the popular American songbook. We’ll explore the influence of these forms on pictures like Casablanca(Max Steiner), A Streetcar Named Desire (Alex North) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s(Henry Mancini).

November 17 – To Other Lands: The Foreign Language Film

We examinethe composers who worked in film from other lands,including Maurice Jaubert (L’Atalante), Masaru Sato (Yojimbo), Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim) and Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Uglyand the movie1900).

November 24 – From Beethoven to Strauss: Classical Music and Film

Many “serious”classical composers refused to do film scores since they considered it “hack work.”But that didn’t stop movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Manhattan, Raging Bull and The King’s Speech from using classical music instead of an original score.

December 1 – Roll Over Beethoven: Rock Music and the New Future of Film Music

From 1955 when Bill Haley & His Comets’ Rock Around the Clock announced The Blackboard Jungle and Simon & Garfunkel a decade later ushered in The Graduate, rock music became part of the texture of film scoring. To conclude, we examine the roll of rock and the technological changes that have altered film scoring.

Download the PDF Agenda – Bob Bryden – The Neglected Art of Film Music

Presenter: Ken Carpenter

Tuesdays, October 11 to November 29, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 11 – From our Colonial Beginnings to J.W. Morrice and the Group of Seven

What was the cultural and personal situation of our early painters and sculptors? When did Canadian art start to be Canadian? Why did one of our greatest painters, J.W. Morrice, come to “loathe Canada more and more”? The Group of Seven are icons of Canadian culture. What is their true standing as artists and what is their place within Canadian culture today?

October 18 – Les Automatistes and After

Under the leadership of Paul-Emile Borduas, Les Automatistes published what is arguably Canada’s single most important cultural document, Le Refus global–and then Borduas was fired from his teaching position. What was the resultant controversy all about, and what is the lasting accomplishment of such artists as Borduas and Riopelle? Is Françoise Sullivan the grande dame of Canadian art?

October 25 – The Magic of Atlantic Canada Realism

Alex Colville designed Canada’s centennial coins and Christopher Pratt designed the flag of Newfoundland, but what is the true meaning and significance of their work? What special regional values do they reflect, and why has their art been so enduring?

November 1 – Great Inuit and Indian Artists

Is Inuit artist Karoo Ashevak the greatest sculptor in the history of Canada? Or perhaps John Tiktak? Bill Reid, Douglas Cardinal, Norval Morrisseau –these are only a few of the most important artists from the First Nations. What is distinctive about their cultures and why are they so important?

November 8 – Painters XI Burst on to the World Scene

In the 1950s and ’60s Toronto grew from “Hogtown” and “Toronto the Good” to a major art centre with claims to doing some of the best art in the world. We will consider how it all happened and what was accomplished by artists such as Jack Bush, Kazuo Nakamura and Harold Town.

November 15 – Nationalism and Internationalism: London, Ontario versus Emma Lake

London, Ontario, has been a hotbed of Canadian nationalism, and its leading artists were once credited with establishing a “liberation front.” What did painters like Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe and John Boyle hope to accomplish? Why were they so opposed to the internationalism of Saskatchewan artists at Emma Lake?

November 22 – The AV Isaacs Group

Avrom Isaacs had a unique ability to uncover important artists like Michael Snow, Graham Coughtry and Richard Gorman. At times his artists, especially Robert Markle and Mark Prent, attracted the ire of the censors. What was all the controversy about? Joyce Wieland and Gathie Falk have all distinguished themselves. What has motivated them and what is their accomplishment?

November 29 – Art in British Columbia from Emily Carr through Jack Shadbolt and Beyond

What has been happening on the other side of the Rockies? We will discover the distinct values and accomplishments of British Colombia artists from the time of our greatest eccentric, Emily Carr, through Jack Shadbolt, arguably the true heir to the Group of Seven, up to the present.

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Ken Carpenter – To Know Ourselves: Great Canadian Art, Colonial Times to Present

Spring 2016

Presenter: Alison Norman

Tuesdays, April 5 to May 24, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 5 – In the Beginning: Creation stories and life before the arrival of the Europeans

In this first lecture, we will look at how Anishnaabe (Ojibwe) and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people understand their creation and their arrival in Ontario. We will also discuss how people lived before the arrival of Europeans, including means of subsistence, social structures and religion.

April 12 – First Contact: Arrival of the Europeans and settlement in Ontario

This lecture will briefly cover the arrival of key Europeans in what became Canada, and the early relationships that were forged between Indigenous peoples and European explorers, missionaries and traders. We will also discuss the impact that these new arrivals had, especially in terms of religious conversion and disease. Finally, we will look at the Jesuits in Huronia.

