Many say the world has changed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America, but exactly what is different--and what remains the same? How can we best gauge the long-term significance of that catastrophe? A number of the courses this spring in SPSBE's noncredit liberal arts Odyssey program offer insights on how our present situation compares with other crises, past and present.
Other courses in the spring lineup give participants reasons to rejoice in humanity's achievements in Italy, ancient Egypt, Celtic Ireland, pre-revolutionary Russia, Paris' Louvre Museum and Baltimore's historic Mt. Vernon district. The intriguing interrelations between science and sports and among sex, biodiversity and evolution will be explored as well.
In conjunction with the season's start, two open houses will be held this week at Homewood. A faculty reading of poetry and fiction will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, in Shaffer Hall. On Saturday, Feb. 16, an Odyssey Sampler will offer a preview of courses from 10 a.m. to noon in Shaffer Hall.
Among the highlights of the semester's offerings:
"Valle di Fassa: Northern Italy's Mountain Paradise." This series, developed in cooperation with the European-American Coalition and the village of Vigo di Fassa, will use slides, videos, recordings, and food and wine tastings to introduce participants to the valley's Ladino culture.
"Flashpoint: Global Trouble Spots and U.S. Foreign Policy." Faculty from Johns Hopkins and the U.S. Naval Academy will focus on the Middle East, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Africa, China and Cuba.
"Brave New World: Reflections on Sept. 11." Rabbi David Fohrman of the Hoffberger Institute for Torah Studies will examine terrorism from a religious perspective and employ works by Dostoevsky, Locke, William James and Aldous Huxley to work toward an integrated emotional and spiritual understanding of the events.
"Turning Point: The Civil War and Its Decisive Moments." Civil War experts will discuss what they consider to be decisive moments in that battle and how they shed light on our current crisis.
"In Our Genes: Sex, Biodiversity and Evolution." A seven-session course will explore the relationship between genes, sex and evolution through the concept of biodiversity.
"Body Limits: The Science of Sports," in conjunction with the Maryland Science Center.
"Ancient Egypt." Offered in cooperation with the Walters Art Museum, this program features experts on Egyptian archaeology, architecture and cosmology.
"In Search of Ancient Ireland." Carmel McCaffrey, author of the book of the same name and chief historical consultant to the eponymous Public Broadcasting System series set to air this spring, will delve into new archaeological evidence on a mysterious and neglected period in Irish history.
"Russian Art and Architecture." Thomas E. Berry, author of 10 books and a retired professor of Russian language and literature, will look at the topic from the Byzantine period to the Russian Revolution.
Odyssey also will offer its Certificate in Environmental Studies, Certificate on Aging and foreign language and creative writing programs. For more information, go to www.spsbe.jhu.edu/programs/noncred_programs.cfm or call 410-516-4842.