POLITICS & PLACE

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).

The Ottoman Empire; an intriguing empire that stretched over thousands of miles and nearly 600 years; leaving an impact on the MENA region still felt today. This series of classes will cover its long history, politics, traditions and culture and then eventual collapse at the end of WWI and then the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Five Fridays: June 4, 18, July 9, 16, August 6 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Online Class. 

With

Tory Ruttenberg merges her skills in helping people have difficult conversations and effectively address conflicts, developed during more than 20 years as a management consultant, with her ever-broadening knowledge of climate change and its effects. She is a co-founder of Climate Change Group (www.climatechangegroup.org), which helps people talk about and take action on climate change.

Do you avoid raising the topic of climate change because you are worried it will lead to arguments? This highly interactive, two-session workshop will give members the skills needed to introduce and discuss this crucial issue. Two Thursdays: August 12th and 19th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm EST

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 MA in International Relations 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)

Join me in another series of classes to better understand the MENA region through its authors. This two class series will explore the contradictions of modern Israel from the perspective of Sayed Kashua, a Palestinian-Israeli, who straddles two societies that often collide with each other. we will use two of his books to better understand the lives of Palestinian-Israelis. Two Mondays: August 16 and 23 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

WRITING

With

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in March 2019 and her anthology of lyric essays, A Harp in the Stars, is forthcoming from Nebraska in 2021. Other work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, The Rumpus, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Currently she is the founding editor of the online literary magazine After the Art and teaches in West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA Program and Goucher's MFA in Nonfiction Program. You can read more at her website, www.randonbillingsnoble.com.

Want to start a diary?  Want to keep one going?  In this class we will explore the many forms a journal can take through in-class writing, in-class drawing, and take-home exercises. No experience necessary! Four Sundays: July 18, 25, and August 1, 8, from 10 a.m. to Noon ET Online Class.  

 

With

Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach. Her writing has appeared in LongreadsCagibiOutsideDeep Wild, the Rumpus, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. A former newspaper journalist, she has an MFA and nearly 20 years’ experience teaching writing to students ages 9 to 89. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

This four-session course will help members write their memories into scenes through studying Dinty W. Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay, responding to writing prompts, and workshopping essays and excerpts. Four Wednesdays: July 21, 28, and August 4, 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET  

With

Caroline Bock writes short stories, novels, and more. She is the author of Carry Her Home, winner of the 2018 Fiction Award from the Washington Writers' Publishing House, and the young adult novels: Lie and Before My Eyes from St. Martin's Press. In 2021, she is the fiction editor of This is What America Looks Like, poetry and fiction from DC, Maryland and Virginia from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. She is currently at work on a novel set in 2050, which was honored with a Montgomery County Artists & Scholar award as a work-in-progress. She is a graduate of Syracuse University where she had the honor of studying fiction writing with Raymond Carver, and as of 2011, holds an MFA in Fiction from The City College of New York. She lives in Maryland and lectures in the English department at Marymount Press. 

What does America look like to you? With readings inspired by the new anthology from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House, This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Fiction from DC, Maryland and Virginia, write your own work of flash fiction or short fiction to capture this unprecedented moment in America with fiction editor, Caroline Bock. Three Thursdays: August 5, 12, 19 from 10 a.m. to noon. ET 

With

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of a more perfect Union (The 2019 Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize) and Haint (2017 Ohioana Poetry Award). She is the 2020 Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Prize winner and the Poetry Coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.

Join poet and Folger Poetry Coordinator Teri Ellen Cross Davis for a memior style poetry workshop. Have old letters, photos, photobooks, newspaper clippings on hand and let’s write to the past and at the same time, find a way to move forward by creating new work. These two Alice James Books poets will be featured as part of the upcoming O.B. Hardison Poetry Series in 2021-2022. Three Tuesdays: August 17, 24, 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

FICTION

With

Carrie Callaghan’s debut novel, A Light of Her Own, about 17th century painter Judith Leyster, was published by Amberjack in 2018. Her new novel, Salt the Snow (Amberjack, 2019), is about trail-blazing but little-known early 20th century journalist Milly Bennett and her years in 1930s Moscow and Spain. Carrie’s short stories have been published in multiple literary journals around the country, and she is a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Nobel prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro is a master at using society's outsiders and outcasts to examine the core of our common humanity. Whether he is writing speculative fiction about our future or perceptive historical fiction about our past, Ishiguro finds a quiet way into the largest existential questions. In this class, we'll consider both his latest novel, Klara and the Sun, and his earlier masterpiece, Never Let Me Go, and explore what they have to say individually and together about literature, society, and love. Two Sundays: August 1 & 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. EST

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

In this class we will examine the unique language, voice, settings and characters of The White Tiger in the context of post-colonial literature and confessional narratives. Two Tuesdays: August 3 and 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. ET Online Class. 

