Spring 2014


Community Seminars are special opportunities for community members to read and discuss seminal works in the same unique manner as our students. Seminars are discussion-based and small in size in order to ensure spirited dialogue. There are topics to pique every interest, and for many participants the discussion-based learning model is an entirely new experience.

Please call 505-984-6199 to register for any of the seminars. Full-time teachers with proof of current employment can enroll in a Community Seminar at a 50-percent discount. Community Seminars are free to 11th and 12th grade high school students (limited spaces available).

Give the gift of education. Gift certificates available.

Plato and Socrates on Love in the Phaedrus and Symposium

Tutor: Jacques Duvoisin
What, exactly, do we love when we love another person? Is love an exchange of some sort (of feelings, affections, or other gratifications), or is it a shared experience of some transcendent good? Plato presents various approaches to these puzzling questions in the Phaedrus and the Symposium, which will be considered in four meetings.

Four sessions: Wednesdays, February 526, 46 p.m.; $140

Egypt and Islam

Tutor: Claudia Hauer
This three-week seminar will explore the intellectual foundations of radical Islam. The first session will focus on selections from the Qu’ran and an account of Mohammed’s revelation. In the second session, participants will read and discuss Sayyid Qutb’s writings on jihad, with supplemental readings in the Qu’ran and Reza Aslan’s No god But God. In the final session, we will study the recent history of Egypt and ask about the future of Islam.

Three sessions: Wednesdays, February 1226, 46 p.m.; $105

Three Movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood: Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and Sunset Blvd

Tutor: David Carl
This seminar will examine three classic examples from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” of cinema, focusing on the intersection of technical devices such as mise-en-scene, camera angle, and lighting with narrative, acting, and dramatic development to discuss these great films as examples of both works of art and successful entertainment. Emphasis in the discussions will be placed on how visual information provided in the film advances the plot, helps develop the characters, and gives the audience a richer sense of what the filmic experience entails. Although the classroom will be equipped with a TV and DVD player to aid the discussion, participants are asked to watch each film in its entirely (preferably more than once) in preparation for the conversations. Films to be discussed over the three days sequentially are Michael Curtiz’sCasablanca (1942), Howard Hawks’s The Big Sleep (1946), and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. (1950).

Three sessions: Friday, February 7, 57 p.m., Saturday, February 8, 10 a.m.Noon, Sunday, February 9, 10 a.m.Noon; $105

Three Films by Akira Kurosawa: Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Ran

Tutor: David Carl
Kurosawa was one of the most important Japanese filmmakers, hailed by international directors like Ingmar Bergman and Frederico Fellini as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. George Lucas borrowed from Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress when he made Star Wars, and Sergio Leone borrowed from him when he made hisFist Full of Dollars movies with Clint Eastwood. Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai consistently shows up on directors’, critics’, and audience’s lists of “Top 10 Movies of all Time.” Participants will watch three of Kurosawa’s most important films, made over a 30-year period, from the monumental Seven Samurai (1954) to his two Japanese re-envisioning of Shakespeare’s great tragedies, Throne of Blood (1957, based on Macbeth) and Ran (1985, based on King Lear). In addition to discussing his films, participants also will be reading his autobiography as a support and supplement to consideration of his movies. Although the classroom will be equipped with a TV and DVD player to aid the discussion, participants are asked to watch each film in its entirely (preferably more than once) in preparation for the conversations.

Three sessions: Friday, April 11, 57 p.m., Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m.Noon, Sunday April 13, 10 a.mNoon; $105

"No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward."
- Booker T. Washington