Courses and Workshops

HomeCourses and Workshops

Monday, Starts September 25

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Joy of Singing

Lauren Carley

Prepare your body, brain, and voice to sing with ease, expressiveness, and projection. Learn four traditional rounds and five part-songs by ear, plus choral skills such as legato, staccato, fermata, ritard, timbre, and head and chest voice. More experienced participants may sing in trios or anchor their sections. We will perform for invited guests during the last class. Open to all levels.

69 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Leonard Cohen: Tower of Song

Jannie Dresser

Long before Leonard Cohen gained fame as a singer, he was a prize-winning poet and budding novelist. He was deeply influenced by Judaism, Catholicism, and Buddhism, and drew on diverse cultural references in songs of love, conflict, war and peace, and the vagaries of belief. Look beyond his triumphant “Hallelujah” as we celebrate a 60-year career and explore the inspirations behind his provocative, erotic, and often dark lyrics.

0 slots available
$185.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

The Brain and the Mind

Jesse Bengson

Explore recent revelations concerning the relationship between the mind and the brain. Is there a difference between your mind and your brain? How does dreaming rewire the brain? How does aging change the brain’s structure? How does the brain create consciousness? We will explore these and other topics in a large lecture format.

11 slots available
$145.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Writing Funny

Arje Shaw

What’s better than a good laugh? Creating that laugh. This interactive comedy-writing workshop will explore the components of humor and how to apply it to your work. Join us if you want to have fun, learn, and be inspired to write better, faster, and funnier. Taught in a supportive environment, where everyone gets a chance to present, and open to writers of all levels.

2 slots available
$225.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Zen Buddhism and Temple Arts

Marcia Lieberman

Devotion in Buddhist spiritual life is expressed in an array of physical and artistic ways. Through lectures, visual materials, hands-on practice, and fieldtrips, we will examine the beauty and creativity that is encouraged in practices such as the enso, zengo work, Japanese landscape gardening, altar care, and the way of tea. What are the aesthetic concerns around these rituals, and how do they impact social interactions?

26 slots available
$185.00

Tuesday, Starts September 26

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Bruce Springsteen: “The Boss” of Rock

Peter Elman

Delve into the career and music of “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen. Travel from the juke joints of the Jersey Shore to his discovery at Columbia studios; from the covers of Time and Newsweek to his three-year legal limbo; and from sold-out stadiums for Born in the USA to the acoustic elegance of Nebraska. At 67, Springsteen continues to be America’s greatest rocker and working-class hero, whose brilliant records and performances are the stuff of legend. Note: this is an eight-week course. The last class meeting is on November 14.

227 slots available
$185.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Everyday Philosophy

Rob Merker

We all face big questions every day, from the metaphysical — “What is the purpose of life?” — to the mundane, such as, “Should I give a dollar to that homeless person?” Philosophers have been thinking about these types of questions for thousands of years. We will apply the ideas of philosophers from the ancient past to the lives we lead and questions we ponder today.

22 slots available
$185.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lafayette

Japanese History

Dayna Barnes

In the past 160 years, Japan has gone from a closed, feudal, and pre-industrial country to a technologically advanced global power. What brought about these changes? Starting with its “opening” in 1853, this class will cover the rapid Meiji-era modernization, 20th-century imperialism, defeat and devastation after World War II, and reinvention as a pacifist economic power. We will also consider current events and trends and Japan’s future.

136 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lafayette

Life/Story: a Memoir Writing Workshop

Tamim Ansary

Discuss the features of good memoirs and good writing — how to get started, keep the words flowing, zero in on a story, and rediscover the forgotten. Learn how to shape a narrative, invest the story with drama, humor, and suspense, and enhance the writing with dialogue, descriptive details, and vivid language. Classes will include writing activities and discussion.

0 slots available
$225.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Volunteering, Meditation, and Neuroplasticity

Amelia Barili

Meditation and volunteering are good for your heart, brain, and whole being. Combined, they foster positive neuroplasticity. Study the science of neuroplasticity, and meditate to expand your mind and heart. You will also volunteer outside of class for one to two hours each week at English-inAction, International House, or Refugee Transitions. This experiential learning will deepen our knowledge of other cultures and help international students, refugees, and immigrants in the often-challenging transition to American life.

9 slots available
$225.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Lafayette

Internment: Lessons in Democracy

John Tateishi

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order that resulted in the exclusion and imprisonment of Japanese Americans as “enemy aliens.” Thirty years later, Japanese Americans demanded redress for their imprisonment. Examine this history, the constitutional issues, and the impact of this period on the treatment of U.S. Arab and Muslim communities since 9/11 and in current immigration debates.