April 19 – We are all Treaty People: Land surrenders and treaties

Once Ontario was in the hands of the British after the conquest of Quebec in 1760, the British began to negotiate land surrenders and,later, treaties. These foundational documents are key to the relationships between Indigenous people and the government today. This lecture will look at some of the key land surrenders, especially for what became the GTA, including Mississauga.

April 26 – Guest Lecturer

Carolyn King, Community Historian and Former Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit will speak about the history and culture of her people.

May 3 – Reserves and Missions: The lives of Indigenous people in the nineteenth century

As part of the treaty process in the early decades of the 19thcentury, Indigenous people moved to reserves and began to farm,attend church and send their children to day schools.We will look at reserve life and the changes those communities went through. Peter Jones and the Credit Mission will be discussed in this lecture.

May 10 – Residential Schools: The impetus, implications and legacy of residential schooling

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought attention to Canada’s dark residential school history. This lecture will give an overview of the residential school program nationally and then focus specifically on southern Ontario residential schools, including the nearby Mohawk Institute at Brantford. We will consider what happened in these schools and the intergenerational impacts they continue to have today.

May 17 – The Great War and Political Organizing in the Interwar Years

This lecture will look at the response to the Great War from Indigenous communities in Ontario, especially the Six Nations of Grand River, including the enlistment of men and the women’s home front work. Political changes in the interwar years and the efforts to form the League of Indians of Canada will also be discussed.

May 24 – World War II and Beyond: The fight of Indigenous people for their rights in Canada

In our last lecture, we consider the changes in “Indian” policy in Canada, the White Paper and the activism of Indigenous people in Ontario, especially over land and women’s rights. We will look at the Ipperwash standoff, and end with the Idle No More movement and the high voter turnout in the 2015 federal election.

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Alison Norman – Ontario’s First Nations Then and Now

Presenters: Multiple

Thursdays, April 7 to May 26, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 7 – The Most A-maize-ing Story in Ontario Archaeology
Gary Crawford

Maize, or corn, was instrumental in transforming indigenous societies in the New World into a variety of powerful economies that remodelled landscapes wherever maize grew. Ontario was no exception. Professor Crawford, his colleagues and his students have been investigating the earliest maize in Ontario and the subsequent impact of agriculture on indigenous people and the landscape of southern Ontario. We will explore how maize evolved from an unassuming grass in Mexico more than 6,000 years ago and ultimately made its way to the Grand River 4,500 years later to stimulate a revolutionary transformation of indigenous lives.

April 14 – Who Opened this Door?
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak

When technologies are involved in the production of art, what role does the artist play? Drawing examples from a variety of their own interdisciplinary artworks, visual artists Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak will not so much answer their own question as pose new ones.

April 21 – Making the Move: Moving Minds
Paul Bedford

As the number-one issue facing our region, transportation is a source of frustration forecast to get much worse unless bold action is taken. Massive public investment in transit of all types is needed to provide a range of choices beyond the car. In order to pay for it, we will have to embrace a variety of funding mechanisms,including road pricing,gas taxes and income taxes. We must also move minds in order to build, operate and maintain the transportation network needed to serve a future GTA population estimated to reach eight or nine million by 2041.

April 28 – Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan
Rita Leistner

Photojournalist Rita Leistner returned from a military embed in Afghanistan in the spring of 2011 with an iPhone full of photographs and a bad case of the blues. Looking for McLuhan, whom she knew almost nothing about, began as a kind of prophylactive therapy to keep from sliding into full-blown depression and it ended in a journey of process and discovery. Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan is both self-help book and guidebook to this moment in history when smartphones and war first collided.

May 5 – The Struggle for Human Rights in Olympic Sport
Bruce Kidd

Sport has long been a site of advocacy and activism for human rights. Those excluded from its opportunities and benefits turn the “moral”claim of sport to be a level playing field and the symbolic status accorded to athletes into powerful arguments for inclusion and dignity, not only within sport but for all people. Feminism, civil rights, the campaign against apartheid, and other mobilizations have all fought successful battles over and through sport. Most recently, the 2012 London and 2014 Sochi Olympics brought two more significant issues into the international arena–gender identity and the rights of LGBT.This talk provides a historical overview of the struggle for human rights in sport, outlines the campaigns precipitated by London and Sochi with their successes and failures, and recommends a way ahead.

May 12 – Lost Girls: Sex and Death in Renaissance Florence
Nicholas Terpstra

Numbers of Florentine women pooled their resources to open the Florentine orphanage known as the House of Compassion in 1554. It soon grew to become the largest girls’ shelter in Florence and the most innovative orphanage in Renaissance Italy. Yet this safe house was also a dangerous place. Before long, girls starteddying there by the dozens. Was it forced labour that killed them? Prostitution,sexual abuseor possibly even syphilis? Where were the authorities? We will look at all these questions as we recreate the world in which teenage girls lived and died in Renaissance Florence.

