Registration closes for Summer 2021 eight and ten-week courses (Basic Program, Open Enrollment, Writer's Studio, Visual Arts)
Registration closes for Summer 2021 eight and ten-week courses (Basic Program, Open Enrollment, Writer's Studio, Visual Arts)
The Open Program offers noncredit courses in the liberal arts to adults seeking to learn from University of Chicago scholars and researchers, accomplished alumni, leading authorities, and gifted teachers. Classes are small, energetic, and diverse. No grades or academic credit are assigned. Open Program courses celebrate lifelong intellectual curiosity.
Continuing a tradition of outreach that began in 1892 when the first classes on our Hyde Park campus opened, the Open Program was designed to extend the intellectual growth and ongoing research of the University to the City of Chicago and beyond. The Open Program offers an agile curriculum that reflects the intersection of leading edge research and popular interest.
Or view all upcoming Open Program courses.
In this workshop, we'll look at different examples of how writers manage transitions between back story and present action, whether through space breaks, interior monologue, or jump cuts. In-class exercises will help students develop these skills.
This course will examine the contested meaning of the Scopes Trial in American culture context with Darwinism, through the trial transcripts, Clarence Darrow's and William Jennings Bryan's aims in order to consider how to interpret its meaning.
Writers of all genres will benefit from lecture, discussion, brief readings, and in-class prompts as we focus on specific, effective tools to navigate flashbacks, flash forwards, as well as shifts of scene within a linear narrative.
A giant of modernist English poetry, Stevens grappled deeply and protractedly in both his poetry and prose with the particular character and problems of what he called 'modern reality'. We will read widely from Stevens' poems, essays and aphorisms.
We will read and discuss the second and third volumes of Proust’s novel, The Search for Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower and The Guermantes Way. Proust treats the theme of love in all varieties and the development of the artist.
Japanese culture offers many examples where the spiritual and the material are considered as intersecting: from sacred mountains and android-Buddhas, to rituals for the disposal of used working tools and toys.
This course is a special extended edition of the Basic Program methods course offered as part of our celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the program. One of the foundational premises of the Basic Program is that reading is a skill. And that like many skills, one can get better at reading through theoretically-informed practice.
This discussion/lecture course will focus on the whole history of Chicago, from its origins to the present, emphasizing the major events, politics, and peoples that make up one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
In this workshop, we'll learn how to craft scenes that contain all the elements that move your story forward. We'll discuss how richly drawn characters, strong sense of place, and effective dialogue can be amplified to create dramatic arc.
In this course we will examine the essay as a genre, reading some of the best examples covering a range of topics and time periods, from Madison to Baldwin, and Swift to Schopenhauer.
The significance of ancient Egypt in the development of western culture has been long overshadowed by biblical narrative, romantic novels, and overly produced Hollywood films. This course will focus on the popular and scientific history of Egypt.
Do you like Proust? Kafka? Polish painter and writer of Jewish descent, Bruno Schulz (1892-1942), is next of kin. Brutally shot in 1942 by a Gestapo officer, Schulz did not finish his novel, The Messiah. Its manuscript and Schulz’s stories written under Nazi occupation, have been lost.
In this course we will focus on the innovative and subversive films of the Coen Brothers.
Virginia Woolf's October 1928 Orlando: A Biography is at once a bubbling jeu d'esprit of playfulness, humor and imagination, a keen critique of women's disinheritance and critics' cruelty, and a paean to Woolf's friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West.
This visual anthropology course offers an immersion into anthropological media for students interested in visual anthropology and documentary film. It will provide a substantial understanding of anthropological media through film, sound, and texts.
This summer we will study films by experts in the craft of "cinematic creation" which look both backwards and forwards in their attempts to revolutionize how we integrate film "experiences" and expand our own sense of identity and creative potential.
In this class we will do a close reading of the essential writings of 19th century British philosopher and parliamentarian John Stuart Mill, including "On Liberty," "Utilitarianism," and "On the Subjection of Women."
