Institute for Retired Professionals, New School University, New York

DEATH: FACING THE INEVITABLE (0319)
10:00 Limited to 18
Coordinator: Carolyn Grossner
Montaigne said, "One should always have one's boots on and be ready to leave." We study the leaving part and seek to understand the process of dying in order to confront our own fear of death. We look at the many aspects of death: pain, suffering, and bodily disintegration; lingering vs. sudden death; suicide; euthanasia; hospice care; and how to achieve a good death. The death of others, the accompanying grief, and the funeral industry are not subjects of this course. It is our own death we confront through readings and discussion of Nuland's How We Die, Battin's The Least Worst Death, Humphry's Final Exit, Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," and many other sources. Members of the class are randomly made responsible for preparing one or two questions for class discussion from the assigned readings, which average about 50 pages per week.
Text: Coursepack.
Carolyn Grossner has developed and led study groups including Utopia, Historiography, and The Concept of Time and organizes courses for those interested in philosophy and science.

GREAT DECISIONS: SECTION ONE (0320)
10:00 Limited to 20
Coordinator: Harry Horan
The Great Decisions Program has been in existence since 1954. It is the largest nonpartisan public education program on international affairs in the world. The briefing book, published annually by the Foreign Policy Association, is the basis for our discussions of many of the most timely and challenging issues of U.S. foreign policy today.
Text: The Great Decisions Briefing Book (available for $15 in the IRP office).
Harry Horan, a retired airline captain, will be leading the Great Decisions discussion group for the second time; he has previously co--coordinated two other IRP study groups.

THE BIG ORANGE: TASTING LOS ANGELES (0321)
10:00 Limited to 20
Coordinator: Thomas Grant
The City New Yorkers Love to Hate evolved improbably from an arid, literally unstable landscape; but earthquakes haven't stopped millions from seeking another (or last) chance, or just the proverbial place in the sun. The local industry-movies-lured many to reinvent themselves, including great writers. We try to get beyond the familiar putdowns-Tinseltown, Lalaland, or just L.A.-and examine the West Coast experience historically as expressed in many literary and visual forms. Central themes: El Dorado, pueblo history eclipsed by Anglo myths, cultivating "paradise," the politics of water, revivalism in Babylon, autopia: car culture and art, pulp fictions, noir city, writers' revenge: the Hollywood novel, "hyperrealities," from Venice Beach to Disneyland, and architectural styles: craftsman, mission revival, movie set, postmodern.
Texts: Ulin, David, ed., Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology (Library of America, 2002, ISBN: 1-9310-82278, $40.00); West, Nathaniel, The Day of the Locust (Signet, 1983, ISBN: 0-4515-23482, $6.95); Fitzgerald, F. Scott, The Love of the Last Tycoon (Scribner, ISBN:
0-0201-99856, $14.00); plus handouts.
Tom Grant, a retired teacher, is also a native Angeleno born and raised in Hollywood. However, he loves living in New York, where he continues to work on his accent.

GRIFTERS, GRAFTERS, AND CONFIDENCE MEN (0322)
10:00 Limited to 25
Coordinators: Judy Goldman, Lucy Wollin
There are literary and real-life tricksters everywhere, but American life and literature are particularly rich with tales of charming con men and women. Great fiction writers, biographers, and journalists have written about them. What is their special language? What are Ponzi schemes? What was the Blonger Gang? Captain Suggs? We look at Barnum, Gondorf, Prince Romanoff, and other finaglers and discover the secrets of their successes and failures. Discussion is supplemented by student reports, film excerpts, and other materials. Readings include short stories and excerpts from historical texts, novels, and folk tales.
Text: Coursepack.
Judy Goldman has coordinated a variety of study groups, including Struggle for Self: Short Fiction. Lucy Wollin has coordinated British Literature of the Raj.

PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (0323)
12:20 Limited to 18
Coordinators: Bob Ashton, Peter Goldeman
The philosophy of science is the investigation of philosophical questions that arise from reflecting on science. We read articles by Rudolf Carnap, Carl Hempel, A. J. Ayer, Ernest Nagel, Paul Feyerabend, Ian Hacking, and other prominent philosophers. These primary source essays survey the foundational questions in the field: What are the proper models of explanation? What is a law of nature? Can one scientific theory reduce to another? Is the appearance versus reality distinction valid? How do scientists reconcile empiricism and the unobservable? This is our second semester looking to answer these questions through close reading and discussion. New class members are welcome. Readings are brief (20 to 25 pages) but require close attention.
Text: Curd, Martin and Cover, J.A., eds., Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (Norton, 1998, ISBN:
0-3939-71759, $63).
Bob Ashton and Peter Goldeman have participated for many years in a variety of science and philosophy courses. Each session is led by a different IRP member: Jan Adler, Bob Ashton, Bernie Belkin, Bob Blumenfeld, Bob Buckles, Anne Geller, Peter Goldeman, Martin Kelly, Arnold Lieberman, Jean Paradise.

SPAIN'S GOLDEN AGE (0324)
12:20 Limited to 25
Coordinators: Frederic L Gannon, Irving Geller, Barbara Salant
Spain's Golden Age, a time of illusion, delusion and intoxication! In the decades after 1492, Spain reached unprecedented heights of power and cultural achievement. But almost immediately, threatened by enemies, real and imagined, the country began its steady political and economic decline. We examine some of the splendid masterpieces created during this period in this militaristic, hierarchical, militantly religious society with a small aristocracy lording over a poverty-stricken peasantry: Calderon's drama Life is a Dream, Cervantes' Don Quixote, the mystic poetry of Sts. Theresa and John of the Cross, and Velazquez' puzzling and hypnotic painting, The Ladies in Waiting (Las Meninas). Participants read 40-50 pages per week and report on selected topics.
Text: Calderon, P., trans. John Clifford, Life is a Dream (Nick Hern Books, London, 2005, ISBN: 1-85459-188-6, $8.95); Smith, Loren G., ed. and trans., Flame of Love, Poems of the Spanish Mystics (Society of St. Paul, 2005, ISBN: 0-8189-0977-3, $14.95); Cervantes, M., trans. Edith Grossman, Don Quixote (Harper Collins, 2005, ISBN: 0-06-093434-4, $16.95).
Frederic L. Gannon is a retired board-certified psychiatrist who has been active in academic medicine. Irving Geller was in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, majored in philosophy in college, and made his career in financial public relations. Barbara Salant has coordinated Greek Art and Architecture of the Golden Age and Florence: Heart and Soul of the Renaissance. A college course in Don Quixote sparked her interest in Spain's Golden Age.

NEW YORK BASEBALL'S GOLDEN ERA:
1947-1957 (0325)

12:20 Limited to 25
Coordinator: Steven August
It was the golden decade of New York City baseball, when at least one of New York's teams played in every World Series except for 1948. Seven times there was a subway series. And the Yankees won nine pennants and seven World Series. Joe DiMaggio finished up his amazing career and New York's teams fielded baseball's three best center fielders: Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider and Willie Mays. And perhaps the most important achievement was the breaking of the color barrier when Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947. We have the chance to relive this glorious era, reading about 20 pages a week and visiting the baseball exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
Text: Kahn, Roger, The Era 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World (University of Nebraska Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-8032-78055, $19.95).
Once Steve August realized that he wasn't going to be a major league baseball player, he fell in love with baseball's history and literature.

THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL (0312)
12:20 Limited to 20
Coordinators: Carol Schoen, Eileen Wechsler
It's razzle-dazzle time! Join the chorus line metaphorically as we examine the ways American musical films reflect and influence the culture, values, history, and style of the periods in which they were created. We cover the development of the musical film from its earliest periods in the 1920s, through the Depression-era extravaganzas of the 1930s, the propaganda films of the 1940s war years, and the musical's golden age of the late 1940s and 1950s. From Busby Berkeley to John Travolta, it's song-and-dance time once again.
Text: Coursepack.
Note: If any participant wishes to present a full session on a film of his/her choice, please contact the coordinators before the first session.
Carol Schoen has led study groups on short stories, long stories, and opera stories in print and now looks forward to exploring stories told through music in film. After a career in special education and later in the business world, Eileen Wechsler is pleased to leave sitting at Front Desk and to stand as a first-time coordinator, entering into the fantasy world of "the talkies," a genre which reflects almost a century of societal changes.


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