May 19 – The Evolution Explosion: Mankind as the Agent of Natural Selection
Arthur Weis

Everyone knows that evolution is a long, slow process–but not always! While it is true that it took a long time for the first mammals to diversify into the mice and elephants we see today, each of the many steps along the way could be rapid. When the environment favours it, evolving from a small mouse to a smaller mouse can occur in a few generations.Human impact on the environment induces selection pressure:agriculture radically changes the landscape, and there are many examples of crop, weed and pest species adapting to farming practices. But also, over-fishing leads to evolution of smaller fish, water pollution leads to evolution of tolerant water fleas, and climate change is leading to evolution of early flowering in some plants. By altering the environment, humans exert selection pressures on species, andmany –the weeds in our fields, the fish we haul from the ocean, the wildflowers we pick in the spring –evolve in response.

May 26 – Why We All Signed up:the Emotional Impact of Music
Don McLean

Music trains and entrains the emotions. Its capacity to move us, to drive body and mind, to medicate and manipulate, to trigger memory and feeling, accompanies us from cradle to grave. What in our biological and social makeup makes this possible? What in the sonic and structural character of music makes it so powerful? What do we know? What should we be trying to find out? What is music’s potential as a technology for educational and medical applications? Illustrated with musical examples, the talk addresses the current range of teaching and research at U of T Music, including MaHRC,its Music and Health Research Collaboratory.

Download the PDF Agenda – Great Minds At Work

Fall 2015

Presenter: Daniel Laxer

Tuesdays, October 13 to December 1, 2015
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 13 – Wilfrid Laurier
Serving as Canada’s first francophone Prime Minister, Laurier led the country for fifteen years at the turn of the twentieth century (1896-1911) by winning four consecutive elections as Liberal leader. He negotiated delicate compromises between French and English Canada and created the Royal Canadian Navy in a delicate balancing act between those who wanted close ties with the British Empire and those who sought more independence for Canada.

October 20 – Marius Barbeau
Anthropologist, folklorist and Rhodes scholar who lectured at Laval and the University of Ottawa, Marius Barbeau specialized in the collection of French Canadian and First Nations’ stories and songs, publishing dozens of important works about peoples across Canada. While some of his theories and methodologies have been critiqued, his fieldwork collections and notes comprised a major component of the precursor to the Canadian Museum of History, and he is considered one of the founders of anthropology in Canada.

October 27  – Emily Murphy
Intellectual, feminist activist, and the first female magistrate in Canada and the British Empire, Emily Murphy was one of the “Famous Five” who fought for women’s right to vote and equal recognition under the law. Her ideas on race, drugs and eugenics have come under scrutiny, yet she remains one of the most influential Canadian women of the early twentieth century.

November 3 – Murray Gibbon
Canadian Pacific Railway marketer and cultural promoter who popularized the term “Canadian mosaic.” Member of the Canadian Music Council and founding president of the Canadian Authors Association, Gibbon actively sought to bridge the cultural divisions of Canada with folklore and song, organizing CPR Festivals across the country.

November 10 – Emily Carr
The daughter of British immigrants to Victoria, Emily Carr was trained in art in California, England and France. On returning to Victoria, she became inspired by west coast First Nations such as the Haida, Gitksan and Tsimshian, as well as the rugged west coast landscape. Showing her pieces in the National Gallery of Canada and being welcomed by members of the Group of Seven renewed her passion for painting and inspired her most famous pieces.

November 17 – William Lyon Mackenzie King
Canada’s longest-serving Prime Minister through the turbulent decades of the 1920s through the 1940s, Mackenzie King made up with meticulousness, calculation and luck what he lacked in charisma. He played an important role in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state, yet his personal beliefs in spiritualism influenced some of his international policies in a way that has been critiqued by historians.

November 24 – Tommy Douglas
Social democratic politician and Baptist minister, Tommy Douglas first entered federal politics as an elected member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Switching to provincial politics, he was Premier from 1944 – 1961 when he introduced the first universal health care program in North America. Finally returning to federal politics in 1961, he became the first federal leader of the New Democratic Party.

December 1 – Brian Mulroney
One of the most successful Conservative Prime Ministers of the twentieth century, Mulroney won two consecutive elections between 1984 and 1993. He passed legislation against acid rain, promoted free trade with the United States, and attempted to resolve the issue of Quebec not signing the Constitution of 1982 through the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.

Presenters: Multiple

 Thursdays, October 15 to December 3, 2015
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

October 15 – Rome – Anne Urbancic (Victoria College)

In Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck ride a cool Vespa, looking carefree and thrilled with their adventure. Let’s follow them to little-known places that often get ignored on a regular tourist visit.