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989. Her recent Politics and Prose classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, Grossman, and Proust. 

Will this concluding volume of In Search of Lost Time impress us as a memento mori or as the revelation of a threshold to hope and joy? While it is not ideal to begin this richly sedimented novel near its end, for those who have read it on your own, or those who want the encouragement of other eager readers, the class should help you to find out why so many readers finish the novel only to begin again from the beginning. Six Mondays: July 12, 19, 26 and August 2, 9, 16, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET 

With

Leigha McReynolds has a PhD in English Literature. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. 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.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic Mars Trilogy (1992-1996) — Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars — is arguably the definitive science fiction work exploring what it might be like for humans to reach a point of interplanetary civilization. Join us this summer to work through this must-read work of science fiction and digest Robinson’s nuanced approach to the psychological, biological, economic, political, sociological, and climatological (to name just a few) implications of successfully leaving our home planet. Six Wednesdays (meets every other week): June 16, 30 and July 14, 28 and August 11, 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET

With

Michele L. Simms-Burton, PhD is a former tenured university professor and founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. Her writings have appeared in The Crisis Magazine, DownBeat, D.C. Metro Theater Arts, Auburn Avenue, and San Francisco Chronicle. She has lectured globally on African American culture.

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of fiction from the novel The Known World, and two collections of short stories Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar’s Children. Four Saturdays: August 7, 14, 21, and 28, from noon to 2 p.m. ET

With

Brittany Kerfoot is the Director of Events at Politics and Prose and a staff writer for Eventbrite.com. She holds a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her writing has been published in The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Driftwood Press, and Madcap Review, among others. She is currently at work on her first novel.

Join instructor and P&P’s Director of Events, Brittany Kerfoot, for a three-session class centered around Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy. Three Tuesdays: August 24, 31, September 7 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

With

Verlyn Flieger is Professor Emerita in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, where for 36 years she taught courses in Tolkien, Medieval Literature, and Comparative Mythology. She is the author of five critical books on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, Splintered Light, A Question of Time, Interrupted Music, Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien, and There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien. She edited the Extended edition of Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major. With Carl Hostetter she edited Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, and with Douglas A. Anderson she edited the Expanded Edition of Tolkien On Fairy-Stories. With Michael Drout and David Bratman she is a co-editor of the yearly journal Tolkien Studies. She has also published two fantasy novels, Pig Tale and The Inn at Corbies’ Caww, an Arthurian novella, Avilion, and the short stories "Green Hill Country" and "Igraine at Tintagel."

The legends of the Norse embody the heroic spirit that directly influenced J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium.  A world unfolds of tragedy and trickery, of matchless courage defeated by malice and magic, where valor outweighs victory and the way of death defines a life. We’ll read the stories of Creation, the mischief of Loki and the Doom of the Gods, the puzzling legend of Sigurd and the Volsungs.  Class requirements: questions and discussion. Four Sundays: September 12, 19, 26, and October 3, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST Online Class. 

With

Michele L. Simms-Burton, PhD is a former tenured university professor and founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. Her writings have appeared in The Crisis Magazine, DownBeat, D.C. Metro Theater Arts, Auburn Avenue, and San Francisco Chronicle. She has lectured globally on African American culture.

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of novels from Kindred, Parable of the Sower, and Parable of the Talents. Four Saturdays: September 18, 25, October 2, and 9, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class

POETRY

With

Christopher Griffin is from south Galway. Christopher studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin. He has lectured at the Yeats Summer School in Sligo and in Yeats’ Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics at Politics and Prose for almost 30 years. He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and has lectured at Smithsonian Associates.

