POETRY

With

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.

Readers and critics alike almost universally praise Dante's Paradiso for the sublimity of its poetry, but sublimity comes at a price. Trying to imagine ourselves toward the outermost limits of human hope at the brink of real Mystery is beyond our capacity as earth-bound pedestrians. Dante had the same experience and his greatness lies in never forgetting that poetry's task is give human beings wings. Do give it a try, especially if you have walked the walk with the pilgrim thus far!  Five Tuesdays: November 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

With

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/

The Divine Comedy offers us the most familiar, yet most mysterious of all spectacles: the human journey through the full cycle of life and death. Frank Ambrosio, director of Georgetown University’s My Dante Project, lays out a roadmap that enables participants to experience the Comedy as Dante intended: a journey of his self-discovery, both terrible and sublime, set in a landscape as varied as the array of unforgettable characters who reside there. For readers, it can be a rewarding journey of personal discovery. Six Tuesdays: March 10, (skip March 17), 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21 from 6:30 p.m.to 8:30 p.m.

With

Gigi Bradford is the former Literature Director of the National Endowment for the Arts and the present Chair of the Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Board. She has been teaching at P&P since 2006.

Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah,” released in December 1984, has become one of the most iconic songs in English. Join us as we listen to different versions of the song and discover the poetry of its lyrics. “Hallelujah” is one of the most covered and beloved songs of the past three and a half decades. Cohen once told Bob Dylan that it took him two years to write the full version with 15 verses. The song is broadcast every night at 2:00 AM by the Israeli defense force radio channel. We will listen to several different versions of the song and parse its lyrics, as layered and oblique as poetry. One Saturday: January 25  from 2:00 to 3:30 pm
 
 
With

Christopher Griffin is from Yeats country in County Galway.  He studied at Trinity College and University College in Dublin. He taught courses in Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years and at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and lectured for Smithsonian Associates.  He has taught this Heaney class at Politics and Prose many times before.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) won the Nobel Prize for Literature and has been among the most beloved of modern poets.   The Poetry of Seamus Heaney will use one book, Broken Ground: Poems 1966-1996, (no advance readings required). Since his 1965 “Digging,” the first poem in Death of a Naturalist, Heaney has been among the most read poets in English.  He has articulated experiences from his vivid childhood sensations on a Derry farm to his explorations of political tensions in Northern Ireland.  He has combined personal lyrics with public themes.  He was also a fine translator of classic verse and drama from various languages.  This class will explore some of Heaney’s best poems. Readings will be assigned in class sessions. Five Fridays of January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 14, 6-8 p.m.

With

Annie Finch is the author or editor of more than twenty books of poetry and poetics. Her books for poets and poetry lovers include A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and The Body of Poetry. Finch holds a BA from Yale and a Ph.D from Stanford, has taught and lectured widely, and has received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and craft of versification. Her poetry has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and published in Poetry, Paris Review, The New York Times, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

Join acclaimed poet Annie Finch to savor and explore the ins and outs of poems in meter through reading, discussion, and a few optional writing exercises. Three Thursdays: February 13, 20, 27, from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.

With

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves (W.W. Norton), as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Honors for her work include an NEA Literature Fellowship; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and four D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She is on the faculty of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program, and periodically teaches at The American University.  She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (University of Georgia Press).

Read provocative, compassionate poems responding to what it means to live in America right now—and share drafts of your own. We write poems inspired by our compelling love for the world. But what do we write when the world around us seems divided and violent? Using the 2019 anthology What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump, edited by Martin Espada, we will anchor workshop with guided readings of vibrant contemporary American poems that provoke, grieve, empathize, and dare to hope. We'll discuss the opportunities and pitfalls fo writing poems perceived as timely, and explore the question of what makes a poem “political." Participants are welcome to circulate two 1-2 page drafts of their own poems for critique in workshop, with written feedback provided by the instructor. Four Fridays: January 31, February 7, 14, 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
With

Annie Finch is the author or editor of more than twenty books of poetry and poetics. Her books for poets and poetry lovers include A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and The Body of Poetry. Finch holds a BA from Yale and a Ph.D from Stanford, has taught and lectured widely, and has received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and craft of versification. Her poetry has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and published in Poetry, Paris Review, The New York Times, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