October 22 – Barcelona – Bob Davidson (Department of Spanish and Catalan Studies, U of T)

How did Barcelona become a “World City”? We follow the Catalan capital’s evolution, considering the roles of Gaudi and Domėnech i Muntaner, as well as organized spectacles like world’s fairs and the Olympic games.

October 29 – Paris – David Clandfield (French Department, U of T)

My Paris is a city of contrasts and surprises: a hidden Roman amphitheatre, a balcony lunch immortalized by Renoir, a police station with surprising rooftop statues, and the last private house on the Champs-Elysées. Pioneer of street lighting, Paris also has two astonishing public housing developments.

November 5 – London – Linda & Michael Hutcheon (English Department & Faculty of Medicine, U of T)

For centuries London was Europe’s largest metropolis. From George Friedrich Handel to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Shakespeare to Stoppard, London has attracted artists, impresarios and audiences. Let us take you on a historical tour of London as the centre of both commerce and culture.

November 12 – Tokyo – Blair O’Connor

Tokyo combines small and charming with huge and stunning. We’ll look inside Shinjuku Station, with two million passengers every day and restaurants so small you have trouble passing someone on the staircase. In Tokyo, bigger is better and small is beautiful.

November 19 – New York – Dennis Duffy (English Department, U of T)

This talk encapsulates my romantic fascination with New York, concentrating on its splendid offerings to urban strollers, park users, museum and theatre goers, and avid consumers of the very facts of dense urbanity.

November 26 – Berlin – Peter Harris (Victoria College)

Berlin’s turbulent history includes imperial capital, 1920s hotspot, heart of the evil Third Reich, divided by the infamous Wall, and now reunified, a European hotspot once again. We’ll look at what draws so many tourists: traces of the Wall, the staggering richness of the museums and the spectacular architecture.

December 3 Québec City – Sandy Leppan

Everybody loves Québec City, the most European of North American cities, with its intact wall, poignant bridges and remarkable stone buildings. Let’s explore the best lookout points, some little-known treasures, and favourite historical sites, bike routes, walking paths and restaurants.

Spring 2015

Presenters: Marta O’Brien and Matthew Wilkinson

Tuesdays, April 7 to May 26, 2015
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 7 – Wellington Place Neighbourhood: Showing Toronto’s Changes

Established west of the original town of York (later Toronto), this area includes a 19th-century military graveyard, converted factories, a posh residential area, and the Entertainment District. Learn how Wellington Place illustrates the changing roles of Toronto.

April 14 – Cabbagetown: A Victorian Treasure

This well-preserved Victorian neighbourhood includes multi-storey professionals’ houses and tiny workers’ cottages. Through architectural historian Marta O’Brien, we’ll see how Cabbagetown residents preserve their history and architecture. A converted church and picturesque historical cemeteries are included.

April 21 – Rosedale: Mansions and More

Through an illustrated talk, architectural historian Marta O’Brien will discuss the history and diverse architecture of one of Toronto’s best-known residential neighbourhoods. Well-known and lesser-known houses in a variety of architectural styles illustrate why Rosedale’s buildings are protected within two large Heritage Conservation Districts.

April 28 – The Beach: Beyond the Boardwalk

This former summer refuge is now a thriving neighbourhood of long-time residents and young families. Queen Street is lined with shops and small apartment buildings, and side streets with charming houses and gardens connect Queen to the boardwalk along the sandy shore. You’ll hear the neighbourhood’s story as architectural historian Marta O’Brien shows examples of its distinctive architecture.

May 5 – Toronto Island: A Unique Community

“The Island” is actually a small cluster of islands with three major uses: recreation, airport, and a 140-year-old car-free residential community. Marta will present the fascinating history and often-controversial development of this Toronto treasure.

May 12 – 21st Century Architecture: Not just Condos

Beyond the ubiquitous condos there has been a “cultural renaissance” of museums and theatres, as well as dramatic university and commercial buildings constructed in Toronto since 2000. Architectural historian Marta O’Brien will share with you the most striking examples of our city’s newest buildings.

May 19 – Mind Your Manors, Heritage Mississauga

Matthew Wilkinson explores some of the “relics of old decency,” grand estate homes and property remnants of well-to-do families from historic Mississauga.

May 26 – Shaping Mississauga

Matthew will help us to enhance our knowledge of Mississauga by exploring the relentless changes over time.

Download the PDF Agenda – Marta O’Brien & Matthew Wilkinson – Architectural Diversity of Toronto

Presenter: Mike Daley, Musician, Professor York University

Thursdays, April 9 to May 28, 2015
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 9 – Tin Pan Alley

In this first lecture, we will look at the origins of Tin Pan Alley, the street in New York where modern American popular song writing was born. The conventions of the standard pop song form will be outlined and its origins traced to 19th century parlour song and Italian opera.Music by Bert Williams, Sophie Tucker and others.