This consideration of Modern Irish Poetry will look at the work of Irish poets since Patrick Kavanagh.  Some poets whom you may or may not have heard of include John Montague, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Eamon Grennan, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon, Harry Clifton, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Mary O’Malley, Paula Meehan, Sinéad Morrissey. and Doireann Ní Ghríofa. Five Fridays: July 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET 

With

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of a more perfect Union (The 2019 Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize) and Haint (2017 Ohioana Poetry Award). She is the 2020 Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Prize winner and the Poetry Coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.

Join poet and Folger poetry coordinator Teri Ellen Cross Davis for a disscusion based class that dives deep into contemporary poetry collections from Alice James Books poets Shara McCallum, Sumita Chakraborty, and Tamiko Beyer. Two of these three poets will be featured as part of the upcoming O.B. Hardison Poetry Series in 2021-2022. Three Tuesdays: September 7, 14, 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST Online

LIFESKILLS

With

Jerry Webster, Ph. D., (Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland) has taught numerous courses in literature for the U. of MD. and in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools (MD).  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years.  He served as the Shastri, or head teacher, for the Shambhala Buddhist Center in Washington, D.C. for 10 years until he retired in 2020.  He teaches regularly for the D. C. Politics & Prose Bookstore, as well as the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Program, Frederick Community College ILR Program, and the D.C. Shambhala Buddhist Center.  

Daniel M. Stewart’s biography S. N. Goenka: Emissary of Light will serve for the class as a guide to Goenka’s meditational practices and teachings.  Harari writes (in 2018) of his first meditation retreat with Goenka, “Since that first course in 2000, I began meditating for two hours every day, and each year I take a long meditation retreat of a month or two.”  This class will investigate how Goenka’s teachings and practices helped form a base for Harari’s work 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.  Harari recounts many of the effects Goenka had on him in the book’s final chapter, “Meditation.”  We will analyze Goenka’s influence on Harari in terms of Harari’s ideas, meditation practice, and writing process, with meditation being a major lens by which Harari shapes his works. Four Mondays:  Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m EST 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

With

Evelyn Torton Beck holds Ph.D.s in both Comparative Literature and Clinical Psychology. She is Women’s Studies Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland and an Alum Research Fellow with the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Initiative at the Fielding Graduate University. She has pioneered numerous interdisciplinary courses on topics as diverse as Women in the Arts, Mothers and Daughters, Jewish Women in International Perspective, Women and the Holocaust, Death and Dying in Modern Literature, Lesbian Studies, Gender, Power and the Spectrum of Difference, and Feminist Perspectives on Psychology, among others.

Over the past five decades, American feminist artist, Judy Chicago, has continually expanded our understanding of the role gender plays in the creation of art and the writing of art history. Her bold, innovative, and often controversial installations are evidence of the breadth and depth of her work. In this course, we will study Chicago’s art in the context of her new autobiography The Flowering. Two Saturdays: August 7 and 14 from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

With

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, Fighting for Citizenship, (September 2020) is published by 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.

Over the course of this four-week class, we will attempt to understand Jefferson and the world in which he lived, and we will discuss his complicated legacy, at turns inspiring and troubling. We will use as our texts Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello and Most Blessed of Patriarchs. Four Thursdays: August 5, 12, 19, 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. ET  

With

Evelyn Torton Beck holds Ph.D.s in both Comparative Literature and Clinical Psychology. She is Women’s Studies Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland and an Alum Research Fellow with the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Initiative at the Fielding Graduate University. She has pioneered numerous interdisciplinary courses on topics as diverse as Women in the Arts, Mothers and Daughters, Jewish Women in International Perspective, Women and the Holocaust, Death and Dying in Modern Literature, Lesbian Studies, Gender, Power and the Spectrum of Difference, and Feminist Perspectives on Psychology, among others. She has also written and lectured widely on the intersections of sexism, racism, anti-semitism, and homophobia. For her life’s work  in interdisciplinary fields she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria this September; the ceremony was postponed by a year because of Covid. 

Franz Kafka, Czech writer, and Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter, are unquestionably among the most influential artists of the 20th century whose work still reverberates into the 21st.  By juxtaposing close readings of selected stories and paintings, we will come to understand the work of each artist more fully and deeply. Four Sundays: October 10, 17, 24, 31, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST Online