Join acclaimed poet, editor, and translator and beloved poetry teacher Annie Finch for a reading and writing journey through some of the language’s most intricate and unforgettable poetic forms. No previous poetry experience is necessary to join this intensive, hands-on poetry writing workshop. Three Thursdays: February 13, 20, 27, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
 

WRITING

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 an Interview with The Paris Review, author Deborah Eisenberg remarked that one of the advantages of being a writer “is that you know you can make the horrible thing better, then you can make it better again, then you make it better again.”  “Revision is all there is,” said David Remnick, Editor of the New Yorker. This workshop will offer immediate approaches and feedback for re-seeing and recasting your stories so that they are ready for submission to literary journals, MFA programs and awards. Two Saturdays: December 7 and 14 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

With

Leslie Pietrzyk's third novel, Silver Girl, was published in February 2018.  This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories about the death of her first husband, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best short story collections of 2015. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Washingtonian, and Cincinnati Review. She won a 2020 Pushcart Prize. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. More information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com

Explore your creative side in this session, one of a series of stand-alone classes with prompts designed to get your subconscious flowing. Through guided exercises, we’ll focus on writing about the passage of time as witnessed through our daily lives while also exploring how time relates to us in a larger, more spiritual sense. No writing experience necessary! This is a great class for beginners and also for those fiction writers and/or memoirists with more experience who might be stuck in their current projects and are looking for a jolt of inspiration.One Thursday, January 23, 6:30 – 9:00 pm

With

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.

In this workshop, participants will examine how to tell stories based on autobiographical material, whether in the form of a memoir or work of fiction. Writers will consider issues like the limits of memory, our responsibility to our subjects who may read our work, and research to embellish our stories and make them come alive. Fiction and creative non-fiction writers may submit their work for peer critique. Three Tuesdays: January 21, 28 and February 4, 6-8 p.m.

With

Joyce Winslow was OP ED/Commentary Editor of the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and currently writes, pitches and places OP EDs for such private clients as Ambassadors, CEOs, and a former U.S. Secretary of Defense, with whom she wrote a book. She has written and placed some 78 OP EDs in top-tier mainstream newspapers, including some she bylined.

More than 500 daily newspapers want to hear from YOU. With a new balance in Congress, and key issues and impeachment in play, this is the time to make your voice heard and get paid for it. Taught by an OP ED editor, you’ll learn the proper structure of an OP ED, how to persuasively make your point and knock down opposing arguments (politely); what editors look for and what red flags to avoid. Sign up quick--this class sells out fast. Examples of a range of OP EDs on gun control will be used for workshop purposes. One Saturday, January 18, from 2-5 p.m.

With

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.

Do you have trouble making the people you're writing about in your fiction and non-fiction or other writing feel as real on the page as they do in life? In this three-session course, we'll tackle the problem of characterization head-on by discussing vital aspects of building memorable character portraits. We'll look at examples from published writing in varied genres like novels, stories, memoirs, and poetry and do targeted exercises that will give you a toolkit of strategies to breathe life into your characters. Whether you're in the middle of a piece or just have an idea for one, this course will help you get a handle on how to populate the stories you're telling with vivid personalities that establish an emotional connection with readers. Three Mondays: March 2, 9, 16 from 6 to 8 pm

With

John DeDakis  is a novelist, writing coach, and former editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." DeDakis is the author of five mystery-suspense novels. His fourth novel, Bullet in the Chamber, is the winner of Reviewers Choice, Foreword INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards. In his most recent novel, Fake, protagonist Lark Chadwick is a White House correspondent trying to walk the line between personal feelings and dispassionate objectivity in the era of “fake news” and #MeToo. Website: www.johndedakis.com

Join former CNN editor and award-winning novelist John DeDakis in a day-long workshop that provides a birds-eye view of all the moving parts involved in the novel-writing process. Saturday, April 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

With

Joyce Winslow was the Travel Editor of two magazines and Senior Editor of AARP’s magazine. She has published hundreds of travel articles for magazines and newspapers. This is the third travel-writing class she has taught at Politics & Prose.

For seven years Joyce Winslow wrote a different article about a different destination a month for Redbook and Mademoiselle magazines, and selected others for publication. In this class she will point you toward what editors look for, the red flags to avoid, and how to hook a reader, and editor into wanting more of your writing. If sufficient interest, the class will continue with more advice and workshops to improve your pieces. Saturday, March 7, 2-5 pm.

