NONFICTION

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Garrett Peck is an author and public historian in the DC area. His eighth and latest book is A Decade of Disruption: America in the New Millennium 2000 - 2010. He frequently leads tours through Politics & Prose, including the Jazz History Tour, Prohibition Tour, and Walt Whitman in Washington Tour. Garrett is currently working on a book about how Willa Cather composed Death Comes for the Archbishop, which he hopes to one day turn into a week-long tour of New Mexico.

Join author and historian Garrett Peck in a two-part class, that will explore Henry Adams classic autobiography The Education of Henry Adams, published posthumously in 1918 and winner of the Pulitzer. The Modern Library named the book the best English non-fiction book of the 20th century. Two Mondays: June 29 and July 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. Online Class.

POETRY

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Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX (http://dante.georgetown.edu) which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/philosophy-intellectual-history/philosophy-religion-and-the-meaning-of-life.html) a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage. http://www.renaissancecompany.com/

For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed or rendered with deeper psychological and social insight than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio. It is certainly possible to read, understand and enjoy Purgatorio without having read the Inferno. Six Tuesdays: June 9, 16, 23, 30, and July 7, 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Online Class.

LIFESKILLS

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Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he has been a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past five years, he has led six full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and a variety of programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses for Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center.

Few books serve to so simply and yet deeply introduce students to the tenets and practices of the Four Immeasurables of Buddhism - loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity - as Pema Chodron’s The Places That Scare You  and Thich Nhat Hahn’s At Home in the World.  In addition to analyzing the two books, the purpose of this course is to provide both a conceptual and experiential framework to allow participants to move forward in understanding and implementing these contemplative and meditative teachings and practices into daily life.  If we acknowledge the love, compassion, joy and equanimity that we can feel now and nurture it through these practices, the expansion of those qualities will happen naturally by itself. Four Mondays: June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online Class

With

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the award-winning author of several nature books, including City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, The Joy of Forest Bathing and Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island (August 2020, available for pre-order). Melanie has been leading nature walks for Politics & Prose and many other Washington, DC organizations for several years.

Ana Ka’ahanui is Co-Founder and Director of Experiential Programs for Capital Nature and a forest therapy guide.

Learn how to leverage this time of limited travel and slower pace to deepen your awareness and appreciation of nature in your own backyard and throughout our region. Class is taught by Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a prominent local nature book author, and Ana Ka’ahanui, Co-Founder of the nonprofit, Capital Nature. Saturday, July 25th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.Online Class.

FICTION

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Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in the 19th Century British novel. Currently, Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines. In addition to teaching, she runs a writing coaching business to help aspiring writers of all kinds achieve their personal and professional goals.

Did you know that the first novel in English was written by a woman? That most of the novels published in the 1700’s were written by women? And that the most prolific novelist of the 18th century was also a woman? In this discussion-based, seminar-style class, we’ll explore the origins of the English novel by reading three women writers who contributed to its growth and prominence as a genre: Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Frances Burney. Four Thursdays: July 2, 9, 16, 23 from Noon to 2 p.m. Online Class.

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and has lectured at Smithsonian Associates.

This course is an introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses, which many consider the seminal novel of the 20th Century.  If Ulysses has been on your bucket list but you never got round to reading this great novel, this course will make it easier for you.  In our five sessions we will look at the overall structure of the novel and concentrate on the more accessible and humorous sections. Five consecutve Fridays: July 31, August 7, 14, 21, 28  from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Class Online.

WRITING

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Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

Whether writing a fiction or non-fiction story, there are certain fundamental tools all writers need in their toolkit to be successful. Come to this interactive three-session workshop where we’ll cover issues like characterization and dialogue, plot and scene structure, as well as the when and where of world-building. You’ll leave this class feeling more confident when editing your own work as well as discussing the work of others in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Three Thursdays: July 16, 23, 30 from 6 to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.

With

Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Outside Magazine, Longreads, Cagibi, the Wall Street Journal, Off Assignment, Northern Virginia Magazine, and elsewhere. She has studied at the Yale Writing Workshop, holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, and is working on an anthology about badass outdoorsy women. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

This workshop will home in on the aspects of craft and habits of introspection that writers use to elevate their good drafts to compelling essays. Dates: Four Mondays, starting July 27 and August 3, 10, 17 from 10 a.m. to Noon. Online Class.

POLITICS & PLACE

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Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

This is another class in the series on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to delve into nostalgia and history through memoirs of notable literary authors, scholars and political activists to better understand their era and struggles which still reverberate until the present. Four Tuesdays and One Friday: June 30, July 14 & 31 (Friday), August 4, 18 from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. Online Class.

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org).

This is another class in the series on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to examine the Kingdom of Morocco’s contemporary history, politics, and society via non-fiction and novels to better understand the country and its people. Five Fridays: July 24, August 7 and 21, September 4 and 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. Online Class.
 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

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Brian Taylor is a scholar of US history who focuses on issues related to citizenship, race and national belonging. He earned his doctorate from Georgetown University in 2015, and since has taught at Georgetown and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His first book, tentatively titled Fighting for Citizenship, is in the production process at the University of North Carolina Press. His current project focuses on the Reno City neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He lives in Laurel, MD, with his wife Diane, son Steve, and three cats.

Jill Lepore’s These Truths takes its title from Thomas Jefferson’s contention that Americans considered certain principles “self-evident.”  US history is defined by struggles over core principles – what they mean, and to whom they apply – and Lepore’s book chronicles these struggles.  In this class, we will discuss Lepore’s interpretation of prominent figures, events and trends from American history, and consider what her book shows us about the remaining work of fulfilling the United States’s revolutionary promise. Six Wednesday: July 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5, 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.