April 16 – Al Jolson

In the teens and 20s, the name Al Jolson was synonymous with entertainment.The son of a Jewish cantor, Jolson was the first great star of Broadway, combining black singing style with a booming delivery. He appeared in the first motion picture with sound, The Jazz Singer, in 1927 and was billed during his career as “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.” We will focus on Jolson’s music and his role on the vaudeville stage.

April 23 – Bing Crosby

Improvements in microphone technology changed the possibilities for singers by 1925. The first artist to exploit this new technology was Bing Crosby, who began his career with the so-called “King of Jazz,” Paul Whiteman. The lecture will look at Bing’s innovations and intimate style of crooning. Music by Bing Crosby.

April 30 – Louis Armstrong

From humble beginnings at the Colored Waifs’ Home in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong rose up to claim the title of the father of jazz improvisation while establishing himself as one of the great pop interpreters and the popularizer of “scat” singing. Music by Louis Armstrong.

May 7 – Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald was perhaps the most refined of the 20th century jazz and pop singers. She elevated scat singing to an art on par with the best jazz soloists, and in the process earned the respect of her instrumentalist peers. Her “songbook” albums were some of the first concept records to be released. Music by Ella Fitzgerald.

May 14 – Frank Sinatra

Beginning as a “boy singer” with Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra took the established crooning style and forged a unique vocal persona. His relaxed phrasing and individual sense of interpretation helped Sinatra to build a loyal audience that followed him through a long career. Music by Frank Sinatra.

May 21 – Judy Garland

Judy Garland was one of the great stars of the Golden Era of Hollywood films. As a child star, she lit up the screen in The Wizard of Oz and she went on to further stage, film and television success. She was one of the last of the Tin Pan Alley interpreters. We will examine her quivering singing style. Music by Judy Garland.

May 28 – Revivalists

In our final lecture, our attention will turn to those artists that have sought to revive the classic pop sound. Recordings by Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr., Linda Ronstadt and Rod Stewart will be featured. An overview of recommended CDs and local Toronto classic pop singers will be presented.

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Mike Daley – The Great Popular Singers

Fall 2014

Presenter: Helen Hatton, University of Toronto

Tuesdays, October 14 to December 9, 2014
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Oct 14 – Ivan IV

Ivan Grozny means awesome, denoting majesty, but Ivan comes down to us as “terrible,” and he was both great and terrible. His reign saw the consolidation of Russia from the Caspian to the White Sea, and the opening of diplomatic ties to Europe, the creation of a national church and the opening of trade with western Europe.

Oct 21 – Peter I

Fascinated by progress, the West, and absolute power, Peter built St. Petersburg, destroyed the Swedish empire, reorganized the Russian army and founded the Russian navy. He is credited, much more than Ivan, with turning Russia’s face to the west. A man of violent contradictions, virtues and vices, he comes down to us as Peter the Great.

Oct 28 – Catherine the Great

She was a usurper, a petty German princess who scandalized Europe, ruling as an autocrat while professing devotion to the Enlightenment. She made French the language of aristocratic Russia, and extended Russia’s borders to the Crimea and Caucasus, Ukraine and Poland. Voltaire tagged her“the Great” and she left a legacy of great buildings, an unrivalled art collection and an aura which continues to fascinate.

Nov 4 – Russian Music: A Search for Identity

Catherine brought western art and music to Russia, and after her, Russia searched for its own distinctive voice.

Nov 11 – 1917: Two Revolutions

One of the great “ifs” of history. The failure of the spring revolution which overthrew the tsarist regime, made possible the October revolution which brought Lenin and the Bolsheviks to power.

Nov 18 – Lenin

Despite the ultimate failure of his communist revolution, Lenin still lies in his tomb in Red Square in Moscow, and the Russians are still divided over whether he should remain there.

Dec 2 – Stalin

His Five Year Plans took Russia into the 20thC. Stalin led his people through the Great Patriotic War and the Cold War as leader of the first truly totalitarian state. If anyone should be called grozny, it is Stalin, the greatest murderer in history.

Dec 9 – Perestroika

From Gorbachov, glasnostand the end of the Soviet Union, to Putin. Is the “new” Russia a return to the old?

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Helen Hatton – Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to Putin

Presenter: John Percy, University of Toronto

Thursdays, October 16 to December 11, 2014
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Come explore the universe, with its grand scales of distance, size, and time. In eight illustrated, non-technical presentations, we will consider astronomy’s impact on life and culture over the millennia; journey to the strange worlds of the solar system; witness the birth, life, and bizarre death of stars; marvel at galaxies with their mysterious “dark matter” and “supermassive black holes”; ponder the origin and fate of the universe; and question whether life exists elsewhere in the universe and, if so, what form it might take.

Lots of time for questions and discussion! No science or math background assumed!