With

Joyce Winslow is an award-winning fiction writer published in The Best American Short Stories and college textbooks. She won the Raymond Carver Award, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award, The Allen Ginsburg poetry award, an NEA grant, and three D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowships in Fiction. Former associate professor of English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, she was also Travel Editor of two national magazines, and Senior Editor of AARP’s Magazine where she launched an issue devoted to fiction.

  Designed for fiction writers well into a writing project or who consider themselves beyond beginner level, or who took Winslow’s first class, this course continues to teach the craft of fiction in ways that help you describe a landscape, insert meaningful dialogue, create interesting plot points and bring the story home. Exciting exercises teach the how and why of craft that produces art, and how to edit your own work without frustration. In class exercises, workshopping for those who wish it, and specific editorial suggestions to improve your work from an editor. Four Saturdays, February  1, 8, 15, 22 from Noon to 2 pm.

With

Sarah Pleydell & Michaele Weissman

Sarah Pleydell is a writer, teacher and actor. Until recently she was a senior lecturer in University Honors at the University of Maryland where she taught creative writing, literature and humanities. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel “Cologne and “The Dramatic Difference”, an award-winning book in the field of arts integration. Visit her website at www.sarahpleydell.com

 

Michaele Weissman is a journalist, author and teacher long associated with New Directions, a Washington-based writing program for psychotherapists from which she graduated and where she co-teaches with Sarah Pleydell. The author of three

books and innumerable articles, Weissman writes about food, families and history. Her most recent book, “God in a Cup,” is a narrative for which she followed three young coffee buyers around the world. You can sample her work at: www.michaeleweissmanwrites.com

Join novelist Sarah Pleydell and author Michaele Weissman in a continuation of their fall workshop helping writers access the inner landscapes where imagery resides. The teachers’ approach is playful, but their purpose is serious: to help writers overcome their fears of insufficiency, and, in so doing, produce work that is more alive and original. Three Sundays: April 19, 26 and May 3 from 3 to 5:30pm

 
With

Marita Golden is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of seventeen works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University. Her new novel is The Wide Circumference of Love.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers and the Fiction Award for her novel After awarded by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

For beginning writers, narrative in both fiction and memoir is an underutilized tool that has the power to take the reader beneath the skin of a story. Narrative, at its best tells the meaning of the action, transports the reader into the complexities of ambivalent emotions, and describes people and places in ways that evoke feelings of recognition and empathy. In this day long work shop we will explore how you can use narrative in your story to make your reader feel drenched in the essential qualities of the world you are creating. Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

POLITICS & PLACE

With

Joseph Hartman teaches political theory, constitutional law and American government in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. Prior to his time in the academy he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown in 2015 (where he also served as the Interim Director of the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy). He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1999) and a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia (1996). His academic and intellectual interests focus on the relationship between political thought and theology in the Western tradition and contemporary issues relating to public and constitutional law.

Now more than ever, the constitutionality of government action occupies a central place in our public debate. Taught by Professor Joseph Hartman, who teaches constitutional law and political theory at Georgetown University, this class will delve into selected contemporary issues of constitutional significance, including the nature of executive power and the boundaries of privilege, the extent of the Congressional investigatory power, the constitutional framework for impeachment, and the challenges faced by the federal judiciary in its role as authoritative interpreter of the Constitution. Five Alternating Wednesdays: October 16, 30, November 13, skip for Thanksgiving, December 4, 18, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. *SOLD OUT*

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 Government 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 in the series of classes on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to delve into the heart and soul of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its authors plus a non-fiction work by a distinguished expert on the Kingdom’s history and politics and its relationship with the U.S. We will explore Saudi Arabia’s history, politics and society through one non-fiction book plus novels by Saudi men and women. Five Fridays: 31st January; 14th & 28th February; 20th March; and 3rd April – Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

FICTION

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.

Dubbed the father of realism, Honoré de Balzac’s most famous fictional father is Père Goriot, the wilted maker of vermicelli at the center of an 1835 novel that forms the cornerstone of the author’s sprawling project,  La Comédie humaine.  A retelling of King Lear that is perhaps even more tragic for its lack of a loving Cordelia, Balzac’s style is colorful rather than dark, a textured painting of the kinds of people post-Napoleonic France left behind to fend for themselves. Please note new dates: Two Thursdays Dec. 12th from 2 to 4 p.m. and Dec 19th from 3 to 5 p.m.