148 slots available
$145.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Murder: a Defense Team's Investigation

Judith Coburn,Al Wax

Like Season One of the popular NPR podcast “Serial,” this course will focus on one murder case. Review original police reports, and view police department videos of interviews with suspects. Hear how the defense team’s lawyer and investigator examined the physical evidence, found witnesses, prepared a social history of the defendant’s life, and created a legal defense.

0 slots available
$185.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Reconstruction: The Post-Civil War South

Mick Chantler

The people of Old Dixie were shocked and humiliated by their unexpected defeat at the hands of the detested Yankees, and their social order was irrevocably changed. Trace the struggles that the South faced following the Civil War, and examine how Southern attitudes, Northern vindictiveness, and entrenched racism on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line combined to shape a political and social legacy that continues today. Note: This is an eight-week class. the last class meeting is on Tuesday, November 14.

203 slots available
$185.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Berkeley

The Expanded Self: Taking Compassionate Action in Your Life

Lauren Vanett

This course is an opportunity to appreciate who you are and who you would like to be. Reflect on past challenges and successes, cultivate self-compassion, and envision your best possible future. This hands-on journey uses mindfulness meditation and evidence-based practices from positive psychology, builds awareness of how to move beyond self-limiting beliefs, and exposes hidden capacities that you can use to activate your inner and outer life.

11 slots available
$185.00

Wednesday, Starts September 27

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Goya: the Birth of a Modern Artist

Isidra Mencos

Goya lived in a period of intense political upheaval, civil wars, and a discredited monarchy. His art mixed the hopeful viewpoint of the Enlightenment with the emotional intensity of Romanticism, while upending the traditional role of an artist. Although wealthy clients sponsored some of his work, his independent works showed the depths of horror to which humanity could descend. Examine Goya’s major works, including royal tapestries, portraits, dark etchings (“Los Caprichos”), and the desperate Black Paintings.

49 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Symphonic Season Fall 2017

Alexandra Amati-Camperi

The Bay Area offers an abundance of riches when it comes to symphonic music. We will examine works being performed at various venues this fall, including Haydn’s earliest symphonies, Mozart’s “Little G Minor” symphony, and Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9. Explore each piece in detail to gain a deeper appreciation for it. This course does not include performance tickets; participants are encouraged to attend on their own.

250 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

The World According to Samuel Beckett

David Alpaugh

The work of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett is sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, and always entertaining, illuminating, and metaphorical. Classes will include lectures on Beckett’s aesthetic and place in literary history, along with video clips from Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days, Play, Not I, Footfalls, and Catastrophe — with performances by Burgess Meredith, Julianne Moore, Michael Gambon, Susan Fitzgerald, Sir Arthur John Gielgud, and others.

14 slots available
$185.00
1:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Berkeley

American-led Military Occupations (1945–2014)

Dayna Barnes

The Allied occupations of Germany and Japan after World War II are remembered as the “good occupations” for successfully turning militaristic enemies into stable and democratic allies. Japan has recently emerged as a potential model for future nation-building projects, and a foil for understanding failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. But how did these American-led projects differ, and what can they teach us about the benefits and pitfalls of foreign interventions?

127 slots available
$145.00
2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Berkeley

Artful Essays for Pleasure and Publication

Elizabeth Fishel

Learn how to turn your opinions, memories, and ideas into short, shapely works for pleasure or publication. Examine excellent essays by Joan Didion, Anne Lamott, Oliver Sacks, and Nora Ephron, among others. Gain practical tips on style, structure, scene setting, and creating a narrative arc. In-class prompts will kickstart opinion pieces, first-person and travel essays, and blog posts. Receive thoughtful feedback on your work and guidance on where to publish your work in print and online.

0 slots available
$225.00
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Ezra Stoller: Photographer of Modern Architecture

Pierluigi Serraino

Ezra Stoller (1915–2004), an architectural photographer based in New York, produced countless iconic images of 20th-century modern architecture in America that contributed immeasurably to its mythology and leadership worldwide. His photos of the Finnish Pavilion, designed by Alvar Aalto for the 1939 New York Expo, and New York’s Lever House, completed in 1952 by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, are the definitive images of these architectural giants.

68 slots available
$145.00
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Nanotechnology: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Younes Ataiiyan

Would you buy socks treated with silver nanoparticles that you could wear for several weeks knowing that these particles would eventually end up in the environment? Would you buy a golf club made with carbon nanotubes knowing that inhaling the nanotubes could be as dangerous as asbestos? Consider the scientific concepts, technological advances, and environmental and ethical issues facing nanotechnology as more consumer products enter the market.