Oct 16 – “Astronomy: What We Know, and How We Know”

The big picture; the grand scales of distance, size, and time; how astronomy is done; Canada’s contributions.

Oct 23 – “Astronomy through the Ages”

Throughout recorded history –and before –, astronomy has been deeply rooted in almost every culture, as a result of its practical applications, and philosophical implications. Explore the many practical applications of astronomy in your life.

Oct 30 – “Exploring the Solar System”

Spacecraft have now visited every planet, as well as dozens of their moons, and several asteroids and comets. Learn about these strange and diverse “worlds”, and what they can tell us about the past and future of Earth.

Nov 6 – “Exoplanets: Planets Around Other Stars”

One of the most exciting and important advances in science, in our generation, has been the discovery and study of thousands of planets around other stars. Their diversity is amazing –from “hot Jupiters” to “super-Earths”.

Nov 13 – “The Births, Lives, and Bizarre Deaths of Stars”

Where did the sun and stars come from? How can they live for billions of years? How and why do they die, forming such bizarre corpses as “white dwarfs”, “neutron stars”, and “black holes”?

Nov 20 – “Galaxies”

We live in the Milky Way, a galaxy of 300 billion stars, plus gas and dust which forms new stars and planets. Yet 90% of our galaxy is ghostly “dark matter” whose nature we do not understand. And the centre of our galaxy harbours a supermassive black hole, millions of times more massive than the sun. How did it form?

Dec 4 – “Cosmology: The Origin, Evolution, and Fate of the Universe”

The whole universe of billions of galaxies is expanding from its birth in the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. How was it born, and how do we know? What is the strange “dark energy” which is speeding up the expansion of the universe? What is the universe’s eventual fate?

Dec 11 – “Life in the Universe”

Are we alone in the universe? If not, are our “cosmic cousins” primitive, or like us, or more advanced? How can we tell? What is life, anyway? How did it arise on Earth? Is it the same everywhere in the universe? How can we answer these profound questions?

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. John Percy – The Universe: Yours to Discover

Spring 2014

Presenter: Brian Carwana, Director of Encounter World Religions

Tuesdays, April 1 to May 20, 2014
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 1 – To See, To Be, To Do: Primary Perspectives of World Religions

An introductory lecture that offers an overview of the landscape of the world’s religions in an easy to understand framework.Instead of the usual catalogue of dates and names, this lecture provides a map for appreciating diverse religious worldviews by comparing and contrasting how diverse faith traditions understand fourteen underlying principles.

April 8 – Hinduism: Thou Art That

A rainbow religion with innumerable colours as Hinduism has been a collector traditionfor thousands of years. We will watch how concepts have layered on top of others in India, including the idea that each person has divinity within them.

April 15 – Buddhism: All is Mind

“All that we are arises with our thoughts” are the opening words of one Buddhist scripture. We consider how the Buddha’s life and teachings identify the mind as both the cause and cessation of suffering.

April 22 – Judaism: A People Set Apart

For Judaism, history is the page upon which God’s story is written. The class retraces the narrative through a timeline of significant events that trace the evolution of the tradition through three major stages.

April 29 – Christianity: But I Say Unto You

Christianity reinterprets the Jewish story from a past record to a future prediction. This session explores how scriptures develop, the shift from a Jewish movement to a gentile one, and ends with a provocative claim about how Christianity has shaped the fundamental outlook of both believers and non-believers in the modern West.

May 6 – Islam: And Muhammad Is His Prophet

The youngest of the Abrahamic traditions is also the fastest growing. We consider Islam’s Five Pillars –one of faith and four of practice –religious and political contributions of Muhammad, and the rise of two major branches –Sunni and Shia.

May 13 – Daoism: The Way And Its Power

A tradition of the Far East, Taoism is as distant from Western thought as it is in geography. The class explores this unique tradition that espouses no action, no belief, no ritual and a founder with no public ministry.

May 20 – Perennial Themes: Definitions and Commonalities in World Religions

Are the world religions saying the same thing in different ways or different things in the same way? Are there common factors? What are the major differences? And what, after all, is religion anyway? This class sums up the program by asking some big questions and reaching for some tentative answers.

Download the PDF Agenda – Brian Carwana – Primary Perspectives of World Religions

Presenter: Kevin Courrier, Author and Film Critic

Thursdays, April 3 to May 22, 2014
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 3 – Introduction: If History Has Taught Us Anything…The Kennedy Era 1960-1963

The first class introduces students to the overall theme of the course. We begin with an illustration of how American movies act as a tissue sample of the social and political culture of the nation. The idealism of the Kennedy era along and his tragic assassination continues to ripple through the decades.