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.

Donna Tartt’s  Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch  (2014)  involves a terrorist incident, a stolen artwork, and a motley cast of con-artists, orphans, and surrogate parents. The Goldfinch is a giant in pages—sprawling, gripping, powerful, and colorful in storytelling— but, the critics opined, a sparrow in style, uneven in substance.  Readers largely disagreed, and the novel flew off the shelves by the thousands. Now the Goldfinch is back, as a 2019 movie. This class will welcome thoughtful debate about the novel, with a focus on the highlights of the reading experience, in contrast to the film. One Monday: December 9, from 6 to 8:30 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."

Join Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger in the invented world of J.R.R. Tolkien where fairy tale meets epic and little people encounter big events. We'll read The Fellowship of the Ring through the lens of Tolkien's theory of sub-creation to learn how the father of modern fantasy used the imaginary to re-present the real. Three Sundays: Feb 2, 9, 16 from 1-3 pm

With

Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Monkeybicycle, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and Escape Pod/Artemis Rising. She's the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe's Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium. She received her MFA from American University in 2019.

Science fiction is not just about men in a lab or robots in space--it's also about us, all of us, our families and our communities. Developments in science and technology affect people of all genders, races, and nationalities, so we should all have a voice in exploring the changes we'll face. What lies in your future? How will climate change, genetic manipulation, or artificial intelligence affect you in the decades to come? Join us to start imagining--and writing--the world of the future! Sunday March 29 from 2-5 pm

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, and last taught at Politics and Prose in 2018. Her recent classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy.

The awarding of the Goncourt Prize to Proust for the second volume of his great work, In Search of Lost Time, took place in September 1919.  A hundred years later we will read this volume, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, in William Carter’s edition of the Moncrieff English translation. In an earlier class we confronted the difficulties of approaching Proust's vast novel and will continue attentive close reading with discussion of how the new material fits or discomfits what we thought Proust was up to.  Newcomers to Proust will have plenty of opportunity for questions, but should ideally have read independently the three sections of Swann’s Way. Six Mondays: Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2, 9 from 1 to 3 p.m.

With

Virginia Newmyer has lectured frequently for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and in Great Britain on a wide variety of topics in British history and literature. She also teaches OLLI courses at American University, as well as at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and Jupiter.

Dr. Susan Willens, emerita professor of English at George Washington University, also teaches at the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and other literature classes.

For 15 years, Virginia and Susan have been holding classes at Politics and Prose that examine the threads that join British fiction and history.

This course examines World War II through the broad lens of European fiction. In five novels, Willens and Newmyer will explore the ways in which characters manage their lives under threats so dire that some respond with unexpected heroism, others resigned to tragedy. The books are The Great Fortune (1960) and The Spoilt City, by Olivia Manning; Atonement (2001), by Ian McEwen; Life after Life (2013), by Kate Atkinson; and All the Light We Cannot See (2014) by Anthony Doerr. Choose between 3 sections.

With

Brittany Kerfoot holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and 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, Madcap Review, and Eventbrite.com, among others. She is the Partnered Events Manager at Politics and Prose, a college English professor at her alma mater, and at work on her first novel.

Join instructor Brittany Kerfoot for a two-hour discussion of one of García Márquez’s best works, Love in the Time of Cholera, as we dissect the story of Fermina and Florentino. “The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.” Love, like cholera, strikes unexpectedly, renders the body powerless, and often has devastating consequences. For Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza, love will span many decades and take many forms, but ultimately, they will come back together in the dusk of their lives for one final declaration. Let’s talk about love triangles, heartbreak, a man’s 622 affairs, and everything in-between in this class dedicated to the Márquez’s classic tale. One Tuesday: February 11, 6-8 p.m.

With

Helen Hooper, a fiction writer, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has published stories in American Short Fiction, The Common, The Hopkins Review, Bellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. She was MacDowell Colony fellow, a Kenyon Review Peter Taylor fellow and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Johns Hopkins. She has taught literature and creative writing at Stanford and other universities and at the middle and high school levels. She is now writing a novel.