25 slots available
$185.00
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Berkeley

The Rise of Modern Jazz (1940-1959)

Jeff Denson

During the 1940s and 50s, jazz transitioned from its role as entertainment to an art form celebrating individual expression. Beginning with bebop and ending with Miles Davis’s iconic “Kind of Blue,” we will examine this groundbreaking music and the innovators who created it — all within the context of WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, and other historical events. Includes audio and video recordings and live demonstrations.

233 slots available
$145.00

Thursday, Starts September 28

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Cybersecurity: a Guide for the Perplexed

Darren Zook

Cybersecurity is one of the most important elements in national and international affairs, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood aspects of the security infrastructure. This course will cover everything from personal security — Is my smart TV spying on me? — to international threats — Can Russian hackers really change an American election? Presented in a clear, accessible, and friendly format for both absolute beginners and more experienced tech-users.

181 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lafayette

Documentary Touchstones 2

Michael Fox

In this follow-up to last fall’s Part 1, survey canonical documentaries of lasting power and influence, from Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, and The Man with a Movie Camera through World War II propaganda films and latter-century essay films. Discuss documentary ethics, the use of metaphor and poetry, the intersection of reality, truth, and storytelling, and our evolving relationship to images.

133 slots available
$145.00
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Gratitude: Its Positive Impact

Sara Orem

People who experience gratitude cope better with stress and enjoy more robust physical health. And gratitude can be cultivated and practiced. Based on “The Science of Happiness,” a globally popular class taught by Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, this course blends online and in-person learning and uses articles, video, and discussion to help you develop a gratitude mindset. Learn gratitude practices and discuss the challenges of consistency.

Note: this course is five weeks long. The last class meeting is on October 26.

0 slots available
$110.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Lafayette

A Living Shakespeare

Philippa Kelly

Who was Shakespeare the man, and what inspired him in writing some of the world’s most searching explorations of the human soul? What was his stagecraft? We will think deeply about As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth. Students are encouraged to see As You Like It and Measure for Measure at Cal Shakes, but all participants will benefit from the course’s rich insights.

125 slots available
$145.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Staging Science: Physics and Physicians

Anthony Clarvoe

Science has inspired theater artists to stage passionate ethical conflicts and mind-bending images of existence. Read and discuss George Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Caryl Churchill’s A Number, Margaret Edson’s Wit, and Nick Payne’s Constellations. These plays (all available in filmed or live versions) use the shape-shifting nature of theatrical time and space to present the impact of the work of physicists and physicians on our ideas about human life.

21 slots available
$185.00
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Berkeley

The Roberts Court and the First Amendment

William Turner

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. has decided more free speech cases than any previous court, including Citizens United and issues involving national security, funeral protests, violent video games, the rights of high school students, abortion buffer zones, a “constitutional right to lie” about military service, and, in 2017, trademarks that disparage racial groups and a “constitutional right to Facebook.” Consider a selection of opinions, which have been edited for ease of reading.

224 slots available
$145.00

Friday, Starts September 29

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Berkeley

Drawing Fundamentals

Explore the key elements of drawing, including line, shape, tone, compositional design, and the drawing field. Learn how to creatively establish relationships, proportion, and the illusory third dimension, and touch on different modes of abstraction. We will address the role of drawing in imagination, invention, and image development. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, you can develop a free and fluent command of the drawing process and a conceptual understanding of key principles.

0 slots available
$225.00
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Berkeley

Twentieth Century Women Writers

Stephanie Wells

Examine ground-breaking writings by women in the 20th century. Although there are many common themes — including female creativity, marriage, maternity, identity, gender, feminist politics, patriarchal culture, love, sex, and desire — the works encompass too many themes, styles, and objectives to be viewed monolithically. Writers may include Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Atwood, Sandra Cisneros, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toni Morrison.

116 slots available
$145.00

Friday, Starts October 20

10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Berkeley

Moving Pictures: Dance and Film

Kathryn Roszak

Dance and film make thrilling partners. View highlights of contemporary successes such as La La Land and classics like Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain. Look at the acclaimed new documentary Dancer, inspired by the powerful story of Sergei Polunin. Meet guest filmmakers and see short films by local talents such as Amy Seiwert, Dana Genshaft, and Kate Duhamel. Other films under consideration include the dramatic documentary Mr. Gaga, featuring Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. Note: This class meets for 4 weeks from October 20 through November 9.  The first three classes meet on Fridays, and the last class meets Thursday.

21 slots available
$145.00