April 10 – You Can’t Always Get What You Want: The Johnson Era 1964-1968

Although 1964 began with the virtues of the Civil Rights Act, the Lyndon Johnson age was coloured by the escalation of the war in Vietnam, a conflict that inadvertently added to the increasing racial tensions at home. We delve into movies of varied qualities which absorbed the divisive issues of the period.

April 17 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse: The Nixon Era 1968-1974

The Nixon era –reactionary and repressive as it was –produced some of the most provocative, controversial, and enduring American films. Included in this lecture are some alluring commentaries on American life.

April 24 – The Days of Future Passed: The Carter Era 1976-1980

The holistic Carter period tried to put salve on the country’s wounds over the failure of Vietnam and Nixon’s resignation after Watergate.We will turn our attention to movies that sought to define the social lassitude of the time rather than shy away from it.

May 1 – The Big Sleep: The Reagan & George H. W. Bush Era 1980-1992

American movies in the Reagan years not only produced retrograde aspects of American life, movie audiences changed as well. The popular movies of the Reagan era were evasive, producing a wilful kind of amnesia in the mass audience.The Bush era, with its kinder, gentler aura, ushered in movies that confounded the nation’s grip on reality. The hit movies also presented false glimpses of history.

May 8 – Camelot Redux: The Clinton Era 1992-2000

If the Bush years were about erasing the political reality of its time in order to be ‘kinder, gentler,” the President himself became reflected in the movies.

May 15 – No Man’s Land: The George W. Bush era 2000-2008

The George W. Bush era is divided into two portions. The first part comes before 9/11, when the Cold War was over, and action films reflected a country with superheroes defending the nation against terrorist attacks. The second part,after 9/11,when (for a brief period)American action films lost some of their jingoistic stridency and revealed a country in grief and contemplation.

May 22 – Invisible Man: The Barack Obama era 2008-2016

When Barack Obama was elected as the first black President of the United States in November 2008, it was a momentous event in American history. But those hopes have waned somewhat since in part, it was because Obama, the avatar of another New Frontier, couldn’t be found and wasn’t allowed to exist.

Download the PDF Agenda – Kevin Courrier – Reflections in the Hall of Mirrors

Fall 2013

Presenter: Katherine Barber, Canada’s Word Lady

Tuesdays, October 15 to December 3, 2013
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Why is English spelling so chaotic? Why do we have so many synonyms? What might your name tell you about the history of the language? What is the history behind your favourite language pet peeve? This course is a highly informative and entertaining survey of the influences that have shaped English vocabulary over the years, covering the Anglo-Saxon and Viking origins, the influx of Norman French and Central French, later Latin and Greek borrowings, standardization and French borrowing in the 18th century, and international borrowing since the 18th century. We will tie linguistic developments in with the social and political events with which they coincided. Forget your dull high school English classes as Katherine Barber takes you on an ever-entertaining and surprisingly hilarious trip through a crazy language.

Oct 15 – Celts and Anglo-Saxons

Why we have “feet” instead of “foots” and why we use the apostrophe for the possessive. German origins of our essential vocabulary and grammar

Oct 22 – Vikings

Why we wear skirts and shirts. Why the verb “to be” is so ridiculous. Blame the Vikings.

Oct 29 – The Norman Invasion

Why we have “pigs” in the open and “pork” on the plate. The Norman Conquest, Medieval England and the origins of chaotic English spelling.

Nov 5 – Renaissance English

Spelling and pronunciation don’t jibe. Why is there a “b” in “debt” and an “h” in “ghost”? Why do some folks say “y’all”?

Nov 12 – The 18th Century

Re-examining our pet peeves.British spelling and American spelling are different. Why?

Nov 19 – The 19th Century to the Present

Why some people pronounce “herb” with an “h” and others without. Why Lufthansa supplies its first class passengers with “body bags.”

November 26 – American English

Have they corrupted the language? Canadian English: How we can be very confusing to other English speakers.

Dec 3 – Writing Dictionaries

Not as dull as you might think: How do new words enter the language? What do lexicographers do?

Download the PDF Agenda – Katherine Barber – The Rollicking History of the English Language

Presenter: Anthony Davis, University of Toronto

Thursdays, October 17 to December 15, 2013
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Fire and Ice, Flood and Drought; People and Planet Earth

October 1- Natural Environmental Change –Shifting Continents and Changing Climates

Continents have been merging and splitting for probably 4 billion years. Subcrustal convection determines the location of landmasses, the distribution of mountain ranges, volcanicactivity and earthquakes. Plate tectonics is the major control of the Earth’s carbon cycle and hence global climate.

October 24 – Natural Environmental Change –Solar Radiation

Solar radiation, our external heat engine, drives the biosphere and most surface processes. Its impact depends on supply (that changes on long and short time scales) and how the Earth system, particularly its atmosphere, processes it.

October 31 – Environmental Change, Human Evolution and the Human Diaspora.