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Women in Love, the second of D.H. Lawrence’s linked novels about three generations of the Brangwen family from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The lavish first novel, The Rainbow, had been banned and confiscated as obscene. Together, these books form Lawrence’s masterpiece, establishing him as a giant of English literature and modernist icon. Let’s take a fresh look at them. Though no longer shocking in their carnal frankness, the novels still disturb us.   We’ll even gossip (tastefully) about his personal life: it’s relevant.  And while no one is going to find the books shocking, please note that discussion of these novels will include some sexual themes. The class meets over six alternating Thursday nights : Feb. 13, 27 Mar. 12, 26 Apr. 9, 23 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
 
With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, including a chapter on Wilkie Collins. 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.

In 1868 Wilkie Collins published the first detective novel in English: The Moonstone. Along with its originality, the scale of the intrigue and narrative execution of the investigation make it one of the foremost examples of the genre. This class will explore how The Moonstone contributed to the development of the novel, established conventions of detective fiction, and explored questions about truth and the law. Two Tuesdays: February 18 and 25, from Noon to 2:00 p.m.

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.

We will be reading David Copperfield not only as a Bildungsroman which concerns the making of character from the trials and errors of the protagonist, but as an example of the more rare and less-explored Künstlerroman, which follows the making of the artist from the “strange and sordid” material of nature, nurture, fantasy, misery, nostalgia, and memory. Five Wednesdays: Jan 29, Feb 12, 5th (from 3:30 to 5:30 pm)*, 19 and 26 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm 
With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. She has published and presented on science fiction texts ranging from Ursula K. Le Guin’s short stories to Frank Herbert’s Dune. 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.

Though the fantasy genre may be associated with quests across wild landscapes, contemporary speculative fiction often locates the fantastic in the city. Join this class for a guided reading of Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. All three novels imagine alternate Londons and offer an opportunity to reflect on the magical connections between civilization and the city. Three Wednesdays: February 26, March 4 and 11, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

With
Mary Hall Surface is a teaching artist, playwright, and theatre director. She is on the faculty of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and presents workshops nationwide in creative writing and drama as a Kennedy Center teaching artist. Her plays have been produced at theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Canada, including 17 productions at the Kennedy Center. She has been nominated for nine Helen Hayes Awards, receiving the 2002 Outstanding Director of a Musical. Mary Hall has published 12 plays, 3 original cast albums, 2 collections of scenes and monologues, an anthology of her plays and numerous articles. She is the founding instructor of The National Gallery of Arts’ Writing Salon which was featured in The Washington Post Magazine in April 2017.  She was the founding artistic director of the D.C.'s Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival and a member of Arena Stage’s 2017 Playwrights’ Arena.MaryHall Surface

 

Join theatre director Mary Hall Surface to explore playwright Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice--a stunningly poetic reimagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Delve into the creative process that will bring the play to life at DC’s Constellation Theatre then see the play in performance followed by a post-show conversation. Tuesday, May 12, 7:00 8:30pm

With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. She has published and presented on science fiction texts ranging from Ursula K. Le Guin’s short stories to Frank Herbert’s Dune. 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  

It may be the epic, seven novel cycles that make the “Best of SF” lists, but contemporary science fiction was born and thrives in the short story medium. Join this class for a guided reading of Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. Our seminar-style discussions will explore why LeGuin is renowned both for her world-building and her story-telling craft. Two Mondays: January 20 and 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

With

Supriya Goswami teaches courses in world literature (with special focus on Africa and South Asia), culture, and politics at Georgetown University. She has previously taught at California State University, Sacramento and at George Washington University. She is the author of Colonial India in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012), which is the first book-length study to explore the intersections of British, Anglo-Indian, and Bengali children’s literature and defining historical moments in colonial India. She is currently working on her second book, Colonial Wars in Children’s Literature. She has also published in such scholarly journals as the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, South Asian Review, and Wasafiri.

In this course, we will explore Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, two seminal and interconnected novels about Africa, written sixty years apart. We will consider the historical, political, and cultural context of European imperialism, especially in Africa, and its impact on fiction. We will begin by reading Heart of Darkness, a fictional narrative written in the late 19th century, as a means to understand the profound and inescapable effects of the colonizing mission in Africa. We will then read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart as an example of how the ‘empire writes back’ in the 20th century. We will wrap up our discussions by watching Mira Nair’s heartwarming 21st century film, Queen of Katwe. Based on the true story of Ugandan chess champion, Phiona Mutesi, this rags-to-riches story of a young girl from a shantytown in Kampala will enable us to explore a third—and more contemporary—vision of Africa. Three Mondays: February 24, March 2 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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 at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He has published many reviews. He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and lectured for Smithsonian Associates. 