This class will focus on Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, (1835,1840), to understand how democratic culture shapes the American character. It will be primarily a close reading of books I and II, on bright and 'dark' sides of democracy.
In this workshop we'll apply techniques to weave together thematic, plot and character elements to expand the second act of your tale, do justice to your premise, attract your audience, and tell the story you feel compelled to tell.
In this class, we read two texts by the Roman Historian Sallust that deal with the turbulent period in the late Republic that set the stage for the civil wars that ultimately resulted in the end of the Republic and the establishment of the Empire.
Ralph Ellison writes with a vital, incisive, discerning motile voice, and his protagonist, the young unnamed narrator, IS such qualities – in his person, his thoughts, his interactions, his utterances.
Join us in a summer reading course in the poetry of the Bible. The Poetry of the Bible offers ample literature for analysis, reflection and even meditation.
Each session in this course examines one crucial musical masterpiece that transformed western music. Pieces include Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Beethoven's Third and Ninth Symphonies, and Chopin'sPreludes.
In the tradition of writers whose work has been transformed by walking, we will mindfully stroll through our environments, from urban to rural, as we move from our interiority to the to the world around us and observe how it enriches our writing. There is a long and varied history of the writer as flanuer - the passionate wanderer.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most authoritative Hindu text on yoga, explains the meditative discipline required to attain absolute freedom from suffering. This text’s mental rather than physical focus is in contrast to contemporary yoga culture.
This second course on Flannery O'Connor will cover a combination of stories and essays, together with her novel, Wise Blood.
Aeschylus is a powerful and poetic writer who was known for his creative and dramatic staging. This class will delve into Aeschylus, the first of the great Greek tragedians, taking up the plays included in The Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus 1.
Paradise Lost is one of the most important literary works in the English language. Based on the account in Genesis, it tells a complex story of God, Satan, angels, man and woman. Its purpose, Milton said, was to "justify the ways of God to men."
James Madison was an architect for the New American Nation. He was a principle author of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, one of the authors of The Federalist Papers and a US President. We will examine his writings that shaped a nation.
The 17th and 18th centuries in Europe mark a period of philosophical revolution, where the debates focused largely on the nature and limits of human knowledge. We shall be reading representative writings from some of the major thinkers of this period.
This course will explore some of the classics of political philosophy.
This course constitutes a cultural, historical, and artistic journey to Mexico--country that some consider to be the "distant neighbor" of the United States. By exploring narrative, art, and film, we define the contours of twentieth-century Mexico.
This is Cather's epic creation on the efforts of historically-based Bishop Jean-Marie Latour and Vicar Joseph Vaillant to establish and "gird up" the nascent Diocese of New Mexico, recently acquired by the U.S.'s winning the Mexican-American War.
A close encounter with the lush poetic visions and unaffected mindfulness of the Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and painter, Derek Walcott (1930-2017, Nobel Prize 1992). We will select a small number of Walcott’s most powerful poems and will take as much time as necessary to savor each of them fully together, through class discussion.
Although largely ignored by critics in their own time, literary women were central to the Harlem Renaissance. Writers covered in this course will include Jessie Fauset, Nella Larson, and Zora Neale Hurston.
This course will explore eight of Arthur Miller's pivotal works including All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, A Memory of Two Mondays, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy and The Price.
What thoughts about the good life, the just society, beauty, truth, and knowledge take distinctively Asian forms but are recognizable to others? The course examines such traditions as Confucianism, Buddhism, and others, in history and the present.
In The Idiot, Dostoevsky takes up the question of how a "Christ-like" man would survive (or not) in this world. Demons is a 3-part novel inspired by the true story of a political murder, a masterpiece which still feels perfectly fresh and modern.
Buddhism is often presented as an unusually rational or science-friendly religion, or even as "a philosophy, not a religion". In this course we'll put that common wisdom to the test.
Although Claude Debussy despised the term Impressionism, he is regarded as its greatest musical exponent. The radically structured and kaleidoscopically colorful nature of his music represents as extreme a departure from tradition as any in music.