Until about 1.5 million years ago, human evolution was confined to Africa. Why did we evolve exclusively there? Why and how did people leave Africa to extend around the globe?

November 7 – Plant and Animal Domestication and the Rise of Civilization

Plant and animal domestication began in several widely-separated places at about the same time. What was domesticated? Why did it happen? What were the consequences?

November 14 – Trade, Colonialism and Disease

Animal domestication and an increase in population density brought crowd diseases. Trade and colonization caused intermixing of regional disease pools often with disastrous consequences (the Black Death, the Columbian Exchange, etc.).

November 21 – The Long History of the Use and Abuse of Natural Resources

Plant and animal domestication allowed urbanization, the stratification of society, the development of trade, the emergence of culture, etc., but it also brought environmental degradation. Here we look at the demise of the ‘hydraulic societies’ of the Middle East and the Indus Valley, and desertification in central China.

November 28 – The Vulnerability of Islands

Most documented extinctions have occurred on remote islands. Why is island life so vulnerable? How are we largely responsiblefor what happens?

December 5 – TheRise and Fall of Societies

Most past societies have failed. The trigger to failure was commonly environmental. We’ll see how this applies to the Maya, the Greenland Norse and the people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Anthony Davis – People and Planet Earth


Spring 2013

Presenters: Multiple

Tuesdays, April 9 to May 28, 2013
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

April 9 – Famous People of Peel

Earl Fee, author of Living to be One Hundred,talks about his life and the key to a long healthy life. Hebroke 56 world records and holds 34 Canadian records in track and field.

April 16 – The Greening of Mississauga

David Culham, former Councillor of Mississauga recounts the development of the City’s recycling program, one of the first in Ontario,and his role in the creation of public spaces.

April 23 – Life in Politics

Mississauga Councillor Bonnie Crombie talks about municipal politics.

April 30 – Financial Security and Retirement

Andrew W. Ellis, Financial Advisor,provides a helpful presentation for those considering retirement or already retired.

May 7 – Over 200 Years of History: In the Footsteps of the Mississaugas

Matthew Wilkinson, Chief Historian for the City of Mississauga,tells us the story of the native Mississaugas, the Treaty Period, and relocation in 1847.

May 14 – The Rise and Fall of Civilization -7000 Years of Failure

Dr. Anthony Davis, Professor of Geography, University of Toronto, talks about how the past offers us important lessons, but we seldom heed them.

May 21 – Creating Accessible Communities in Mississauga

Rabia Khader, Chair of the City of Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee,discusses how to create inclusive and accessible places and spaces in our communities to ensure everyone belongs.

May 28 – Global Economic Crisis

David Olive, Economist, Toronto Star,talks about the world’s ongoing financial challenges and some possible solutions that may bring stability to world markets.

Download the PDF Agenda – Spring Speaker Series 2013

Presenter: Michael Daley

Thursdays, April 11 to June 6, 2013
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

From humble beginnings in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, jazz has become a respected form of art music, prompting more than one writer to call it “America’s Classical Music.” This course charts the course of jazz from down-and-dirty to high-faluting. The instructor uses vintage films and recordings,along with live musical demonstrations,to show how jazz grew over its century of history.

April 11 – From Africa to the New World

We start by considering some of the musical and cultural origins of jazz, from the West African jungle and savannah to the scourge of slavery and some African-American idioms of the 19thand early 20th centuries, including cakewalks, ragtime and blues.

April 25 – New Orleans –The Cradle of Jazz

The unique situation of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century – its race politics, its gumbo of cultures –gave rise to the new music called “jazz.”

May 2 – The Twenties –the “Jazz Age”

The newfound popularity of jazz was received with suspicion by some and welcomed by others. Innovators like Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington were creating an artful language out of jazz, transforming popular music.

May 9 – The Jazz Singers

While Al Jolson incorporated jazz-like phrasing into his vaudeville-styled singing,it was Louis Armstrong’s inspired improvisations and Bing Crosby’s jazz-influenced “cool”crooning style that defined jazz singing in the 1920s.

May 16 – The Swing Era

The challenges of creating jazz for large dance bands were brilliantly answered by pioneers like Art Hickman and Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Count Basie.

May 23 – Bebop in the 1940s

The popularity of big-band swing created a great deal of employment for young musicians during the years between the wars. Musicians began to expand the musical parameters of jazz.

May 30 – Cool jazz and Hard Bop in the 1950s

At the same time that bebop was being forged in New York nightclubs, a newly refined jazz style later to be called “cool jazz” was emerging.

June 6 – The Future of Jazz

After summarizing free jazz, jazz-rock fusion and the classic jazz revival, we’ll conclude the course by taking stock of jazz in the present.

Download the PDF Agenda – Dr. Michael Daley – 100 Years of Jazz