Irish Women’s Literature will use the anthology Ireland's Women: Writings Past and Present to look at literature by and about women from the Middle Ages to the present. Some of the topics covered in our anthology include bodies, girly years, love, marriage and family, money and power, practical heroism, religion, and talk. Some of the excerpts include writings from Nell McCafferty, Edna O'Brien, Mary Morrissy, Emma Donoghue, Molly Keane, Mary O'Malley, Bernadette Devlin, Lady Gregory, Paula Meehan, Elizabeth Bowen, Maria Edgeworth, Nuala O'Faolain, Jennifer Johnston, Kate O'Brien, Anne Enright, Eilis Dillon, Eavan Boland, Mary Robinson, Lady Wilde, Nuala Archer, Edna Longley, the Gore-Booth sisters, Mary Lavin, Somerville and Ross, Deirdre Madden, Marina Carr, and Maud Gonne, Siobhan Campbell, and Fiona Shaw. Some writings about women by men will be examined too, including Swift, Joyce, O’Casey, Beckett, Yeats, and Banville. Five Fridays of January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 14, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

With

David B. Johnson is a professor of philosophy at Marymount University, and former writing professor at American and GW Universities.  He earned his PhD in Cultural Studies at George Mason University in 2011, and writes primarily about ethics and political theory.  He has two sons and 4 grandchildren, has been enjoying life with his girlfriend, E. Foster Pacine, and lives in Clifton VA.

Philip Roth described O'Brien as "the most gifted woman writing in the English language."  In 2011, Banville was awarded the coveted Franz Kafka prize, and is now considered a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The two Irish writers were joined in "The Love Object" a work by O'Brien and introduced by Banville. Three Mondays: April 13, 20, 27 from 10 am to Noon
With

Maria Frawley is a Professor of English at George Washington University, where she teaches courses in nineteenth-century literature and regularly offers seminars on Jane Austen. She has authored books and articles on nineteenth-century women writers, including Jane Austen, Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Harriet Martineau. Co-editor of the forthcoming Companion to Jane Austen with Routledge University Press, she is also at work on a book titled Keywords of Jane Austen’s Fiction.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was an “instant classic” when it was first published in 1868-69 and has been described by one editor as “not merely a novel,” but “a phenomenon.” In this course we will read Little Women alongside Anne Boyd Rioux’s recent study Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, a wonderfully readable and enlightening study named as Best Nonfiction of 2018 by the Library Journal. Doing so will enable us to consider the novel’s initial reception and its Civil War context as well as the wide and fascinating range of more recent responses. Key among these will be the seemingly enduring questions of womanhood in relation to societal expectations and gender conventions, social class and work, and artistic ambition. As one critic remarked about Greta Gerwig’s recent film adaptation of the novel, “there is no resisting Little Women.” Saturdays: January 11, 18 and 25 from 10 AM to 12 PM

MEMOIR

With

Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach living in Arlington, VA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Outside, Longreads, HuffPost, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is working on a memoir, Pay Dirt: Backpacking in Search of the Courage to Be Broke. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

Learn what it takes to turn a decent draft about an interesting experience into a powerful personal essay that will resonate with readers in such a way that they feel enriched, even changed, for having read it. We'll explore crucial elements of personal writing—craft, authenticity, and voice—via lecture, example, practice, and feedback. In addition to the feedback of your peers on your writing, you'll receive detailed commentary from me. Each student will submit a piece of writing up to 1,500 words; you will take turns providing feedback to each other.  Four Tuesdays: Jan: 14, 21, 28 and Feb 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

With

Howard Norman received the Lannan Prize in fiction. He is the author of eight novels and three memoirs, and a number of books for children. His new novel, The Ghost Clause, which is set in Vermont, will be published in July, 2019.  He has taught for thirty years in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He is on the faculty of the Napa Valley Literary Conference and the Squaw Valley Literary Conference. He is at work on a memoir, When News Filtered to the Angels, They Were Overwhelmed By Their Loneliness, which is about a friendship with the painter Jake Berthot.