Whose story is it? Who tells the story and why? How does a writer decide how much to get inside a character's head? What are the advantages of different points of view? We will examine exemplary work, including pieces by Julia Alvarez, Michelle Cliff, Robert(a) Marshall, John Edgar Wideman, and others.
The third great scripture of the Abrahamic tradition and the foundation of Islam, we will discuss the Qur'an from a secular, literary perspective to gain an initial understanding of it and its relationship to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
In Plato's Protagoras, Socrates combines philosophical analysis of the basic moral problem (telling right from wrong) with a portrait of the sophist, Protagoras, and his famous dictum of relativism: Man is the measure of all things.
We will read and discuss Boethius' medieval philosophical work The Consolation of Philosophy.
In this course, we will read some of the most important modern and contemporary Italian authors: Verga, Pirandello, Tomasi di Lampedusa, Sciascia, Maraini, and Camilleri. We will accompany the readings with movies inspired by their books.
Stay motivated while writing your novel! This online class will offer craft discussions, intensive study of a mentor text, instructor feedback on a synopsis and eighty pages of work, and opportunities for revision.
We'll discuss strategies for creating more vivid, informative, and compelling dialogue that moves your story forward. We'll examine dialect, tag lines, and how to achieve speedy characterization through in-class exercises.
The Beethoven symphonies and concertos form the central core of Western Classical music. This course uses both archival and contemporary performances to explore these works, offering historical and social perspectives on this fascinating repertory.
Getting your novel off the ground in chapter 1 can be a daunting task. First chapters are often written again and again. We'll critique your chapter 1, as well as analyze excellent opening chapters and discuss why they work.
What are we aiming at when we read or produce criticism? Are we seeking knowledge about texts or knowledge about ourselves, or both? We will explore these questions through readings of texts by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marxist literary criticism.
This one-day course will focus on Raphael of Urbino (1483–1520), known since the sixteenth century as "The Prince of Painters." The course will explore Raphael' formation as a young artist; his years in Florence studying the art of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo; and his extraordinary career in Rome, where he worked for popes
In this workshop, we'll look at online resources that will help you to organize your work strategize submissions. We'll review Duotrope, Submittable, and other submissions-organizing sites that make the regular, organized submissions easier.
This course will examine Galileo's work and thought in his own words, from his early discoveries, his famous Letter to the Duchess Christina, and his inquisition trial, in order to discuss the question of how to interpret Galileo's meaning today.
We read Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, Milton's Lycidas, and Bellow's "Seize the Day," which features the earlier works as part of the liberal education of the protagonist.
Through a careful reading and discussion of Shakespeare’s play, this course will explore Shakespeare’s exaltation of “graceful Christianity” in both the major and minor plot threads of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays.
We will engage in a close reading of Euthyphro against the backdrop of Socrates’ own trial in the Apology.
This course is an introduction to the method of close reading encouraged in the Basic Program, starting from Adler's How to Read a Book.
An in-depth discussion of "The Judgement" (1912), "A Country Doctor" (1917) and "A Hunger Artist" (1922).
We read three Greek tragedies that feature the Iphigenia myth: Agamemnon by Aeschylus, and Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris. The myth of the House of Atreus, and the movie, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, may also be discussed.
Like its counterpart How to Read Classic Texts, this course aims to help students improve their reading skills as they approach reading religious texts as literature.
Silas Marner is the story of a sincerely religious young man who is betrayed by a friend who frames him for a crime he did not commit, alienating is fiancé and ruining his life.
This class is open to all fiction genres and is designed to assist writers in the early stages of their novel. Students with a few pages and an idea, and students with hundreds of pages are welcome.
The Writer's Studio Monthly Writing Group is designed for students working in creative nonfiction or fiction. Focused on monthly workshops, the group also provides writers a sense of community as well as an outlet for discussion of both practice and form.
Learn how to write literarily relevant sex scenes to develop character and plot in memoir, novel, or short story. This is not an erotica writing workshop, but rather a class dedicated to a unique and powerful craft tool.
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