This workshop is for writers who are at any stage of their memoir. We will be reading 10-20 pages of each memoir-in-progress, and every class meeting will be devoted to discussing the narrative strategy, tone, subject matter and every other element of craft present in these ages. We will receive from each writer a general description of what their memoir is about and what the particular challenges in writing it have been so far. This is an inclusive workshop: any forms or styles are welcome, whether in a strictly autobiographical memoir or a memoir largely about someone other than yourself. The instructor will provide extensive notes on the hard copy of each memoir. We will all be responsible for reading each other’s work thoroughly and bringing a lively sense of inquiry, opinion and possibility to the table—conversation is vital. We will get a lot of work done in four weeks. Four Mondays: Feb: 3, 10, 17, 24  from 7-9 pm

With

Chloe Yelena Miller has been teaching writing privately and at the college level since 2005, when she received her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry chapbook, Unrest, was published by Finishing Line Press, and her writing has been published in places such as Alimentum, The Cortland ReviewMcSweeney’s, and Narrative. Read sample publications and writing advice here: http://chloeyelenamiller.com

Do you have a memoir manuscript started that you’re ready to discuss and critique in a workshop?  The first class we’ll focus entirely on the craft of writing and setting workshop critique guidelines. In the following classes, we will dedicate a full hour to each student’s submission and spend the additional time deepening our craft discussion based on the submissions. Students will submit 1,500 words (about 6 pages double spaced) and an outline (no more than 5 pages double-spaced) after the first class. Each student will be expected to write at least one page double-spaced in response to the submissions following guidelines. Each writer will receive this feedback and additional feedback from the instructor. Five Wednesdays:  Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, (skip Feb. 19) Feb. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m.
 

 
 

LIFESKILLS

With

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 is 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 four years, he has led five full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and numerous programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center.  This will be his fifth course at Politics and Prose.

In Pema Chodron’s new work Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World, Pema offers a way to say yes to all parts of life, opening to even those situations that we find the most problematic, the most challenging. Often using her own life as as example, she helps us to make friends with ourselves and  develop compassion towards others.  She exhorts us to wake up wholeheartedly to our entire life.  Pema does provide a guide for basic sitting meditation and for techniques to develop one’s compassion. Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

NONFICTION

With

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves (W.W. Norton), as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Honors for her work include an NEA Literature Fellowship; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and four D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She is on the faculty of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program, and periodically teaches at The American University.  She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (University of Georgia Press).

Join author Sandra Beasley to discuss acclaimed fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado’s genre-bending memoir of experiencing domestic abuse. How does a cozy cohabitation transform into domestic abuse? How does queer love beget homophobic rage? Praising the “blazingly talented” Carmen Maria Machado in the New York Times, critic Parul Sehgal invites readers of this memoir to "Merge the house and the woman―watch the woman experience her own body as a haunted house, a place of sudden, inexplicable terrors.” We will navigate this memoir room by room, focusing on short selections that highlight the author’s brilliant imagery and her agile use of rotating genres (road trip, romance, folklore, stoner comedy) to complicate our perception of reality. Advance familiarity with the book is strongly recommended. Sunday, January 26, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
With
Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves (W.W. Norton), as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Honors for her work include an NEA Literature Fellowship; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and four D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She is on the faculty of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program, and periodically teaches at The American University.  She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (University of Georgia Press).
Join author Sandra Beasley to discuss Carolyn Forché’s memoir of travel to El Salvador, 1978-80, that forged Forché's identity as an activist and poet. A finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance is a long-anticipated reveal of Carolyn Forché’s seven trips to El Salvador between 1978 and 1980, acting on the invitation of mysterious coffee farmer and revolutionary Leonel Gómez Vides. Already an accomplished poet, Forché’s immersion into a country on the cusp of civil war forever altered her career, including the 1982 collection The Country Between Us and the seminal anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness. Our discussion will focus not only on Forché’s personal journey, but her formidable lyric craft even when working in prose. Sunday, February 23, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
With

Alyce Miller is the award-winning writer of five books (Flannery O’Connor, Mary McCarthy, Ellen Gilchrist Awards), and more than 250 published essays, poems, stories, articles, book chapters, and reviews. She is professor emerita from the Indiana University-Bloomington English department where she taught literature; special topics courses on animals and ethics, critical race studies, the detective novel, point of view, the literary hoax; and creative writing workshops (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) in the MFA program. Born in Switzerland, she has lived in the Midwest, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now the DC metro area. She is also a licensed attorney who practiced pro bono in animal and family law. She loves teaching, and won several IU Trustee Awards while at IU.

Join award-winning writer Alyce Miller for a lively, in-depth discussion of Tressie McMillan Cottom’s unique and exciting collection of essays, Thick. One Sunday, March 1 from 3-5:30 p.m.

With

Elaine Showalter is  Professor Emerita of English and Avalon Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, where she taught courses in English and American fiction.  She has written ten  books, most recently The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography ( Simon &Schuster,2016), and regularly reviews books for  the New  York Times Book Review, Washington Post, the Times Literary Supplement, and other newspapers and periodicals.

Difficult women writers are those known for their sharp tongues, often unlikeable heroines, ironic fiction, and tough-minded non-fiction. But they are always exciting to read,  and challenging to discuss. In this class, we’ll read some key works by  Mary McCarthy, Patricia Highsmith, Joan Didion, and Susan Sontag, which I'll be supplementing with biographical and critical background.  Four  Tuesdays: March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2-4pm

  

With

Jerry Webster (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 serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Center in Washington, D.C. 

Both of the major works in this class explore the possible intersection of the secular and the sacred.  This meeting is at the core of Thich Nhat Hahn’s lifelong work from his activism as a Vietnamese dissident through his establishment of Plum Village in France as well as the foundation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s meditation/writing workshops with Vietnam War Veterans. Four Mondays: April 6, 13, 20, 27, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

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 Government 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)

Join us for a journey into the ISIS caliphate to better understand its goals, mission and especially why it was able to recruit so many young people particularly women. First, we will read and discuss Fawaz Gerges’ book: ISIS, A History. Second, we will read Azadeh Moaveni’s book  Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS. Two essential books to better understand the roots and history of this extremist terrorist organization - ISIS and particularly its treatment of women. Two Fridays - January 10th & 24th, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

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, 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.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine in December 1776, as the patriot cause teetered on the brink of disaster, reeling from the series of defeats that had followed the “rage militaire” of spring 1775. Within days, George Washington and his Continental Army had atoned for the defeats of the previous two years, winning victories at Trenton and Princeton that convinced many Americans the Declaration of Independence was no dead letter. In The British Are Coming, the first volume of a planned trilogy, Rick Atkinson charts the progress of the campaigns and political maneuvering that defined the first two years of the Revolutionary War. In this class, through a combination of lecture and discussion, we will examine the war on the battlefield, the ideals that inspired the American colonists to rebel against the world’s greatest empire, and the challenges of fighting a war while building a new nation. We will examine Atkinson’s book in light of recent scholarship on the American Revolution, and we will consider how Atkinson’s gripping narrative sheds new light on the War for American Independence.Two Wednesdays: February 19, February 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

 

With

Garrett Peck is an author, historian and tour guide in the DC area. His seventh and latest book is The Great War in America: World War I and Its Aftermath. 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 DC’s Prohibition expert, Garrett Peck, for an eye-opening conversation on how Prohibition came to be – and why it failed. Three Mondays: March  16, 23, 30 from 1 to 3 pm

With

Scott Patrick is a recent PhD graduate from American University with a concentration in comparative politics. His research interests include critical theory, global political economy, and the intersection of power and politics with culture and the social construction of ideas, norms, and values.

In this course we will study and discuss the national bestseller How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr, Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University. The book provides a look into the United States’ overseas empire, which elides conventional conceptions of formal colonial subjects and territorial acquisitions. We will explore how, instead of relying purely on military bases and the armed forces, U.S. hegemony in the modern era depends on market dominance, control over multiple international institutions, and technological superiority to maintain a global empire. Three Alternating Thursdays: March 5, 19, April 2, 6:30-8:30 PM

With

Rick Massimo is the author of I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, as well as A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set (the subject of a popular Politics and Prose tour). He wrote about music for The Providence Journal for nine years and lives in D.C.

Join Rick Massimo, author of I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, for a look at how folk music has gone from back porches to festival stages, how it’s changed and how it hasn’t. Saturday, February 29th, 1-3PM